Thanks! Hoping to show her, she's already been shown in Halter, so I want to teach her Showmanship for Fair and Equestrian Team. I don't feel super bonded to her, but I'd only seen her once before she came home vs. Squirt's 4-5 times. I'm hoping once she settles in we can bond more.She's gorgeous!! Are you planning on showing her or did you just fall in love and have to bring her home?
I wholeheartedly agree with the first and third points!I have had this thought a few times but have bit my tongue " Your vet is a ............... " and its time to find a new one.
When was the last time they had their teeth done ? Mine live on good "Meadow hay" all of the year, during the really cold months I mix Lucerne (alfalfa) into it. I have one on founderguard, so he is also grain fed. I would strongly recommend getting a dentist out to rule out any teeth issues.
Please dont feel bad about cottontail, you did everything you could for her and you are not to blame. I would say she finally knew what a "wonderful caring" home she had found with you and decided it was time to cross the rainbow bridge.
Thanks Taz. Yes on big belly and ribs easily felt, now loose stool but not necessarily diarrhea --same as Cottontail. Volt no belly, ribs easily felt, no diarrhea. Patches (new) Very loose, watery stools and I do suspect something with teeth. Snickers, some loose stools still. Will try free choice feeding but they waste so much. Still leary of nets though. This weekend I also hope to float some poop to check for sand again. Will be adding salt to feed now too, thanks! And on the vet, the best known vet doesn't have any openings and she's two hours away. I think I will keep begging her to come! I have another stupid question--I REALLY hate winter (already!) and lugging buckets of water out constantly. I want underground pipes, but for now this will have to do. Unfortunately I got a bit of a bloody hand when some ice in a bucket slipped and cut me and the bucket handle got caught somehow and trapped two fingers. (I'm a clutz anyway and it's almost completely dark by the time I get home to feed/water). Anyone have any other BETTER ideas? I had to start over on the watering after I saw the blood in my hand freely bleeding into their water! (Figured no one wants to drink bloody water). Just REALLY glad I turned off the fence before this happened!Oh PitterPatter, I'm so sorry you're having problems still. Have you done the skin pinch test to make sure no one is dehydrated? Worming with ivermectin, very good. Was your hay new when this started? I would try them on free choice hay and probiotics. I don't think some grain would be bad but not a lot and put a tsp of loose salt ( or electrolytes) in for them all when you give grain. If their sodium level drops they will not drink as much. Is there any normal manure in the paddock or just diarrhea? Do they have big bellies and ribs easily felt? Has their weight changed since Patches moved it?
Thanks! I do have heated water tanks. Just getting fresh water into those tanks is quite a task...I was stupid. Tried something new I thought would be a back and time saver. Have a large cart/wagon and filled up buckets with water, knowing they would freeze. I figured I could put some water in with one bucket and then put the ice in to melt. Well, that was stupid!! Because of course, ice expands and then I had to fight with it. I am saving up for a barn, and when it's built THERE WILL BE WATER LINES!! I think I will go back to feeding on the ground so they can freely feed I guess. Was trying to avoid sand issues, but ground is frozen solid so is probably ok. Want to try nets soon. Pepper likes to pee on all the piles of hay so I have a feeling I won't be able to keep nets on the ground if I want pee-free nets!Is your hay coarse in texture or with a lot of stems? They may waste it because of this, if so. If they are fed enough that they can pick through it they will pick out the finer stuff and leave the coarse stuff and this will improve their poop situation if stemmy hay is the issue. Alternatively, get some second cut hay and try that.
You can get hay nets with 1" holes and there is really no way they can get a foot caught in those, assuming they don't have shoes, of course. Some people secure them inside Rubbermaid water troughs to prevent them being dragged around, or you can hang them, or put them on the ground not attached to anything, whatever works best for your setup. But for now, since they are thin and you want them to eat more hay, I would think just free-feeding on the ground should work fine. There will be stems left behind but if you rake it up and weigh it, it typically doesn't amount to much - if they ate that stuff it has so little nutrition in it, they don't get anything out of it anyway.
I'm sorry about your cut! Do you have a way to get power out to your horse area? If so then a heated water tank is a lifesaver. The horses might also drink better if the water doesn't have ice in it.
Thanks! I think there is already less diarrhea. Just feeding loose on the ground now and quite a bit more. It is a bit rough for grass hay, so that may be part of the problem too. Will likely start nets sometime early spring if they have put on enough weight. Learning so much ! (But would rather it not be the hard way so much!).I have been hauling buckets of water from inside the house, down a bunch of steps and load them on either a sled or our large garden cart for over 10 years now. Oh there has got to be a better way that's not a fortune! I'm just not that creative Looked at heated hoses, but I have such a distance it's not practical. Have thought about your way of running hose to house every time but the heat would literally go right out the door or window! Just dreaming of a good barn and underground water lines!! I almost had a new vet but they won't come this distance...so the search continues! Called my reg vet yesterday morning and still no call back. Frustrating! Especially when it was on behalf of daughter who wants her dog neutered and not necessarily for me.Oh I hope your hand isn't too bad!
I hear you on the water problem. I'm spoiled now but started here with running 300ft of hose out everyday and trying to drain it enough not to freeze my first winter. It took hours to get the water done. I now use a sled that fits two big buckets with lids and pull it out that way when I have problems with the water line, which seems to happen at least once every winter.
It sounds like they aren't there yet but are improving. How's Pepper? I would definitely go with free choice hay and see if that helps. If your hay this year is really low sugar you will probably have to add some grain but wait to increase that. Has Patches been wormed? You're doing that this weekend so might see a change after with her especially. If you don't know when/if/how she's been wormed in the past you might want to reworm them in 2 weeks to be safe. Big belly is either hay belly, foal belly(here we go again! Hahaha!) or worms. Hay belly is just roughage in their gut and is actually good for them.
If you get the hay nets with 1 inch holes you are safe, no feet can get caught.. You can get plastic garbage cans and put a small hole in the bottom then use a washer on either side and a clip on the outside(or however you can rig it) to put the hay nets in and keep them there. Stuff the net to the top of the garbage can and tie it very close and leave the strings loose. It will keep it out of the sand and make them work for it through the day. Or you can hang them just off the ground. I'd give then some loose as well until their weight comes back up.
Ya, carrying flashlights is a pain. I used to have a street lamp that lit up the whole area, but not too bright so it was like working outside at dusk instead of midnight. Unfortunately the pole rotted and tumbled down a couple of years ago. Another thing on my wish list!Just in case you haven't thought of this for the dark mornings and nights.....it took me longer than I will admit to . I got a head lamp( one of those flash lights that go on your head) and it's a life saver! No more stumbling around in the dark and finding things by feel.
Thanks! Great advice!I agree with others, and the free choice hay. As mentioned by others, wastage is usually undesirable bits anyway. I scrape mine up and put it into the compost heap. If nets aren't an easy option, you could drill some holes in the bottom of some bins, and put your hay in there. Or look on Craigslist for a free bathtub, or see if your local animal supply place has sheep/goat feeders for a reasonable price. Or you can buy a round bale of hay, and wrap a cattle panel around it to make a slow feeder. We secure the ends with baling twine and bungee a tarp over the top. That works really well here!!
One question that I notice hasn't been asked....what TYPE of hay are you feeding? Is it fescue, some sort of "orchard grass" mix, coastal, rye? That right there could be part of your challenge. Sometimes, one variety of hay just isn't suitable for a particular group of horses. I know a friend of mine went through that very same challenge, and ended up having to change hay suppliers. What's interesting to note here.......the new supplier had the same variety (rye) of hay. They didn't fertilize with chemicals or poultry production waste. (In North Carolina, when the chickens are sent for processing, the barns are scraped and the droppings spread on fields as fertilizer.) Her upfront cost was higher, HOWEVER, her overall costs were lower. Her horses wasted less, kept better weight, and needed less grain.
Also, you may want to add some type of alfalfa to their diets until you get the loose stools under control. It's a wonderful tummy soother, offers vitamins and minerals that grass hays don't, and would add a bit more protein to their diets as well. Soaked pellets or cubes are easier to handle. Tejano gets one pound twice a day now that it's been staying cold. I put it in a small pail by my kitchen sink, soaking the afternoon pellets in the morning and the morning pellets overnight. This would be a good time to mix pre-and probiotics into their feed as well.
One more thing for the hay.....if you guesstimate the weight of each of your minis at 300 lbs. x 3% (recommended percentage of body weight for horses that need to gain weight), that's 9 pounds of hay EACH per day. If you have a skimpy 40 pound bale, that's one entire bale of hay per day MININUM to feed 4 minis. Being in Michigan, where there are real winters, free choice hay really is the way to go at this time of year. Unless you have one that starts to get sooooooo fat you have a cresty neck and fat pads, you should be fine.
I hope this helps a bit, good luck, and remember: too many changes too often can cause upset tummies too. Give any changes at least thirty days to work, and make the changes slowly over at least 7 days.