Ad lib not working

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Rocklone Miniature Horses

past member -I gotta get a life...
Jun 15, 2013
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Northern Ireland
I've been trying the adlib method in the hopes of levelling out and my minis not gorgeing so much and thus keeping a good weight. But despite having a slow feeder net that lasts all night they still go out and hit the grass like they're starving to death. If you merely mention their dinner they will eat your leg to get to it.

Now they're all fat as fools and still no far forward so I'm at a loss. Restriction doesn't work and they get grumpy, adlib doesn't work and I have to get weight off them.

Can someone PLEASE help
Also how much exercise a day would you think is enough? I try to free school or drive everyday or every few days but with my 13hr work days sometimes I just can't.

I'm thinking 20mins?
How old and how big are your minis? What exactly are you feeding them now? Type of hay? Amount of hay? Any, grain (or any bagged feed or supplement)?

And, they always pretty much will hit grass like they are starving to death, if they aren't on it 24/7 (which many minis can't do).
They are fed literally a handfull of lite chaff and a 1/2 cup of high fiber mix, which is low calorie. The hay is about 1-2lb a day which lasts them 14hours and the rest of the time is grazing. They range from 30" fala/amha, 32" mini shetland, 34" amha (who is the slimmest) the 30" needs wormed atm, and i do try to give him the smallest haynet and smaller handfull/cup of food but he is still flubby. The shetland is just fat. Always has been.
Certainly doesn't sound like they are getting too much, unless it's too much from grazing. If there is plenty of grass for them to graze, do they need hay? Do they graze all day/night? Or limited?
They graze for whatever time they are out, usually about 6-7 hours. there is not a huge amount of grass! this is a pic today, this is the grass.

That looks to be about ten times the amount of grass that my three little ones are on. Ill also say that I am like a Nazi at this time of the year tho. They can eat there hearts out on all the grass hay they want but get very limited time on this much pasture. They have an acre to move around on but as Autumn grass here is really high in sugar and having a little one that foundered last year I guess im just extra careful these days.

Id try reducing there hay intake to start with as there looks to be a lot of "Good pasture" in their paddock
Ditto Ryan.

Beet pulp shreds, no molasses. Its a great filler. All fiber no calories. I use it when I diet my girls. Also oats are good. They build muscle and make them hyper to run off the pounds on there own time. Less work for you.
I have a similar issue with my pasture girls. They are on a 2 days in, 1 day out routine at this time of year. I turn them out when I leave for work and bring them in when I get home. That or get grazing muzzles!
This is considered a bad pasture here! Lol. I plan to section off a bit but I think I will be closing the gate to the field and letting them on the bare ground for a while. Maybe start one day in one day out. It's like this is spots then bare in others. Have reduced the hay and am worming tomorrow. Thanks.
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I agree with you in that your pasture is not good grazing. But neither do I thnk that your good looking minis are overweight, especially for this time of year (coming out of the winter). What you are offering them for their feed is actually just extra 'filler' stuff, how about cutting that out and giving them a cup of a good quality balancer (grow and win from Spillers is a good one). I would not be cutting down their hay as 1-2lbs is not a lot especially when you consider they are spending some 16-18 hours a day away from normal grazing/fibre basics. Exercise is aways the answer to weight loss not reducing basic feed, but I know that you work long hours. However with the lighter evenings coming, is it possible that you could start short (lunging?) amounts of regular exercise for each of them? Remember that if you cut down on the size of their pasture they will still eat the same amount but take less exercise/movement while doing it!
I give them 20mins a night now exercise. They have had two days off the grass and the rest of the week on (got adlib hay on the days off it) and have all been wormed. All a bit trimmer.

It's my little black gelding I want the weight off most - he is the largest he has ever been his rugs don't even buckle on him and it's not acceptable for March. The mares are ok I'm really just maintaining and toning them up.

I have the rest of my bag of food to give then I will get a balanced I don't want to waste it lol.
I'm about to die laughing (as I sit and cry in a corner)

I've totally got my weights wrong. I'm not feeding 2lb of hay I'm feeding like 8 or 9!

Maths is a very very VERY weak point for me.

How many lbs should they get of soaked hay? (Get 6 hours grazing every day and I don't want to change this)
Cut their hay by about 1/3, so like 6# instead of 8 or 9; give it 2-4 weeks and see how they are doing. [weigh feed before soaking; always weigh feed dry, then soak if you are going to.]
The theory of ad lib feeding is that they are never allowed to run out of low sugar grass hay (fed in slow feeder nets)........not even for a minute. Theoretically they will eventually come to realise that there will always be food there for them so they don't have to gorge themselves silly....can wander away, rest, play or whatever and when they return to the hay it will always be there for them.

Good theory. Hasn't worked with mine either. YET.
Yeah it's a good theory but honestly I don't thi k it will work for mine. I can't provide hay all the time and they would eat the grass before hay and I'm not willing to not turn them out because they need hay it makes for very unhappy horses in my experience. I think the way I'm going now is working they are all a bit trimmer but very early days (still can't believe I got the weights so wrong lol)
First week of what they should be getting plus more exercise seems to be working!

Ones lost 4cms ones lost 4 & 3 (doing his girth and his pot belly lol) and ones lost 6cm!

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