Feeding Hay

Discussion in 'Miniature Horse Forum' started by montikarla, Dec 9, 2019.

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  1. Dec 9, 2019 #1

    montikarla

    montikarla

    montikarla

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    I have just become a mini owner. I was given a apparently 7-year-old mini from my barn owner. There are some issues arising from that as he is skinny and has had loose stool for quite some time. I am in contact with my vet about these issues. He does eat dirt, so I am looking for a mineral supplement to add to his diet (he also gets Equalizer and beet pulp). The main issue is hay. The hay quality is a lot better than it used to be, but the three minis on property are on a dry lot and they get fed hay twice a day. In the morning any time between 8 and 11 am. In the afternoon they generally get fed around 5 and that is it for the night. The amount that is fed lasts roughly an hour.

    So basically what I am trying to get around to is how often should they be going without hay? I also have a Thoroughbred and I am used to keeping hay in front of her 24/7. Also, how do you guys feed hay. Do you use hay nets or feeders? Any recommendations?

    If there are further details you need, please ask. I am sure I have left something out since there is so much stuff floating around in my brain. Thank you!
     
    plaid mare likes this.
  2. Dec 9, 2019 #2

    Minimor

    Minimor

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    I too am used to having hay I front of them 24/7. I have Shetlands and minis. My pasture group is a mix of the 2 and they have free choice round bales. The horses in the yard are not accessible by tractor so cannot have bales set out. I hand feed them 2 times a day, and they get enough that they generally have hay left to pick at until next feeding. I feed grass/alfalfa mix (mostly grass), salt blocks and mineral blocks. This year I have not been feeding grain--usually only the show horses and young stock get grain.

    I do not use nets--i do not like them, and they are not practical when I set out up to 19 bales at a time.
     
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  3. Dec 10, 2019 #3

    plaid mare

    plaid mare

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    Hi, I feed my mini twice a day. He gets an alfalfa cube, that I wet, Timothy hay on the ground. My horse hates hay nets. He wants it on the ground, and preferably scattered,I also wet this because of dust. I give him sand clear, by weight of horse, in cycles. I feed two tablespoons of the purina mini food, and a joint supplement. He has three types of salt. I also use buttless due to arthritis. I use diatomaceous earth as a safe continual wormer. This I wet and add to food. I can't give an exact weight on his hay, but it's about half a flake for each meal. He doen't get much graze, he's prone to colic, and get fat.I have a pasture for exercise,and my yard for graze. I don't do beet pulp. It is just a filler that can cause choke.I'm sorry your new mini is having so many issues. I'm glad you are in contact with your vet. Alfalfa is a wonderful source of nutrients, but you have to be careful about amount. They can founder, or colic on too much. Did your vet do a fecal float? Maybe your mini is full of worms.This can cause diarrhea. Do the other horses bully your new mini away from his food? Does he need a tooth float? These could be reasons for weight loss.Illness can also be the cause. I don't mean to be a debbie downer, I;m just throwing out some things to consider.I hope this is helpful!
     
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  4. Dec 10, 2019 #4

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

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    Rescue folks recommend alfalfa for malnourished horses. I would add a little to his diet. I got a horse this spring that had explosive diarrhea. I used aloe vera and it cleared up in a couple of weeks. I got it in the pharmacy section of our Walmart. About 1/4 C.
    In the cold area where you are, I would think hay 24/7 would be necessary. My horses enjoy their hay bag from Hay Chix. When I was feeding the hay in a tub, my greedy boy was getting eye injuries from digging down to the bottom of the tub.
     
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  5. Dec 10, 2019 #5

    Ryan Johnson

    Ryan Johnson

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    Welcome to the forum.

    You are doing the right thing by getting the vet involved. I would also recommend getting a dentist to have a look at his teeth.

    My horses are on pasture, but it is very limited here in spring and autumn. My little ones are on free choice hay throughout winter here. I use meadow hay as a base hay and add Lucerne (alfalfa) and clover to it during the coldest months here.

    What ever changes you are making to his diet, needs to be done very slowly. Good luck with his progress and keep us posted.
     
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  6. Dec 10, 2019 #6

    montikarla

    montikarla

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    All feeding changes are being done slowly, since I got him. He did have a pretty drastic change in hay quality at the end of the summer though. He does need his teeth done, and they will be getting done soon. I am deworming him this week and will do a fecal probably around January.

    Adding alfalfa is not possible. It was a struggle to get the barn owners to get better quality hay for the minis after one of them colicked in the summer. My mini has no interest in alfalfa cubes, I have offered a few bites of soaked cubes to him and he turned up his adorable little nose.

    He is the bully in his herd. He is not willing to let anyone push him around!

    The mini's have no access to pasture. They are in a sand paddock. I am taking measures to try and clear out any sand that he is ingesting by eating the ground. I also knew that he had some health issues I would need to address before I took him on.

    Thank you for your responses. It is helping me get a clearer picture of what I need to discuss with my barn owner.
     
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  7. Dec 11, 2019 #7

    Ryan Johnson

    Ryan Johnson

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    If he is on sand all day , Id be adding Psyllium husk or something alike to help remove the sand from his gut. Maybe look at feeding his hay on a mat or old rug, might help to limit the amount of sand he is taking in.
     
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  8. Dec 11, 2019 #8

    montikarla

    montikarla

    montikarla

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    He is on sand 24/7. I will ask about feeding on a mat.
     
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  9. Dec 24, 2019 #9

    Max's Mom

    Max's Mom

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    I don't know if you are still looking for advice on hay. Just like the big horses, the little ones need to keep their gut moving, especially in the cold weather. Two meals of hay, finished within an hour, is most likely not adequate, even for an overweight horse, and certainly not for an underweight one. I use Nibblenet slow feeder bags during the cold months and in his stall. It is safe, not like some hay nets where they can get their tiny feet trapped. It is also really easy to load the hay into. In the warmer weather, I use a homemade manger with a wooden frame stretched with the nylon Nibblenet material on the top, to work as a slow feeder where he and his buddy can keep their heads down while eating. I replaced the top part of this
    manger almost immediately with something more sturdy, but this should give you an idea of what I mean. I find it works well, cuts down on waste, and keeps them from ingesting too much dirt and sand.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Jan 16, 2020 #10

    montikarla

    montikarla

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    Thanks for the response. At some point the horses will be moving to my friend's house, when she finds a place with enough acreage to have horses. This is a perfect idea for the boys! I will try and show this to my b/o's too, but they tend to be a bit touchy about suggestions.
     

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