Grazing vs. Feed

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gregr

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I have a 70 acre field my goats graze and I rarely have to supplement feed, only in Winter months usually. For those with miniature horses that have roughly that much grazing room, how much are you supplement feeding them?
 

goatkisses

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Eee - my minis would explode if they had that much grazing. ;) I have one mini who is insulin resistant and he can't have any grass at all.

My pasture is only about two acres total with the diet paddock separate for Nozzy.

Depending on the type and quality of pasture you have I'd say that some type of vitamin or mineral supplement might be necessary and in the winter a quality hay? I'm in the North so I don't know what Tennessee grass does in the winter. If it goes brown I'd say the nutrients would be lacking during the winter months.
 

Sam

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@goatkisses, since you have mentioned your Nozzy having to watch his diet due to insulin resistance I'm wondering how often a medical issue such as that turns up in a Miniature?
 

chandab

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Miniatures seem to be one of the poster breeds for insulin resistence; and that probably comes from their Shetland heritage and being able to thrive on sparse pasture; but, move them to an abundant, improved pasture and they are more likely to have an issue. not saying miniatures hroses can't graze, as many do, and many are out 24/7 without issue; but you gotta know the climate, forage and particular horse's needs. [I have pasture suitable for fattening cattle, not so great for keeping little horses looking like horses. so, my littles are limited; mostly limited to daylight hours (safety issue, as we do have coyotes, so they are in drylots at night).]
 

goatkisses

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I've had two of my miniatures develop metabolic issues. Nozzy and his pasturemate Nigel both developed Insulin Resistance when they were about six years old. Nigel had none of the outward signs of a metabolic disorder and simply foundered one December. He had to be put down only six months later because he did not respond to treatment. Nozzy is not only Insulin Resistant, but also is leptin resistant. He can't control his appetite. He was stressed about being in a diet paddock and then he went into hyperlipidemia and nearly died two years ago today.

So, @Sam, two out of the four minis I have had issues that developed over time.

I do not have large grazing areas, I don't feed rich hay or a lot of grain. The two horses came from the same breeder, so I'm not sure if that's an issue.

I have one mare that could probably tolerate a larger grassy pasture, and a dear little fellow I had with neurological issues never had trouble with grass, but I'd really be careful if I had a large area.
 

Zergling

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Minis can generally get fat on air. Not a whole lot of pasture is needed and in many cases, even a small pasture is too much. I have 4 minis turned out on roughly 4 total acres of cleared pasture which is sectioned off so I can control their forage. Our natural grass is not of particularly great quality and yet they easily gain weight on it which is why I have the pastures cut down to about 1/2 to 1 acre and I rotate them through it.
 

Ryan Johnson

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Ive learnt that,the smaller the paddocks, the better. I had a little mare founder a few years ago and having larger paddocks at the time made it impossible to confine her.

It really depends on the quality of your grass, the sugar content at its highest etc. I really try to limit grazing time between Sept - Jan. The sugar is at its highest here. I do have one that wears a grazing muzzle , which does not bother her and still enables her to be out running around with her paddock mates.

Another reason Id be looking at smaller yards too would be injury. Being able to confine due to injury or other reasons is a must.
 

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