How much should I feed my mini?

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Feb 15, 2021
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Hi everyone! PLEASE HELP! I need a bit of help in how much I should feed my mini weanling. Since it's winter, she is only getting hay no grass because it is snow covered. I also just got her Buckeye Nutrition Gro n' Win. It is a ration balancer but meant for all horses as well, not just mini's. The problem I'm having is figuring out how much hay should I feed and how much grain? Poppy is about 160 pounds and 9 months old. She is in little to no work. All day turnout and in at night. But again there is no grass available at the moment. I know the basic rules like they need about 14% - 16% protein and their total feed intake should be about 2% and there hay intake should be 1% of their body weight. I just need help translating all of that. Thank you so much! Sorry if I repeat myself a lot I just want to make sure you guys get all the info! Thank you again!:)
Have you done the "touch test" to see if she's underweight, overweight, or in good weight? Figuring out feed amounts in winter is difficult because they always can use some extra hay, so I DITCH that 2% rule. (I haven't heard of the 1% rule.) Have you weighed a flake of hay? To give you an example -- Our average flake of grass hay is 4 lbs. So we typically feed each mini (the 34" and smaller ones) one flake a day, split between morning and evening. The grain varies according to their need. Our 6 month old colt is getting approx. 2+ cups 14% grain for each feeding. I have two very tiny (under 30") VERY SENIOR mares who are hard keepers so they are getting 4 to 6 cups senior grain twice a day. We also have AMHR minis who get a full flake twice a day, with some getting some grain and some only getting a vitamin/mineral supplement.

Hope that helps a bit.
Thank you so much! That does help. Yes I have done the condition scoring. I can’t see her ribs but I can feel them with moderate pressure through her winter coat so that does make me a little nervous. I think she definitely could and should put more weight on but not a whole lot. Okay thanks for the tips on the hay! I did weigh a flake and ours are small and light so they are about two to three pounds. I usually feed her a flake a day and one at night. I think a good amount of grain for her would be one cup because she has unlimited hay and a supplement lick. Does that sound good?
Since she is a baby and still growing, you might benefit from looking into being sure she's getting adequate minerals for growth as well as meeting her protein and calorie needs. Probably some of the breeders on here will be able to chime in with how they typically handle that for minis. I know growing horses need extra major minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium) but I'm not sure how people typically make that happen!

The 1% rule is a minimum for gut health (minimal amount of long-stem forage needed). I think that for the majority of horses, making sure most of their calories come from hay is the bottom line. It sounds like you're already doing that and it also sounds like her weight is fine, you SHOULD be able to feel ribs.
Ok thank you so much! I will keep that in mind. So should I look into some supplements as well to make sure she is getting enough vitamins and minerals?
Feeling ribs with "moderate pressure" sounds fine. And the hay amount sounds good too..... The grain is to give her additional protein AND vitamins/minerals. I always grain our youngsters through their first year and then make a judgement call on whether to continue grain or just put them on supplement.
Every horse is different.
I'll admit, I didn't read all the replies, but you said you bought Grow N Win, which is a ration balancer, so highly concentrated and fed in small amounts. It's going to be fed at 1/3-2/3# daily for a growing mini depending on size now and at maturity (that will be 1-2 cups daily, standard dry measure kitchen cup). Are you expecting her to mature to small mini size or large mini size?
I don't limit babies on grass hay, I free feed grass hay, especially in winter.
That is very helpful thank you! Yes I decided to not limit her hay in the winter now either. I am not sure of her size because she is about nine hands now, but her mom was large and her dad was very small. She sort of has her moms body and her dads head.
If she is about 9H, that's 36", so pretty tall for a 9 month old. If that is the case, she will likely outgrow miniature size. Don't forget minis are measured to the last hair of the mane, rather than top of the withers like all other breeds.
If she is indeed 36" tall at 9 months, definitely give her at least 1/2# of the GnW. While it's not a huge serving, start her slowly and work up to the full amount over a week.
Ok that did seem a bit tall. To be totally honest though, I haven't been able to measure her properly so 9h probably isn't true because I haven't been able to get someone to hold her properly so I could measure her. She will be a large mini though.
I know right! She is standing still but then once I put the tape up she is all fidgety!😂 That is a good idea I will try that.
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