How to not over feed

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Thank you all for being such a supportive, knowledgeable and kind community! I really appreciate you all enormously and your time, help, and comfort!

My two new minis have been such a joy, but also so different from my two “full” sized horses. The vet told me that my 35” minis should be getting about 3.5 pounds of hay each in 24 hours and I’m finding that very hard to feed because it feels so little…I do have slow feeder net bags that I’ve even doubled up to make the holes even smaller and they are in a dry lot. I feed AM and PM, but how do you stick to basically just one flake (total.. to feed both of them) in 24 hours and make that last for your minis? Is this even the amount you all do?

Thanks!
 
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dalvers63

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All of my hay is weighed and Mike gets 2.5lbs twice a day. I'll probably be cutting him down a bit as he's starting to store some fat rolls on his shoulders. He takes a couple hours to eat all of his hay morning and night and then gets turned out on a dry lot during the day. There isn't a lot more you can do unless you make a track system or have a bigger area where you can spread hay around for them to find.

I've found though that he does just fine with morning and evening feed. Just make sure to weigh the hay because flakes can vary in size. Ours run from 4lbs to 8 in the same bale
 

Marsha Cassada

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All of my hay is weighed and Mike gets 2.5lbs twice a day. I'll probably be cutting him down a bit as he's starting to store some fat rolls on his shoulders. He takes a couple hours to eat all of his hay morning and night and then gets turned out on a dry lot during the day. There isn't a lot more you can do unless you make a track system or have a bigger area where you can spread hay around for them to find.

I've found though that he does just fine with morning and evening feed. Just make sure to weigh the hay because flakes can vary in size. Ours run from 4lbs to 8 in the same bale
May I ask how tall your horses are and their weights?
 

Cayuse

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Mine get 5 lbs hay. 1.5 lbs to 2 lbs per each 100 lb of body weight is a good equation to figure out how much hay they need to maintain on. I break it up into 5 small meals. Hay nets just made one of mine sore in the neck from fighting with it and it really didn't slow either of them down much at all.
I've found a large "Home Depot" utility bucket firmly filled 3/4 full usually weighs 1 pound (depending on the type of hay, some hay seems to weigh out heavier than others) and I have a fisherman's scale to weigh with. Hope that helps a little :)
 
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Kelly

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How much do your 35 inch minis weigh?
Do you feed grain or a ration balancer along with hay?
I use a kitchen scale from Walmart.

My little boys have unlimited hay in front of them at all times. I found if I use the hay nets with the .75 inch holes from hay burners it really slows them down. The small hay nets hold a pound and the large ones hold about 3 pounds. In the past I use to weigh their hay, but now I have found that these hay nets slow them down to almost the exact amount they would be receiving if I did weigh their hay. My Thunder has a monkey mouth but he Is still able to get the hay out of the nets with no problem at all. He is on a dry lot only and tends to gorge himself until he colics, so these hay nets work perfect for us.




Two of mine are on grass from about 7:30am-3:30pm with unlimited hay in a bucket, no hay net. I am sure I will be reducing those times soon with the spring grass coming in. At night they share the hay nets with Thunder 💕
 

chandab

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Horses need 1.5-2% of bodyweight in forage (and feed) daily. So, you need to know the weight of your mini to determine how much to feed them.
As far as I'm concerned 3.5# is way too little for a 35" mini. My 35" mare is about 300# and is not fat, so that means she needs 4.5-6# of forage (and feed daily). [She's been a broodmare, so has a bit of a belly, but her spine and ribs will show if I don't add more than forage to her diet. (that is partially a side effect of our drought affected hay that is lower quality).]
Even easy keepers need more than forage nutritionally, so you need to add a vitamin mineral supplement or ration balancer to their diet to fill in the nutritional gaps left by all forages. Most minis get 1/4-1/2# of ration balancer daily depending on their size and the ration balancer.
 

LostandFound

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I don't measure hay. My minis are about the same size, and at good weight, and I give them each a good sized flake twice a day. If they run out I usually give them a little more. I also feed sweet feed. But I exercise mine.
 

Walt's Fault

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My 30" 215lb mini (weight from digital pet scale) is in with a 30" mini jack and a 16.2hh, 1150lb OTTB and every morning I put a 1/3 a bale each of coastal in 2 regular size hay bags, 3 flakes in a low open feeder. The TB gets a bucket, 3qts 12% grain, 1qt topline, glucosamine, hoof supplement, mare magic and 1qt of Timothy pellets. The minis get 1qt of Timothy pellets to share and they clean up the mess from their big brother. They each spend an hour every day grazing in a separate grass field by themselves. They also get the occasional alfalfa cube, carrot, apple wedge duringthe day. At night they get the rest of the bale. They are all very active and play quite a bit. Total I feed 1 bale (45lbs) and 6qts of grain and supplements for the 3 of them.
 

Willow Flats

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I weigh the hay I give them and they get turn out. I also set a timer for their turnout to get a rough estimate of how much they are eating. (If it takes them an hour to eat a pound of hay then I figure an hour turn out is close to the same.)

The other factor to consider is how much exercise they are getting. My shortest horse gets the most food because he is driven regularly. Exercise is a big help in keeping their weight in check and helping our horses to stay healthy.

I know there are people that are not fans of round pens but I use mine regularly to exercise my horses and they know what to do, so I'm not chasing them. I think it feels good and they get a treat when they are done and they always want to hang out with me aftewards.
 

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