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Is hard feeding necessary?

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maplegum

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Bailey is now 20 months old, Willow 10 months old.


They have 24 hour access to the back field, grass is not long, but it is green.

They have free choice oaten hay and grass hay 24/7.

I also hard feed them once a day with a mixture of speedi-beet, pellets designed for growing horses, and chopped hay (chaff). They also get a vitamin and mineral supplement added to their feed. I'm almost at the point where I need to buy some more hard feed but I was wondering if it is necessary, considering they get grass and free choice hay.

I'm only asking this question as they are both still young and don't want them to miss out on any nutrients. i would still give them their vitamin and mineral mix though.

Would you continue hard feeding them or can they do OK on hay and grass??
 

Nathan Luszcz

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How do your horses look? Are they fat and sleek, or fit and trim? You can start weaning them off the grains and see how they do, but if they are doing just okay now, how would they react to a lower diet? Theoretically if the grass is good they can get everything they need for nutrition, including their growing needs. In practice it really depends on the quality of grass and the needs of the colts.
 

HGFarm

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I agree with Nathan... fresh spring grass is usually VERY high in sugars and proteins. See how they do by weaning them off of some things- you sure dont want to over do. You can always put them back on, but I dont think I would see the need during the summer for all of that.
 

maplegum

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Both of them actually look quite good. Bailey possibly looks a little too good.


We have just come into winter here so that's also a concern.

I might just buy one more load of hard feed that will see me through the winter and then attempt to cut back.

Thanks for the advise.
 

Jill

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Leonie --

Since you are heading into fall and winter in your part of the world, I would not want to cut grain out totally in the cold season. Not sure if the responders realize you are not in the US? They may though and just have a different opinion than mine. In winter, I'd rather see them a little too well fed than too thin.

Jill
 

Mona

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I went all winter here this year without feeding any grain. I have been feeding grain for years, and my horses were all so fat last Spring, and then to make matters worse, most of my mares came up open for 2007, so they had been getting all the grain over that wonter basicaly for nothing. So last Fall, I decided I would not grain if I didn;t have to. I kept a close watch on them throughout the winter, and they did manage to lose some weight with just being fed limited hay only, all last winter. They looked MUCH better this Spring.
 

Reijel's Mom

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My opinion is they would do fine with just the hay/grass and the vitamins and minerals. It's my understanding that it's actually healthier for a horse to be slightly underweight than overweight. And most of these minis are EASY keepers!
 

Magic

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For growing horses, I like to feed a fortified feed, like Equine Junior, or for yearlings, perhaps Strategy. The older horses that have finished growing seem to do great with just hay or pasture and supplements, but late-term pregnant mares, lactating mares, actively breeding stallions, and growing horses all get grain here. I know we all do things differently so I thought I'd share what I do.
 

Warpony

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I keep mine on a mare and foal feed until they are around 2 years old, then wean them off onto just grass and hay and possibly a supplement with JUST enough feed to get them to eat it. Then I watch their condition and see if they need anything extra. Right now we are in early summer type weather with lots of grass and both of them are doing fine on just grass. In the winter I like to give them some extra feed, to help stretch my hay a little and because it makes me feel better.... but I don't think my two actually NEED it.
 

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