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JewelsOK

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The hay I get to feed my two full size horses is prairie hay and is kind of coarse and stemmy. I try to sift through it and get rid of the not so good stuff before I feed it to the mini. I'm not really in a position to complain as the hay is given to us for free (my father-in-law).

My question is, since the hay is not great, would I be better off giving Image (mini yearling) some other form of roughage like beet pulp, or alfalfa pellets? Also, because I board, we don't have access to very much grazing turnout.

The feed I give him is a 14% protein pelleted feed designed for stallions, pregnant/nursing mares, yearling's and feed it based on 1lb per 100 pounds of body weight (guessing Image weighs 120-150lbs -does that sound right for a 29.25" yearling).

Anyone want to help me devise a feeding program with alternative sources of roughage since our hay/grazing choices are limited.

Thanks
 

muffntuf

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I would have the hay tested to make sure the 14% feed is meeting the horses, including your mini's nutritional needs. That is the only way to make sure. Have your local feed store take several samples and test it.

The several samples comes from several different bales. If you call, they can give you directions.
 

chandab

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The hay I get to feed my two full size horses is prairie hay and is kind of coarse and stemmy. I try to sift through it and get rid of the not so good stuff before I feed it to the mini. I'm not really in a position to complain as the hay is given to us for free (my father-in-law).

Thanks
I'm kind of in the same position as you, my FIL gives me small squares of hay, we just stacked 220 bales for my minis. It is a little coarser than I'd ideally like to feed, but most of my minis seem to eat it just fine. I try to pick out the worst of it to not feed them, or let them pick through and eat what they want (give them a little extra so they can). I do feed it, but in winter I add soaked beet pulp, just a small amount daily and some alfalfa pellets (for those that can eat alfalfa). Actually, my homegrown hay has turned out to be great for my mare that has a strict diet, as she isn't thrilled with it, she eats is slower and it lasts her longer (I give her choice hay and she plows through it in an hour, then stands around looking at me like I'm starving her).

Anyway, onto the rest of my answer, is there any way you can buy a finer hay just for the mini, as he wouldn't eat near as much as a full-size horse, you wouldn't need to buy much "special" hay for him. Just a thought. [i'm looking into buying some hay for my stallion, as he isn't thrilled with the current hay, but he still looks very good.]
 

Marsha Cassada

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Most likely your horse will pick thorugh and eat what he wants, just as he would if he were grazing on that hay in the pasture. Don't wait for him to eat all the hay, thinking he will. Whatever he leaves is probably not good for him. If it is square bales, get rid of the old when you put new out. If it's a big round bale, don't leave them with a tromped, muddy pile but try to get rid of that and put a fresh bale out when it gets eaten down. The recent thinking seems to be that a "hay belly" is caused by hay that is too coarse and dry to pass efficiently through the gut. You could try adding some soaked timothy pellets or soaked alfalfa cubes. Especially in the summer, they may need more water to aid digestion.

The OSU Extention office will test your hay. There is a charge for that.
 

Jill

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A good solution might be to greatly reduce the baled hay he gets (but still let him have some for "fun" / something to do) and instead give him soaked hay cubes. They are a great substitute for baled hay and a good way to get more water into him as well. For years, that was the only "hay" I fed my minis and they looked wonderful on them.

Some brands soak up faster than others and don't let them sit too far in advance in the water in hot weather or they can spoil. They will soak up hot water faster than cold (so if you can use hot water just about 20 mins before feeding...). When done soaking, they look like grass clippings kind of.

At first, horses don't know what to think of wet cubes but they quickly realize how good they taste!

In 2003, a show filly of mine at a trainers needed colic surgeries (two, back to back) and the surgeon told me that the reason he thought was it seemed like she had access to very coarse feed. That trainer was feeding the most coarse alfalfa hay I have ever seen (so stalky). Ever since then, I am like a Nazi when it comes to only feeding soft hay. I also feel that coarse hay is hard for minis, especially young ones, to properly digest and that it contributes to a pot bellied / bloated look.

Good luck!

Jill
 
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Maxi'sMinis

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I use a product made by Blue Seal called Hay Stretcher. It's a pellet. I have QH's and mini's they all love it. It is crunchy and I think it really helps with the teeth. Since I have been using it all the horses have minimal over growth of the teeth. The past 3 years when I have the teeth done it's almost like a touch up for everyone instead of a whole bunch of filing. I feed the Hay Stretcher in place of hay at least 5 times a week. All the horses come running when they hear me pouring it in the buckets! I started using it when we had a hay shortage but use it now because they like it so much.
 

CrescentMinis

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I am really interested in trying the Hay Stretcher pellets. Do you feed them dry, and is there any reason to be concerned about choking?
 

Maxi'sMinis

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I always feed the Hay Stretcher dry. I have never had a problem with choking. The pellet is bigger than the average pellet. The only thing I have been careful about with them is giving them to babies that don't have a good set of teeth in. My baby started eating them when she was 2 months. Before that I feed them to the Mom where the baby couldn't reach. I give a half pale of pellets to 6 adults. The thing I have noticed about the HS is when they get full they will leave it instead of gorging. They will go back and finish them off later. I always feed hay for one feed and then the HS for the 2nd daily feed. You might want to give them a little HS and when they are done then give them about half the hay you would for a full feed to break them in on it. Of course always lots of fresh water. I have never wet them so can't say how that might work. I have had some pellets get wet they look like a bran when desolved.I know they sure helped when we had a hay shortage as well as the hay wasn't as good of quality.
 

JewelsOK

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The soaked cubes sound like something I could try for his evening meal. It wouldn't work for his morning feed though, since I board at a partial care facility and they feed the morning meal - soaking is probably not something they would be willing to do. How many/much hay cubes would I give him?

What about alfalfa pellets (1/4") size - do they need to be soaked? Do they count as roughage or are they too processed?

What about beet pulp to supplement/replace some of the prairie hay? Again, if it needs to be soaked, I could only do so for the evening feed.

He does have a bit of that "hay belly" look and I just want to do what is best for him in the situation I am in.

I will also look into getting him some better hay.

Thanks for all the feed back.
 

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