What are you doing to cut your feed bill this year?

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whitney

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I am buying straight alfalfa hay at 4.00 for 60#-70# bale instead of buying alfalfa pellets at 14.00 a 50# bag.
 

Ashley

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I am actually not doing anything. I have gotten different feeds then normal. I am feeding more horses but want to sell down to 6. And other then that, the only thing I am doing is feeding the amount needed to maintain verses spoiling them like normal.
 

muffntuf

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Not much - I just want enough fat on the ponies and minis to make them good to go for the winter, otherwise they are not getting fed anything extra this year. I will be stalling a tad earlier when the sun goes down at a much earlier time, it gets much colder. That helps them keep weight.

I do weigh hay now, which I guessed at last year. SO I know I fed out way more than I needed to last year.
 

Jill

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We're not doing anything to try and cut our feed bill. We feed them what we feed them for reasons important to us. Actually, we'll be spending MORE over the winter months as we use more complete pellets to stretch the hay and be sure it lasts us until 1st cutting. We do this every winter... Since I know we can always get plenty of pellets even if it means we spend more. The hay is not in constant production, but the complete pellets are always readily available any time of year.
 
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Hosscrazy

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I'm using more grocery store coupons and buying in bulk - eating out less and cooking at home more...

Oh wait -- you mean my horses' feed bill, not my feed bill?
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Seriously, I am not changing my horses' diet at all - I really like the feed program I have them on and am not changing it at all!

Liz R.
 

Magic

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I'm going to check out buying feed in bulk. We've done this with our bedding, we use the pelleted bedding, and it saves money, at least fifty cents per bag. Now we have more space to store feed too, so we'll save where we can.
 

whitney

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Jill how do you use the pellets to stretch your hay? Do you feed less than 1% of hay and makeup the difference in pellets at the same pound for pound basis? Do you feed more than twice a day?

Mufntuf had a good idea on another thread, she is now weighing all her hay.

I live in Michigan sugar beet capital you would think I could find beet pulp in bulk somewhere?

Also I am switching to a complete vit/mineral that I can mix in with the beetpulp.

Someone also suggested on another thread to have your hay tested to find out if you NEED to feed ANYTHING else.

I use pelleted and shavings and lime. I found in my 6 x 12 stalls I can use 1 bag of pellets and 1 bag of shavings and if I keep it picked out twice a day it will last a MONTH before I have to rebed, I donot wet the pellets the shavings do not freeze like the wet pellets do either.
 
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Jill

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I'm using more grocery store coupons and buying in bulk - eating out less and cooking at home more...
Oh wait -- you mean my horses' feed bill, not my feed bill?
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Seriously, I am not changing my horses' diet at all - I really like the feed program I have them on and am not changing it at all!

Liz R.
Thanks for that laugh!!! I needed it!!!!
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:BigGrin
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I can picture it... someone could say my horses are eating better than ever but we just bought a truck load of Ramen noodles for ourselves
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RobinRTrueJoy

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This thread started me thinking....

I use Manna Senior pellets and grass hay. The horses are all in verygood weight and a couple are too chubby, but winter is coming....

Manna Senior pellets are $16.50 for a 50 pound bag.

When I had big horses, I used to add cracked corn to their diet in the winter. I know corn is higher too, but I am curious if I could use some cracked corn and less pellets.

Has anyone else thought of this?

Robin
 

Marty

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Same here as Jill, I tend to spend more in the winter, and a lot of it is on shavings. They are up to $5.40 or so a bag and I go through them like water, even though I have some mats.

I just tried a round bale of gorgeous hay for a trial run, but that turned into another saga and a fiasco and don't think I'll be doing that again anytime soon although that was a money saver it was a great big PIA and a mess.

I will however do something about my choice of feed. I simply cannot wrap my head around paying nearly $20. a bag and that will change soon as I make a new game plan.
 

Jill

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Jill how do you use the pellets to stretch your hay? Do you feed less than 1% of hay and makeup the difference in pellets at the same pound for pound basis? Do you feed more than twice a day?
The pellets we use are complete pellets. A horse could be fed ONLY these pellets and no hay and be fine. So, in the winter, we feed about 50/50 mix of hay to pellets where during the spring and summer, the horses get less pellets and more hay (unless they are being shown, then it is also about 50/50). We feed 2x a day, with everyone getting some pellets and some hay both times a day. We do give additional hay if the weather is particularly cold or snowy.
 
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Riverdance

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I have been thinking about this all summer as I have 45 horses to feed. I have been experimenting with beetpulp soaked, as a meal for hay 1x a day (they say it is as good as the best grass hay). I plan on feeding that at 1 meal mixed with their grain and give them less hay at that meal.

I have also decided to feed round bails of alfalfa this January and February when the ground is frozen so that the hay can not get crushed into the mud. (round bails are less expensive then the regular size bailes). I feed mostly alfalfa here as it is high in protein and what the farmers grow here.

I buy 14% feed that my farmer mixes up, so no middle man. Plus I mix that with Omaleen 300 for my weanlings and Omaleen 200 mixed with 14% for my yearlings.

My horses are outside all winter with shelters in each paddock area. No more than 8 horses to a paddock. The shelters are 14 x 16, so plenty big enough for 8 Mini's. I have heated automatic waterers in each paddock. So I do not have to worry about bedding. There is a place here that makes bedding for $3.65 a bag, and I have stocked up with 40 bags for the spring when show horses and mares due to foal come into the barn.
 

Connie P

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Oh how I wish my wood shavings were 3.65 per bag - They are now up to 5.29 per bag here and I use 40 bags every other week about $500.00 per month just for the bedding.
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I haven't done anything different to try to cut feed costs except planting our own hay this year. We will bale and put up what we need in the spring next year and sell the rest. Other than that I will just continue with what I am presently doing.
 

whitney

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I'm also buying shavings by the dump truck load instead of the pellets and shavings this winter.
 

chandab

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I don't know that its cutting costs, but I'm reducing my feed room to pretty much just the ration balancer, the most expensive concentrate I use. [i haven't decide yet, if I'm going to drop the complete feed or not; it has a higher fat %, so kind of nice for those that are a little skinny, and its safer than oats, as it has a low NSC.]

I'm going to keep beet pulp as I like to feed some soaked in winter to help with hydration.

Eventually, the alfalfa pellets may only be fed to my senior gelding as he needs more than grass hay can provide, which would stretch my supply.

I will probably drop the forage cubes, as they aren't thrilled with them; so once the two bags are gone, I probably won't reorder. [besides, I'm not thrilled with the quality; but its all I can get.]

I'm dropping growth and lite (youngsters can eat the ration balancer and I'm not happy with how those on lite look, so switching them back to the ration balancer).

I will probably drop oats as soon as the supply my BIL gave me runs out (unless the senior gelding needs them to keep weight, but he'll probably be fine once the equine dentist sees him this month).
 

Leeana

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Im not doing anything different then i have any other winter..the feed increase in grain is not making a big difference to me, just a few extra dollars a month in grain. We are set for hay until next June..i wouldnt mind picking up a few extra bales to make me feel safe though, but we are set and i am not doing anything different
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muffntuf

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A complete feed is hard to feed until you are used to it. But it can stretch both hay and grain.

I am the one that suggested - TEST YOUR HAY - sometimes the hay you are feeding with a loose mineral/vitamin made for whatever hay you are feeding is all the horses will need. Otherwise if you hay turns out like mine - alfalfa tested at 18% protein and a perfect mix of calcium/phosphorus, you could be over feeding. My grass mix tested out at 14.5% with a similar test for c/p. Plenty for mature horses, the younger stock may need a bit more.

I had my feed rep test my hay and he was surprised. I could drop all my grain I am feeding, except I do like the balance I have going for the horses. But I am not feeding copious amounts this year.

Beet pulp is also a good stretcher of hay. I picked up 1 lb. wet, am and pm feeding and that made my hay stretch almost a complete month out. And it slows the digestion of grain and hay down. It's a forage.

All my ponies (I have 3 minis) are in great condition, they went on their winter rations in the middle of August and they have actually gained a bit of weight.

Anyways. I made it through a very tough year last year, not much hay available, poor quality. I used beet pulp, loose minerals and 14% protein pelleted grain for the mature horses and 19% protein pelleted grain for the young stock.

And I made it to two National Championships this year!

Oh the other tip on the other thread - buy in bulk if you can. If it is in bags, if you store it in your trailer that's not in use during the winter (okay I know some folks use it all year) or some place similar, it wills ave some money.

Thanks for the tip on the shavings and pelleted shavings. I am not sure it will work, but its a good suggestion to try.
 

h2t99

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A tip on feeding round bales, use a hog panel!! Wrap the bale with a hog panel with bunge straps and tighten it as they eat. It makes a perfect round bale feeder and you have a lot less waste!!! We have been using them for the last 4 years. They work great for the minis, the big horses can be hard on them, but with the minis we can use the panels for more than one season. The big horses tend to bend them easier but at 18-22 dollars a panel we just scrap them and buy a new one if needed!!

Check with the sugar plant themselves to get the beet pulp in bulk. We lived in MI and when you buy it direct, it is not bagged, so you need a gravity box or something they can pour it into!! Also check your elevator, we bought a pallet at a time at a discount!!
 

Riverdance

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A tip on feeding round bales, use a hog panel!! Wrap the bale with a hog panel with bunge straps and tighten it as they eat. It makes a perfect round bale feeder and you have a lot less waste!!!
Thanks for the tip. Are they hard to wrap around a bale? My farmer is going to make smaller bales for me and I was trying to come up with a way of keeping them from wasting the hay plus not make it so easy for them to pig out on it as it is about 19% protein. I do worry that they will somehow get it loose and have it spring out on them and injure one of the horses.
 

Ashley

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A tip on feeding round bales, use a hog panel!! Wrap the bale with a hog panel with bunge straps and tighten it as they eat. It makes a perfect round bale feeder and you have a lot less waste!!! We have been using them for the last 4 years. They work great for the minis, the big horses can be hard on them, but with the minis we can use the panels for more than one season. The big horses tend to bend them easier but at 18-22 dollars a panel we just scrap them and buy a new one if needed!!
This is what I do. Except I dont wrap it all the way around. I have wood fence on two sides and then just the cattle panel on the other side. That way it is set up for 3 different pens to eat out of it. I have the big bales. I dont worry about over eatting as I have 2 big guys, 2 ponies, and 7 or 8 minis eatting off of it and its pure grass.

There really is no way to stop them from over eatting unless you only let them at it a few hours a day, and if its straight alfalfa that is what I would do. My horses are at the round bale almost all of the time.
 

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