Tuesday, June 23, 2009


MMMMMM little piggies all of them, with a range of ages from long yearling to over 25, it can be a challenge to make sure everybody gets their needs met nutritionally.

For the last 12 years all the horses were on irrigated pasture and we grew our own hay, now we live on a drylot situation and all the horses feed is bought and hand fed.... boy do I miss the pasture.

Last year we were hit with extraordinary hay prices, this year looks better.
Makes it problematic to feed free choice orchard grass, so we feed free choice filler hay and limit feed the orchard grass to about 60%

I've never been a fan of feeding grain unless absolutely necessary, and in our case the little bit of grain is essentially a carrier for the more nutritionally dense feeds. I think we are doing OK to make up for the calorie dense full-time pasture.

Domino is 3 and was severely malnourished when we got him a year ago. He is still on what I consider a high calorie ration , sunflower seeds, alfalfa pellets, 14% sweet feed, TM salt and free choice hay.

Dolly gets essentially the same as Domino with the addition of 18% rabbit pellets for protein.

Cricket is 4 now and HYPP N/P she is asymptomatic and she only gets dry COB with canola oil and free choice hay. Signifigant molasses, sunflower seeds, alfalfa and potassium sources are to be avoided (she does get a handful of sweetfeed to stimulate her on the dry COB, but no more).
TM salt is important to her needs, to keep the sodium/potassium and hydration in balance.

Missy is our toughest case as she tends to be laminitic and hard to keep weight, she is also allergic to sunflower seeds, she gets itchy runny eyes and hive like reaction, she is on free choice hay and 18% rabbit pellets, canola oil and enough sweetfeed to make it palatable, along with TM salt.

Maurice the pony only gets a handful of sweetfeed to carry the TM salt and a handful of sunflower seeds to meet his fat needs, he is slightly cushings prone and is on restricted green hay, but unlimited filler hay.

Green Orchard Grass Hay

Filler hay, this is mostly coarse fescue, its not as green as I like, but they don't seem to mind too much. I prefer ryegrass or bluegrass straw but this is all I can get this time of year, we get this is the big 4 X 8 bales, they all get this free choice

Canola Oil full of omega 3

Trace Mineral Salt
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Alfalfa Pellets
14% Livestock Blend Sweetfeed
Dry C.O.B.
18% Rabbit Pellets
I also feed Horse Guard supplement especially to meet the selenium requirements as our area tends to be selenuim deficient, In addition to loose TM salt we keep a TM block available for them.


Kate said...

Thanks for your very informative post! All of our horses are on (too rich) summer pasture and free choice grass hay (round bales) in winter. Some of our older horses get senior feed in winter, and we have one old guy (30s) who gets a lot of beet pulp, with senior feed, soaked, winter and summer as he can no longer chew grass or hay. All of our horses get a balancer pellet especially formulated for our area (we're low in selenium too), and some cocosoya oil.

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind said...

I think it is really neat to see how people feed! Thanks for sharing. The only thing I havent heard of here is feeding horses Rabbit Pellet...maybe that is because we have different pelleted feed types available here than what I have seen available in the states.

I wish that more people in this neck of the woods fed free choice filler hay when pasture is not available or too rich (and suppliment hand fed protien hay)...I think that a lot of horses have health/digestive problems and bad habits as a result of not having their grazing instincts satisfied.

Cowgirl Rae said...

I like the rabbit pellets as they are essentially alfalfa and soybean meal, makes it easy to add a pound or two to supplement and the horses like it, its also cheap about $12 for 50#

I could probably find a comparable horse feed to boost the protein, I don't think the cost would be better.

Now that our new hay is coming I'll be dropping the alfalfa pellets, that is pretty much for winter and to extend our hay.

I beleive firmly in having enough for horses to chew and mimic grazing if one can, grazing is not an option for us, but filler hay is cheap and easy to get, it keeps their gut full and occupies their time. Low in nutrients but clean and bright are all I require. NOT poor quality as in moldy, dirty, wet or contaminated. Some folks don't recognize the difference.

Paint Girl said...

My horses get local grass hay in the summer, and if there is a shortage of local grass they get eastern grass, which is very high quality hay. But very expensive. I also feed a vitamin/mineral supplement, it is not grain, but I call it grain. It is formulated for horses that are fed grass hay. I overfeed my horses since they have 4 goats that live in their pasture with them, I don't have a separate pasture for the goats. So they pretty much eat all day. They get fed hay only in the morning, which lasts most the day, than get fed their hay and supplement in the evening. I take them out to hand graze them in the grass, or turn them out in the grass paddock. They also get a selenium/mineral salt block. We also lack selenium in our area.
I have also never heard of feeding rabbit pellets to horses before. I guess we learn something new everyday!
My horses are high energy enough, so I don't need to feed an actual grain or alfalfa hay. I will add corn oil to Fritzy's supplement in the winter if I feel she isn't holding her weight well. Last winter she held her weight really good so didn't need to do that. Brandy is an easy keeper. I have thought about feeding Canola oil, since it has the Omega 3 in it. But right now, they are doing really good.
Sorry for the really long comment! But for some reason, I love talking horse food!