If possible, they need to find straight grass hay.
They're still an equine, and still ideally need 1.5-2% of their desired body weight in forage a day.
You can't talk about flakes - need to talk about weight. Even "small bale" isn't a known entity - to me it means about 30lb, but could mean 60 - it certainly isn't a 100lb bale that is, from what I hear, common on some areas. So, the hay needs to be weighed.
MINIMALLY 1% of the desired body weight needs to be given - that's just for a healthy digestive system.
But more importantly, the ponies cannot be 20 hours without food. So, if the appropriate amount of hay doesn't last long enough, then hay net it, or double net it, or use a net with small holes.
Don't forget nutrition too - not enough in hay usually. At least use a good vit/min supplement.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
My pony gets a flake am and pm of local timothy first cut, plus some soaked alfalfa cubes (I count out about 15 cubes) once a day, and is on sparse but "there" grass. She gets a handful of alfalfa based low carb grain for her supplements 2times a day too.
Supplementing is, I think, important for ponies that don't get a lot to eat. My pony gets:
DMG (she works hard)
Probios a few times a week
Electrolytes as needed
She is 13.2 and about 830ish lbs.
I would definitely note that they could really think about breaking up the hay, to several times a day because they really should have something to eat in front of them throughout the day, or at least in more frequent intervals.
I can't say what is right for those ponies. But I have a 14.2 welsh-arab cross pony, and an obese donkey (just came about a month ago). They are on a dry lot that has some very very overgrazed grass in it. They get a *total* of three flakes a day between them. I split a flake in the a.m. and they each get a flake in the p.m. I figure they can try and graze the very very short grass in the down time.
Before anyone jumps all over me, the pony was at high risk for founder according to my vet, farrier and trainer, and has lost about 150 pounds this way. He is still fat! (His spine is a dimple). I will say that probably 5 days a week he goes out onto grass for five hours or so. The donkey has fat lumps (a bit like a camel) on her sides and butt -- I have never seen an animal so fat!
The other thing is, the pony's previous owner correctly only fed him a flake in the a.m. and a flake in the p.m.
I feed my 14.2 hand mustang (about 900 lbs.) about 6 flakes a day (around 18 lbs.) of grass hay. I use a small hole hay bag (busy feeder grande model with 1 1/2 inch holes) to slow him down and keep him occupied. He also gets a couple of hours grazing early each morning. I put him on this diet as he is IR and was quite fat. He has gradually lost about 100 lbs and looks really good. I also have his hay analyzed and supplement with the proper trace minerals, some vitamin E capsules and iodized table salt all mixed with a small amount of soaked alfalfa cubes (just so he will eat the supplements). If you give too little hay, the metabolism just slows down (goes into starvation mode) - ideally, the minimum amount of hay should be 1 1/2 percent of body weight per day (or 2 percent if the pony doesn't need to lose weight).
I have two smaller ponies in the 11-12.2hh range so not huge by any means. They live w/ a babysitter and youngster group and they are draft crosses (2-3yo's) and are out 24/7 on alfalfa/grass round bales. They also get pellets/grain mix (youth and oats) twice a day and free choice vit/min. Ponies are 7 and 3 and mother/daughter. They stay a nice weight during the spring/summer/fall, get a little plump, but not obese, in the winter. Both are healthy and have no feet problems.
Our ponies have acess to good pasture so don't feed hay in the summer months. In the winter months they get one flake of hay am and lunch and two flakes at night and that is usually when the ground is frozen and there is little to no forage on the ground. I also feed 2lbs of 14% protein pellets daily and might add some beet pulp to those that need.
The hay is a orchard timothy mix.
Last edited by Lesley Feakins; Aug. 14, 2009 at 02:39 PM.
Reason: adding type of hay