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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2008
    Posts
    19

    Default How many pounds of pasture grass can a horse eat?

    Does anyone have any idea how many pounds of pasture grass a horse can eat (without a muzzle) either per hour or some other method of measuring. I have an article from Horse & Rider magazine dated December, 1998 where they state "a hungry horse will eat an average of 1-1/2 pounds of grass per hour." Just curious to see if anyone has any other information.

    Thanks for your input.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    621

    Default

    I would be interested in this also. My normally pasture boarded boy has been on stall rest for the past week. I've been hand-grazing him for about an hour and a half every morning (the rest of the day he's given hay.) Since I want to make sure he gets a good feed from the grazing, I've been trying to mentally calculate volume and weight of what he's grazing on, but I haven't come up with any exact numbers.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2003
    Location
    Lexington KY
    Posts
    542

    Default

    I'm pretty sure I've read it recently in Equus mag. I'll see if I can still find it for you.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,697

    Default

    The study I saw said an average 1000lb horse eats 4lb of grass an hour, and grazes 16-20 hours a day (assuming out 24x7). The amount per hour goes up if the horse's time is restricted.

    1.5lb of grass, which is roughly 75% water, is not a lot of volume, and not something a hungry horse would stop at.

    So, with the 4lb/hour for 16-20 hours, that's 64-80lb of grass a day. Given the roughly 25% dry matter, that's about 16-20lb of "hay", right in line with the 1.5-2% body weight requirements.
    ______________________________
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2005
    Location
    With a dog named Rockstar
    Posts
    2,988

    Default

    My Palomino will eat ALL the grass right down to the roots, in almost every pasture short of an 80 acre irrigated pasture

    Once a boarding barn said "We've just never seen a horse eat as much as yours." Great to know we are so special



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,714

    Default

    Most horses will eat around 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of pasture dry matter per hour, if it is available. Since grass, as JB mentioned, can be up to 75% water, that adds up to quite a bit of the fresh forage!

    Given completely free-choice access to good pasture, a mature horse can (and will, in many cases) easily consume 3-3.5% of his body weight in dry matter per day. That's a LOT of grass!



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