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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2009
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    USA
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    86

    Default How much do you spend on feed and bedding per month?

    I currently keep my horses at a barn where the monthly fee is in the region of $600 per month. Very nice place, but since we moved to a property where it would be possible for me to keep my horses at home, I was wondering how much it wold cost me compared to boarding. I will be doing the labour myself, so only need to know how much feed (grain and hay) and bedding (preferably shavings) would cost per horse each month. I do realize there are also all kinds of other hidden costs, but I am just trying to get a rough idea. My horses are competition horses, so they get the best quality grain and hay. Look forward to getting your input! Thanks!
    Last edited by Amazone; May. 12, 2010 at 01:39 PM. Reason: spelling error



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2002
    Posts
    2,331

    Default

    You may want to post your location because horse keeping and hay prices are different in different climates.

    Here in Florida - my horse is out 24/7 with a run in shelter, so there's no shavings, but I do drag the pasture about 1X week to spread the manure. So there is the investment of building a drag and having something to pull it with (I use the pickup but you could also use a mower or 4-wheeler). Then I have a hay roll - $50, but lasts about 5 weeks for one horse. Then, grain/supps/etc. - $55-$75, depending on work level. I want to look into seeding the pasture, but I have no idea what that is going to cost.

    So - it's roughly $100 - $125 per horse, without shavings or equipment considerations. That's just hay/grain/supps.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    8,262

    Default

    It REALLY depends on what you're feeding and the amounts. For example, my mare gets 1/4 cup of shelled corn, 1/3 cup wheat bran, and a multivitamin supplement. That's her entire grain ration for the day.

    It also depends on how much turnout they get on grass pastures.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    36,091

    Default

    find out what and how much grain your horse currently gets, and price it out on a per-pound basis.

    Same with hay.

    If you have more grass than at the boarding barn, your hay cost will decrease, potentially down to nothing, for several months a year.

    Shavings - depends on what you want to use (pellets vs sawdust vs big fluffy shavings) and whether you can get bulk delivery (cheaper per pound, more up front cost, plus storage) or want/have to use bags, as well as how much time the horse will spend in the stall.

    During grass season, my OTTB mare eats less than $2/day of "stuff", and that is her entire cost for the day. The 2 boys eat less than that. When I feed hay, I pay $25 for a 600lb-ish round bale and it lasts the 3 of them 7-10 days, coming out to between $.93 and $1.19/horse/day. Miss Mare's "feed" goes up to maybe $3/day during the coldest months.

    They are stalled maybe 1-2 hours a day with few exceptions. In 2 years I've gone though a pickup truck of fluffy shavings and 15 bags of pelleted sawdust. Cheap.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    8,262

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    find out what and how much grain your horse currently gets, and price it out on a per-pound basis.

    Same with hay.

    If you have more grass than at the boarding barn, your hay cost will decrease, potentially down to nothing, for several months a year.

    Shavings - depends on what you want to use (pellets vs sawdust vs big fluffy shavings) and whether you can get bulk delivery (cheaper per pound, more up front cost, plus storage) or want/have to use bags, as well as how much time the horse will spend in the stall.

    During grass season, my OTTB mare eats less than $2/day of "stuff", and that is her entire cost for the day. The 2 boys eat less than that. When I feed hay, I pay $25 for a 600lb-ish round bale and it lasts the 3 of them 7-10 days, coming out to between $.93 and $1.19/horse/day. Miss Mare's "feed" goes up to maybe $3/day during the coldest months.

    They are stalled maybe 1-2 hours a day with few exceptions. In 2 years I've gone though a pickup truck of fluffy shavings and 15 bags of pelleted sawdust. Cheap.
    This is key. If the horse can be kept outside as much as possible, your costs will go down a ton.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    86

    Default

    We are in Bucks County PA. The horses will be stabled at night and go out to good pasture during the day. They are worked quite hard 5 to 6 times a week, mostly dressage training and also trail riding. I am thinking of feeding a good quality commercial feed (they eat quite a lot) and hay ad lib when they are in their stables and a good multivitamin.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    829

    Default

    My costs are as follows:

    Plain Beet Pulp: $10.50/50 lbs. (1 1/2 bags/month)
    Alfalfa Cubes: $13.99/50 lbs. (1 1/2 bags/month)
    Grain (for two horses) $30.00/month
    Multivitamin: $7.00/month/per horse
    Hay: about $100 month per horse ($4.50/bale)

    Pelleted Bedding: 4 bags month @ $6.50/bag (two horses)

    My horses live outside 24/7 with access to their stalls. Generally they only pee or rest inside unless the weather is bad. I add $20/month in the winter for a heated bucket and about $10/month in the summer for fans. We do not pay for water (well). I do use a little less hay (about 1/2 bale) when they are out on grass, but their grazing is limited to a few hours a day so I still budget for the full amount of hay each month.
    Gone gaited....



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    Right now I have a big pregnant one who's eating like four horses, and one that's a bit of a harder keeper, but I'll use the "typical" population of my place for this thread because I have more of those numbers in my head: 2 horses and a pony, all easy keepers. I feed only a ration balancer and rice bran for "grain", minimal supplements, and a feed-through fly control product. I feed lots of hay, and have enough pasture to supplement that from roughly mid-May through September, but not 100% hay-free even during those months because I don't want to overgraze the property.

    24/7 turnout, access to stalls at night in bad weather and during the winter months.

    Hay purchased once a year and stored on site.

    On average, I think I spend about $2000/year for the hay, so $165/month.
    I'm estimating about $50/month on "grain".
    Bedding at $6.75 per bag for the nice stuff, about 5 bags per month in the summer, 7 per month in the winter when they're in more. So roughly $40-50 per month for bedding.
    Supplements are about $15/month if nobody needs anything special.
    Feed-through fly stuff is about $30/month, but only from March through November.

    Total feed/hay/bedding/supplements for 2 horses and a pony: $300/month. Not too bad.

    Now there's the cost of the barn, the fencing, the tractor, the harrow/brush hog/seeder/spreader/box blade, the mortgage on the property, the taxes, fertilizer, lime, barn sitter . . . But you didn't ask about those things.
    Click here before you buy.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2010
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    1,696

    Default

    It costs me about $150 per horse per month. I feed Buckeye/TC/Pennfield feeds, Timothy/Alfalfa hay, wood pellet bedding. I live in Bucks County also. I try to keep mine out as much as possible, but I don't have sheds in all of my fields.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    20,124

    Default

    It really depends on the horse. We have several horses that goes through 1 bag of grain a week ($16) each and, in the summer 3 bags of bedding. In addition 2 flakes of hay. But, in the winter, grain stays the same, bedding up to 6 to 7 bags/week, and about 4 bales of hay. Another gets just a ration balancer, etc. We also have round bales in the pasture in the winter. How many really depends on the winter.

    You do know that the feed and bedding is just the tip of the iceburg? You do have to keep your fields mowed, fertilized, limed and seeded. Fencing repairs, manure disposal (depending on where you are and how much property you have you may or may not be able to spread manure or have a compost/manure pile, and you will still need a manure spreader).

    Then there's water, electricity, buckets, troughs, etc. And a farm sitter if you go out of town.

    Don't go into it without your eyes wide open. That $600/month that you're paying also includes maintenance of all the facilities.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    here in NE PA, 2 rather large warmbloods, in the summer when they are out on grass 12+ hrs/day, cost me:

    -bedding: "premium" fine stuff, $6.25/bag, 4 bags/month; pellets, 6.79/bag, 4 bags a month=$53

    -hay-this time of year i go thru 2 bales a week, 3.25 a bale, so ~$30 month (but in the winter i go thru at LEAST 2 bales a day). it's not the best hay...kinda crappy quality grass hay, more just to keep than occupied than anything else

    -grain-they get 1lb BOSS, 1lb oats, 1lb (dry) timothy hay pellets, once per day. that's literally less than 2 bags of each per month and each are around $12, so figure ~$100 for grain

    free choice minerals cost i don't know off the top of my head bc of how i buy it. labor time, btwn turning in/out, cleaning stalls, dumping/filling buckets, putting out hay, making grain soups, etc is def less than an hr a day even in winter, when they are in a lot more and thus require a lot more time on cleaning. right now it's prob more like 20 min.
    My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    86

    Default

    This has been very helpful so far. Thanks everyone. Keep the info coming!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2009
    Posts
    2,108

    Default

    for one horse
    $23.00 1 1/2-ish bag grain
    $52- hay (1 bag tim/alf per week)
    $50- about 1 bag paper shavings and one bag cardboard shavings a week (paper shavings $7 a bag, cardboard $5.25)
    ______
    $125 for him.

    I don't feed regular hay, only cubes, and this is what he eats and uses during the winter. Now that he will be on grass in the summer and is an easy keeper it will go back down.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,210

    Default

    I think you know this, but your OP asks to compare boarding costs to feed/shavings costs, and of course the cost of boarding includes many many other things that you will have to provide as well, so if you factor in capital costs (fencing, barn, trailer, tractor etc) the costs are usually the same or higher.

    However also as you probably know, once those costs are sunk, your monthly outlay is probably less.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2009
    Posts
    2,108

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SMF11 View Post
    I think you know this, but your OP asks to compare boarding costs to feed/shavings costs, and of course the cost of boarding includes many many other things that you will have to provide as well, so if you factor in capital costs (fencing, barn, trailer, tractor etc) the costs are usually the same or higher.

    However also as you probably know, once those costs are sunk, your monthly outlay is probably less.
    Ditto most definitely. As anyone knows who keeps horses at home, it's all about how much your time and effort also costs you. Some don't see it as an "expense" and think of it as a bonus, other people will want to consider that part of the "cost analysis". I just spent $4000 on fencing. How many years will it take to pay that off instead of what would be spent on board? $333 a month for 12 months. Then again, like you said, after everything is paid off you can then start saving money. pft, who am I kidding. saving money?



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Location
    Cascade Foothills
    Posts
    2,360

    Default

    My mule costs $50 per month for hay and dewormer only. I don't use bedding in his run-in shed and I do my own hoof trimming. He's an easy keeper, getting about 14 pounds of orchard grass hay per day.
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2005
    Location
    The Land of the Frozen
    Posts
    13,787

    Default

    Just the basic shavings, hay and feed (beet pulp, flax, rice bran) plus a vitamin/mineral supplement for 4 horses runs about $300 total for all in the winter, and almost nothing in the summer. I do my own trims. There's expenses for vaccinations and deworming of course but that's the same whether at home or boarded.

    But I'm in the Midwest where hay is very cheap.

    Of course you have to figure extra electricity for the fence charger and water buckets and tank heaters. We spent around $1,000 to upgrade fencing when we first moved in. Then we replaced all the wiring and lighting in the barn and that was nearly $1,000. The tractor requires maintenance. And it requires a lot of time to clean stalls and spread manure. There is extra gas involved with mowing the fields a few times a year. Then if you have to buy stuff like stall mats, or replace a water tank or fix a stall door, etc....

    But if I were to board 4 horses - I'd have $800-900 a month in board fees for simple pasture board at a decent barn. So take that $$$$$ and invest it in my own property - and in the long run, keeping them at home is MUCH cheaper. Plus the peace of mind looking out the window and seeing them - not driving to and from a barn every day with fuel costs at $3.00+ a gallon, not paying for injuries because some doofus turned a horse out in the wrong field, or the barn owner skimps on water or hay.

    I couldn't go back to boarding. If I had to board, I don't think I'd own a horse. And I'm not kidding.

    I boarded one of my horses for a short time a few years ago so I could ride a particular trail every day. My $100 helmet was promptly stolen. So that was 100 bucks I lost - just like that. And the grain they offered was an old nasty "feed mill special" that was full of dust and hulls. So I had to buy my own grain so my horse got decent food. The hay she got was awesome, and her pasture and paddock were perfect. But even so, they ended up turning another mare in with her that had never been in there before and the two of them ended up tearing each other up. So there was another $100 vet bill and lost weeks of riding waiting for injuries to heal.

    Nope, couldn't do it again. God help me if I can't keep them at home.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    86

    Default

    I am very aware of all the other costs, I have in fact kept my horses at home before, but this was many years ago and in a different country! So I really just wanted to figure out how much I would have to spend on bedding and feed. Our property has a nice barn with rubber mats and the fencing is good, here and there a broken pole, but nothig that I can't fix myself. I think I am spending more time now driving to and from the barn than I would in taking care of the horses as home (well over an hour) and if I keep them at home I will save on gas also. I really appreciate everyone's input! Thanks!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2003
    Location
    St Aug, Fla
    Posts
    3,822

    Default

    I have 3 horses at home. One of them is a boarder (my best friends horse).

    For just feed/hay/shavings:

    The horses are out all day except like 1-2 hours in the AM and like 2-4 hours in the PM. I am SO lucky that they are very into their routine and I may have 1-2 manure piles to pick each day. RARELY do they pee in their stalls. So I only have to buy like 4 bags of shavings a month. I use a VERY FINE bedding thats almost like saw dust but with a little more substance. Unfortunately, my stalls are 10x10 (Id like them to be 12x12) however one bag works fine per stall since they are not sleeping in the stalls. Thats $25.

    I feed Seminoles Wellness feeds. With a big, growing WB coming 3 y/o, an easy keeper, and my harder keeping TB, I spend $125 +/- a month in feed.

    Hay is the most expensive. Good quality hay is HARD to get down here and much more expensive than up in the area where you live. If I were to get O/A at the feed store, it would cause me $12.95 a bale. I usually get 12 bales a month. Luckily, I have a supplier who comes down with Amish hay every month and its only $10 a bale, super nice, and organic. I will sometimes buy 14 bales from him. So lets just say $150. I feed one BIG flake of O/A at night after dinner. They are out on decent bahia/bermuda pasture. This is in the spring/summer when we have grass. When we dont have grass, I get round bales around $50-55 and that lasts around 3-4 weeks for 3 horses.

    So thats approx $300 a month in feed, hay, shavings for 3 horses. My boarder pays me $300/mo so it really helps offset the cost. I just pay for my supplements, vet, farrier, etc.
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    South-Central PA
    Posts
    2,313

    Default

    1 messy OTTB gelding = $60/month in bedding, $48/month in grain, $40/month hay.

    1 neat older gelding = $25/month in bedding, $15/month in "grain",$40/month hay

    looking out my kitchen window and see them looking back at me - PRICELESS
    Cindy



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