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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2006
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    Question My HAY looks good, smells good, purchased out of the field by respected grower

    but my horses wont eat it? I just thought the first couple of bales may have had something dead in them, but after several bales, I watched it being baled, picked it up out of the field myself from a grower that grows the best horse hay around and I have purchased from for the last 15 years, my horses that are dry lotted due to drought still wont eat it?

    I just don't understand, it is clean with no dust are trash. Of all my years of owning horses I have never had this proplem.

    I could understand a few bales, but not nearly a whole load.

    Has anyone reading ever had this happen? Do you know why?



  2. #2
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    Oct. 23, 2010
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    Is it a different type of hay than they are used to?
    In my opinion a horse is the animal to have. Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs. Its something you just can't get from a pet hamster.
    In The Nick of Time



  3. #3
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    Oct. 23, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by justjumpit278 View Post
    Is it a different type of hay than they are used to?
    the producer has a huge place with hay fields spread out in all directions, so my answer is yes and no, I have bought out of this field before but not in the last year are so until this load.



  4. #4
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    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    Could you take a similar bale and offer it to some other horses, see if they also turn their noses up at it?

    This year I had 3-4 bales of my 3rd cutting orchard that my horses just would NOT eat. They normally eat that stuff first, but these few bales were rejected. Same farmer for four years, same fields, all the other bales have been eaten with gusto. I never could figure it out, and just chucked the stuff. They're back to eating the same stuff, near as I can tell--just those few bales were no-go.

    Perhaps they're just being a little picky?
    Click here before you buy.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 13, 2002
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    RHE, CA US
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    I can relate - I am having the same problem right now. The timothy I have looks green, no dust, smells good but my horse is leaving 3/4 of it at every feeding. I admit, it is on the stemmy side, but usually he leaves maybe 1/4 of it. It's turning into expensive straw! I don't think there is anything really WRONG with it perse - it just isn't measuring up to his palate.

    I thought the last batch of Timothy I had was bad - so I exchanged it for this batch. That was a mistake! He definitely ate the previous bales better than the current load. I don't feel like I can ask them to exchange this batch having already done it once. This feed store is very accommodating, but I don't want to take advantage of them. If I can get through these Timothy bales, I am going to buy Orchard grass next and switch to feeding that. I would rather feed Timothy, but cost wise it just isn't economical to waste so much. I have a couple of bales of Orchard now, and he is eating that fairly well, so I would rather give him hay he will eat. And only being able to store about 15 bales at a time is going to work in my favor this time - hopefully I can get through these bales in about 2 months.

    My horse isn't exactly a hoover - but he usually isn't this picky either. Ah, the joys of horse ownership! Wish they could just tell us, it's too dusty, its moldy, or it just plain tastes awful!



  6. #6
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    Oct. 23, 2006
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    I wish they could tell me also, it cost to much to throw out, plus there are not getting there hay. I have some hay from the first cutting that was ugly and steamy, but all I could get at the time with the drought and they ate that better than this. And they both love to eat. Just wondering if a deer are something gave birth on it before it was cut, who knows, just a big waste of money for what seems to be good hay. May take some to the University and have it tested.



  7. #7
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    Aug. 16, 2008
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    I've had horses not eat new (different) hay. Try just giving them a little bit. Make them clean it up or get hungry. For me, it was just a few days and they were eating it like normal, once they got used to it.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 21, 2010
    Location
    NE Pennsylvania
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    125

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhtokay View Post
    I've had horses not eat new (different) hay. Try just giving them a little bit. Make them clean it up or get hungry. For me, it was just a few days and they were eating it like normal, once they got used to it.
    True! I've experienced this too... it's like they think if they can hold out, the yummier stuff will come back! lol

    I've heard two things about unpalatable hay, but do not know if it's accurate or not, but may be something to think about:
    1) if a preservative was sprayed on the hay (to make it dry faster?) horses will refuse it. In this case soaking the hay for 1/2 hour will help....Maybe it washes it off?
    2) Leafier hay is actually more bitter then stemmy hay...

    Not sure if either apply...but hopefully they start eating soon!



  9. #9
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    Apr. 26, 2010
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    it might be you are feeding to much of other food...



  10. #10
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    Mar. 10, 2003
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    Massachusetts, USA
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    My first thought was #1 by RLF ... preservative or new 'chemical' used to grow or 'enhance' the hay? New seed? New pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer?

    and yes, leafy *is* better than stemmy.
    --Gwen <><
    "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
    http://www.thepenzancehorse.com



  11. #11
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    Feb. 28, 2008
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    I put up a few kinds of hay this year, and the nicest looking and smelling stuff I've got the horses will barely touch. The lousiest looking stuff I have (still quite clean, just looks like halloween straw) they devour. Makes zero sense.

    Then I got my hay tested and discovered that the lousy looking stuff actually is much better nutritionally than the nice soft fluffy sweet smelling green stuff I have. So makes more sense now why they choose to leave this one hay.

    But, I'm sorry, tough cookies for my horses. I have this hay in the barn, it is still quite edible and very clean, so they have to suck it up and deal. They're going to eat it, or go hungry, I'm sorry, its perfectly fine. I don't cater to this kind of pickiness when there is no health reason for being so.

    There is a possibility that your hay is nutritionally much different than what you fed before and they're being picky. If I were in your shoes I'd probably give it a few days, cut open a few bales, and wait for them to come around.

    As was mentioned, I'd dole it out in smaller amounts so it doesn't get wasted, and wait for them to clean it up, and the horses might start becoming grateful to have it.

    Pickiness is so frustrating.
    Just because you’re afraid, doesn’t mean you’re in danger. Just because you feel alone, doesn’t mean nobody loves you. Just because you think you might fail, doesn’t mean you will.



  12. #12
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    Nov. 21, 2010
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    NE Pennsylvania
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    Quote Originally Posted by caballus View Post
    and yes, leafy *is* better than stemmy.
    haha...no I was told leafy is more "bitter"... lol As in tart.


    Again, I don't know if that's true...but someone mentioned it to me...



  13. #13
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    Dec. 14, 2007
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    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
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    I grow my own hay and this year we got 1st, 2nd and 3rd cut off all of our fields and 4th cut off a couple

    All of it is green, no rain, beautiful hay. The 2nd cut MIGHT have been about 1-2 weeks more mature than ideal (but I try and cut before it goes to bloom at all as the quality is more important to me than the quantity is) so really - when I ended up cutting it would probably be when 99% of thecommercial growers would ...)

    The 4th cut was reserved for the harder keepers and the ones that I felt truly needed it and it was hoovered up in the blink of an eye

    But what really puzzles me is that they dont seem keen on the 2nd or 3rd cuts at all - they far prefer the stalkier, coarser, more yellowish 1st cut and when I give them a flake of each, they will eat the 1st cut first and then stare and sigh at the 2nd or 3rd cut offering and try to will it to become 1st cut in front of their very eyes so that they can stave off pending starvation ...

    Drives me nuts - it really does - because I intentionally only kept about 500 bales of the 1st and put up 1500-1700 bales of the 2nd/3rd cut as - to me - it was far better hay with a deeper green colour, leafier, higher protein, softer and more alfalfa content

    Shows what I know, doesnt it?!



  14. #14
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    Dec. 31, 2003
    Location
    Central Ohio
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    YES, this happened to me this year too. I had one load of orchard grass/alfalfa mix, second cutting, that looked great and smelled probably the best I've smelled ever - very sweet and aromatic. And my four horses: three pigs and one picky eater - none of them would TOUCH it! They picked through it if I left it there for very long, but they really just wasted it, peed on it, layed on it, pooped on it, stomped and and refused to eat it. I tried waiting them out, but they never seemed to get hungry enough to actually EAT IT. I have NO idea what caused that. And yes, I had a load of first- cut grass hay that looked kind of pale and stemmy to me, that they all cleaned up like candy! HUH? There's no accounting for horse's taste sometimes!



  15. #15
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    Nov. 1, 2010
    Location
    VA
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    Manes&Tails,

    Look closely, your horses are ROFL at you!

    Or snickering behind your back.

    Probably both!!

    Devils!!

    Same as mine!



  16. #16
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    Dec. 14, 2007
    Location
    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
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    Glad that Im not alone with these damned picky, impossible-to-figure-out horses ...

    And I should have also said we dont salt any of our hay nor do spray any acid on it - ever - so there is not going to be any taste variation in there at all due to any of those factors

    I swear if I ever have to go and actually BUY hay, I am loading up my horse trailer and taking THEM to pick out the hay THEY want to eat as obviously ME picking out green, soft, leafy, sweet smelling, mold free hay doesnt bear any resemblance at all as to what THEY actually want to eat in the end ...



  17. #17
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    I've had it happen. I ended up selling the hay they wouldn't eat (buyer tried 2 bales first) and buying new. I ended up making money on it too. Can't beat that.



  18. #18
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    Mar. 24, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by buck22 View Post
    I put up a few kinds of hay this year, and the nicest looking and smelling stuff I've got the horses will barely touch. The lousiest looking stuff I have (still quite clean, just looks like halloween straw) they devour. Makes zero sense.

    Then I got my hay tested and discovered that the lousy looking stuff actually is much better nutritionally than the nice soft fluffy sweet smelling green stuff I have. So makes more sense now why they choose to leave this one hay.

    But, I'm sorry, tough cookies for my horses. I have this hay in the barn, it is still quite edible and very clean, so they have to suck it up and deal. They're going to eat it, or go hungry, I'm sorry, its perfectly fine. I don't cater to this kind of pickiness when there is no health reason for being so.

    There is a possibility that your hay is nutritionally much different than what you fed before and they're being picky. If I were in your shoes I'd probably give it a few days, cut open a few bales, and wait for them to come around.

    As was mentioned, I'd dole it out in smaller amounts so it doesn't get wasted, and wait for them to clean it up, and the horses might start becoming grateful to have it.

    Pickiness is so frustrating.
    It's usually about sugar content..... hay that is leafy and green has been grown under ideal conditions...ie lots of water and fertilizer and probably cut under ideal conditions.......therefore tend to have lower sugars........stressed hay or mature hay tends to be high in sugar.

    I bought a horse from the interior of B.C. where they feed quite different hay then here on the coast.....it took the horse about 6 to 8 months to eat all of his hay up........when this happens I just feed less so there is no waste.

    Dalemma



  19. #19
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    The Land of the Frozen
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    I had this trouble with a load of beautiful, soft orchard grass. It was prime hay, and smelled good enough to eat myself. The first week or so they just stomped it into the dirt then stood around chewing the wood and screaming at me for new hay. I didn't have the NSC tested on that load but I suspect it was pretty low since it was grown under absolutely ideal, nearly perfect conditions. They did eventually start eating it but I had to withhold all alfalfa and grain to make them realize that it's eat this, or starve. The only exception I made was Sweets, since she's had ulcers in the past. I would let her have the alfalfa and I didn't force her to switch over. But after a few weeks she would eat more and more of the other stuff until eventually it became a non-issue.



  20. #20
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    Feb. 28, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalemma View Post
    It's usually about sugar content.....
    the stemmy straw-like t/o my horses prefer does have a bit more sugar, but its also equally higher in protein and lysine. As crappy as it looks, it has a RFV 76 versus the gorgeous, dark green, sweet smelling leafy soft 1st cutting which has an RFV of only 66.

    according to the analysis, and to my horse's choices, the ugly hay is superior to the pretty hay.... its just hard to accept that though every morning when I throw hay I have to force them to eat what I thought was going to be the good stuff I'd be doling out like a treat over the next year... now I can't get it out of the barn fast enough

    And to boot, I have some 2nd cutting that is brown and miserable looking, looks like it was put in a microwave and then run over by my truck, and to my horses its like crack. I tested it and it has by far the lowest sugar of any hay I've put up, but the protein and lysine is double of any hay I've got, and the RFV is 89. And its ugly, brown and dismal, looks like it was rained on (wasn't) and doesn't smell nice at all, has little smell.

    appearances really can be deceiving with hay I've learned.
    Just because you’re afraid, doesn’t mean you’re in danger. Just because you feel alone, doesn’t mean nobody loves you. Just because you think you might fail, doesn’t mean you will.



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