Older pony quidding, losing teeth. Need to switch from hay to...?
Well, we knew this day was coming - having to take our older pony stallion off of hay and switch him to something else when his teeth started to fail, but would love some good tips and tricks on how others have managed this problem.
Pony has been on high alfalfa hay since we purchased him three years ago, and we add a little beetpulp in the summer time during breeding season. He is a great eater and keeps excellent weight, despite his back molars starting to fail him. Just started quidding his hay a few weeks ago (never seen him do that before), so just took him in today to get his teeth floated. Vet feels he should no longer be on hay due to the deterioration of his back molars. After looking at his teeth while at the vet clinic, I can't believe the great weight he has on him despite just being on hay all winter and his lack of chewing ability.
Anyways, vet suggested we switch him to a chopped hay (have no idea where to get that or how to do that) or soaked cubes and we'll definitely start adding beetpulp to his diet year round now.
I would love to hear any other suggestions, or what has worked great for your older horses. My biggest concern/problem is that we are in Northern Canada, so doing soaked cubes during the winter months is going to be a b!t&h, as we have no heated barn, so cubes would have to soak in the house. So for those in the colder climates, how do you manage?
You can put older horses on just senior feed as it has fiber built in, altho I personally would want more "long stem" fiber that would be in something like chopped hay or alfalfa cubes. Here in the states tractor supply carries chopped hay. As to saoking in the winter, just get a large tub with a lid, soak them overnight in the house and carry to the barn.
Our old horse lived quite well on soaked beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and a senior feed as needed for weight. He was fed this twice a day for seven years. He was 37 when we had to put him down due to an unrelated accident. We had to bring his rubber pans in the house to thaw sometimes in the winter but he usually ate it up before it froze.
Northern climates make it a bit harder. I soak my cubes in the house in a five gallon bucket with a lid. I start them about 4 hours before feed time. For 3# of cubes i add a gallon of hot tap water. They start falling apart but are still not wet enough. Just before feed time i add more hot hot water and head to the barn. Down there i stir in his senior feed and fat supplement. It takes him about 45 minutes to eat and he keeps his head in that feed tub breathing out warm air i guess because the slop doesnt freeze - he eats it all. Since i keep him at home, i am able to feed 3 times a day to keep the old boy full. Glad the weather is changing and the grass will be ready soon. He can graze, just cant grind hay anymore. He is a rescue i picked up last year, vet says he is close to thirty.
Do you have electricity in the barn? If so, set up an electric tea kettle and boil the water in the barn, mix with the pellets and beet pulp in a large bucket. Within minutes that boiling water will break everything down.
Need more than a tea kettle full? Use a large electric coffee urn to boil the water.
chopped forage is dengie or triple crown has a good one...Triple crown safe forage.
I do the same thing, and we are below freezing for 2 months at least where I live. Its all done in the house and I lug it out. Actually, I got lazy this winter and would drive it out to the barn.
It can be done.
Now, I put it in coolers, but in the deep cold, I don't think that would work as well. Unless you used really hot water.
You don't want them eating ice cold mush...not the best for their digestive track to eat something cold like that.
Ditto to what everyone else has said. I have two mares, both 30 y/o, that have started quidding their Timothy hay. They are able to eat coastal Bermuda (a finer grass hay) and alfalfa/orchard or alfalfa. Sometimes going to a more tender, finer hay is all that is needed, but I wouldn't use it as my only fiber source by any means. I've found the chopped hay has additives and if not used quickly seems to develop an off flavor according to my horses. They'll eat a fresh bag but 2-3 days later they turn their nose up at what's left.
I just had this same problem recently with my 27 year old gelding. Here is what I am doing: soaking two flakes of hay, chopping another flake or so with a new Toro blower/vacuum/leaf shredder, and (this is the best part as far as he is concerned) soaking Hay Stretcher pellets (Blue Seal Feed). He LOOOOVES them! He can eat grass just fine and has always gotten soaked feed as well.
oh dear, I hope your boy is not as picky as mine. We feed our old man a senior feed and he gets soaked alfalfa cubes mixed with beet pulp, it soaks very fast in hot water and we keep it in the house and take it to the barn at feeding.
At times our guy protests the fact that he has no hay and will only eat the mush with max-e-glo added on top of it, salt will do at times but he is currently addicted to the max-e-glo.
He turned his nose up at the chopped forage by triple crown, it smelled like it had molassas in it so you think he would have liked it.
If the beet pulp doesn't have molassas in it he turns his nose up after about a day.
For our guy the hard part is that he desperatly wants the hay, he begs for it but he quids hay and grass and it really frustrates him.
Good luck, it can be hard at times
forgot to add that he also gets pelleted alfalfa and that is hit or miss depending on his mood
Interested in hearing from anyone using leaf shredders or mulchers to chop your own hay. I'm looking at a couple of models, particularly one that gives you a choice as to how fine or coarse you want the chopping to be. I'm hoping to find something that would chop down to less than an inch for the fibers, as our horse can't eat dengie anymore, he drops it. If I can chop or shred alfalfa and grass hay, I would do so maybe half an inch and then add it to his wet TC Senior feed so that he eats it but doesn't really have to chew it to get it down. Am I on the right track here? Anyone know?
Since starting this thread a few months back, w switched our pony over to Nutrena Senior Feed, and nothing else, and he has been doing fabulously! It works out to only costing an additional $40/month to feed it to him, compared to what he was getting before. He has gained even more weight, his coat is looking fabulous and he is finishing his meals with no problems. We have put in some hay every once in awhile, but he barely touches it and would rather just have his pellets. Thanks for the help!
Don't feel stupid, I had never heard the word before up until my pony started doing it a few months ago. It basically means they start wadding up their hay into little balls. Because he is old and his teeth are worn down, he can't properly chew up his hay anymore, so it ends up balling up in his mouth and then he spits it out.
my 28 year old mare is on soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes plus Beet pulp and 1 scoop of senior feed 2xday and looks fabulous. She can no longer eat hay, at all. Grass is becoming hard for her too. I always soak her's in the house and carry it to the barn twice a day. It's not THAT heavy. http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/z...5/100_3926.jpg
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."