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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2005
    Location
    Spring, TX
    Posts
    487

    Default Hay/stalls

    How long would you say is an acceptable amount of time for a horse to be in it's stall with no access to hay?
    12 hours? 18? 24?

    I understand that different horses have different needs, but generally speaking, what say you?

    Is it a normal/acceptable practice to never provide a horse hay?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    11,263

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JackandMo View Post
    Is it a normal/acceptable practice to never provide a horse hay?
    Some horses can not have hay.
    Some parts of the country the hay shortage has required horse owners to get creative in their feeding so roughage is provided other ways.


    There is obviously more to this question/story than you are telling us. Why not give us all the details?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2005
    Location
    Spring, TX
    Posts
    487

    Default

    Because there really isn't more to the story.

    I've noticed a lot of people lately (in various places, not at just one particular barn) leaving their horses stalled for extended periods of time without hay. Hay shortage isn't an issue here in NC. If it was, obviously that would be a legitimate reason to be creative. So would medical reasons. Some of the excuses I've heard is financial and time constraints (?)

    I am just curious as to what others find to be an acceptable amount of time that a horse is stalled without hay.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    11,263

    Default

    Well, I guess I look at it the other way around. How much hay does the horse get and why are they with out hay when you notice them?

    My horses need so many calories of hay per day (they get almost no grain to speak of so hay is 99% of their diet). More hay means obese horses. I put that hay into a system to slow their eating down (small hole hay bags, etc) but in the end, they stand around with out hay for however many hours after they finish their hay, before the next feeding.

    Some easy keeper types simply can not have free choice hay.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2002
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    10,798

    Default

    My horse gets hay am then go out and pm then stay in as well as 20 other horses in the barn. They eat their hay at varying speeds. They may go 8 hours without hay but non of them have developed bad habits or died because of it. If my horse had hay in front of him the entire time he was in his stall he wouldn't fit out the stall door. He doesn't need hay in front of him all the time.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2010
    Location
    Earlysville, Virginia
    Posts
    3,224

    Default

    My horses are pretty much never without food. They are out 24/7, but when brought in due to inclement weather, they are thrown a ton of hay multiple times per day. They really never run out when they're in the stalls.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2011
    Posts
    637

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JackandMo View Post
    Because there really isn't more to the story.

    I've noticed a lot of people lately (in various places, not at just one particular barn) leaving their horses stalled for extended periods of time without hay. Hay shortage isn't an issue here in NC. If it was, obviously that would be a legitimate reason to be creative. So would medical reasons. Some of the excuses I've heard is financial and time constraints (?)

    I am just curious as to what others find to be an acceptable amount of time that a horse is stalled without hay.

    When there is a shortage in one area, there is a shortage everywhere. There were droughts and shortages is several areas this year, so yes, even NC is effected in one way or another $$$$$$.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    2,479

    Default

    None of those times you mentioned would be acceptable to me without a medical reason.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    6,392

    Default

    To address your generalized question, I'd prefer no longer than 8 hours. I do not think horses must have food in front of them 24/7--because no horse eats constantly, not even "in the wild". In a stabling situation, based on my 20+ years of boarding, I'd say most horses spend the night (about 8 hours) hayless. My various horses have all survived this just fine.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2010
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    1,575

    Default

    What PJ said. I'm lucky enough to have my horses at home and I try really hard to have hay in front of them all the time. Except the minis who would explode. Recently I have been very successful with the great products from Cinch Chix. Small hole hay nets. Makes them eat slowly but I can put a whole bale out for them. They "graze" on it, then stand around daydreaming. Realistically though as Calvincrowe said, in a boarding situation they will go overnight hayless unless the facility wants to try these nets.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    11,263

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HPFarmette View Post
    unless the facility wants to try these nets.
    And ....... unless the horses are not easy keepers and will eat too much, even with a net.

    Using a small hole hay net does not guarantee the horses will not over eat. Or maybe my three just did not get the manual that told them this.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,312

    Default

    Mine aren't generally in stalls unless they're on stall rest or I need to keep them in for some reason, but they get hay twice a day most days, in nets or bags which last them about 6 hours. So they have hay in front of them roughly 6 hours on and 6 hours off.

    If they are confined to a stall for longer than a day or two, I make an effort to keep hay in front of them more or less constantly unless the horse is fat.
    Click here before you buy.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2008
    Posts
    1,289

    Default

    up to eight hours is fine no more than 12 without

    depending on where you live in NC hay can be really really expensive and not all places can store great quantities of hay, if you have over 20 horses you will go through 200 bales fast

    where I am no they get a round bale in the field and hay in the stall, my guy is fat he will zoom through hay

    when I lived in the city where the cost of board is high and space is limited and hay is expensive to get there most horses were fed 4-6 flakes spread out through the day morning, lunch, dinner and night check so the horses didn't go longer than 8 hours
    nothing is more annoying than a horse that flings its hay around the stall and pees and poops on it then looks at you and feeding in sections helps that a lot



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2010
    Posts
    2,063

    Default

    4 hours without any hay is my maximum. That is for my easy keepers. Hard keepers? Never without hay.

    Unless there is a medical reason, hay shortage, or a weight problem, IMO a horse should always have hay...preferably in a slow feed hay net.
    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
    Location
    Longing to be where I once was.....
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    2,157

    Default

    In a perfect/ dream world our horses would munch away 24/7. When I boarded 20+ years ago the horses were stalled 24/7 unless the owner had them out. They were fed Am and Pm only. They did fine. No colics, ulcers etc..

    Ideas have changed in those years to where it is thought they must have access to food at all times. I don't stall my horses and I don't provide free choice hay either. If I had a thin horse I would feed it more and keep it separate at feeding time. If I did stall mine I would split up the feedings into 3 per day to give them something to do.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,287

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by trubandloki View Post
    And ....... unless the horses are not easy keepers and will eat too much, even with a net.

    Using a small hole hay net does not guarantee the horses will not over eat. Or maybe my three just did not get the manual that told them this.
    No, it won't, especially if you continuously fill it or just give them too much. The idea of slowing their eating down is so that they 'graze' longer and keep the roughage moving through their systems over a longer period of time, especially if you aren't much into feeding 6 times per day. My horse could finish his morning hay in a half hour to an hour (tops)... and then go up to 11 1/2 hours until his next feeding. By using slow feeders, he finishes his hay in about 6-8 hours and then is only without hay for 4-6 hours. Same amount of hay.

    Answer to OP's question, somewhere I had heard 4 hours was a good "maximum" amount of time without hay. Sorry I can't quote the source, and certainly many horses go much longer without hay in front of them, mine included.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2011
    Location
    Southern WI
    Posts
    309

    Default

    Most of my horses are hay vacuums. Hay - even 20lbs of it - lasts no more than two hours. If I feed at 5:00 PM, they're done by 7:00PM. Then, they have until 7:00 AM until I feed again. So each of my vacuums goes at least 12 hours without hay each night. Even the horse I have that is a nibbler goes over four hours without hay. None of them have come to any harm because of this.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    South-Central PA
    Posts
    2,273

    Default

    My horses are never without hay....and if on the SUPER RARE chance they are, it would never be more than 1-2 hours. Horses are meant to be digesting forage on a continual basis. To each his own, but I know I've never had any colics or other digestive issues during my 20 years of horse management. They each get about 10lbs morning and 10lbs night. If we get a cold snap, they'll get 5lbs of alfalfa as well. I'll spend the most money on hay, and I won't complain about it. I feel it's one of the best insurance policies you can have on your horse.
    Oh, and I have an easy keeping appy AND a thoroughbred. I feed hay quality based on the easy keeper, and add alfalfa and fat supplement as needed for the TB. I choose to feed a 1st cutting timothy that only comes in at about 7% protein! They clean it up, but they don't hoover it up. It took me 4 years of trial & error to find a hay supplier with the exact quality of hay I needed.
    Cindy



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2007
    Location
    Zone IV/Area III
    Posts
    1,209

    Default

    I have 2 horses boarded at different facilities. To prevent running out or being without hay for an extended time, I use extended day freedom feeders. Definitely doesn't guarantee that there will be hay in the morning especially depending on how many flakes are given. But they both like them and they are the easiest nets I have used.

    I personally don't think horses should be without hay for more than 4 hours. I try to keep grass/hay in front of my ulcer prone horse 24-7.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,934

    Default

    Maybe a few hours, but preferably none. We feed alfalfa mix four times per day, but all horses have all the grass hay they can eat put into big slow feed nets for the times in between their regular feedings. Horses simply are not designed to have empty stomachs, they should always be able to nibble/forage in order to maintain gut health. Most horses do not get fat on this system and quite frankly, a bit of chub is a lot less detrimental than ulcers and colic.
    www.svhanoverians.com

    "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.



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