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Managing Grain Feeding

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  • Managing Grain Feeding

    Does anybody use a color-coded or similar system to organize grain feeding for larger barns with multiple paddocks? By larger I mean more than, say, 20 horses. I'm doing this now for my trainer and would like to hear other people's ways of doing this. I don't do the feeding myself, but volunteered to keep track of grain supplies and labeling buckets for each horse.
    Yes, I am crazy. Is that an issue?

  • #2
    When I was assisting at my friend's barn, we had about 15 horses in stalls and another 15 in paddocks.

    We used something like these: http://www.zesco.com/Poly-White-4-Qu...-pz117D401.htm

    each horse had its own and it was permenant markered with the following for example:

    chestnut gelding with blaze
    **1qt Senior
    1 smartpak

    **I fed by the lb but convert it to qts for easy measuring by the working students. Feeding by the lb also helps with managing reorders.

    Everything was also repeated on a white board in the feed room.

    I think the key to a well managed feeding program also is that if you ever got in a bind and needed someone to feed who doesn't know scarlet the chestnut show pony from scarlet the chestnut lesson pony, they would be able to follow your system smoothly.


    • #3
      In two of the boarding barns I've been in, a bucket system was used. Each horse had a bucket (in one, they were colored, in one they were black, with lids) which were set up in the feed room each AM/PM. Horse name was listed on each, all feed was listed on white board and on stall cards. Hay was also listed on each board/card. This worked quite well. Although I only have 2 horses, I use the bucket/board system, too. That way, anyone can feed. My boys are color coordinated: one is all green, one is blue. I even set up hay in muck buckets--AM and PM, that match the color of the feed buckets. I stack the grain buckets in the rubber maid tubs that house the grain. Even Mr. CC can feed safely, easily and quickly
      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


      • #4
        One barn I rode at had a numbered bucket system. Each stall had a number over the door, and there was a bucket witha numbered tag in the feed room to match. A white board in the tack room had the stall #, horse's name & color, and the feed info.

        It worked out really well, because if they moved a horse, they could quickly just change the stall # on the board for that horse.

        I only have 2, but I do up their next feed after each feeding in color coordinnated 8 qt buckets and store them in the feed bin, so that in an emergency, anyone can run out to the barn and know to dump the green bucket for Rico and the blue one for Inky.
        Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
        Witherun Farm


        • Original Poster

          Ksetrider, how did you handle supplements? That's what I find hardest to deal with. Horse goes on Calm & Cool for the show season, then off, or horse gets Chaffhaye or beet pulp until it's bulked up, then no more. I keep having to change labels. We have about 50 horses, so there's always something going on.

          Edited to add, we do have a whiteboard, but with 50 horses and constant changes (horses will move paddocks too), it's really impossible to keep up. Barn owner just doesn't have the time, and the working students are, well, kids. I dream of a magnetized map of the paddocks with 50 magnets that I could move as needed . . but then they'd really be looking at me strangely.
          Last edited by Bobblehead; Dec. 16, 2010, 04:10 PM.
          Yes, I am crazy. Is that an issue?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bobblehead View Post
            Ksetrider, how did you handle supplements? That's what I find hardest to deal with. Horse goes on Calm & Cool for the show season, then off, or horse gets Chaffhaye or beet pulp until it's bulked up, then no more. I keep having to change labels. We have about 50 horses, so there's always something going on.

            Edited to add, we do have a whiteboard, but with 50 horses and constant changes (horses will move paddocks too), it's really impossible to keep up. Barn owner just doesn't have the time, and the working students are, well, kids. I dream of a magnetized map of the paddocks with 50 magnets that I could move as needed . . but then they'd really be looking at me strangely.
            Aaaah welcome to running a barn!!! I suppose thats what distinguishes the good BMs from the not so good ones. Just note any change immediately. Don't wait. You'll either forget or will have too many changes to make at once. If Boarder A says "stop Calm and Cool" now. Erase it from the board and throw out (or store) the remaining container immediately. Done. It does sound daunting with 50 horses but if you stay organized and on top of things, you'll eventually get into a routine and it will be easy. Always, always have it written down so WSs can just follow instructions. Before you know it you'll have all 50 horses memorized. Lol.

            Another supp thought is to encourage any owner that feeds more than 1 supp to use Smartpak or PPPs.

            If you are involved in making decisions, divide the herd into "groups" either alphabetically or by stall section. A different day each week one group should be assessed regarding weight changes and/or supp changes and it should be noted. Again, getting into a routine of doing this will make it easier and less time consuming. (also a good time to administer Adequan/Legend shots)

            Put everything on a computer spreadsheet too. If you set it up correctly, it can also tell you how much of each feed the entire barn consumes. Makes for bulk ordering easier! Never run out and also save money from not overordering.