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How Many Flakes Overnight for Average Horse

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  • How Many Flakes Overnight for Average Horse

    I'm switching over from round bales to square bales, so I'm curious about how many flakes (on average) that you put out overnight for your horse. (realizing of course that horses and flakes differ).

    I've been experimenting and on average it seems like its around 5 or 6 flakes is the right amount. Sometimes there is still some waste and sometimes its all gone. This is for about 12 hours - say 7pm to 7 am.

    I don't want to waste hay and I also don't want my horse standing around with nothing to eat.

    thanks.

  • #2
    Due to the hay shortage, we feed approximately 16 lbs. of hay a day per head of horse...no more, no less...we use square bales, and weigh the flakes...not too worried about them standing around with nothing to do...they're good at that

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    • #3
      Too many variables to give one easy answer.

      It sounds like you have experimented and found an answer that works for yours that makes you happy.

      My easy keepers get their hay weighed and like Azul they get approximately 16lbs per day (not because of the hay shortage though, because they are fat and do not need anymore than that).

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      • #4
        You might also want to try a slow feeder. If I just put hay in my regular hay racks they gobble it quickly and stand part of the night with nothing. The nibble nets slow them and stretch it through the night better. I have a hard keeper, a an easy keeper and an average keeper so each gets different amounts.

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        • #5
          Weigh the hay and portion it out to approx. 2% of the body weight of each horse and feed the largest portion at night.

          Feeding by flakes isn't a good idea simply because of the variance of each flake - even in the same bale, you can find some that are awful light. That said, you will eventually learn to weigh by feel rather than an actual scale.

          FWIW, even the old timers fed by weight - they would eyeball then lift the hay, and decide it was too much or not enough. I learned long ago to figure out what 10 pounds or 15 or whatever feels like on the end of my hay fork; if the load is unwieldy to lift, I know it is too much by far.
          Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

          Member: Incredible Invisbles

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          • #6
            We use nibble nets at the barn. THey are good because they make the hay last longer and it helps make sure that everyone in the co-op barn feeds the same amount.

            I aim for 2% of my horse's weight/day (about 24 lbs), but he's a hard keeper who is prone to ulcers. You might be able to feed less than that if your horse is already round.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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            • #7
              20 to 30 lbs a day depending on the weather-however many flakes that is.

              Alfalfa hay, it was about 2 flakes.

              Grass hay, it's about 4 flakes.

              Mix hay is somewhere in between.
              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

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              • #8
                Can I assume you are talking about a horse stalled overnight or out on a drylot?

                My horses are out 24/7 with access to their stalls & pasture.

                About 9P I do a bedcheck and give each a last flake or part flake of hay according to weight.
                1300# WB gets a ~10# flake, 500# pony gets about 1/3 of the same.

                If pasture is still halfway decent that hay may still be there in the morning.
                When there's scant or no pasture that hay is usually gone.
                Depending on how cold the night is, I may also up the last feed a bit - maybe 15# for the Big Guy and an entire 10# flake for the pony.

                I'd rather waste some hay than have them w/o something to keep the furnaces stoked overnight.
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                • #9
                  love my CinchChix small hole hay nets. No waste.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AzulBlue View Post
                    Due to the hay shortage, we feed approximately 16 lbs. of hay a day per head of horse...no more, no less...we use square bales, and weigh the flakes...not too worried about them standing around with nothing to do...they're good at that
                    This - we feed by weight, not volume. Ours get between 15-20 pounds per day plus a grain mixture. That roughly translates to 2-3 flakes, twice a day, per average sized horse. With 4 horses, 2 ponies and a yearling donkey we are going through approximately 2 50-60 pound bales per day right now. 5-6 flakes twice a day would be 3/4 of a bale per day per horse - or 40-45 pounds!

                    In the winter, when they are on free choice round bales, they averaged closer to 30 pounds per day per horse.
                    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                    ~ Maya Angelou

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sk_pacer View Post
                      FWIW, even the old timers fed by weight - they would eyeball then lift the hay, and decide it was too much or not enough. I learned long ago to figure out what 10 pounds or 15 or whatever feels like on the end of my hay fork; if the load is unwieldy to lift, I know it is too much by far.
                      Every now and then I check my "weigh by feel" feeler at the grocery story LOL ... pick up a 6-8 pound watermelon, or a 5 pound bag of flour ... just to make sure I'm not underfeeding
                      If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                      ~ Maya Angelou

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tif_Ann View Post
                        Every now and then I check my "weigh by feel" feeler at the grocery story LOL ... pick up a 6-8 pound watermelon, or a 5 pound bag of flour ... just to make sure I'm not underfeeding
                        I lift roasts if I feel my 'lifter' is off - picking up a club pack of beef (several roasts/steaks), hefting it, sighing and putting it back isn't odd behaviour at all since the price of beef is prohibitive.
                        Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                        Member: Incredible Invisbles

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                        • #13
                          My two year old gets one flake of alfalfa and two of grass hay. I think she has it gone in the first hour. But I don't think the BO really wants to mess with nibble nets. She is in from 8:30 PM until 7AM or so.

                          My OTTBs got at least four flakes mixed hay in a stall at night. Much harder keepers.

                          But I agree, you need to weigh it. Or practice at the grocery store, lol!
                          DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                          • #14
                            I am semi-self care at my barn, which means I clean Horsie's stall every day. I have a Nibblenet for him (9" size), which I top off every time I'm out, evne though the barn staff do the hay/grain/water.

                            I don't know weights, but I can jam at least 1/4 bale in the thing if it's empty (5-6 flakes give or take, depending on the bale) and it pretty much lasts him overnight, from 6p-7a. Horse is a 16.2hh TB who can pack it in with the best of them, LOL...

                            ETA, the Nibblenets can be a wee pain to fill, at least if you stuff them to bursting (like I do). If you're just putting in 3 flakes, it only takes a couple seconds. Sure, it's not as easy as tossing a couple flakes on the floor, but what it costs in time, IMO it more than makes up for it in saved hay expenses and cleaning time!
                            *friend of bar.ka

                            "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

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                            • #15
                              Just having the one I generally go by feel myself. Right now he's getting approximately four flakes of alfalfa twice a day. They're skinny flakes, but heavy. Fluffier stuff I jam a little more in the feeder. Heavier stuff I might mix a little old grass hay in behind.
                              It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

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                              • #16
                                I feed depending on how my horses look. They are out from about 8am until about 7pm at night and then in a dry lot at night. How much they get at night is variable depending on how good my grass looks and how well they are maintaining their weight.

                                However, between the current 3 horses and one pony, there are only 3 large flakes going out between them (prob equivalent to about 6 regular flakes) and everyone is still looking good (fat even). However, we still have a decent amount of grass. I have no problem with the horses standing around doing nothing at night.

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                                • #17
                                  Currently 4 flakes per horse at night, since that is all they will eat. In the middle of winter, they will eat a bale of hay per horse, per 24 hours.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by AKB View Post
                                    Currently 4 flakes per horse at night, since that is all they will eat. In the middle of winter, they will eat a bale of hay per horse, per 24 hours.
                                    I can't imagine your feedbill in the winter. You must have either massive horses or very small bales though. Our bales run around 60-65lbs in weight so you'd have to have a 3,000lb horse to go through one of our bales every day.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Kate66 View Post
                                      I can't imagine your feedbill in the winter. You must have either massive horses or very small bales though. Our bales run around 60-65lbs in weight so you'd have to have a 3,000lb horse to go through one of our bales every day.
                                      Last year my horses were easily eating 45-50lb grass hay each per day, and still looking for more. I would throw out one bale in the morning and one bale at night (I have two horses).

                                      Admittedly, they came out of winter a bit fat, but it's hard to deny them when it's -30.
                                      Jigga:
                                      Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

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                                      • #20
                                        Mine will eat a 65 pound bale of alfalfa per day in the winter, plus concentrates, and he's 16.2 and not a draft. Lucky me!
                                        It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

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