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Feeding Multiple Horses in Field Turnout

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  • Feeding Multiple Horses in Field Turnout

    I was wondering how one feeds two horses when they share the same paddock and there is no barn or other field etc that one could be moved into.

    And one of the horses is a Pig with a capital P.

  • #2
    Probably the easiest way is with a feedbag.

    I don't use them only because I haven't had to. I feed multiple horses in the field. Always feed the alpha first (or he'll be trying to steal the others' food) and continue in the pecking order. If they get about the same amount of feed, just space them far apart, and if they finish at about the same time, that's perfect.

    If you have a lower-ranking horse that gets more food/finishes later, if your set-up allows you could feed it on the other side of the fenceline. My property is perimeter fenced, so I can do this (and do).

    If you can't then try a feedbag. I did get one at my local feedstore, but it doesn't fit on any of my horses (their heads are too long). So make sure it can fit the horse in question.
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    • #3
      A friend of ours leaves baling twine and snaps at intervals along the fence with fence feeders, throws halters on and hooks them up until they are done. Of course, that only works if they will stand tied quietly. At my house, I normally don't have more than 2 or 3 in each pasture, so we just stand guard. Most of mine don't get fed, so we just have to keep everyone else away from whoever is eating. They learned pretty fast that they aren't allowed...but it can be exhausting and I wouldn't recommend it if you have a particularly nasty horse in the pasture.


      • #4
        always feed the invisible horse, to two. 5 horses? put out hay and grain pans for 6 or even 7. so on and so forth, It allows for rotation with less squabbles.


        • #5
          At a barn I worked at the horses got tied to the fenceline while they ate, obviously starting with the most alpha horse and working down the pecking order. They all stayed tied until the last horse finished his meal.
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          • #6
            I second the plan of feeding the "invisible" horse ~ that method works for mine when they are "mixing it up" ~ SPREAD out the feeders and add an extra two ~ and stand there and supervise and or pick their paddock while they are eating ~ they behave better when they know "MOM" is watching. Generally when they get into the routine things will smooth out or easy peasy solution = tie up the "PIG" til everyone else is done.
            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


            • #7
              I wasn't always a Smurf
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              • #8
                I use both methods depending on the field...

                Tie the quiet ones to the fence while they eat. I use a trailer bungee that will fray slowly and not snap - in case they act up and come unglued. (we're talkin oldies but goodies here- so it hasn't happened yet but just in case!).

                For the fields of babies- I use the invisible horse method! I put 2-3 extra buckets out- that way the downer always has a bucket to pick from.


                • #9
                  leave buckets out there. let's say they are red and green.

                  put the buckets at least 20' apart. Time will tell how far apart they have to be so pig doesn't fuss.

                  establish whose bucket belongs to whom by feeding pig a treat in the red bucket, then sweetboy a treat in green bucket.

                  repeat til they get it.

                  Do not change this up.

                  Feed the alpha horse first in the red bucket.Always.

                  If they eat at the same speed, just always feed alpha first and fast- don't wander in there and goof off. Get in there drop feed for pig in red bucket and move- go to the green bucket, now. dump feed.

                  If they eat at different speeds, you may need that red bucket to be a big flat feeder with big rocks in it to slow the pig. And you may need to tinker with sweetboy's feed to get his food in him, before pig gets over there. I slow my pig with a ration of alfalfa cubes to slow her down, while sweetboy gets a fat ration of sunflower seeds to up his fat intake.


                  PS unless you can ALWAYS do it, don't let anyone else feed with you to 'help'. I feed 5 and a donkey all out together in assigned bowls in a certain order and rhythm...but I'm a machine about feed this one here then that one, THEN that one, etc...if my DH tries to help they are quite confused because it's all out of order and he'll try to stop and pet one. OMG No keep moving LOL. Horses need routines and don't like them to be upset.
                  Last edited by katarine; Jun. 15, 2010, 11:07 AM.


                  • #10
                    As others have said, feed the alpha first and, if possible, tie them till done. Otherwise, you may have to stand there, armed with a long whip, trying to enforce the rules of separation. Pick a place to feed each horse and do not alter the routine or move the feeders. Feed in the same place and in the same order every time.

                    My nutty TB mare would not tie, and she was aggressively alpha over my WB mare. TB was a hard keeper, so it took her longer to eat than my airfern WB. WB never bothered the TB and would simply walk to the hay pile when her food was gone. About once a week, the TB would leave her food to try to steal from the WB's bucket - or rather, she'd spill it and stomp it into the dirt before returning to her own - so someone had to stand guard. Their buckets are nailed to trees, so they don't move. Prior to that, if the TB's bucket moved half an inch, she couldn't find it, and all hell would break loose. Moral of the story: Adopt a routine and don't change it!
                    "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


                    • #11
                      feed them seperately and tie them up to a bit of bailing twine somewhere or
                      place the feeds a good few feet apart then once they are sorted put a halter on the piggy horse and hold on to him via alead rein till the other horse has finished his dinner before you let piggy horse of the lead collect both feed bowls to the gateway - then let piggy off so no ones fighting biting etc
                      if feeding hay then do 3 piles of hay to 2 horses and amke sure theres a good distance between each pile so no kicking this way the extra pile the horse can move about with out bothering each other and they get there fair share


                      • #12
                        I saw one setup with a long flat trough and standing stalls in front of it in a corner of the pasture. Everybody would line up in their assigned stall (eventually!) and eat. Not sure they even had to be tied by the time I saw it, but they could be, or have a butt bar put up behind. Basically like standing in a 2-horse trailer with a manger.
                        ... and Patrick


                        • #13
                          I agree with everyone here, with one word of caution....if you opt to tie them, insure you tie them to something sturdy. (REALLY sturdy)

                          I routinely tied my alpha (pig) mare to the fence while my other two ate quietly and assumed that since the company had said it could withstand 2500lbs of horse it would hold her 1000lb body. I believed this until one evening I came out to untie her (15 min later) and found her still tied to the fence post, but the fence post was now 10 feet away from where it had previously been...cement block and all.

                          DH quickly installed a new steel hitching post cemented 15" in. Damn horse.
                          Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey


                          • #14


                            Greatest invention since velcro.


                            • #15
                              I use gates. Horses that get about the same amount and the same kind are fed on opposite sides of the same feeder. The submissive and those who get a lot more are through a gate in another paddock. I can do five areas with 4 feeders and each feeder has 2 sides. This is by design. When I started I broke up the sacrifice area into parts that attach to the barn so I could control all the horses without having to catch tie or lead anyone if necessary...I just open a gate or door and manage them that way. Always put the dominant or least domonant horse where it needs to be first. In my case it is the least dominant horse that needs to be settled first as I have 4 who play at dominance all the time, If they dont have anyone to push around it is peaceful.. Also I feed Progressive which is a small amount so they finish fast. No one gets more than 2 pounds. I also have one stall with a door into a paddock that I can use as another paddock. Hay is mostly in small hole hay bags and I have the same number as I have horses as they tend to pick at it through the day instead of eating all at once. Really feeding Slow hay has taken a LOT of stress out of feeding time. PatO


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RougeEmpire View Post
                                always feed the invisible horse, to two. 5 horses? put out hay and grain pans for 6 or even 7. so on and so forth, It allows for rotation with less squabbles.
                                ditto! and feed pans are spread 20' apart
                                Providence Farm


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks. My alpha is the pig, the other is an older horse with not great teeth (despite dental care) so he eats slower. Will try all the choices and see which works best for these two.


                                  • #18
                                    Agree, feed the alpha pig first, always. It will take a few days for them to understand the routine, but once they do, life is a zillion times easier. Also, since your other horse eats slower, maybe add some filler to the alpha's feed, beet pulp comes to mind, to slow him down and keep him happy while the other has a chance to finish his feed.


                                    • #19
                                      Feedbags. Hands down.
                                      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                                      • #20
                                        Most of your supply stores sell the round pen panels that are easy to put up for a feed pen that you can take down or move around as needed, we only needed 4 panels to make one so the cost was about $150.00.