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picky hay eater

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  • picky hay eater

    I have a hanoverian mare that is a very picky hay eater and always drops weight in the winter. She is on good quality hay and gets fresh hay daily. Any suggestions on how to get her to eat more hay?

  • #2
    This would get lots of responses in the "Horse Care" forum... That said, alfalfa pellets have worked well for me with some that lost weight in the winter. One must be careful though... Sometimes pellets can cause choke. One of mine had to have his pellets soaked in warm water first to soften them up and avoid choke.

    I love to visit the "Horse Care" forum. There is a lot of traffic there.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks Carol!!


      • #4
        I add in alfalfa cubes - I like them better because they provide the long fibers which pellets don't. They also have hay cubes which might work well. I also soak them
        Epona Farm
        Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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        • #5
          My mare is exactly the same way. She gets albs of dengie in the morning and 4 quarts of beet pulp at night in addition to her hay and grain and she is now maintaining a nice weight. Before I added those things she was always struggling with her weight.


          • #6
            My retired guy is the same way. He will eat some of his hay but not enough to keep a good amount of weight on. I now give him a flake of hay twice a day and I feed him about three lbs of soaked beet pulp mixed with about 1lb of senior feed and 1lb of cob at each feeding. I also give him a calorie supplement called Cool Calories 100. http://www.smartpakequine.com/cool-c...x?cm_vc=Search

            This plan has worked extremely well for adding bulk and then maintaining his weight. I haven't had a major dip in weight for at least 2 years on the above regimen. That said I have been looking for a replacement for the cob as I'm sure there's something better I could be feeding. I just haven't figured out what I'm going to switch too yet.


            • #7
              Have you tried letting her go hungry? Short feed her for a couple weeks.

              My big mare was a bit indifferent toward eating and was always hard to put weight on. When I bought her, the first barn I kept her at was a bit chintzy on the hay, and the fields certainly weren't what she was accustomed to. Within a couple weeks, she was reaching over the dutch door and anything within reach of her giraffe neck was fair game. After a month there, she developed a whole new outlook about eating, and she will eat just about anything now.
              Visit my Spoonflower shop


              • #8
                Originally posted by red mares View Post
                Have you tried letting her go hungry? Short feed her for a couple weeks.
                After a month there, she developed a whole new outlook about eating, and she will eat just about anything now.
                I agree that this works for some, but FP would rather starve than eat hay that is not to his standard.

                Fabrege check her teeth/jaw for any soreness (hay is alot more chewing than grass), rule out ulcers, closely examine the hay for stalk/leaf composition - try her on some different hays if possible.
                It may also be stress: if she's not on as much turnout, she may just quietly fret the lbs off.


                • #9
                  I don't have to deal with the extreme cold that some of you guys have up north. But, what I have noticed is that hay consumption and water consumption seem to be correlated. Maybe if your mare would get warmer water to drink in the winter, she would eat more hay.


                  • #10
                    One that I knew did best with alternating options, some days alfalfa, some timothy, some different grass hay, some peanut, etc. He would at least try a bit of the "new" stuff each time it was put down.
                    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!