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Round Bales - Can a horse eat TOO MUCH?

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  • Round Bales - Can a horse eat TOO MUCH?

    I have always fed square bales, first cut.

    Yesterday I found some really nice first cut round bales, dry, not wrapped, stored inside. It is really nice hay, just like opening up a square bale.

    I want to try to feed round bales because my mare was recently treated for ulcers, and free choice hay is the best thing for her. Also, I'm going away for a week in March, and wanted convenience for the person doing my horse chores while I'm away.

    I picked up a bale yesterday, and put it in their paddock when I got home. By last night, they had eaten quite a bit! They are kept at my parents house, and my mom said that my gelding ate all day long, barely left the bale. My mare would eat a little and then just hang out before returning to eat more.

    Last night I put my gelding in his stall, and rationed his hay with a small hole hay net, about 10 lbs of hay is what was in the net. He had eaten that by this morning.

    My plan was to put him in his stall at night for the next few days, until he is acclimated to having a round bale at his disposal.

    He is an easy keeper, he gets Poulin MVP and at night he gets 2 cups of hay stretcher added to that and 1 scoop of U-Gard powder, the consistency of soup because I add water.

    Any thoughts on whether or not he can over-eat? I know free choice is a good thing, but he definitely hogged out on that bale!
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

  • #2
    He can't ever have too much roughage, but he can get too many calories or too much sugar. If he is not seriouly overweight or IR, I'd just wait for the novelty of an unlimited hay supply to wear off.
    Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


    • #3
      Over eat to the point of making them too fat? Yes, for sure. Even with the round bale being in a small hole hay net.


      • Original Poster

        No eating sensitivies, he's normal.

        Overeat as in, he eats so much it makes him sick.

        I put him inside last night, he didn't look quite so much like an umpa lumpa this morning
        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


        • #5
          If he does not have any eating sensitivities and it is a grass bale it is not likely he will eat until he makes himself sick.

          The umpa lumpa look though, will continue.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
            If he does not have any eating sensitivities and it is a grass bale it is not likely he will eat until he makes himself sick.

            The umpa lumpa look though, will continue.
            It is just grass hay (timothy mix). I am going to pull some handfuls out and have it tested though (as it did not come from our fields, I purchased it and it came from eastern NY).

            My mare is so good about not pigging out...she eats and then just relaxes for a bit, then eats some more. My mom said she almost called me yesterday afternoon because she looked out and my gelding was laying flat out on his side and she thought she ate himself sick. It is normal for him to lay down to nap during the day, so I don't think he had a real issue. He was normal when I did chores last night, and he was still normal this morning, so I think he was napping as usual. He wasn't showing any signs of discomfort, no kicking, rolling, or other signs of a tummy ache. Just layed flat out in the sun.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


            • #7
              Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
              I'd just wait for the novelty of an unlimited hay supply to wear off.
              I've been waiting over 4 years for that day...
              Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...


              • Original Poster


                I don't have a small hole hay net, or a round bale feeder right now. This coming summer we will put up our own bales, and I will have a SHHN and a feeder for the round bales, but for now I'm only feeding one bale, and then a week or two later, I'll buy another. Doesn't make sense to buy round bales when I have square bales that were "free" in my loft I just figured with my mare's ulcer issue and being prone to reoccurances, free choice would be best.

                Sounds like I don't have much to worry about other than him getting "fluffy" on the free choice...maybe I will continue to stall him at night with his slow feeder net to help keep his girlish figure
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                • #9
                  We have one at our farm that was eating without stopping. He was turned out with 3 others, 2 of which needed as many calories as possible and the 3rd was border line eating too much. The solution to slow him down, but not interfere with the others was to put a muzzle on him. He was used to wearing one and could still get hay into the muzzle and munch away, he just couldn't get a huge mouthful every time.

                  You could do this for daytime or night time turn out.

                  Best of luck.


                  • #10
                    Invest TODAY in a Cinch Chix Round Bale net. It will slow down their consumption to grazing speed and take waste down to about 1%. If you do a search, you'll see lotsa praise for CC Nets

                    Tell 'em "No. 73" sent ya!
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                      The umpa lumpa look though, will continue.
                      The horse I had growing up always looked like he was about to foal... People commented on it often. He wasn't overweight, just bloated.
                      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                      • #12
                        Go Choco Mare. I love my Cinch nets.


                        • Original Poster

                          I want a cinch net but its not in the budget at this point...I just spent $2500.00 on my mare with ulcers... And still owe some debt! It is on the uupcoming purchase list though!
                          "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                          • #14
                            Yes, horses can overeat and certainly make themselves obese on free choice grass hay. I have had boarders (Arabs and Saddlebreds) given access to round bales (not with a net) colic with impaction colic after a day of feasting on them and not enough water intake. None of my horses have done that, but the boarders have.

                            I like the CC nets for preventing waste but found my own horses just would stand and eat and eat and eat until they'd consumed almost as much as without the nets. They'd not forage at all but would just stand at the nets 23 hours a day eating. They also got more talented at eating through the small holes. I ended up this winter going back to forking hay over the fence as I just could not afford to let them eat freely, and it has worked. I make the rounds last as long as if I was feeding small squares by flakes that way and saved money. Yes, it's a lot more work but not as bad as I thought it would be. I fork hay to 21 horses twice a day..no biggie unless it's windy or pouring rain and then it's more of a chore.


                            • #15
                              I have two of the cinch nets. One is holding up great. The other not so much Has gotten quite a few big holes, they sent us a patch but it kept getting holes. They said they would replace it as it all happened in the first 30 days. Now they are not returning emails So big yes to the nets for saving money and slowing them down! But I am a little sad I spent almost $200 on a product rated for 5+ years that has lots of holes in it already.

                              ETA: Well they finally sent us a new cinch net. Took a little bit, but they did now honor their 90 day warrenty.
                              Last edited by Couture TB; Feb. 28, 2012, 11:36 AM.


                              • Original Poster

                                I think after this round bale I am going to go back to feeding squares anyways...the middle of the bale seemed dusty (not moldy, I checked!) enough to make my mare cough last night (after being on the bale for 24 hours). We're removing the bale and giving it to the cows.

                                Next summer we will be able ot bale our own round bales, so I'll feel more comfortable with what we put up for the winter. In the meantime, I can save some money for a cinch net!
                                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                                • Original Poster


                                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                                  • #18
                                    Mine do that with the first round bale of the year. The excitement usually wears off by the 2nd one and they slow way down.


                                    • #19
                                      My horse Kit turns into the round bale. *sigh* On the rare occasions that I do give them to them (I did try it for a winter and that is when Kit turned into the RB) Kit begins nickering and running around when she sees me rolling the bale. You can truly see the delight in her eyes. Then she proceeds to stand there and eat all day and all night. She sleeps while resting her head on her beloved round bale. She occasionally lets the other horses in for a few bites.
                                      Missouri Fox Trotters-To ride one is to own one

                                      Standardbreds, so much more then a harness racing horse.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                                        Doesn't make sense to buy round bales when I have square bales that were "free" in my loft I just figured with my mare's ulcer issue and being prone to reoccurances, free choice would be best.
                                        You can buy small hole hay nets that fit a standard square bale too.
                                        Why not do that and allow your mare access to that all day, since you have free square bales.