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12hr verse 24hr hay consumption differences

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  • 12hr verse 24hr hay consumption differences

    I recently closed off access to a round bale to my pony and mini during the day, so that they only have access to it for 10-12 hours over night (we had a laminitis scare that turned out to be fine). It seems to me as if they are consuming MORE hay now... I'm wondering if they tend to "binge" and consume as much if not more when access is limited verse unlimited. Anyone have experience with this? Am I better off just letting them have it all the time?
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

  • #2
    I think it would be better to let them have it 24/7..

    I learned that when introducing a small hole hay net, some horses will "binge" eat at first because they feel restricted and eat and eat and eat. once kept full all of the time, they tend to slow down and transition to eating less than when being fed free- choice. they learn that there will ALWAYS be hay, and not to worry and "binge" on it. I could be wrong, but I have found this true! I would think this would apply to your situation as well.

    Do you think you could find a round bale small holey hay net? I think cinch chix sells them. http://cinchchix.com/online-catalog.html


    • #3
      I agree with the small hole round bale net. I think it is important for mine to have hay continuously available but I agree with the need to limit intake. They all have nibble nets. Until last year I had never had one with ulcers but it changes your perspective on how you feed and handle turnout.


      • #4
        I agree with reay6790. My mare has access to a never-empty hay net. Sometimes it seems like she eats a lot, other times not so much. Fortunately she doesn't seem to overeat and I can manage her weight while letting her have unfettered access to hay. In the summer when she isn't burning as many calories to stay warm, she gets less alfalfa and more lower quality grass hay.


        • #5
          I think I actually read that there was a study that when horse/ponies were restricted in grazing time, they did graze more, like they learned that they would be taken off the grass longer. I can't remember if it was on The Horse?


          • #6
            I faintly remember an article from The Horse as well. I thought it said that when horses/ponies were restricted in grazing time that they ate the same amount as when they were not restricted. I could be wrong though and will see if I can find the article!

            ETA: I tried looking for that article but wasn't able to find it. Maybe shea'smom will have better luck?

            Originally posted by shea'smom View Post
            I think I actually read that there was a study that when horse/ponies were restricted in grazing time, they did graze more, like they learned that they would be taken off the grass longer. I can't remember if it was on The Horse?
            Last edited by Dressage.For.Life.; Jan. 9, 2013, 11:05 PM.
            Originally posted by RugBug
            Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


            • #7
              Can you increase exercise instead? We feed ad lib hay/haylage round the clock and in my experience the horses and even ponies tend to be less laminitic than horses on restricted feeding protocols. Another idea would be to add straw but obviously if you wand to mix it that's a lot of extra work...
              Exercise is the key so if at all possible I'd get them to work on a regular basis or if they are on regular work schemes already increase the impact. When our ponies get too fat I drive them twice weekly that generally takes away enough energy plus keeps them happy as they go out and see things.
              Froh zu sein bedarf es wenig...


              • #8
                Yes, it's been proven that eliminating access to a forage will mean a greater per-hour consumption when given access. I don't remember the ratios, but allowing a horse on grass for just 2 hours, for example, can result in as much grass consumption as if he was out there for 8 hours - something along those lines.

                I would MUCH rather restrict hay intake on a 24x7 basis, than try to regulate intake on an elimination basis. That's just healthier physically AND mentally
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you all for the replies - I agree, using a small hole hay net over the round bale and letting them at it 24/7 certainly sounds like the best option. When I was feeding squares (this is our first round), I always used small-hole hay nets.

                  As far as exercise - my mare is due in 6 weeks so her exercise routine is unfortunately being kept at a minimum for now (meaning I am not riding or lunging her at this point, she is still out 24/7) Once foaled, she will slowly go back into work and that should definitely help. I adopted the mini a few months ago and he is just now mastering the halter and lead rope so we will hopefully begin "work" with him in the very near future as well.

                  Thank you all again! Really appreciate it!
                  "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                  Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue