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Help!! Horses won't eat the hay! :(

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  • #21
    Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post
    I realize I'm in the very slim minority with my opinion, but I would never resort to the 'tough love' thing when it comes to hay. If all horses are turning their noses up at the hay, it's crap hay. Sure, if they have nothing, they would probably eat anything. Is that how we want to treat the animals we love?
    I guess I should toss out my whole barn full of hay then.

    I recently purchased round bales from a different farmer. These round bales are clearly horse crack type hay, aka it has some alfalfa in it, versus the straight timothy that the square bales in the barn are (and their previous round bales were).
    This whole week (first new round bale) my horses come in at night and look at their square bale hay and give me the evil stink eye. They are eating about 1/4 of the hay they normally would in their stalls over night. (But running out to that round bale every morning like a kid on Christmas morning running to their presents.)
    Using your theory suddenly the hay that has been fine all along is now bad hay and I should just toss it out.

    Horses, like dogs, cats, kids, husbands, etc will not eat their boring food if they know there is an option for eating something better.

    I like the idea of giving them a few days of very little extra yummy hay and mainly the regular hay and see if they start eating it. I bet they will.

    Walker, rained on does not equal moldy. If the hay is properly dried prior to baling and does not mold in the field it is just fine. Clearly some hay rain = no chance of it not molding when things are just not right to be able to get it dry. But a blanket statement that rained on hay is always moldy is not accurate at all.
    Last edited by trubandloki; Jan. 29, 2013, 07:42 AM. Reason: spelling

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    • #22
      Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post
      I realize I'm in the very slim minority with my opinion, but I would never resort to the 'tough love' thing when it comes to hay. If all horses are turning their noses up at the hay, it's crap hay. Sure, if they have nothing, they would probably eat anything. Is that how we want to treat the animals we love?
      I couldn't disagree with this more. While it is certainly plausible, and surely happens often, a horse rejecting hay automatically = the hay is crap cannot be a blanket statement. No more than one can judge the nutritional value of hay just by looking at it. And I have the EA hay tests to back it up
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by alto View Post
        What does this say about the horses that eat straw?

        Or if 9/10 horses think the hay is just fine & the 10th horse refuses to eat more than 1/3 of each flake - is the 10th horse just "smarter" & more versed in determining dangerous hay quality?

        & sometime, dust is ... well ... just dust
        (as in no irrigation on that field & no rain for 2 weeks before cutting & the hay was slightly dusty)
        I agree with this a zillion percent.

        Sometimes dust really is just dust. Beautiful clean hay that has been sitting in a barn for 18 months can get dusty just from starting to break down.

        ime, mold dust is wispy like smoke when you see it, its spores not actual dust, they spores are designed to be carried on the wind so they float in a particular fashion. Dust dust is cloudy and poofy. Its very common to have dust dust even on new hay if it was cut and baled in drought conditions.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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        • #24
          Yep, sometimes dust is just dust - I can tell you the pile of brown dirt on the floor after piling my hay into the wheelbarrow (I peel off round bales) is just...dirt.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          • #25
            Just had the experience of having mold (unseen by me) in lovely looking hay. I was shown the itty bitty "hairs"on the sides of the stalks. Would never in a million years have found it - and I have been feeding, buying, stacking, hauling, cutting, turning hay for a long time. Just not familiar with whatever that mold is (someone already pointed it out). My guys (donkey no longer can have more than a handful) are usually pretty enthusiastic about hay, and my hay guy(s) are great, so when they put their noses up, I am suspicous. I buy a LOT of hay at the same time from the same guy here in montana so they are used to it and rarely say no! In Vermont, can buy it as I go and if there is mold, as there was the hay guy takes the hay right back for his cows! horses totally spoiled - if they don't eat it, it gets returned!!

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              They are getting better about eating this hay. Funny thing is, outside, they hoover it up... but in their stalls, they just look at me like, "meh". It is hay that was grown by me. Baled by me. It is not moldy. It IS a bit dusty. I think it's just breakdown of the leaves. We had drought conditions here last summer, so go figure that when half the field was down, it rained... UGH! While certainly not perfect by any stretch, this hay is OK. They just don't really want to eat it - it's like diet food... no sugar added. LOL. Like I said though, they are getting better. I have been putting a flake of the Timothy in between my grass hay in their hay nets, and they'll eat the Timothy out of there first, but by morning, the majority of the brown grass hay is gone. I talked to the guy at the feed store last weekend and he confirmed what I have been finding out... NO ONE has any hay, and if they do, it's like what I have. So, we're all in the same boat around these parts. He did say, at least what I'm feeding is good for them in a bad hay year, so that made me feel a bit better. I also started adding some Timothy pellets to their meals... not much, but a little, and added another pound of ration balancer to the chubs in the barn (went from 1/2 lb. a feeding, to 1 lb. a feeding), and that's all she gets... and seems to be doing just fine.
              ******
              Shadow Dancer 2/17/91-12/23/10 - My Horse, My Heart <3

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Liscar View Post
                They are getting better about eating this hay. Funny thing is, outside, they hoover it up... but in their stalls, they just look at me like, "meh". It is hay that was grown by me. Baled by me. It is not moldy. It IS a bit dusty. I think it's just breakdown of the leaves. We had drought conditions here last summer, so go figure that when half the field was down, it rained... UGH! While certainly not perfect by any stretch, this hay is OK. They just don't really want to eat it - it's like diet food... no sugar added. LOL. Like I said though, they are getting better. I have been putting a flake of the Timothy in between my grass hay in their hay nets, and they'll eat the Timothy out of there first, but by morning, the majority of the brown grass hay is gone. I talked to the guy at the feed store last weekend and he confirmed what I have been finding out... NO ONE has any hay, and if they do, it's like what I have. So, we're all in the same boat around these parts. He did say, at least what I'm feeding is good for them in a bad hay year, so that made me feel a bit better. I also started adding some Timothy pellets to their meals... not much, but a little, and added another pound of ration balancer to the chubs in the barn (went from 1/2 lb. a feeding, to 1 lb. a feeding), and that's all she gets... and seems to be doing just fine.
                Liscar - I don't know your hay growing techniques, but just throwing things out there for you to consider. We grow hay on our farm and sometimes all it takes is for the soil Ph balance to be off, or if you put down fertilizer, maybe it knocked off your Ph balance. This is why it is important to have your soil tested frequently, so that you know if you need to lime or fertilize. You may be doing all of this and if you are, disregard this part of my post.

                I am also of the opinion that horses should not be starved into eating hay if, I repeat, if after a reasonable amount of time they are still refusing it. We normally feed Fescue with some Coastal combined. However, years back I purchased a large load of Alicia from a well known grower here locally. The hay was beautiful and he always analyzes his hay so I knew what I was buying. I was feeding 12 horses at the time and 10 of them turned their noses up day after day after day. After two weeks, they were dropping weight and not eating it so I gave up and returned what was left of the load. I watched the grower split open a bale and throw it to his horses in the pasture and they immediately devoured it. I can't say why 10 of my horses refused it after two weeks' time, but it proved to me that horses will starve themselves if they don't like their feed.

                I make it my policy now that if I purchase hay from someone, I try to test a few bales before unloading the entire amount. I've actually never had them be that picky again, but I haven't bought Alicia hay since that time.
                Susan N.

                Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Liscar View Post
                  Ok, so if it really is not good... I should just feed 'em pellets/cubes, etc. Just have to figure out how much and how to feed it to 'em.

                  I don't really know what could be wrong with it... other than it's just not as pallitable as the other stuff. It was rained on then raked and allowed to dry, and then baled... so it's not nice and green. I figure it is the equivalent of soaked hay... maybe I'm wrong. I'm frustrated for sure.
                  How much rain? A light mist, very short rain or drizzle on still green, undried, newly cut hay is one thing. If your hay was even mildly wet after it was mostly dried it isn't tasty to most horses and you will throw away way more than they will eat. If the bales are dusty then unload them to someone as " cow hay" if you can and get some edible hay.

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