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

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

    I have approximately 250 bales of hay in my barn, and my horses WILL.NOT.EAT.IT! It doesn't smell of mold, it is a touch dusty, but otherwise seems ok. Some of it is my own, from my field. It got rained on prior to being baled... but was completely dry when baled, so it's not the highest nutrient value hay, but I am at a loss as to what to do. I have all this hay... they won't touch it. Luckily, I do have around 100 bales of Timothy that they'll eat, but that's it... not enough to get me til spring. Should I be taking a wait and see approach with it, or are hay cubes in my future? I can't find any hay around these parts... started looking towards other states, etc.

    Any suggestions???
    ******
    Shadow Dancer 2/17/91-12/23/10 - My Horse, My Heart <3

  • #2
    If you are 150% positive it is Ok to eat.

    They will eat it....when they are hungry enough.

    If you are feeding the timothy with it, of course they are going to leave it sit.

    Before you are completely out of hay, I would either cut the timothy out or feed only the stuff they don’t like or cut back on the timothy and start supplementing with pellets now.

    I faced the same conundrum, perfectly good hay, they just wouldn’t eat it. Thankfully, I have the option and enough of it, to feed the stuff they like.


    Horses are smart though, just because you think it is good hay, does not mean it is......

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      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.
      ******
      Shadow Dancer 2/17/91-12/23/10 - My Horse, My Heart <3

      Comment


      • #4
        Not to sound like a bad Horse Mom, but I've made the observation that hay they left in their stalls in the am is now vanishing on these last few cold nights..

        Poor chubby babies are just desperate.

        Soo-, I would suggest, before you run out of timothy, withhold it for as long as your nerves can stand it. Be brave, make it 2-3 days. If they still don't touch your home grown , you have at least bought yourself a little time to decide what to do. I suspect it is just lower in sugars, and not as tasty. If you are worried about vitamin content, add a little supplement.

        I have noticed that even stale bread tastes wonderful if I'm hungry enough.
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment


        • #5
          My horses are currently being introduced to a batch of hay they don't find as palatable too. There is nothing wrong with it, its clean and fresh and green, but its a later cutting than what they are currently eating, and they just don't like it as much.

          Well, thats tough cookies for them as I have 3 mo worth of this perfectly nice hay and they're going to have to learn to appreciate it.

          As long as they have enough to eat of the hay they like, they will keep refusing the hay they don't, so I am just slowly weaning them off the old and insisting they eat the new. I fully expect pouting for at least a week, but they will get over it.

          To help change their minds, I shake a flake of the old out with a flake of the new so its all mixed up. They do sort through and pick their favorite, but its a nice boredom buster too.

          Luckily for me my horses are chubby so if they pout and loose a few pounds I'll be doing the happy dance anyhow.
          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've had the same problem. The first bales I bought were from an earlier cutting, they liked it but my mare had a round of gas colic on it so I took it away, and I'm terrified to feed it. It's just stacked up in a corner. The last bales I bought were from a last cutting and they turned their noses up. I know it's good b/c it's the same supplier that my trainer buys from, and it gets eaten no problem at their place. There's no mold or dust, they just don't like it.

            I've discovered if I have to stall them due to weather they'll eat it since they have no other options. Luckily they are both on a complete senior feed, alfalfa pellets and have 24/7 pasture. But I really, really wish they would just eat the darn hay!

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a small place, so I can't store much at a time and the place I buy from gets from different places....so in some deliveries the quality is a little lower....they won't flat out refuse it...but they will stand and stare at us for a bit when we first put it down ......the way I deal with it is is I walk away lol......eventually they stop giving me the stinkeye and go eat.

              Comment


              • #8
                My guys have been inhaling my dusty, ugly hay, and begrudgingly eating the pretty, fresh hay
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                  Not to sound like a bad Horse Mom, but I've made the observation that hay they left in their stalls in the am is now vanishing on these last few cold nights..

                  Poor chubby babies are just desperate.
                  I have made the same observation during this cold snap. I would rather eat Capt. Crunch than Cheerios and I suppose my horses feel the same way.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Often: "dusty"= mold spores

                    If you look reeeeally closely in good light you can sometimes see the fine sporangiophores that look like little hairs.

                    But otherwise, if you're sure it's not mold, I also condone the "tough love" treatment.
                    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm in the same situation. Had 250 bales delivered from the field in the summer and my guys wont touch it. Im selling it back to the farmer to sell for mulch hay. It looks good and smells good but if my guys turn their noses up at it, I trust their instincts and hay judging capabilities over mine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JB View Post
                          My guys have been inhaling my dusty, ugly hay, and begrudgingly eating the pretty, fresh hay

                          I'm in a similar boat! I have a lovely, 2nd cut horse pasture mix that is just gorgeous hay.

                          What is everyone pining over? The rough, IR-friendly hay that I got tested...it's literally nothing but fiber, it's something like 4%NSC (and a life saver for my IR mare, for that reason!). I am unsure what the hay for this year will test like, and I do not have anything else in my lofts suitable for this mare to eat unsoaked, and so I am carefully doling this out to her in her separate paddock.

                          The geldings, who get to eat the delicious second cut, stand by the fence line so that any little wisp of this crap hay that blows under the fence, they can hoover up.

                          HORSES!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post
                            If all horses are turning their noses up at the hay, it's crap hay.
                            You can't say that as a blanket statement. Horses who are used to wonderful, sweet smelling, high sugar hay, may ALL turn their noses up at low sugar hay that is still quality hay, just not horse crack.
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Maybe wet it down a little?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Finally the correct answer, if they won't eat it its because its no good, worthless straw at best and dangerous at worst. Just because someone else bought from the same farmer says nothing about your hay as every field is different and the time of harvest makes all the difference.
                                ANY hay that was rained on after it was cut is going to mold and is cow hay and not horse hay.
                                Trust your horses . I also have brought home what looked to me like beautiful hay only to get that "are you nuts" look from the horses when I put it out. If you haven't had it tested then you have no idea of whats in the hay.
                                Bottom line send it back to the dealer/farmers and get some good hay that they can eat.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Texarkana View Post
                                  Often: "dusty"= mold spores

                                  If you look reeeeally closely in good light you can sometimes see the fine sporangiophores that look like little hairs.

                                  But otherwise, if you're sure it's not mold, I also condone the "tough love" treatment.
                                  Dusty is always mold. Don't feed it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    i feel your pain. early summer i got a load of delicious looking hay. apparently, not soo delicious to them. turns out there were 3 kinds and i had to figure out which bales they hoovered and which bales became pee pads. they LOVED the 2nd cut orchard and so i had my hay guy take away the 2nd cut timothy and the other stuff and he said he would replace with the orchard. a couple of weeks later (while i wasn't home) he dropped off 60 bales of TIMOTHY not orchard. sigh. luckily, my neighbor's horses loved the timothy and so i sold it to her. since i was still in need of 'edible' hay, i got a smallish load of 'orchardish' type hay. first few days were, nibble nibble, stare at me, nibble. just yesterday, i basically said to them 'tough patootie, do you know how many sad hungry horses would love to have ANY sort of hay?' well, wouldn't you know it, they scarfed down last night, this am and lunch hay with gusto.
                                    brats.
                                    R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
                                    36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever
                                    5/5/75-7/5/11

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'm so lucky, the majority of my horses will hoover up anything you put in front of them. Except orchardgrass. I have a few that will NOT touch orchardgrass, even if they're stall bound and have NOTHING else for several days. They simply will NOT touch it. I've found that all of them prefer fescue. I get grass hay, and they like that okay, but prefer the fescue. I feed quality round bales and they eat every last strand, it's fabulous. no waste whatsoever. I know most people probably think feeding round bales to horses is bad, but it's worked great for me so far, and I've been feeding round bales for almost four years. The waste was the worst thing EVER until we built round bale feeders into our fences and put the round bales in nylon nets made specifically for the round bales!! now I just love it - zero waste whatsoever, and they're busy 24/7 - the ones that used to chew on fences or pick on each other now no longer do. Since we started using the round bale nets, our number of broken boards between paddocks has gone from about 10 per week down to about one per month, if that. HUGE change!!! LOVE my round bale nets!!!!
                                      Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                                      Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by walkers60 View Post
                                        Finally the correct answer, if they won't eat it its because its no good, worthless straw at best and dangerous at worst. Just because someone else bought from the same farmer says nothing about your hay as every field is different and the time of harvest makes all the difference.
                                        ANY hay that was rained on after it was cut is going to mold and is cow hay and not horse hay.
                                        Trust your horses . I also have brought home what looked to me like beautiful hay only to get that "are you nuts" look from the horses when I put it out. If you haven't had it tested then you have no idea of whats in the hay.
                                        Bottom line send it back to the dealer/farmers and get some good hay that they can eat.
                                        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)

                                        Comment

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