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Horse stopped eating hay

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  • Horse stopped eating hay

    My horse somehow managed to break 4 bones along his wither in his spine and needs stall rest. It's been about a week so far. He wasn't eating grain only hay at first. Now we have him on ulcergaurd and seems to be eating grain better now he just picks at his hay. I maybe went thru a bale in past week! He picks thru it like he's looking for somethin better.

    He has always been picky w hay I bought this thinking he would eat it. And he has been on and off with it. Most days he is turned out from 8-6pm so I think he comes in hungry and of
    Course eats it. But now that he's in he doesn't seem to like it. It's orchard grass green smells nice no mold. Im not sure if I should sell it find something else or try limiting how much he gets so he learns to eat it? Could I wet it down with anything? Teeth were done this past summer

  • #2
    Could you try something like soaked hay cubes, or a complete feed that doesn't require him to have hay?

    In general, when my little Hay Hoover won't eat her hay, there's something wrong with it...
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


    • #3
      You could try a bagged forage; http://www.triplecrownfeed.com/forag...orsefeedbrands
      These are fortified, consistent, and taste good. They can be used as a complete feed also.
      ... _. ._ .._. .._


      • Original Poster

        hes been getting some alalfa pellets now - but I really want him to eat his hay. He had no problem eating 3-4 flakes at night while he was in before. Now hes in and he just picks. I hate it.

        I bought about 70 bales and only used about 10 this month so far idk what else to do - I guess I could sell and find better but hes so picky! I think he knows he'll get better hay/treats/mash if he just picks.

        I am going to start off with just one flake and thats all he has till its gone - maybe he's knows the hay isn't going anywhere. OR all the meds are giving him loss of appetite?


        • #5
          Is it hard for him to reach the hay? Maybe his withers hurt and he would be more comfortable if you raised the hay in a hay net. I would try giving him forage/Dengie and soaked alfalfa cubes until you figure out the problem. If he doesn't eat his hay or a hay substitute, he puts himself at risk for colic. Check his temperature to be sure he isn't ill. I would also call the vet tomorrow if he isn't eating well.


          • #6
            If he is in pain or if it is painful for him to bend down to eat that may be his problem. I have been dealing with 2 horses that recently stopped eating their hay. One had a tooth problem that is now fixed and the other hurt a tendon. Both needed pain meds to get them thru. They are both eating well now. You may have to treat for ulcers and give pain meds. I would think you might need to do some adequan as well. Good luck to you I hope it all turns out ok.


            • Original Poster

              thanks! Yes everything is raised high for him to reach but just come to find it all pulled out and peed on. He ate it fine before stall rest.

              He went off his grain for about 2 days, and now he seems to be doing OK w that now hes off his hay.

              Hes getting a dose of GG daily, bute, and antibiotics for having a cough n stuffy nose.

              Last night he was actually trying to eat his neighbors hay thru the stall so its like he all of the sudden hates his hay. I am hoping hes just been bored with the flavor - I was going to try to spray some apple juice on it see if that helps.


              • #8
                I also think you need to elevate the hay in a hay net. Painful to lower head with broken bones in wither and spine.
                "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"


                • Original Poster

                  I have hay both in a rack thats chest height and a net thats pretty high up. I might get a second opinion on his teeth just in case but since hes eating other peoples hay could be just pickiness.


                  • #10
                    Could you get some alfalfa hay and mix the alfalfa hay in the orchard to make it more interesting? I got a mare back from a (really bad) lease late last year where she was only eating straight alf. She would NOT touch my orchard grass (I feed free choice orchard, babies get alfalfa hay as well, adults get some alfalfa pellets). I had to mix the two hays, and slowly but surely she transitioned to straight orchard. Just an idea.
                    Making Your Ambitions a Reality at Secret Ambition Stables.
                    Quality Welsh Ponies and Welsh Crosses bred for sport
                    Facebook Page.
                    Section A and Section B Welsh Ponies at stud


                    • #11
                      Just curious, what kind of and how much grain is he getting


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nativehiro View Post
                        I am going to start off with just one flake and thats all he has till its gone - maybe he's knows the hay isn't going anywhere. OR all the meds are giving him loss of appetite?
                        Horse seem to prefer "fresh" hay, as in hay that hasn't been sitting out/ picked at.... so maybe instead of giving him 1 flake and that is it before giving him more hay, give him a 1/4- 1/2 flake at a time and then when he finishes that give him a little more.


                        • #13
                          Since it is ending up left on the floor is it possible he is pulling it out to eat it then it falls on the floor but it is too painful for him to get it off the floor to finish it? If so maybe a smaller hole hay net so he can't pull out much out at one time so that it mainly stays within easy reach.


                          • Original Poster

                            Hes on SS Legends performance, he gets about 8lbs a day but I want to back that off if hes in and not in work but he needs weight.



                            • #15
                              IME antibiotics can mess with a horse's appetite. My mare wasn't crazy about eating her hay when she was on antibiotics.

                              I'd try some chopped forage which might be more appetizing and then try the hay again when the antibiotics are through.


                              • #16
                                Parasites? Some horses show reduced hay intake with a high FEC.


                                • #17
                                  My horses will all do this. It seems like they get sick of the hay they are eating. Bermuda is the most common down here and they just get tired of it no matter how nice it is and they will waste 3/4s of the flake. They really won't eat it now so I've switch them to rye about 2 months ago and they are eating every bit and not wasting a drop but give them the Bermuda and they won't touch it. They will get bored with the rye eventually and I'll go back to Bermuda and they'll gobble it up again. Maybe try to get some different kinds and see what he likes right now. Maybe a Timothy hay, mine love that but it's hard to find down here and if you do it's 20+ a bale and that gets really expensive feeding 4 since they will eat over a bale a day lol. Try rye or alfalfa orchid mix etc.
                                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                                  • #18
                                    Simply being in pain will reduce a horse's appetite. Maybe he needs something stronger than bute?

                                    You also said he has a cough and stuffy nose, which sounds like he's sick too? if so, that could easily be the cause of his decrease in appetite as he fights off the infection.


                                    • #19
                                      If I read this correctly your horse lost interest in his hay following his accident. If so I wouldn't point towards the hay as being issue if he was eating it fine before the accident. I'd investigate pain and medication issues first.


                                      • #20
                                        It could simply be that he's getting enough calories in his grain.
                                        Possum has a very well developed sense of weight control (there's a word for this, but I can't remember it at the moment). If you feed him too much grain, he simply cuts back on eating hay. With him, you can't simply feed more grain to fatten him up.
                                        I'll tell you, it's very hard to cut a horse's grain in order to 'fatten' him up. I watch his manure piles to tell me if I'm over graining him. If the piles get small, I cut back his grain.
                                        The only way you can fatten Possum is to feed a more palatable forage - fresh grass or alfalfa work. I've finally learned to accept that this horse will always be a 5 on the weight scale (unless the grass is lush). It's not a bad thing.

                                        A horse on stall rest may only need a handful of grain, if that.