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Raised feed, now mare eats less hay ... scratching head.

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  • Raised feed, now mare eats less hay ... scratching head.

    With my old trainer, my mare ate 1/2 scoop Triple Crown light twice a day and probably five flakes of hay a day, no turnout. On that, she had a hay belly, and a moderate topline but was ALWAYS hungry. She came home for the winter, and I switched to Progressive hay balancer with oats, and about the same hay. As it was cold, I kept throwing her hay - as much as she seemed to want. She lost her topline because at the time I had no place to exercise her. By the spring, she was pretty thin.

    I took her to a third trainer in the Spring for conditioning and he switched her to Safe Choice at about 1.25 scoops 2x a day. When she came home, much more muscled and on a definite upswing, I kept her at about 1 scoop Safe Choice, and added .25 scoops Triple Crown Senior along with DAC oil and a joint supplement with flaxseed oil and biotin.

    Anyway, NOW she's leaving hay! I do turn her out to graze, but the pasture is not lush by any means. It's more to keep her moving and busy. But to leave hay go to waste? This mare has NEVER done that in the four years I've owned her. What's the change? Any ideas?

  • #2
    Well, on no turnout she wasn't spending calories walking around to graze, so it probably didn't take much to keep her at a decent weight.

    How much grass does she have access to graze on throughout the day? Mine are on all grass, they won't touch hay unless its early in the year when the grass isn't very fibrous. If she is eating grass, she isn't likely to turn to hay.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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    • #3
      Too many variables to even guess what exactly is the reason.

      I vote she simply prefers the grass nubs to the hay you are offering so the hay gets left behind. Nothing nefarious. Just grass is yummier than whatever hay you have and she is not thinking she is starving so no reason to eat the hay.

      Is she maintaining her weight?

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        It could be she prefers the grass! There's a decent amount of grass there, but it is not lush. She is maintaining her weight, and I'm working on enough exercise to increase that topline. At 17, it is a slow build. I bought some alfalfa cubes just now to supplement a lunch treat. Guarantee she will eat that! At least the hay belly has not come back. Except for the less than full topline she's looking pretty nice with a very shiny coat.

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        • #5
          It sounds like she's just happier to eat the grass rather than the hay.
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            GOOD - because grass is cheaper than hay!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
              Too many variables to even guess what exactly is the reason.

              I vote she simply prefers the grass nubs to the hay you are offering so the hay gets left behind. Nothing nefarious. Just grass is yummier than whatever hay you have and she is not thinking she is starving so no reason to eat the hay.

              Is she maintaining her weight?
              I agree 100%. I have to be careful moving my TB mare to pasture because she will refuse 90% of hay after that, no matter how hungry she gets. Right now they are only on about 4 hours of pasture because her herdmates are fatties...she isn't willing to eat much hay and pines away looking at the pasture instead. And, unfortunately, all my 2012 hay that is left isn't fabulous - it's a late 1st cut and is coarse and stemmy. (Perfect for fatties, IR pony and minis...) but not TBs. I've upped her feed a bit until 2013 hay comes in...but will soon increase her pasture time which will help a lot.

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