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Feeding horses at home - when working full time?

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  • Feeding horses at home - when working full time?

    Hi Gang,

    We just closed on our 4 acre horse ranch and are very excited! Yippee!

    Thought I'd ask those of you that WORK FULL TIME ......how do you feed your horses? (without hired help)

    What is your schedule? I worry about them going so long between feedings.

    We'd be able to feed first thing in the morning, before work. (say 7am) Then as soon as we get home (6pm)

    They will be out to pasture 24/7 - but being in California - there is no real grass pasture (for feeding) It's basically a dry lot in the summer. Some grass in winter.

    So hay is basically 100% of their diet (no pasture grass)

    I was thinking of feeding just ALOT of hay in the morning serving, since I believe in 'free feeding' with good quality grass hay.

    We don't have round bales here in CA.

    What do you guys do?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    www.elainehickman.com
    **Morgans Do It All**

  • #2
    Actually - do the math. 7am - 6pm is only 11 hours; whereas 6pm to 7am is 13 hours.

    I tend to feed my horses about 12 hours apart due to work schedule - and I split the hay evenly. My horses are turned out 24/7 with access to large shelter and fresh water, which is nice b/c I only clean out shelter on weekends as they rarely use it.
    Originally posted by SmartAlex

    Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Also, one thing that has helped when feeding hay - I drop multiple flakes around pasture area - rather than just one big pile or one pile per horse. I found that my gang cleaned it up better that way and it was more equitable (as in the major piglet wasn't able to run the others off and hoover-up all the hay for himself).
      Originally posted by SmartAlex

      Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.

      Comment


      • #4
        Mine get fed at about 7.30 AM and PM. They get plenty of hay and there are some scraps left when I feed-they spend a lot of time wandering around and irritating each other, foraging for whatever, meandering back and eating some more hay, wandering off again. Works for us, and has done for 10 years.

        I think round bales have a tendency to encourage them to stand in one place and eat themselves silly, rather than pottering off for a bit of exercise and foraging.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks!

          Guess 7am and 7pm is okay?

          And yes - I actually like the idea of Paddock Paradise (Jaime Jackson) and plan to throw MULTIPLE flakes out - all over the place.

          Gets them to move around and 'hunt for food'. Also with 3 horses, you have to really spread it out so there isn't food conflict.

          Sounds like ours will lead very similar lives. Out 24/7 with shelter in pasture. No stalls

          thanks for the tips!
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
          www.elainehickman.com
          **Morgans Do It All**

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi,

            We've been feeding from home for 5 years now and it's really not that bad. We feed between 6:30 and 7:30 am and then again anywhere between 5 and 7 pm. Our vet told us specifically to vary the feeding times little by little so that you can have a comfortable window in which to feed (in case you need to stop at the store, or grab a bite to eat on your way home). He says doing it little by little will not upset your horses and they will then be accustomed to being fed in a window of time, rather than an exact time. This keeps your horses happy and they won't get anxious if they do not get fed at exactly the same time every day. That even allows us to sleep a bit later on the weekends.

            We give extra hay if the weather is going to be too cold, both evening and morning. We will give a bit of extra hay in the morning if we know we will be later in the evening.

            Our horses have done very well on this schedule. Your horses will do just fine! And enjoy! I love having mine at home. There are so many wonderful things you will discover about horses once you have them at home.

            Comment


            • #7
              In the morning, I put out the full day's hay. Some outside (in the open areas and some in the pine grove), some in the barn/shed and some in the lean-to. If the weather's too wet or windy (where I may lose the hay) it goes in the barn and lean-to only. They get their full ration once per day, along with their beep/oats mash at the same time. They graze all day and overnight on their hay. No worries or problems.
              Cheryl in WNY
              Horse Kids Kit & Bobby

              Comment


              • #8
                I have six "au naturale" horses barefoot, too they eat at 430am and at 730pm hay and any pellets.

                I spread a bale of hay all around the pasture about 15 piles of it before I leave for work at 600am

                they are all fat and sassy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One more thing... We put out multiple piles as well but I am always careful that they are far enough away from each other so that one horse cannot eat off of one pile while pooping or peeing in another pile!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    You guys are great! I feel so much better about my plans. Seems it works well for many of you. Nothing like COTH for instant feedback, too
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                    www.elainehickman.com
                    **Morgans Do It All**

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Since your general environment will be mostly what my Winter environment is - grass pickings, mostly hay - here's what I do:

                      Hard feed is in the morning. While they're eating I put hay out, then ride.

                      After I come home, more hay goes out. I only hard feed once a day. I HAVE done it twice a day, but thankfully do not need to do that anymore (one horse needed more food than I wanted to feed at one sitting, but not anymore).

                      Easy as that.

                      But, they are out unless in for feeding or riding. I put LOTS of hay out, so no worries about empty tummies.

                      And yes, LOTS of little piles of hay. I put out usually no less than 12, often 15 or so. 3 horses. It's healthier to make them wander for their forage, and you avoid any food wars.

                      I do NOT get up early on weekends just to feed at the same time as I feed during the week They have learned, they don't care, they come to the barn when they see me or when I call, whichever comes first.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by goosehollowfarm View Post
                        Hi,

                        Our vet told us specifically to vary the feeding times little by little so that you can have a comfortable window in which to feed (in case you need to stop at the store, or grab a bite to eat on your way home). He says doing it little by little will not upset your horses and they will then be accustomed to being fed in a window of time, rather than an exact time. This keeps your horses happy and they won't get anxious if they do not get fed at exactly the same time every day.

                        We give extra hay if the weather is going to be too cold, both evening and morning. We will give a bit of extra hay in the morning if we know we will be later in the evening.


                        Yes!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mine are pretty comfortable eating anywhere from 6am to 10am and again in the afternoon from 4pm to 8pm. Variation is good. I used to be pretty rigid and feed them within an hour but I also had colics when the schedule got off. Made horse showing a joke too because the dinner bell would start going off in the middle of the class- talk about a temperment change. I usually turn them out when I feed in the morning but sometimes can make it back to turn them out mid-morning. They always go out with hay b/c I don't have much grass. I do lots of piles of hay so they can at least move from pile to pile for exercise. I do keep hay around edge of field so that they don't trash as much of it while running.
                          "are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn...I can yawn, because I ride better than you, Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn, you, not so much..." George Morris in Camden, SC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            They'll be fine.
                            You can toss a few flakes out for them to "graze" on while you're at work.
                            As long as they have water available noone will suffer.

                            I feed at 6A (so I have some time to get ready for work w/o rushing).
                            The next feed is when I get home - usually around 5:30-6P, but they have been fine if I stop somewhere and feed later.
                            I do toss a couple flakes each out for them to work on while I'm gone since it is Winter here and nothing is growing in the pastures.

                            Latest I ever fed dinner was 11P - horrid traffic coming home on a weekend.
                            I stressed, they were out on pasture and could have cared less.

                            I've fed as early as 4A when I had to be somewhere.

                            Lately when we had a stretch of below-zero temps, I got into the habit of going out again around 9-10P for a tuck-in flake.
                            As soon as I have pasture available that will stop.

                            Although barncat kind of looks forward to her lapnap while I'm out there...
                            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm a full-time worker who does rotating shifts, married to a farmer who works long hours during certain times of the year.

                              My horses have gone 24 hours between feedings before.

                              Horses who are out 24/7, have access to some type of forage (pasture, hay, round bale, etc) and water are amazingly resilient and low-maintenance.

                              I too use my stalls in a run-in configuration as I don't have time to muck daily. You have to prioritize. Mine have never had a regular feeding routine and don't seem to suffer for it. Again I think the key is turnout, access to some type of forage and always fresh water. The rest is kind of just a luxury.

                              I have improved and irrigated pastures and found that during a few months last year I had to cut grain feedings altogether, which was really nice as my barn routine was about 30 seconds....count horses and check water.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
                                My horses have gone 24 hours between feedings before.

                                Horses who are out 24/7, have access to some type of forage (pasture, hay, round bale, etc) and water are amazingly resilient and low-maintenance.
                                Same here. This morning was an absolute torrent of rain. I *did not* feel like traipsing out with halters in the 35* downpour to catch horses who would be likely to RUUUUUUN to the barn if they saw me. So, I worked out while it rained, hoping it would stop soon, and it was much more manageable by the time I was done. I snuck down to the barn and wheeled out the hay. They didn't get their breakfast. No matter. Not the first time, though I don't make a habit of it, won't be the last, and they couldn't care less

                                my barn routine was about 30 seconds....count horses and check water.
                                LOL, yep! Some nights in the Summer we go out to eat right after work, then hit the grocery store or whatever other errands (which get done while we're "in town"), so it can end up pretty late before we get home. I count horses and make sure they're all standing upright on 4 legs, and that's that
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I work full time (and more) and have horses at home for 12 years. I worried about this for the first ...oh..five years or so. At first they got fed at 7:00 a.m., then brought in at 5:30, fed again, stayed in and then got final feed at 10:00 p.m.

                                  Then life got more complicated (offspring can really throw things off course ) and now they get grain at 6:00 a.m and lots of hay and then they are on their own until 9:00 p.m. I don't do round bales and our ground is covered by snow from November to March. They do just fine.

                                  Sometimes they even have to wait until 10:30 p.m. but I do get some nasty glares from them if I wait that long. But hey, that's life. Sometimes I don't get dinner until 10:30 either....

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by webmistress32 View Post
                                    I have six "au naturale" horses barefoot, too they eat at 430am and at 730pm hay and any pellets.
                                    .
                                    My horses are shod all around and I put hay in the feeder for the whole day. My guys come in nights so they are grained and fed hay in their stalls at night.
                                    They go out a 7 AM and come in at dark which vary's from 6 to 10 PM.

                                    Does barefoot or shod make a difference for feeding????
                                    The only difference I can see that it makes is my boys work for a living and require more food???

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My typical workday is 7:30 am until 6:30pm, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. I feed just hay in the morning (all easy keepers, they need so little grain that once a day is fine) and hay and grain in the evening.

                                      I've got it down to 3 minutes in the morning and, if necessary, 20-30 minutes in the evening. In the morning all I do is throw hay, eyeball everyone, check blankets, put out cat food and make sure the waterer is OK. In the evening I do stalls, eyeball everyone again, feed grain, feed the dog, more cat food if necessary, pick up poops in the sacrifice paddock and decide if the horses have the option of "in" or are "out" for the night. They live outside 24/7 with access to their stalls if the weather is bad.

                                      Never confining them to their stalls (unless sick, injured, etc.) has been crucial to my keeping them safely and happily at home. The stalls stay MUCH cleaner (sometimes I don't need to clean them for a week at a time, just pick up poops outside) and there is no stupid behavior when they get put out in the morning or evening--they're always "out". I feed hay outside and that also keeps the stalls MUCH, MUCH cleaner and easier to do.

                                      Obviously there's much more to do than feed and water and stalls--the "big stuff" (grooming, bathing, throwing hay, RIDING) is for my days off, half days, or vacation days, etc. So I don't ride every day and there are sometimes a few days in a row where only the bare minimum gets done, but since they're all low-maintenance, easy-keeper types it's perfectly fine.

                                      I can't feed them hay free-choice (they'd be too fat, even though my hay is nicely low in starch, etc.) but they get enough to last them 4-6 hours. When the weather is good they're on grass anywhere from 2-12 hours a day. Sometimes I have my husband open the gate at lunchtime if I want them on grass for just a few hours, and I'll bring them in when I get home. I err on the side of less grass, again because they're all easy keepers and my pasture space is limited.

                                      The key to running your own place is to think ahead and make everything as streamlined and non-labor-intensive as possible. I don't think I could hack it without an automatic waterer, for example, or if I had to lead horses back and forth to paddocks twice a day. Plan things the way you want them, though, and it's VERY do-able.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have 5 at home- turned out 24/7 but no grass- If I have round bales out for them- they get grained somewhere from 6-7am and somewhere from 4-7pm.
                                        If I don't have round bales, they get about 10lbs each of hay w/ the am feeding, a flake as soon as I pull in the driveway and then 10lbs again at the pm feed.
                                        I've always fed this way, because even when they were boarded- they were at self-care.
                                        I'm good at being uncomfortable so I can't stop changing all the time -Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
                                        If I were your appendages, I'd hold open your eyes so you would see- Incubus

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