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AGGGHHH!! (HR) My husband is driving me crazy!

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  • AGGGHHH!! (HR) My husband is driving me crazy!

    How much hay do you feed in the Summer? We have about 4 acres and a 17.2 hand horse and a mini donkey. There is plenty of grass and I want to keep it that way. My husband says I'm going through too much hay now that we have all this grass. I've been feeding about a bale every three days. I don't know how much the bale weighs, but they always finish what I give them. They eat their food and then want their hay am I spoiling them? They eat crimped oats, beet pulp and a little flax seed. MEN!
    CRAYOLA Posse: PLUM

  • #2
    This is one of those things that is largely variable based on your location, weather, and maintenance of and quality of the pasture.

    In Iowa or here in MI with what you describe--2 critters and 4 acres? No hay. I don't have to feed hay from about May 1 through Sept.

    In TX? Sure we had "pasture" but we had to feed hay year round.

    So...the answer is...it's hard to say.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

    Comment


    • #3
      If there are 4 acres of good quality pasture, then frankly I'm with your husband. Why pay for the hay when they have plenty already?

      Like BuddyRoo said, the answer would be variable depending on where you live, so it's hard to give a solid answer, but if it's not necessary I certainly wouldn't be feeding the hay.

      Perhaps ask your vet, since he's probably familiar with your area/pasture?

      Comment


      • #4
        Also depends if they are locked up for any amount of time.
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        Comment


        • #5
          I'm in Virginia and don't feed hay from late Spring through early Fall. Mine do get about 1/2 scoop of crimped oats/corn in the evening. I do have hay left over which I might feed them (4) just to get rid of it. Last year I didn't feed any hay and I had wonderfully plump and shiny horses.
          I think your husband is right IF you have a lot of nice pasture that will last all Summer.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hay

            I put hay out even in the middle of summer and we have about 15 acres fenced. However, it is a mix of pasture, woodlands, up and down. We're in the Hudson Valley, NY, think rolling hills, ravines, but very pretty.

            I feed hay because I've noticed that sometimes they want hay. I'm not sure maybe the grass is too rich, too this, too that but for whatever reason, we continue to feed hay through out the summer.

            Also, we don't fertilize or do much to our pastures so I always think that there might be something lacking. To me at $4 bucks a bale, it's cheap enough to keep feeding them throughout.

            Tell the hubs to quit griping, you could be paying board! Arh, arh!
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            Comment


            • #7
              Forr variety, I believe horses should always be offered hay even when there is grass. If they are eating the hay, then they are saying they want/need it. How good is your grass, maybe it is missing something they are looking for.

              Comment


              • #8
                This early in the year, we're still feeding a good bit of hay, even with the grass. We have one gelding that super overindulges on grass, so we like to keep his tummy full of hay, so he slows down. Otherwise we end up icing his feet.

                We have 3. My TB mare, who is a super hard keeper, and needs hay on a daily basis, regardless. Her overindulgent fat QH husband, and a little 10 hand pony that is a vaccuum cleaner, and is happy as long as he has something to chew on.

                I think it depends on the horse and the work level. Are we feeding as much hay now as we do in the winter, noooo way! But they are still getting hay, and they are stalled at night. As the summer moves on, they will eat less and less hay, but we always only feed what they will eat, so it's not like it's being wasted.

                If your horses are eating all their hay, they need it. They aren't going to choose hay over fresh grass, so it's not them wanting the hay and snubbing the grass...
                Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That's not bad at all. I am pretty sure my OTTB could go through one bale of hay a day all by himself.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    The horse and donkey are always out and always grazing. I think I will cut back a bunch on the hay. I still don't feel right cutting it out completely. I'll look at it like a treat for them. If I don't give it to them during meals they just keep calling at me everytime they see me. Thanks for all the input.
                    CRAYOLA Posse: PLUM

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Unless they are overweight, if you are feeding them hay and they are eating it, then it is probably a good idea. I know the time to stop feeding hay is when they stop eating it. Mine are starting to leave it, so I am cutting back now. But I know exactly what you mean. My husband is saying the same thing! "We have 40 acres of GRASS. Why are you still buying HAY!" Answer, because they are still eating it! (Just the babies, the others are all fat and don't get any hay)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, how fat are they?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you're going to cut down on the hay and rely upon grass, be sure to have a good pasture management system in place including rotational grazing.

                          This will really let you get the most out of your grass and help keep it more productive and sustainable.

                          http://www.extension.umn.edu/distrib...s/7540_05.html

                          Healthy forage plants are more productive if given an opportunity to regrow between grazings. You can enhance forage growth by dividing a pasture into at least four separately fenced paddocks and rotating your horses among them.

                          Since grass pasture plants grow most rapidly in spring and slow down in the fall, you will need to experiment to come up with an optimum rotation length. Start with three to four weeks of rest per paddock during summer, maybe fewer in spring and more in fall.

                          The stocking rate per acre does not change under a rotational grazing plan. The general rule of thumb is to start your horses grazing in a paddock when the forages are at least 6 to 10 inches long; move your horses after they have grazed the forage to an average height of 3 to 4 inches. (If bluegrass is the dominant forage, horses can graze it down to 2 inches and then get turned back into the pasture when it has reached a height of 6 to 8 inches.)

                          For example, say you have two horses and four acres of pasture with uniform soil type, topography, plant species, and yield throughout the entire area. You could divide the pasture into four one-acre paddocks and graze the horses for one week per paddock. This will give each paddock three weeks to regrow. If regrowth is slower, you’ll need to supplement the pasture with hay. If the growth is faster, you’ll need to rotate more often or make hay from the paddock.

                          Undergrazing (grazing too few horses on too large of a paddock for too short of a grazing period) can encourage horses to selectively graze and result in a lot of underutilized forage requiring clipping or hay making.

                          Lightweight electric fencing consisting of polywire strung on lightweight plastic or fiberglass posts work well for dividing a pasture into paddocks. These materials are easily connected to perimeter fences and allow you to modify the paddock size or shape depending on forage growth.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Androcles View Post
                            Forr variety, I believe horses should always be offered hay even when there is grass. If they are eating the hay, then they are saying they want/need it. How good is your grass, maybe it is missing something they are looking for.
                            ditto

                            it also depends on your horse's job.
                            Nutrition varies greatly.

                            For a pet or a once in a while ride I would probably not pay for the hay. But for intense work I put as much forage in front of them as possible.
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                            • #15
                              What is your husband's angle? Just spending money? Is he a horseperson, and you two are simply having a disagreement about management? Or is he just figuring a horse can eat grass and do perfectly well?

                              Either way, arm yourself with some statistics and data (including how much a bale weighs) and bury him with facts.
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                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Ha! Husband's angle is not wanting to spend the money on hay when we have grass. The 17.2 hand horse is a good weight, by no means fat. The donkey is a little plump and I'm thinking it's time for a grazing muzzle for little bit. I am trying to cut back on the hay since they are really both pasture puffs. The horse I ride ocassionally, but is injured so we only walk for 15 minutes and call it quits. I guess they are both majorly spoiled. Oh husband is not a horse person and thinks they are big dogs. He has gotten better about not scaring them to death... He is starting to realize they might be a little different from dogs.
                                CRAYOLA Posse: PLUM

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Maybeapril View Post
                                  How much hay do you feed in the Summer? We have about 4 acres and a 17.2 hand horse and a mini donkey. There is plenty of grass and I want to keep it that way. My husband says I'm going through too much hay now that we have all this grass. I've been feeding about a bale every three days. I don't know how much the bale weighs, but they always finish what I give them. They eat their food and then want their hay am I spoiling them? They eat crimped oats, beet pulp and a little flax seed. MEN!
                                  Perhaps you need to cut his beer back so he understands better

                                  Yes, are they overweight or just right? Do they waste a lot of the hay (does not sound like they do). Do they prefer the hay over the grass? Is the grass pretty much eaten down ??

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I feed hay year round. This time of year, there isn't enough fibre in the grass (we're just greening up here, and the first dandelions are blooming). The horses seem to want their hay, and will clean it up before moving out onto the grass. I'm feeding 2 bales per day total to 2 draft horses, a small pony and a small donkey. One of the draft horses and the donkey have been wearing their grazing muzzles for over 2 weeks now. In high summer, they will get one bale total per day; deepest winter, 4 bales total per day.
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                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      thank you draft driver for your explanation about fiber.

                                      The grass has just started growing here too but the horses still want their hay. In fact, it's rare that they don't clean up their hay -except maybe 1 or 2 mid summer months. I could never figure out why they want/need their hay.

                                      OP - I feed hay year round and do not have fat horses (except the pony who is NOT on grass)... I keep feeding hay because they keep eating it. They (TBs) seem to need their hay to keep their weight up.

                                      Comment

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