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How many lbs of hay per 100 lbs in horse weight to feed?

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  • How many lbs of hay per 100 lbs in horse weight to feed?

    As the title states.

    I feed free choice at home, but have a 'large' TB at a boarding facility and he's not getting the required hay to maintain his body weight (I am supplementing him with hay from home). This is just so I can explain to the BM that horses should be feed by weight not flakes. Thank you.

  • #2
    For a horse who needs to gain weight, it's free choice, whatever he will eat without ever running out.

    For a "normal" horse, it's between 1.5 and 2% of his desired body weight. Ideally 2% is better, but some horses, especially larger ones with higher metabolisms, can easily need 3% of their desired body weight.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #3
      http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=15801

      How much to feed? As a rough guideline, horses should consume 1% to 2% of their bodyweight each day in forage products--at least 50% of their total diets under all but the most extreme exercise programs. Though all of us prefer to feed by "eyeballing" amounts, the weight and size of a flake of hay can vary so much that it is worth weighing the flakes to determine how close you are to these guidelines. This can be done very simply by standing on a bathroom scale, with and without the flake of hay, and subtracting the difference.
      When feeding hay, remember that, at heart, horses are grazing animals, programmed to chew on stemmy, fibrous plants for at least 12 hours a day. That urge to chew can be almost as compelling as a rodent's, so hay fulfills two functions in your barn: It provides nutrients (and keeps the digestive system in good health), but it also keeps horses busy (and thus not chewing the wood fences, stall doors, or their neighbors' tails!). An almost constant supply of small amounts of hay is far more beneficial than one or two large feedings a day because it mimics the horse's natural grazing habits. Make lots of good-quality hay the basis of your horses' diets, and you'll reap the benefits in terms of both health and contentment.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

      Comment


      • #4
        Usually hay/forage amounts are determined by percentage.
        The "rule of thumb" formula is 1-3% of the horse's total weight. Amount depends on:
        Whether the horse is also on pasture or not (lower percent)
        If the horse needs to add weight or is a very hard keeper (higher percent)
        If the horse is pregnant or lactating (higher percent)
        If the horse is an air fern and/or already overweight (lower percent)
        Amount of work the horse does

        I feed 2%-2.5% of body weight per day for the average keeper horse on little to no pasture here at home. So for a 1000 lb horse that's 20-25 lbs of hay per day or half of a 50# bale.

        My late mare wasn't an easy keeper and required a higher percentage...she got an entire bale per day for that...her ideal weight was 1600 lbs though. So a big girl.

        So if your horse is about 1000 lbs and not on good pasture all day long then I'd figure:
        about 1% or 10# per day if he tends to get fat easily or needs to lose weight
        2% or 20# so for the average keeper
        3% or 30# if he's a hard keeper or needs to gain weight

        You can then keep an eye on him from whatever percent you start from and tweak the amount from there as he needs it. I would assume since he's on the thin side now and is a TB he's probably going to need to start around 2%. TBs in general aren't always easy keeping air ferns.

        See what the barn includes per their boarding agreement (not all barns do free choice hay, it can get expensive in some areas) and then add in from home what he's not getting.
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!
        ...Belefonte

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        • #5
          at least 1lb hay for every 100lbs body weight. But if a horse is skinny, then he may need at least 2lbs of hay per 100lbs body weight.

          For a 17h thoroughbred, who probably weighs 1500lbs ideally? that would be 15lbs to 30lbs.

          Comment


          • #6
            2% of bodyweight for the normal horse, I'd only go less if they were seriously overweight or had problems that made it impossible for them to have hay.

            One problem however, how many of us now exactly how much our horses weigh. Weighttapes are by far not always correct.
            Imo too many horses are estimated under their actual weight.
            Mine weigh a good 1800lbs for sure, but I even had a vet guestimating them based upon vision for only 1200lbs.

            Other difficulty, when out to pasture, it's hard to know how much grass they consume.
            I feed free choice hay, takes the guesswork away, they figure it out themselves. And only if I figure their consumption is getting way too high that way do I restrict by making it harder on them (double haynets etc).

            Comment


            • #7
              If you have to explain this to the BM, you've got troubles.

              I go anywhere from 1% to 2.5%, depending on the animal, the quality of the forage, the time of year, their workload, and how much grass they're getting. I like to feed them plenty, but there are too many variables (IMO) to just fixate on one single number and say that's optimal.
              Click here before you buy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Deltawave
                If you have to explain this to the BM, you've got troubles.
                DW, you are "so" right. This is my biggest pet peeve ever. It seems to me only the owners that have control over their own feeding program can actually go by this recommended route. It's very hard to find a barn willing to consider a horse's true roughage need.
                The customary 2 flakes in the am and 2 flakes in the pm is not going to cut it. But dare to bring that up .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Which is why "there's no place like home" if you want your horses cared for "your way". I have boarded at a LOT of places, still do board some horses (winter) and although I firmly believe that it doesn't always HAVE to be just the way I want it, it's a lot nicer when it IS. Even if a barn does a great job and does things very well, we always like our own system better.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #10
                    DW totally agree. Call me 'controlling' but at least I sleep on both ears at night knowing they're happily munching away .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      honestly, I can only think of a few barns I have ever seen that truly feed 2% of body weight in hay. I've seen farms that give a lot of grass hay and it looks fine until you realize it barely weighs anything. And since grass hay is both lighter in weight and lower in calories, the fact you are giving double the "flakes" doesn't really mean that much (unless you have an easy keeper and then it's a good thing because he gets munch time without turning into the goodyear blimp). I've seen barns that feed a good mixed hay but it's usually about 3-4 flakes a day. Again, most flakes don't weigh that much, but it's easier to up the grain.

                      The sad truth is that larger boarding barns who focus on hay first, grain second are few and far between. I don't think their profit structure is set up around it and I think the average owner is not geared to what it costs, because as a person who boards but buys my own feed/hay, I can tell you that hay is the part that makes my wallet whimper - especially since I have one of those 3% 1200 (on a scale ) horses who is a prima donna about his hay.

                      I know one barn I was at fed so many flakes of grass hay - it really did seem like they were tossing hay all the time. But at so little weight and calories, it was not really enough. Mind you not one single horse looked poor - the whole barn looked great, but most smallish easy keeping type horses got standardly 2 scoops pellets (that's a lot of grain, weight-wise) a day and the harder keepers ended up with 4. My horses literally got 50% the grain these horses did, but I promise you I was spending waaaaay more per day in total food costs and I'm betting after 10PM mine were the only ones still munching on hay.
                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Definitely the hay bill is a very large line item for the year, and I only have a couple of horses! Storage, quality, availability, and delivery are also things that a BO/BM has to account for. Sure does make 50 pound bags of grain more appealing.
                        Click here before you buy.

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                        • #13
                          All my horses but one are getting just 1.5% of their body weight and it is just local hay.....but is 10% protein and is completely balanced in the mineral department.....I only have one horse that gets closer to 2% of his body weight..........and mine could stand to loss a few pounds.

                          Dalemma

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's a beautiful thing when they fit in with the mainstream program, ain't it? Of course that and $3.50 will get you some Starburnt if it isn't your horse.

                            My 3 year old would most definitely qualify as a BO/BM profit model. My challenges with him are a) a slow hay feeder so he has quality hay in front of him all the time and b) balancing such a small amount of grain to meet his nutritional needs. Truth is he'd probably be fine without the slow feeder, butI'm happier knowing he is closer to foraging all day long (and I'm not tossing out perfectly good gold, er, I mean hay).

                            I do think that Wendys (yummmm) for me every night and cut hay/increased grain for them would be a easier cheaper life. Damn shame I read Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma and some Equine Nutrition rags. Life would be simpler (and probably shorter), if only...
                            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If not on pasture you need about 25 lbs. of hay per day to avoid sand colic which is about 2.5% of a 1000 lb. horse. If the horse is stalled part of the day I'd have him fed the hay when he is in if he has pasture outside.
                              Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                              Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                [QUOTE]
                                Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post

                                So if your horse is about 1000 lbs and not on good pasture all day long then I'd figure:
                                about 1% or 10# per day if he tends to get fat easily or needs to lose weight
                                2% or 20# so for the average keeper
                                3% or 30# if he's a hard keeper or needs to gain weight
                                and to add to MB's post you must make sure that the horse actually ingests said hay to have it be of any value...and many times when a horse "picks" at a hay it is because the RFV is far too low to allow him to eat more...so you can offer an 80 RFV hay all day to any horse but that number limits his intake

                                Tamara in TN
                                Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by DMK View Post
                                  My 3 year old would most definitely qualify as a BO/BM profit model. My challenges with him are a) a slow hay feeder so he has quality hay in front of him all the time and b) balancing such a small amount of grain to meet his nutritional needs. Truth is he'd probably be fine without the slow feeder, butI'm happier knowing he is closer to foraging all day long (and I'm not tossing out perfectly good gold, er, I mean hay).

                                  I just got a slow feed haynet (the Freedom Feeder) for my airfern Haflinger. I have to board, no space at home and no ifs ands or buts -- board or no horse! He used to hoover up his hay like the rest of the horses at the barn after morning and evening feed, but my BO let me put the slow feeder in, and he's been munching for hours. I'll even get there in the afternoon and see him still chowing down with a quarter-full net left. And the other night, I made a late night barn run and found him eating at 10 pm with half a full net. He's getting more hay now too, because there's room for lots of grass hay, so he's getting 3 flakes twice a day. The best part about the net is it keeps everything neat, so it's ok for him to get more, he won't waste it and spread it all around.

                                  I feel sorry sometimes for the other horses. I go to the barn to clean his paddock in the morning and will see everyone else standing around bored as heck because they finished breakfast an hour ago. I sometimes wonder why more barns weren't more proactive about slow feeders. The way I have mine set up, it takes the feeders about the same amount of time to toss the hay into the paddock as it does to drop and stuff the hay into the net, and my pony doesn't trample, pee or mess up on his hay. I've gotten at least one other person interested -- the lady who keeps her POA mare next to mine -- and she just got one for her mare. They're the two happiest horses on the ranch (except for maybe some of the other horses who have an automatic feeder, I didn't have that much money to spend.)
                                  "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by summerhorse View Post
                                    If not on pasture you need about 25 lbs. of hay per day to avoid sand colic which is about 2.5% of a 1000 lb. horse. If the horse is stalled part of the day I'd have him fed the hay when he is in if he has pasture outside.
                                    This is simply not true....the amount of hay you feed has nothing to do whether or not your horse will get sand colic......it is all about where you feed them and whether your horse scrounges in the dirty........my horses are feed in their stalls with 24/7 access to their gravel paddocks......and I have no sand issues........I know of horses that colic that have had hay in front of them pretty much 24/7 but are feed in gravel paddocks and because they scrounge in the dirt for the tiniest bit of grass.

                                    It is a health risk for me to feed more than 1.5 % of hay a day....as a couple of my horses would be in the obsese category.....not to mention I also have and IR horse.....who could get away with eating 1% of her body weight......and these horse get no grain just selenium supplements.

                                    Dalemma

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      [QUOTE=Tamara in TN;4719268]

                                      and to add to MB's post you must make sure that the horse actually ingests said hay to have it be of any value...and many times when a horse "picks" at a hay it is because the RFV is far too low to allow him to eat more...so you can offer an 80 RFV hay all day to any horse but that number limits his intake

                                      Tamara in TN
                                      Not sure I agree with the 1%.....my vet has always said nothing less than 1.5% of their body weight they need that amount to have good gut movement.

                                      Dalemma

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        between 1-2% of their body weight.

                                        For a busy barn with a lot of horses it is not uncommon to feed everyone 2 flakes in the AM and 2 in the PM.

                                        Rare is the barn that says ok guys give the big guys 3 in the AM and PM and those three air ferns 1 each and I don't care if they are begging for more. And oh, that sorrell, give him 1 this AM b/c he'll waste it pacing and waiting to go out...but give him three at night.

                                        Having worked in a barn where the BM changed up feed/supps/hay like once every two weeks or more often... and tried to instruct four different people on who ate what, when...with 35 horses to deal with...um, yeah. Right.

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