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So, she won't eat hay...what options do I have now? Update: what about cubes??

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  • So, she won't eat hay...what options do I have now? Update: what about cubes??

    I've had this mare for nearly 19 years; in that time she has never been a real big hay eater. She grazes, she eats her concentrated rations (whatever they may be throughout the years...), she eats her hay but she only eats a little. If she got more than about three pounds, she'd pick and fuss.

    Now, she hardly eats any. It's a very good quality alfalfa/orchard grass mix. She won't touch straight orchard. She won't eat much on the ground, she just spreads it around. She barely touches it in her manger.

    Right now she gets 1.5 pounds beetpulp, three pounds Nutrena SafeChoice, two cups BOSS, a multi-vitamins and 1.5 cups oil. All at once, because I can only get out once a day, but hopefully this will change sooner rather than later. She munches it slowly and sedately, so I'm thinking maybe I can get alfalfa or timothy pellets and put them out in a big flat tub? What do you guys think?
    Last edited by TheJenners; Dec. 6, 2007, 01:12 PM.
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

  • #2
    Maybe try a chopped forage feed like Spillers/Seminole's Happy Hoof (yes, they'll drop ship it for you out of Florida) or Triple Crown's Safe Starch.

    The Happy Hoof is nice because it's a mix of chopped hays, with alfalfa pellets, spearmint, garlic and all the vitamins/minerals found in a complete feed. It easily takes up oil for extra fat and makes a nice green, soft, YUMMY smelling "mash" when hot water is added in the winter.

    It can be fed virtually free choice. Here's the info: http://www.spillersseminole.com/Proc...appyHoofPS.htm
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


    • #3
      Have you tried soaking her hay? Maybe as she's getting older its getting harder to chew.


      • #4
        You'll need to try a chopped forage or cubes. Pellets don't have the fiber length they need.


        • #5
          If you decide on the cubes, please soak them to a mush. You could up the beet pulp too.


          • #6
            I am sure that you had her teeth tended to, but mention it just in case.
            One of our old horses, almost 30, is like that with his hay.
            We have to feed the alfalfa wet and he eats the finer, shorther stems and leaves, but not the longer, coarser stems.
            He also needs his feed at shoulder level, from the ground he won't eat as well.

            He is on a complete senior feed, wetted, so the hay is not really necessary for him.
            He looks great.


            • #7
              Does she like 100% alfalfa hay? I know it's not ideal, but maybe you could do a combo of that and timothy hay cubes, so she's still getting plenty of roughage.
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


              • #8
                I would put her on a high quality senior fee such as Purina's Equine Senior. I have known horses to thrive on it for years, despite having few or no teeth.
                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                • #9
                  My old guy does this. He also "grazes" his concentrate ration. Complete PITA, that horse.

                  If my horse hasn't had hay for a while (he has his own paddock with grass), I can take out a flake and he gobbles it up like he needed it. The very next day I'll throw out some hay, and it will sit there until it rots. He didn't "need" the hay, he just wanted it. If we've been in a drought, then a few days after a rain when the grass grows the horse grazes like a pig...only to not eat all the grass when the fad dies out for him. It's just who he is, and there's no changing his mind about it.

                  I like everyone's suggestions about trying different chopped hays and cubes or even the pellets (specifically with alfalfa pellets, I found a source that says it is fermented the same as long stem hay). Is this older gal alone in a paddock? To ensure she gets what she needs if you leave out a tub of it?

                  Also, are you just trying to maintaingut/horse health? Or put weight on? I answered in regards to just maintaining rather than the latter...the latter may involve other measures.
                  RIP Bo, the real Appassionato


                  • #10
                    Have you tried her on Timothy?

                    My horses prefer it to alfalfa.


                    • #11
                      As everyone has said check her teeth first...if her teeth are fine, try cubes. I feed T/A cubes which are large and are hard...however 2 of my horses are on straight timothy cubes, they are small (1" X 1") and you can almost crumble them in your hand so they are not hard to chew. Maybe try that.

                      If not, Happy Hoof is like a chaff that most horses love to eat. It's got pellets mixed into it, so it's not straight hay.

                      If all else fails, maybe just put her on a complete feed. Most are beet pulp based, you don't have to deal with soaking beet pulp separately, etc. There are a few out there, all different brands. Purina has Complete Advantage, MannaPro has ReNew, Signature has Rely. It's like a sweet pellet (pellets and some oats) with beet pulp in it so you don't have to feed hay at all.

                      Good luck!


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks for the responses, first of all! Trust COTH to come to the rescue with ideas for my dear old girl.

                        But, first, I need to apologize. She gets regular dental care and at her last appointment the vet said (and I got to look as well) that her teeth are in excellent shape.

                        So chewing isn't an issue; she has truly NEVER been a horse who likes to stand and eat a lot of hay. She has always been picky about her hay, she has often been the barn "tester" for hay when new loads come in. Even with hay she eats, she always leaves some; whether she's inside or out. And if her flake is larger than about three pounds, she looks at it and barely touches it; under three and she'll eat about 80 percent of it. I know I know, it's very strange.

                        More on the horse: she could stand to gain about 20 pounds, but otherwise is fine. So we aren't really on a gaining plane, just maintaining. She's also 100 percent retired, and in a paddock alone so feeding special food isn't a problem.

                        I forgot totally about chop, can someone tell more about it? We sell something at my LFS that is called chop, and I've fed it out before while barnsitting. It seems really, really, heavy on molasses. I want to avoid that as much as possible, even if it is more palatable. She doesn't have any or much metabolic issues, but it's a personal preference. Just as feeding Nutrena is a personal preference (and she's get SafeChoice, which is a complete feed...I know someone mentioned it earlier). So, is there anything without molasses, or with less? I can't think of the brand, but need to swing by today anyways...this stuff was super gooey, leaves a residue on buckets, scoops, hands, etc. I can get more info and post after lunch.

                        Also, I meant to say cubes, not pellets, when referring to the timothy or alfalfa hay "pellets" earlier. And yes, I'd get them slightly damp but not too much because nature has a way of helping out here in the PNW .

                        Thanks again everyone, I've been wrestling with her about this for most of the summer now, when the decline really started (depression, I took away her pasture buddy). She just won't eat her veggies!!
                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                        • #13
                          I have a mare in my barn that can be like that. She prefers alfalfa, but she'll eat a rich timothy hay. Some loads I've gotten in she wouldn't touch so I'd just give her a flake to play with and fed her mostly cubes and chopped forage. I have not had an issue with the molasses added to most chopped forages--they usually only use it as a binder to keep dust down. I have fat ponies that do well with it. The company that makes Totally Timothy is one that uses less molasses.

                          I'm pretty sure that SafeChoice is not a complete feed.


                          • #14
                            Dungee.... Pretty much Molassas covered hay. It is pretty expensive well for hay anyway.

                            Im not sure if it may be an equivelent to what has been listed but it seems to be the closest thing to horsey crack available to the general public.
                            Ride it like you stole it....ohhh sh*t


                            • #15
                              CanTango1, you mean Dengie:


                              There is also this, which has NO molasses:



                              • #16
                                haha ehhh I was close !!!

                                Yes thats what I ment !

                                Ride it like you stole it....ohhh sh*t


                                • #17
                                  If you can got good straight alfalfa, that is the way I would go. If not, soaked alfalfa hay cubes.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I'll have to ask if we get that up here...somehow, I doubt it. But does it replace long roughage?
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Whoops, sorry FHC, we posted at the same time. Yeah, I can get it...but no guarantee she'll eat that either. If she did however, and I went that route, do I need to worry about the Ca ratio?
                                      COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                      "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                      • #20
                                        Alfalfa is long stemmed roughage. It is just rich - better for older horses that need a bit of weight.