View Full Version : How do you feed when they go out 24/7
13th Mar 2005, 09:11 PM
I was just wondering how you all feed your horses when they start to go out 24/7 in the spring and during the summer.
as Tilly was feeding her foal all through the summer last year and was in such poor condition she was coming in for 2 ggod feeds a day, now she is in excellent condition but i really dont know how she should be fed during the summer when she is out all the time, i am frightend to death that she will lose all her weight if she is just on grass and no hard feed but at the same time i dont want her to get fat, do i take her off hard feed straight away when they go out and monitor her weight daily or should she have 1 or 2 feeds a day or do i just feed when she has been ridden i am in a right tizzwozz over this> What do you lot think as much advise as poss please..............Mandy
13th Mar 2005, 09:18 PM
I would try to just think of the grazing as replacing some or all of her hay to begin with and continue with the same hard feeds.
Early in the season the grass doesn't have a high nutrient value and her digestion will have enough to deal with changing from hay to grass without also altering her hard feed.
It will also help her to settle into her new routine if she still comes in to her stable twice a day for her feed at the usual time.
Then I would play it by ear, keep a careful eye on her weight, and if she starts gaining weight, slowly reduce her hard feed. I don't know if you find much time to ride in winter but with my old pony I used to find that he needed as much feed in summer as he did more work.
13th Mar 2005, 09:21 PM
Just because they're out 24/7 doesn't mean they'll automatically be getting everything they need nutritionally. It's always a good idea to give a vitamin supplement in a bit of chaff even if the horse isn't working, and it hopefully makes coming out of the field in more pleasant. If your horse loses condition then you should definitely give them additional feed, whether it's hard feed or a better quality forage.
Mine will be out 24/7 again in a week or so and I'll continue to give her a decent bucketful every day as she's in moderate work and a medium doer.
13th Mar 2005, 09:30 PM
She's not going to drop weight in a day or even over the course of a week :)
It's okay to feed based on her weight. I give a sand colic prevention mash once a week; at the same time, I take a good hard look at each horse and change their feed amounts if necessary.
I have 2 TB's who don't seem to be able to live on just grass (although they don't need *too* much grain) and a Morgan who seems to stay fat on air. The Morgan gets a little handful of feed morning and evening when the TB's are fed, no more than that (and we're not even really into spring grass yet!) If she started losing weight, I'd give her more; if she started gaining weight, I'd probably stop with the handful and look into restricting her grazing.
So you don't have to determine anything in advance. You might want to find some time once a week or so to get a good look at her and evaluate her weight; it can help to use a weight tape, since that will give you specific numbers about how much she's gained or lost. If she seems to maintain her weight without grain, then you don't have to worry too much (really).
14th Mar 2005, 07:07 AM
Feeding can be a nighmare there are so many feeds available and it can all be so confusing. We end up worrying about it, what we should and shouldn't be feeding. But it is as complicated as we make it. When I bought my ponies I was faced with 100s of different feeds and feeding regimes, it was scary.
It may help you to know, my ponies live out 24/7, 365 days of the year. I do not feed them any hard feed at all. In the winter they have hay and a high fibre feed. In the summer they survive on grass nothing else. When the grass became sparse as happened one hot summer, in came the hay. They have several mineral/vitamin licks to choose from in the field all year round. They can then decide when they want any additional minerals. When the grass is good they do not use the licks as much. They are used for hacking mainly and get adequate energy from grass in the summer.
1) Horses and ponies need fibre and that is what they are designed to digest. There are a couple of feed companies that produce hi-fibre feeds with vitamins added. Other companies who were purely into hard feeds are now producing high fibre feeds I wonder why !!!!.
2) In the summer grass can be so potent it can provide enough energy for a racehorse in training.
3) introduce any new food gradually
All you need to do is keep feeding simple, as close to the horse's natural diet as possible and what work the horse is doing.
hope that helps
drop me a line if you want to know which food company I use.
14th Mar 2005, 07:21 AM
What breed is she? In the summer my new forest pony doesnt get fed, just a handfull of pony nuts when she has been ridden. In the winter she only has a hard feed if she has been ridden and has loads of hay out everyday.
14th Mar 2005, 08:17 AM
When my girls go 24/7 they will be getting a couple of handfuls of Dengie Good Do-er with a vitamin and mineral supplement, and a few carrots/apples. But these are two cobs who could stay fat on tarmac, so it depends on how well she keeps weight on normally.
When the spring grass comes through it has a very high energy content which drops off as we go through the year. Personally I would monitor and make any changes needed as and when. It may be a good idea to use a weigh tape once a week so you can keep track of how she is doing and adjust any feed accordingly.
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