Help me chew through my quandry?

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Jessey

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So Jess really has put a spanner in the works, and I need to rethink my management plans;

Jess' feet and fat tendencies need her off grass on low calorie hay. Her lungs currently need her on wet forage (and likely for the foreseeable I guess). The current 3 eat 18-25kg (1 - 1.5 small bales) of hay a day year round.

I don't have mains water, I have a bore hole and it takes me about 4 hours to pump 1000l which lasts about 10 days for normal drinking, feeds, washing stuff. Soaking hay would double that usage at least so isn't really feasible. Steaming might be possible, as may haylage but she's a greedy git with it and 10kg will be gone in 2 hours, leaving her another 10 with nothing to eat, even in 25mm holed nets.

I don't really want to split her from the others to feed her differently, ideally I'd like everyone together and eating the same, so likely going to need 13-15kg of forage twice a day. How the blooming heck do you steam and manage the quantity of hay without killing yourself trying? I do have a round bale net with 35mm holes, do I just swap to haylage and hope the novelty wears off? :p

ETA, when this happened 2 years ago she was absolutely fine over the winter on dry hay (checked by the vet). I let her on a bale (2nd grade, a little dusty on the outside) yesterday which had been out since Sunday morning and we'd had a couple of heavy spells of rain but it still set her off again within a couple of hours, so not sure I can rely on that.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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it's a right one isn't it, we have the same here, 7 all with different requirements. You might find that low cal haylage like Silvermoor if you can get it is fine on her lungs as it is very clean so would not need soaking. We are on a water meter so while we have water on mains, we are kind of frugal on how we use it, plus soaking leaves such a lot of muck to get rid of.
 
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Jessey

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it's a right one isn't it, we have the same here, 7 all with different requirements. You might find that low cal haylage like Silvermoor if you can get it is fine on her lungs as it is very clean so would not need soaking. We are on a water meter so while we have water on mains, we are kind of frugal on how we use it, plus soaking leaves such a lot of muck to get rid of.
There's no way I can afford small bale haylage, just my 3 at the moment do a bale a day and they only get 4 hours eating time and I don't like them going without forage for that long really.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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There's no way I can afford small bale haylage, just my 3 at the moment do a bale a day and they only get 4 hours eating time and I don't like them going without forage for that long really.
silvermoor do large bale as well but they when i tried to get some they weren't at that time taking on any new customers. the haylage i got from northumberland was very clean, as good as the small bale stuff you can buy. so might be worth trying local suppliers.
 

Jessey

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silvermoor do large bale as well but they when i tried to get some they weren't at that time taking on any new customers. the haylage i got from northumberland was very clean, as good as the small bale stuff you can buy. so might be worth trying local suppliers.
Ah I didn't know they did big bales too, thanks. I've only found 2 local suppliers, the guy 10 mins away his stuff is like rocket fuel, gave my friends arab lami, the other has really nice stuff but he's 40 minutes away on a good day.....
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Ah I didn't know they did big bales too, thanks. I've only found 2 local suppliers, the guy 10 mins away his stuff is like rocket fuel, gave my friends arab lami, the other has really nice stuff but he's 40 minutes away on a good day.....
yeah the local haylage around here tends to be like treacle really strong not great
 

chunky monkey

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Your in a difficult one. When chunky got the copd it was because he was having loads of hay to compensate for the field he was forced to stay in which had no grass. I've always made sure my horses had fresh grass and I reckon that keeps the throat, lunges and system lubricated. So I'm wondering if this is what's happening with Jess.

With no grass the hay consumption will definitely go up. Whether hay or haylage. Haylage always sees more palettable so maybe not so good if you need to slow Jess down.
How soaked has the hay got to be. I had good results pouring buckets of water over a whole hay bale. So when cut open it was wet outside but dry inside. Plus I wasn't lifting wet hay as I'd chuck the dry bale in the top of the wheelbarrow before pouring on the water. But then I wasn't filling hay nets just put loose in the field. I got plastered when I tried soaking hay properly and it was a killer on my back and far too time consuming and even more water. Although based on what I've just reread you put you might not get away with pouring buckets over.
What happens if you completely soak hay and just put in the field loose will jess still pig out or is she not as keen in wet hay. Chunky didn't like it completely soaked.
The one thing I did find. If you leave bales out in autumn/spring to get rained on and feed. I found they go off quicker. Because if the daytime humidity levels it gets spores and ferments. It's ok in the winter though doing this. Fermenting hay is likely to lead to colic. Its the only time chunky got colic was after eating fermented hay.
Maybe look at steaming. Does it make hay heavy to lift or is it a lighter option than soaking. How much can you steam at once in one.
 
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carthorse

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Can she really eat 10kg of hay that's in a 1" hole net in 2 hours? Given that's about half a small bale I would say most horses wouldn't eat that in 2 hours if it was fed loose.

Given she's a good doer I'd be concerned about weight gain on haylage, particularly if she puts away large quantities. They are expensive but under the circumstances I'd look at the large HayGain steamer that steam a small bale at a time, once steamed they're ok to feed for a few days so you could maybe steam a few bales in you're around for a while and then it's already done if you're in a rush.

Would it be practical to soak the hay at home, drain it as much as you can and then take up the yard in your car? Or fill water containers at home to use for soaking?
 

Jessey

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Your in a difficult one. When chunky got the copd it was because he was having loads of hay to compensate for the field he was forced to stay in which had no grass. I've always made sure my horses had fresh grass and I reckon that keeps the throat, lunges and system lubricated. So I'm wondering if this is what's happening with Jess.

With no grass the hay consumption will definitely go up. Whether hay or haylage. Haylage always sees more palettable so maybe not so good if you need to slow Jess down.
How soaked has the hay got to be. I had good results pouring buckets of water over a whole hay bale. So when cut open it was wet outside but dry inside. Plus I wasn't lifting wet hay as I'd chuck the dry bale in the top of the wheelbarrow before pouring on the water. But then I wasn't filling hay nets just put loose in the field. I got plastered when I tried soaking hay properly and it was a killer on my back and far too time consuming and even more water. Although based on what I've just reread you put you might not get away with pouring buckets over.
What happens if you completely soak hay and just put in the field loose will jess still pig out or is she not as keen in wet hay. Chunky didn't like it completely soaked.
The one thing I did find. If you leave bales out in autumn/spring to get rained on and feed. I found they go off quicker. Because if the daytime humidity levels it gets spores and ferments. It's ok in the winter though doing this. Fermenting hay is likely to lead to colic. Its the only time chunky got colic was after eating fermented hay.
Maybe look at steaming. Does it make hay heavy to lift or is it a lighter option than soaking. How much can you steam at once in one.
They've been off grass for ages now, so hay consumption shouldn't go up.
Last time I had to soak everything fully for a month and then I got away with just pouring a watering can with a rose over it while turning it to give it a good wetting, last time I didn't have mains power to be able to steam.

Can she really eat 10kg of hay that's in a 1" hole net in 2 hours? Given that's about half a small bale I would say most horses wouldn't eat that in 2 hours if it was fed loose.

Given she's a good doer I'd be concerned about weight gain on haylage, particularly if she puts away large quantities. They are expensive but under the circumstances I'd look at the large HayGain steamer that steam a small bale at a time, once steamed they're ok to feed for a few days so you could maybe steam a few bales in you're around for a while and then it's already done if you're in a rush.

Would it be practical to soak the hay at home, drain it as much as you can and then take up the yard in your car? Or fill water containers at home to use for soaking?
Yep she really does eat that much, she has coliced on regular hay more than once because she just scoffs it down and haylage is worse, I normally pick stalky hay made of things like cocksfoot because it's less tasty and that slows her up a bit. It's also why she choked on grass earlier in the month :rolleyes: She's very adept with small hole haynets now as we've progressively gone to smaller ones over the years. When she was on haylage last time I tried everything I could think of to slow her but she just loves it and would prefer that over her bucket feed even. She has never gone hungry in her life, but you'd think she'd been starved at some point.

I am thinking I could set up a steamer on a timer, so it wouldn't necessarily be a time issue doing it, more the issue of lugging that much wet hay around. I don't have small bale hay as a rule as she'll eat at least 1 a day, and loose hay off a big bale is a much bigger volume. I'm thinking of a DIY steamer, something big enough to fit a large volume of hay in, with a drain, that can just be unplugged and wheeled out into eating position and replaced with another to be ready for the next visit.....
 

Trewsers

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I have a Haygain, I was going to mention - but didn't at first, because I didn't know if you had power there? But you mention unplugging. Mine doesn't have a timer though. I'm not sure if the bigger model does. I thought about making a diy one but by the time you've bought a wheelie bin and all the other gubbins required I'm not sure it was that cost effective. Plus I'm a total numpty with anything remotely techincal and diy so mine would probably have just blown up! lol
Does jess actually like steamed hay? They reckon that it's irresistible when it comes out of the Haygain but ours cock a snook at it at first. Though they do eat it eventually. I don't use it that much as our hay isn't dusty atm, it depends on what we get shipped up. You need to steam it for an hour in ours - not sure how long you spend with jess and the gang. You can fit a goodly sized net in at a time. I appreciate this might not work for you though as you're feeding three and need to think about how long plus electricity bills. (I haven't noticed a dramatic change in ours but I don't use it all that regularly). Just another point, you mention lugging wet hay around - when it comes out it isn't really wet - just damp.
 
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Jessey

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I have a Haygain, I was going to mention - but didn't at first, because I didn't know if you had power there? But you mention unplugging. Mine doesn't have a timer though. I'm not sure if the bigger model does. I thought about making a diy one but by the time you've bought a wheelie bin and all the other gubbins required I'm not sure it was that cost effective. Plus I'm a total numpty with anything remotely techincal and diy so mine would probably have just blown up! lol
Does jess actually like steamed hay? They reckon that it's irresistible when it comes out of the Haygain but ours cock a snook at it at first. Though they do eat it eventually. I don't use it that much as our hay isn't dusty atm, it depends on what we get shipped up. You need to steam it for an hour in ours - not sure how long you spend with jess and the gang. You can fit a goodly sized net in at a time. I appreciate this might not work for you though as you're feeding three and need to think about how long plus electricity bills. (I haven't noticed a dramatic change in ours but I don't use it all that regularly). Just another point, you mention lugging wet hay around - when it comes out it isn't really wet - just damp.
Yes I got powered up just after Xmas so I at least have the option now. I don't think any come with timers but I was just thinking one of those timers you stick in the plug socket first :) She isn't overly keen on soaked or steamed hay, but in her greedy instance that is no concern, it won't put her off for long! :p 1 net isn't enough, I'd def need more. Damp still makes it heavier though doesn't it? I wouldn't mind if just moving it about on a yard buy even lugging her normal net to the other end of a 2 acre field is heavy enough ;)
 

carthorse

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@Jessey if you take it out of the steamer soon after it's done and hang it for 5 minutes - and be careful if your nets have metal rings - then it's usually lighter than before because some of the water has steamed out. Chuck it in a barrow and you'll be fine.

When I was on a yard with a large HayGain I seem to remember we'd comfortably get four large nets in it at a time, you'd probably get more in with practice!
 
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Trewsers

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Yes I got powered up just after Xmas so I at least have the option now. I don't think any come with timers but I was just thinking one of those timers you stick in the plug socket first :) She isn't overly keen on soaked or steamed hay, but in her greedy instance that is no concern, it won't put her off for long! :p 1 net isn't enough, I'd def need more. Damp still makes it heavier though doesn't it? I wouldn't mind if just moving it about on a yard buy even lugging her normal net to the other end of a 2 acre field is heavy enough ;)
I haven't found it any heavier - but I don't have that far to go from the side of the garage to her box, so maybe it would be a pain if you have further to go and lots more to do. It smells delicious when it comes out of the haygain though - if I was a horse I'd eat it! lol
 
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Jessey

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Interesting, Jess normally doesn't like damp or soaked hay, but I have been damping the good hay just to be sure, but there was also a net of dry out up the back that I didn't bother taking down and she is choosing to eat the dampened hay and not touching the dry hay (it's a miracle for her to leave any hay!), goes to show they do know what's best for them sometimes!
 
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