June 14th, 2022

How Do You Make Hay for a Horse: A Guide to Hay Feeding

Owning farmland requires the knowledge of care and maintenance. It isn’t only crops and produce that you grow, but also the livestock you care for on the property. If you own horses, there’s a specific way they need to live to stay healthy.

Luckily, here is a brief guide to hay feeding for your horses and steps to ensure proper diets. Proper care, portion control, and observation will help your team of horses prosper and maintain their health.

How Much Hay Should Horses Have?

Depending on your horse’s size, age, and workload, their feed amount varies. Mature horses eat roughly three percent of their body weight daily. If a horse weighs 1,000 pounds, it must consume 30 pounds of hay.

Ideally, your horses should eat their hay in an hour and a half to two hours. They will require more feed if they consume it in less than an hour. If it takes more than two hours, there’s a chance of excess waste and trampling. You should stick with feeding them twice a day at a minimum.

Change Feed and Scheduling Gradually

All horses vary when it comes to the specific feed they need. Make changes incrementally when you adjust their feed type or ratio size. Perform these changes over several weeks.

An easy tip for hay feeding horses is to replace 25 percent of their current food with new food every two to three days. As a result, they will eat all of their new food in about six days.

Avoid Feeding Close to Exercise Time

A general rule of thumb is to wait an hour after your horse eats before exercise. Wait about three hours before strenuous exercise.

A horse’s digestive system gives them less room for their lungs to work, making the exercise harder. Allow their breathing rate and body temperature to return to normal after exercise. From there, you can resume feeding them.

Have a Consistent Routine

Horses thrive best when they’re on a consistent routine. Along with a consistent daily schedule, their feeding time should also be consistent. Sudden changes in their routine make horses more prone to colic, so ensure the schedule works for you and your horses. Hay feeders on skids will allow for portable and swift feeding routines.

Ensure Accurate Feed Measuring

Weighing your horse’s feed accurately allows for proper portioning. Using a postal or kitchen scale, portion their feed with a coffee can, scoop, or whatever works best. Because horses eat 30 percent of their weight, proper portioning matters significantly for their health.

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