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Winter feeding

9 replies

IceIceIce · 18/09/2016 15:11

I'm planning on filling the horsey food cupboard ready for winter.

I have two cob geldings. They live out 24/7 on good grass with lovely open shelters.

They are 2 years and 3 years. Both came out of a meat traders yard in january. Two year old was very underweight. We got him healthy and up to weight but obviously now he's not starving he won't be on the same sort of feed regime as he was when I got him.

Over summer they've basically lived on grass and refused most hay and feed unless it's been very hot and I've given a really wet feed for extra hydration.

My last pony had to be fed basically as little as possible under vets advice as nothing seemed to agree with him so ive no idea whats about these days so recommendations on some good feed that will keep them in good shape over winter would be much appreciated.

I'm also considering having bloods done to check for anything they might be lacking. Has this proven helpful to you?

OP posts:
Whenwillitrain · 18/09/2016 21:27

Forage and more forage. Hay is the way!

Butkin · 19/09/2016 10:38

We have good doers who don't need much over good quality hay but we do feed Calm and Condition in the evenings - as a mash - and topped up with Topspec Chaff for a bit of bulk. Three of them get the Top Chop Lite but the Connemara - get gets chubby on thin air - only gets their Top Chop Zero. They are all ridden however so need more than yours do. However they will drop off over the Winter so maybe add some sort of Lite mash to their diets.

ProseccoBitch · 19/09/2016 11:20

I always feed Top Spec balancer to make sure they're getting everything they need, mixed with some chaff if they don't need anything more than that. Linseed is great for keeping condition and shine in winter, the Charnwood stuff is the best I've found, you can buy a 25kg bag for £28.50 on eBay and it lasts for ages.

IceIceIce · 19/09/2016 13:06

Whenwillitrain - haha oh yes. I had started stocking up on hay then my landladys horse ended up on stable rest so I let her use mine which has depleted it a lot but she will buy me a large round bales back when her delivery is due so it'll be built back up again in time bless her.

Butkin and prosecco - yes I have been seeing top spec mentioned a lot and had it in mind when I posted so I'm thinking it could be one to get.

I definitely wouldn't describe Ice as a good doer. He will put weight on easily but also drops it quite quickly. He's lunged but nothing strenuous (walk and trot with lots of stops and changes mostly and desensitising to certain things) however he is very active in the field so I suspect he burns a lot of calories that way.

He was Gelded when I got him but he would have been left with mares in the pens so I think he has covered as he definitely knows what's going on when the mares are in season and gets really springy and shows off a lot. (Both balls definitely gone I witnessed it myself haha).

Roo the younger of the two (his full brother) was in the worse condition of the two and has put on weight nicely and isn't as active as ice in the field. He mainly just follows close to ice and if ice is messing about because there's mares in the next field roo just stands and watches. He seems a better doer than ice.

I'm thinking from your suggestions -

Good quality chaff.
Top spec balancer and some linseed (thank you prosecco I've used linseed in the past and had forgotten about it) and then bulk it out a bit towards the end of winter.

OP posts:
DraughtyWindow · 19/09/2016 14:31

Yes, lots of forage. Really, unless you have a forage analysis done on your hay/grass you're best sticking to a general feed balancer. I use Top-spec lite. ForagePlus do a specific winter balancer but it's quite expensive. Micronised linseed is also good as mentioned before, as is Allen & Page (but Fast Fibre instead of Calm & Condition as they're not in work). Speedibeet is a cheap good feed too - there's an element of sugar beet in Calm & Condition). Will they be rugged? Feeding depends on so many variables! Try phoning Allen & Page, or any of the feed companies as they'll be able to give good advice.

IceIceIce · 19/09/2016 14:54

Yes I always keep a small bin of speedibeet anyway. I give it them sometimes just to give them a little something extra in their bellies when the weather is vile.

They're not clipped and very hairy so I only rug in the worst of the worst weather. I did rug the younger one more last winter due to his weight but once he put that back on I found he was much to hot and dropped him down to a light weight turn out until he started keeping warm in that and started taking it off in milder weather and then eventually he got too hot in it in the colder weather too and was naked before spring.

The place they came from they just stand in a pen all year round so I guess they got used to huddling together for warmth. The younger one was a serial escape artist for rugs. Never ever trashed one mind haha. But he really was too skinny to let him just go naked straight away.

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IceIceIce · 19/09/2016 14:59

I can't find the worst pictures I have but that was early this year. His hair masks the ribs and spine a lot. They were quite prominent and when I first saw him he was much much worse. The second pic is him now.

Winter feeding
Winter feeding
OP posts:
Whenwillitrain · 19/09/2016 15:31

Gosh that is hairy! I'd honestly just keep the feeding simple for a youngster. As much turnout as possible, Ad lib hay when the grass runs out. Balancer if you want to feed it.

IceIceIce · 19/09/2016 16:13

They're out 24/7 now. I stabled him with his brother when I got him cause he'd not seen grass in over a year so vet said not to just chuck him straight out on it.

I couldn't get him to eat more than a handful of oats at first so I asked the yard manager if I could use the mare and foal box. He watched Ice eat his tea and just started eating from watching ice.

Haha that pic doesn't do his mane justice either as most of its on the other side. It's epic haha.

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