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Overnight feeding

22 replies

Pleasedontdothat · 15/01/2020 15:30

DD’s horse is currently out during the day and in at night (from about 5:30/6-7). The turnout fields are lovely and still have loads of grass, but to keep them that way, the YO insists on all horses being in overnight during winter. They’ll all be out 24/7 from the end of March.

Dhorse is a 10 year old not quite 16hh ISH gelding who is a good doer. He’s ridden 6 times a week and competes 2-3 times a month. He’s very fit and is currently a perfect weight but ideally we’d like him to lose a smidgeon more as he will gorge himself on spring grass and start ballooning...

He has daily grazing, a token feed for breakfast and tea (tiny bit of balancer and chaff) and at least 9kg of double netted haylage overnight. He’s always finished his haylage by morning and has usually started nibbling the edges of his straw bed. However while we were on holiday over Christmas, he started seriously eating his straw and has carried on since we got back. Last night, dd put up a lickit in an attempt to distract him and he ate the whole thing in one night Shock. He has no off switch, so however much hay/food he has in front of him, he’ll guzzle it ...

Any advice? He’s already getting a lot more forage than most of the other horses on the yard and as he’s such a good doer we really don’t want him to go into summer fat ...

OP posts:
RatherBeRiding · 15/01/2020 16:27

Bed on shavings and replace the haylage with hay - preferably soaked - that way he should be able to have a bit more quantity but no more (or even fewer) calories?

RatherBeRiding · 15/01/2020 16:28

Just to add - I have a good doer. She is NOT allowed haylage. Ever. My old TB gets it because he's not a good doer, and even he is looking quite "well" this winter!

PrayingandHoping · 15/01/2020 16:34

Switch to a non edible bedding and get a tricklenet

Shadowboy · 15/01/2020 16:39

Can he have two nets one with haylage and the other with soaked hay? That way if he runs out he’s still got something left? I’m a firm believer in having constant access to forage. Or does the YO do a night check at 10ish so you can split the haylage over 2 nets. This is what we do in our yard.

Pleasedontdothat · 15/01/2020 19:32

Thanks - we really want him to have access to forage at all times he’s in his stable but we’re struggling! He’s got the smallest holed nets we can find and we’re double netting in a vain attempt to make it last longer. We moved him onto Timothy grass haylage (as it’s lower calorie than rye grass haylage) as he was coughing a bit at the start of schooling when he was on hay - the cough has completely gone since we switched. Dd didn’t want to soak hay as she got herself into a tizz about soaking hay and decided that unless it was steamed (in an eye-wateringly expensive steamer) that it would be detrimental to dhorse’s health. At his old yard, the grass was very poor and the fields were overstocked so the yard owner put hay in the fields from September and he literally stood in the middle of the hay pile chomping away every waking second that he wasn’t being ridden Hmm

I think we’re going to have to switch back to shavings or pellets and use more hay ... roll on summer Confused

OP posts:
Trewser · 16/01/2020 11:00

What balancer?

Pleasedontdothat · 16/01/2020 11:06

The pig horse has surpassed himself... last night he managed to undo the bolt on his stable and jolt the kick bolt out of place to let himself out and help himself to all the breakfasts which had been put outside the other horses’ stables on his bit of the yard Shock. Once he’d polished everything off, he took himself back to his stable and tried to look innocent Hmm

Thankfully he seems absolutely fine - dd walked him around for a while and he’s showing no signs of discomfort and has passed droppings ok.

We’re going to ask the yard owner to chuck some extra hay over his door when she does her late night checks and see if that makes any difference...

OP posts:
Pleasedontdothat · 16/01/2020 11:08

@Trewser he has a handful of Baileys no.19 and a scoop of chaff - it’s really just a token feed as all the other horses get something

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RatherBeRiding · 16/01/2020 11:31

I think you are going to have to re-visit soaked hay. I get the ambivalence about it - however, so many people use soaked hay with no issues that personally i would give it another go. When I was having to use soaked hay last (yard hay very dusty!) I would soak for no more than half an hour (there is some very good information somewhere online about the optimum soaking time to reduce calories) then hang up the net and blast with a hose - didn't like the thought of soaking it to remove dust, then having it sitting around in water saturated with the very dust I was trying to remove in the first place!

Trewser · 16/01/2020 11:33

Yes sorry I 2nd soaked hay

Trewser · 16/01/2020 11:35

And change to baileys lite balancer. Makes a big difference. A handful of balancer won't be doing anything for him anyway. Better to have a bit more protein from the full amount of a low calorie balancer.

Vanhi · 16/01/2020 21:30

It may be a minor difference, but you can try putting nets in 2-3 different parts of the stable. It just allows them to browse and move a little bit more so they burn off a few more calories and take a little bit longer to eat.

OldSpeclkledHen · 16/01/2020 21:52

Feel your pain!

I used to offer DH a bucket of chopped oat straw, think its Top Spec Chop Zero? As she's ISH fatty too... and on soaked weighed rations ... She turned her nose up at it, it's still in the bucket come morning so me thinks she can't be that hungry 🙄🙄🙄

She also not spoiled gets a nut/treat ball that has a cup of Hi Fi nuts... she likes that...

Frouby · 17/01/2020 09:43

Definetly look again at soaked hay. Yard owners cob has EMS and is also prone to colicing, it's the only way to keep the weight off and stop her eating her bed then colicing.

I think it's soak for 12 hours then rinse the dirty water off. YO uses black dustbins, fills them with hay, fills them with water then tips bin over to drain after 12 hours then rinses with clean water. Leaves to drain for half an hour and then feeds it loose on the floor. It's messy but works best for her.

I've fed soaked hay before but used hay nets dunked in a bath positioned near a tie up ring. Hoist wet net out, rinse with hose pipe then leave to drain.

If there is still grass when they are out you could also try a muzzle instead of limiting/changing night feeds. Should reduce his daytime intake. Plus from watching ours graze they seem to move around more with a muzzle on.

Hate using muzzles but with 2 native ponies it has always been necessary. No amount of work will compensate for the ability of a native pony to overeat. Especially this time of year when with the mild weather we have noticed the first flush of grass.

Trewser · 17/01/2020 09:52

OldSpeclkledHen mine wouldn't touch that topspec Zero either. And they normally eat literally anything.

Honeyroar · 17/01/2020 09:53

I’ve known people put muzzles on in the stable to slow down hay eating.

Ish are the labradors of the horse world (I have two!).

How do people go on soaking hay in freezing weather? My ish can cough on dry hay, but I find a good bucket of water chucked over it is enough to stop the coughing.

Re steaming hay. I’ve seen wheelie bins with a hole cut in them that allows the nozzle of a wallpaper steamer to be poked into the wheelie bin - much cheaper than a real steamer!

Trewser · 17/01/2020 09:55

Mine dunk their hay in their water!

Honeyroar · 17/01/2020 09:57

My mare likes to dunk too. She even dunks grass in the field trough.

Pleasedontdothat · 17/01/2020 16:06

‘Ish are the labradors of the horse world’ Grin this is very true Hmm

Dd hates soaking hay (she has to do it at her weekend yard job) as she always manages to soak herself when tying up the nets but I think she’s going to have to learn a better technique (or wear waterproofs...)

Hay on the floor seemed to satisfy him better last night - at least we didn’t have a repeat of his Houdini antics ...

OP posts:
Biddie191 · 03/02/2020 14:12

To soak hay without getting very soaked, tie the haynet to a ring in the wall, with soaking bucket underneath. If you can get a soaking tub with a plug in the bottom, all the better - just let the water out and leave hanging an extra 10 mins. If not, raise the net up above the level of the water for 10 mins before removing and hanging (by tying higher). I had a pulley which made it easy, cost me no more than a few quid on ebay. Hope that helps x

Biddie191 · 03/02/2020 14:13

A bit of tarpaulin to wrap the soaked net in while you carry to the stable helps, too!

Pleasedontdothat · 10/02/2020 20:38

Update on this - we’ve switched from haylage to soaked hay and he’s having it from the floor instead of hay nets. He’s actually much better at pacing himself when faced with a mound of easily accessible hay than with double netted, small holed nets - he’s stopped eating his bed, and still has a bit of hay left in the mornings. He’s looking beautifully trim and is working really well, so touch wood, we’ve found the solution Smile

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