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Horse Owners...what type of hay do you feed?

horses hay for horses alfalfa timothy bermuda grass orchard grass brome grass round bales small square bales

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27 replies to this topic

#1 downtownjr

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 06:17 PM

Wonder what you look for in hay?...

Do any of you feed round and big squares bales or are you only in the market for small square bales?

Do you have it tested or just go by look and smell?

What type of hay do you prefer...timothy, alfalfa/grass mix, just alfalfa, just grass...please let us know and where you live.

Please share your opinions. Thank you very much.
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#2 rjmoses

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:02 AM

I prefer an orchardgrass/timothy mix for my 15 head. But I usually end up feeding straight OG.

I feed big round OG over the winter since most of the herd is in my winter pasture. If the weather is really bad, I will feed one big round alfalfa and 2 grass bales to give them extra energy.

I usually have 2-4 in each day for training and I feed them alfalfa from small squares. I also use small square alfalfa when traveling.

Ralph
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#3 swmnhay

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:09 AM

Karen feeds her horse 2nd cutting orchardgrass.Nice fine short hay.

I sell horse people what ever they want to pay for.Most want what ever is cheapest.But some do figure out that the better hay is worth the $ after feeding some.
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#4 Mike120

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:46 AM

They get what I grow....Tifton 85 Bermuda and a Bermuda/Bahia mix. During the drought last year I brought in Alfalfa in small squares, cut back on pellet feed, and fed a mix of grass and Alfalfa to keep my feeding costs about the same. I just planted a field with Comanche Bermuda and hopefully I'll get a couple of cuttings off of it this year. Last fall I planted that field in ryegrass, grazed part of it with some mares and still got 3 tons/acre when I rolled it up. Those mares get the rolls now.....and they make a mess with them.

I prefer small squares. We typically have 25-35 horses, some in and out of the barn and the rest doubled up in individual paddocks. I spend a lot of time and effort trying to keep grass in the paddocks, the small squares are easier to feed and I don't have the waste/mess from round bales. I run a Hoelscher accumulator/grapple and can store about 7,000 bales if I move some of my equipment out.

Depending on our hay inventory and projected headcount in the fall, I will usually buy a 1000 or so bales for "insurance". These are usually Jiggs/Coastal/T-85 Bermuda depending on who I get them from, typically stored offsite and delivered as needed. I normally buy from guys I know make decent hay and rarely have any problems. If I have an excess in the spring, I'll either sell it or feed it out based on my best guess for the weather and when I can start getting production out of my fields.
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#5 somedevildawg

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:11 AM

All makes sense to me. Mine eat what I grow....T85 and Alicia....never complained to me about it.....big rounds usually, however, this year will be square baling 75% so that will change. The quality of the hay is always very high, I can regulate the intake better with the squares and little waste.
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#6 Tim/South

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 12:20 PM

Most horse people in my area feed a quality Bermuda. A few feed Tifton 9 Bahia.
Those with show horses may buy a couple of Alfalfa bales trucked from the western states and feed with the Bermuda.

My horses are turned out and eat what I feed the cows. This is a mixed grass hay, put up right with no mold.
They graze Rye Grass in the winter also.

My thinking has changed during the last couple of years. We once fed only the best Bermuda to the horses. I noticed when our horses grazed on mixed grass pastures that they did not stand and eat only the Bermuda spots. Figured if it did not cause colic when green it would not if cured properly for hay.
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#7 scrapiron

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:32 PM

We feed small rounds 3x4, (450lb) to the horses, of russell bermuda. Russell is our hay of choice, followed by tift-85. Our horses DO NOT get our BEST hay, they get our 11-14% cp hay. The cows get the best hay. The hay that we don't /won't feed gets sold.Our horses & most horses in this area don't need the best hay, just good hay & a lot of it. We feed free choice in a hay ring,4 horses per pasture eat on average a 450lb roll in 4days, and get NO feed. Our vet complains to us that the horses & donkey are borderline obese, yea they are fat.

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#8 HWooldridge

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:06 PM

My son is a trainer and keeps 5-6 at any one time. All of the boarded horses and his personal animals get hay out of my pasture, which is native Coastal and whatever other grass comes up. Most years, that's yellow Indiangrass, bluestem, dallisgrass and a bit of johnson grass. We've never had a horse get sick or colic on the mix so it would seem safe to feed. I sell some of it in good years and some horse buyers love it and want to buy more while others turn up their nose without even trying a bale.
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#9 somedevildawg

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:14 PM

Smart guy, you get paid for weight on cattle, always feed them the best. After the drought a few years ago we all learned what our livestock and horses were able to consume and what happens when there is none.

#10 Feed Hay

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:15 PM

Small Squares. Mostly alfalfa/OG mix that feeds our 6 horses and 30 goats. Thanks for adding the livestock area to the site Jimbo.

#11 Vol

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 06:16 AM

I have been around lots of horses.....as I have mentioned on here before, I have foaled out several hundred mares and have seen alot of trouble during foaling. Its the horses that are either too thin or too fleshy that usually give problems....in other words, conditioned horses have less problems....kinda like people. But the thing that most amazes me is the wild horses that roam the Pryor mountains in Wyoming. They are not wormed or pampered or fed the finest forage....yet, they are for the most part well conditioned. Yes, horses can do well without mankind(or womankind) messing with them....if you want to keep a healthy and well conditioned horse, get the horse out of the dang stall and dont put him on a quarter acre paddock and expect the horse not to get hurt. Horses are created to run.....either give them what they need or just go rent one to ride if you cannot provide what they need. Most any cured grass will provide a horse with its forage needs. You should see what they eat in Wyoming and thrive.

Regards, Mike
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#12 RockmartGA

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 12:27 PM

if you want to keep a healthy and well conditioned horse, get the horse out of the dang stall and dont put him on a quarter acre paddock and expect the horse not to get hurt. Horses are created to run


I agree with that 100%. People forget that movement helps the digestive process - in both animals and humans. You put a horse on a large enough pasture and note how much they move in a day.

#13 HWooldridge

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:38 PM

A good friend of mine raised mules for about 40 years. He had his own teams and also trained for other people who wanted to do draft and wagon work. When someone would complain about hay, he would reply "Yore hosses just ain't hongry enuff yet". He liked feeding johnson grass hay to the mules so long as it was cut at the right time to minimize prussic acid - most horse people will tell you that j-grass will kill a horse quick as lightning but a lot of the stories seem to be suburban myths...

Y'all are also spot on about letting horses move around. People stick them in a stall for a week and wonder why they have behavioral or digestive problems.
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#14 rjmoses

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:08 AM

Most horses are overfed and under utilized. In 25 years of having between 5 and 15 horses, I have had only two cases of colic, three strangles, one choke and maybe a couple of sniffles, tick infection, etc. There have been a handful of physical injuries from freaky injuries due to circumstances like the trail collasping under us, horse stepping on a beer bottle in water and cutting a tendon and so on.

I believe the reason for the heatlthiness is that they get a LOT of exercise, teeth taken care of regulary and a reasonable diet!

They never go to McDonald's, don't eat refined sugars and never get a beer. (I'm not a fanactic about this, so I don't expect to live as long as my horses!)

Ralph
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#15 somedevildawg

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:07 AM

Ok now I feel bad, mine kinda likes Bud Light, at least he seems to enjoy it! Sorry horsey lovers, I am a bad influence.
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#16 Teslan

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 08:38 PM

I don't have horses, but just sell hay to horse owners. This is what I'm seeing. Folks that have working horses (barrel racers, rodeo horses, racing horses, etc) get alfalfa. The ones that don't do much get orchard/brome hay. I started into having large 3x3 bales this year and have had more demand for those then the small bales. Plus they are easier loading.

#17 NDVA HAYMAN

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:09 AM

I see a lot of horse people around here keep shoes on their horses year around and only ride once a month. It really bugs me. Mike, any of those wild horses in Montana have shoes on to protect their feet?

#18 Mike120

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 09:49 AM

I see a lot of horse people around here keep shoes on their horses year around and only ride once a month. It really bugs me. Mike, any of those wild horses in Montana have shoes on to protect their feet?


Good gosh, don't give the animal rights kooks any more ideas........

#19 Thumbtack

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 12:53 PM

I feed Max Q tall fesque to our show horses. They do well on it with grain supplement.
We live in NM and irragate our hay.

#20 prairiehoney

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 11:47 PM

When I lived in Georgia I fed Tift 44 or Bermuda mix round bales in the winter. The rest of the year the horses had pasture. I'm now in North Dakota and I feed big round bales of alfalfa/brome or crested wheat/buffalo grass. My senior horses also get grain and alfalfa flakes. Most of the year is snow, so the big bales are easier to store and move. I have 6 head right now. Through the winter they eat a bale a week depending on the temperature. I buy about 40 bales for the winter,
Price - $20-25 for the round bales-delivered. $2 for alfalfa square bales in the field and I have to go get them. We are having a drought this year, so the price will be higher. I bought 4 round bales of alfalfa a few months ago for $20 each so I won't need squares this winter. I'll put the alfalfa rounds in the barn and feed the old-timers from them.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: horses, hay for horses, alfalfa, timothy, bermuda grass, orchard grass, brome grass, round bales, small square bales

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