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Full Version: June is always HUNGRY!
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Right now I'm giving her 1/3 bale of hay a day and about 3 cups of sweet feed...a friend recommended it...but she ALWAYS seems hungry. Is this about right?
A standard rule of thumb is that a horse requires about 2% of their body weight in food a day. So for a medium sized horse of 1000 pounds they would need about 20 pounds of feed a day. Normally this is spread over 3 or four feedings through out the day. so if you feed three times it would work out to just under six pound per feed, 5 pounds if you feed four times. You can use a bathroom scale to check. Just weigh yourself with and with out the amount of hay you feed.

The amount of feed also depends on the quality and type of the hay.

Grass hay has less nutrients per pound and would require more hay while second cut alfalfa would require less.

We tend to feed the 2% of body weight in hay four time a day and supplement with grain to maintain a good body weight when they are in the barn in the morning and at night.

Horses are programmed to graze all day and almost always eat the feeding in under an hour and will look for more so that is why most folks feed three or four times a day.

What type of hay are you feeding?
How old is your mare?

Like Hook said, the amount of hay depends on what type of hay it is. I feed a mix of almost straight alfalfa and grass hay and about 2 lbs of a ration balancer per day to my 17 y/o boy. I do not feed much grain and mine is out during the day to graze.

Has your mare been wormed and has she had her teeth floated recently? Both worms and dental issues can affect how well she is absorbing and utilizing her food.
I would say that it is a more hay/grass mix. She is a Quarter Horse and something else I think. About 7 years old. I have so much to learn. Happy to find this place. Thank for everything.
Depending on her body condition you can maybe increase her hay intake.
If you have access to a farming neighbor who can drop a round bale off in your pasture then she can eat at her leisure.
I have a round bale feeder under cover in a run in type portion of my barn and also have a round bale in each pasture.
My guys get a scoop of sweet mix as a treat but they are both in good weight.
It's good that your horse is always interested in eating! Start to worry if she doesn't want to eat. As long as her weight is staying up, I'd say you are doing a good job. Plenty of good quality hay and always access to good water (not iced over) are the keys. There are many ways you can accomplish your feeding needs, as evidenced above. We have 10 equines. In summer they are on mostly pasture. In winter we have them split into 2 separate lots of 5 animals each - one for the harder keepers and the other for the more aggressive eaters. We put the 3 horses that have some trouble maintaining their weight over winter together, along with the donkey and the mule, who are not aggressive eaters. We keep a round bale of grass hay in each lot as free choice hay. Then, I also add a square bale of timothy/alfalfa mixed hay to the 'hard keeper' lot each day. Plus each animal gets about 4 lbs of pelleted feed, a cup of ration balancer, and a cup of milled flax seed each day. Seems to be working well for us, but each horse is different. Just have to watch for weight changes to see if she needs more or less. Be dilligent with the water though.