Thursday, November 3, 2011

This Winter

Last Year, I posted what feed I had the horses on. And beware. It may get really boring really fast. If you are bored just skip it all. I don't mind at all. I could go on for pages and pages.

So, here's for this winter.

  1. My horses stay on pasture until snow flies or the grass gets so bad that it isn't of any nutritional value and then I put them on hay, I take them off of it as soon as possible. Usually when the grass starts growing again. I believe that this is the most natural approach to horse keeping. Horses in the wild eat pasture all the time and dried grass(that's in the pasture!) in the winter which they had to dig for.
  2. My horses don't get grain unless they need it. Fanny only got it last winter because of her emanciated condition. Now, she is doing pretty well and I'm not even planning on giving her anything besides hay this winter. I don't give my horses grain during the summer unless they absolutely need it. Bailey is on it right now only because she is pregnant. If she wasn't I wouldn't be giving it to her.
  3. Hay. I have mixed feelings about hay. Meaning what kind to feed. Grass is obviously more natural(their natural diet) but I love alfalfa too. We are feeding alfalfa this winter though. If I had a choice I would probably feed Fanny grass and Bailey alfalfa. But we trade a guy horse boarding for hay. He is getting alfalfa this winter. Fanny is overwieght so that is why I would give grass to her. Bailey is kind if fat too but she will have higher nutritional demands this winter, which also means less grain!
  4. Grain. Again! I like feeding single whole grains if possible. i.e. Oats, Corn, Barley etc. by themselves. Because it is much more natural. However, I am a stickler for pellets too! (How can you like both???) I like pellets because there is so much more in them! So I am much less likely to feed a vitamin supplement. They are also designed for specific needs and lifestyles. My favorite brands are Nutrena and Purina . Nutrena is probably a little bit of better quality but it is also more expensive.
  5. Supplements. I don't feed any supplements unless I feel that it is neccesary. Last winter I gave Fanny MSM. I still might give it to her this winter, just because her joints get pretty stiff during the winter. In general, horses really don't need any supplements unless they have a specific condition.
  6. Salt. I offer a Trace mineral block free choice all the time. I just keep it in a tire rim, which allows it to drain pretty well. I don't reccomend keeping them on the ground unless you have a lot of horses(or cows) on them at one time so that they get 'licked up' pretty fast.
  7. Feet. I keep my horses barefoot unless I am riding them a lot at the time. I got them trimmed once by a guy who does the Pete Ramey method. and it was good, and very natural. However, I usually just go to our normal farrier who also shoes them when they need it. He jsut does one of those 'flat hoof' trims. They work just fine and are cheaper!
  8. Holistic Vets. I would love to have a holistic vet. but I don't. My vet is awesome though. they are really flexible for what you feel is right for your horse. They have been really great with everything that we have had to do with Bailey. Between breeding her and her stepping on the nail.
  9. Wormer. I don't do anything natural with my wormer. I've heard that the majority of natural wormers don't even really do anything(including herbal ones). So, yep, I just stick with good 'ole ivermectin. I usually give it to them every 8 weeks except in the winter when it is cold and the parasites can't survive anyway and then I just do it every 3 or 4 months.
  10. Vaccinations. I give Tetanus and West Nile for sure every year. I usually give Influenza, EHV 1 &4, EEE, and WEE every other year. I try not to worm them and vaccinate them in the same week because they both depress the immune system slightly, and when you combine them you can get allergic reactions a lot easier. I learned this the hard way. I accidently vacinated bailey at the same time as I wormed her and she usually never has a reaction, but oh boy. She had a pretty big one that time.

  • I haven't started her on hay yet. In fact I don't even have it yet. She's just on pasture still.
  • Right now I have her on 1 part Purina Senior to 2 parts Purina Strategy. Which equals to 1/2 quart Senior and 1 quart Strategy per day. This works pretty good. In my area Senior is about $23 per bag(50lbs) and Strategy is about $17 per bag(50lbs)
  • As soon as I am out of this stuff I am planning on switching her to just 1 1/2 quarts Nutrena SafeChoice per day. This is a bit cheaper and simpler! SafeChoice is an awesome feed! It is kind of similar to Purina's Strategy GX but better in my opinion! SafeChoice is about $17 per bag(50lbs) in my area.
  • When she hits month 8 of the pregnancy I am planning to add about 1 quart of oats to her daily ration. A 40lb bag of oats is about $7 in my area.
  • She gets a EHV 1 + 1b vaccination at months 3, 5, 7, and 9 of her pregnancy. This is to prevent her from getting EHV(Equine Herpes Virus) during her pregnancy which causes abortion. I would only do it at months 5, 7 and 9 but I live in a high risk area. So my vet recommended doing it at month 3 too.
  • Poor horse. She doesn't get any grain. Except for when I let her lick the bucket after I am done graining Bailey :) She's like a dog!
  • Depending on how she's doing I might give her a small amount(like less than half a quart) of SafeChoice with some MSM in it to her for her joints since I have a bunch left over form last year and it is still good.
     I am horrible at feeding hay. All the 'good' horse owners get nice hay bags or racks and feed 2+ small meals a day. But me, I just go throw a bunch over the fence(usually once a day) in different places so that Bailey doesn't hog it all and so that Fanny can get some. When it's gone I give 'em some more. Why? Mainly partially because I'm lazy, but also because I believe that it is more natural than some other ways. Horses are naturally foragers. They find food and they are constantly eating. For a animal that wieghs 1000 lbs they have relatively small stomachs. So yeah, the good horse owners just feed several small meals every day. But I just let them eat as they want it. I do give some restrictions on alfalfa though because they can get really fat really fast on thet stuff. But besides that, even with a mixed hay for the most part I just give it to them free choice.

Yep, I'm pretty sure I lost you somewhere in there. I told you it would be boring...

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