Thursday, 28 February 2013

Feeding

I've been doing self board these past few months, so it's back to the world of calculating feed amounts and nutrition balanced with cost effectiveness! When I have the horses at home, I weigh everything  and switch it up depending on how much grazing they have. With me boarding at the moment, I have to keep it a little simpler so the barn owner doesn't hate me when she feeds :)

The time has finally come to up Ginny's feed. She has only been getting 3 flakes of a nice timothy hay (about 10-12lbs) and a handful of ration balancer per day all winter since she took a great interest in supplementing herself by digging up weeds and shrubs and eating tree branches and was leaving her hay.


Yum...tree branches.

The barn owner was happy she'd cleared up the back paddock, but it made feeding her the right amount a bit of a guessing game. First, I noticed her topline wasn't looking as good as normal, which could be attributed to being out of work temporarily. Then, I noticed she seems to be growing and needing a bit more hay, and now finally with the blanket episode she seems to have magically stress melted a bit more away and is looking a titch thinner than I'd like. She's a welsh cob, so the stereotype should be a fat, food oriented pony. Not so. She's a worrier plus she will only eat what she wants. She doesn't ever get overly chunky. It's really nice on the prairies because I don't have to worry about her eating too much grass in the spring or gorging herself on the round bale like some. (*cough*Lainey*cough*)

Happy times -summer 2012!

Here, it gets a bit more tricky. With the weather perpetually rainy, you don't want to leave hay out any longer than needed - people don't even bale rounds because they'd rot before livestock ever got close to finishing them. Pasture/farm land is really limited - we're stuck between mountains and the ocean so supplying hay is a fact of life pretty much year round. This is also the land of the wealthy retiree, so prices are higher because the land/rent is so expensive. So, we truck in square bales at $460/ton and a generic bag of feed is about $15. Just typing that makes me feel a little queasy! At that price, we dish the hay out like gold - no one here lets their horse waste hay.

I've opted to leave her hay and grain ration the same, but supplement it with beet pulp until the grass comes in in her summer paddock. Its a lot more cost effective and I'm hoping there will be less waste. I'm at the barn every day so it's no inconvenience for me to soak some for her dinner. I've used it before with success and been pleased - the supplier we buy it from has a type that's really low in sugar, which cancels out my usual concern with beet pulp. It's also of course got plenty of fiber. Fingers crossed she's looking more like her usual fabulous self again in a couple of weeks.

On another note - today is the big day and I'm heading out for a ride :)

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