Fattie help. To give hay or not.

scewal

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I have a lovely cob x tb who maintains her weight very well. Currently she is in a small paddock with short grass. Without hay she only produces 6 poos in 24 hours. 3 kg of hay gets her up to 8 poos a day but also makes her gain a little weight. Soaking hay in not a choice. She is ridden / worked 2 to 4 times a week, so is very much a leisure horse. Upping her work load more is also tricky. I want to cut her hay out altogether however think only 6 poo's a day is a clear sign of not enough fibre going through. Can anyone offer any advice, thank you.
 

Goldenstar

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I give fatty some soaked haylege twice daily ( small amount ) once his paddock is bare and also some straw chop , I put it straight onto the ground and he forageaps through it and spreads it out in a sort of mock grazing .
One scoop keeps him going a while .
 

scewal

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Mine won't eat chopped straw, I think i'll reduce her hay again and monitor the output so to speak.
 

Suby2

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Have you considered one of the low sugar, low starch chaff mixes. I gave this to my pony over the winter as I could only feed her limited haylage (has RAO, has had one bout of mild laminitis so was on a vet monitored diet). It gave her added fibre without her putting on weight.
 

Inthesticks

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I do not think you should reduce her hay too much. I have 3 on just over an acre and 3 slices of soaked hay a day and they lose weight steady and still get enough fibre and room to mouch.

Why is soaking it not an option?
 

STRIKER

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Very short grass is full of fructan and stressed grass makes for a stressed horse and when they are not getting enough their metabolism changes and they go into starvation mode and produce cortisol which mucks around with the insulin and they dont lose weight, hence why so e folk cant understand why their horses is near enough being starved but still not losing weight, so yes please do feed her some hay, just to soak up the acid in the stomach at least.
 

Goldenstar

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I would defiantly try hay bloks they keep them occupied and you can cut them in half and space them out over the day .
 

twiggy2

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6 poos in 24hrs is not enough, you are between a roak and a hard place, the horse needs more fibre but no more calories, soaking is the best answer, or not soaking and increasing work load-no point saying you just can't do either if she ended up with laminitis life would be much harder.

i have had to soak hay at home before now and rinse drain bag and take to yard, or maybe you could look at park loaning to increase work?
 

Apercrumbie

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Why can't you soak hay? This is the best way to limit calories while maintaining fibre intake. I know some horses dislike the taste, but even 10 min/half an hours soaking does a huge amount.

Otherwise, I would start introducing a more palatable straw in with her hay and gradually up the ratio. If she's hungry, she will probably eat it. What do you use for bedding?
 

Cortez

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Believe me starving does "work", but it's not something you'd want to try as a weight management tool. If a horse is hungry enough it will eat straw, so if you are not able to soak hay try cutting 50/50 with straw.
 

scewal

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6 poos in 24hrs is not enough, you are between a roak and a hard place, the horse needs more fibre but no more calories, soaking is the best answer, or not soaking and increasing work load-no point saying you just can't do either if she ended up with laminitis life would be much harder.

i have had to soak hay at home before now and rinse drain bag and take to yard, or maybe you could look at park loaning to increase work?

I already have someone else riding her at the weekend for me. Soaking hay isn't an option as water comes from a water butt so we don't have huge amounts. Have had her hay analysed and have been advised safe to feed to good doers. Yes sadly my last mare came down with laminitis while out on loan so I know full well how hard it is to nurse them back to health.
Have tried the hay blocks but she won't eat them. I also know about short grass being stressed thus containing more sugars ect. Once the field has dried up enough to allow lunging her work load will increase.
 

scewal

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I will see if i can source some decent straw. Bedding wise she is on miscanthus.
 

EstherYoung

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We swapped our laminitic fatty onto ad lib straw on the advice of our vet, as being on a diet was affecting his teeth. He looks better than he's ever looked, his teeth are much better being able to chomp all the time, and he's much happier too as he doesn't feel starved.
 

scewal

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Thanks Estheryoung. Vet said she is an ideal weight at the moment. Will get in some straw asap.
 

gennyw

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Also try the shires small holed haynets. our old boy (who looked at grass and gained 5lbs) had that and it slowed his eating down. i would be very cautious to cut out hay all together because horses are grazing animals. also try putting two haynets in each other to make the holes smaller. you can feed less hay but let it last for longer. also maybe a grazing muzzle for when grazing? that might work. if you give hard feed either cut that out or try some dengie good dooer. hope this helps.
 

samlf

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Barley or oat straw, to replace at least half of the hay ration. If she doesn't eat it, she isn't hungry.
 

MotherOfChickens

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I mostly have my ponies at home but I have grazing a couple of miles away. currently they are getting soaked hay-I soak it at home (as I have to haul water there as well), drain it well and take it up in a plastic sack. If its drained for 2/3 hours its fine. I find they get sick of straw although I can't find decent oat straw this far north that doesn't cost £2 a bale more than the lovely hay I get (13% WSC).
 

Tess Love

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I'd soak hay at home for minimum of 4 hours which will reduce the sugar sufficiently then drain and transport back using a large flexi tub. I've got a large dustbin with a tap at the bottom to make soaking hay relatively clean and easy its a like a poor man's haycube.
 

Hoof_Prints

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I feed my fatty double soaked and rinsed hay, soak for a few hours, then change water and soak again (it needs to move out down a concentration gradient, so keeping the same water will just cause the sugars to level out in the hay and water!). I can feed her this as much as I like really, doesn't put on any weight. I usually bring her in for the majority of the day and feed her ad lib double soaked hay, then back out at night on the grass. And she poos a lot ! I do give her a small feed with a chaff and vit supplement plus salts
 

maisie06

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I give my good doer retired mare a couple of slices of oat straw and very sparse grazing - I must say myself that she is in lovely condition so far this year, I am going to do the same with my other horse that is in work who has put on a few lbs in this weather....the grass is going mental at the moment.
 

RobinHood

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We've had a similar conundrum with our fatties for the last 2 years and managed them with restricted grazing and weighed hay. Any increase in hay resulted in weight gain which didn't fit with my ideals of ad lib feeding.

Then this spring everything changed. We got a new batch of hay in and within a week they all looked leaner. Put their hay ration up and up until they're all on ad lib but still looking trim.

It's really course stalky hay and the analysis shows it's very high in lignin, ADF and NDF so difficult to digest. They can eat it until they're full without getting much nutritional benefit. It contains quite a bit of cow parsley, nettles and brambles, which the ponies love but it's not what we're used to in hay.

We've always had each batch of hay tested and the previous lots were all fine for fatties in terms of sugar and starch. We found this new hay quite by accident and I'm dreading it running out!
 
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