Moving to Ireland - bagged forage question

laura_nash

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Hi everyone - hoping we have a few Irish residents on here who can give me some pointers!

I am moving to ireland in about a months time, co Mayo / Galway border, and we're in the process of buying a small-holding with about 8 acres. My cob will be coming with me, he is a very good doer with a history of laminitis before I got him and a mild dust allergy. Eventually I will be yarding him at least part of the day, but to begin with he will need to be out 24/7 and I am concerned that the grass might be pretty long and lush by the time we get there as the property is vacant at the moment (previous owner died). Things are going to be pretty busy to begin with as the house needs lots of work, so he also won't be getting much exercise. I was really hoping to get some bagged forage delivered first thing so I can shut him in a small area with that for a few hours during the day to give him a break from the grass, and to avoid having to rush about trying to find a good, low dust and sugar hay supply as soon as I get there, and avoid having to get set up for hay soaking immediately too. In th UK I would use Devon Haylage (Timothy), HorseHage Hi Fibre, Halley's Horse Feeds Big Fibre Bloxs etc, is there anything like this in Ireland? No problem feeding him straw etc, but it can't be normal Ryegrass haylage as not only would this defeat the purpose it also gives him digestive and skin problems. I did find these: http://www.strawchip.com/strawcubesbrochure.pdf but don't want to buy 500 euros worth!

Is there any supplier of this type of low sugar bagged forage in Ireland?

Thanks
Laura
 

only_me

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You can buy most of above but they will be incredibly expensive - might be better asking a local farmer to top the field or putting sheep on it for a bit :)
 

laura_nash

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Thanks only_me, I am arranging to get a few sheep on there to keep him company (until we can buy daughter her promised pony!) but I've never had him out 24/7 on grass (even for a few days) without having problems so tend towards over-cautious. Blame the previous owner who left him out on a huge diary field for 2 years and totally mucked up his metabolism. Not too worried about cost (within reason) as this would just be a one-off until we can get all set up with yard area, hay soaking arrangements etc.
 

amandap

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I have never managed to source high fibre horsehage over here so would love to know of any suppliers.
I don't suppose you can bring some with you?
I don't want to put you off but I have found sourcing decent forage very difficult but I can't buy in bulk. If I could afford it I'd try and buy a field of hay and have it tested myself. Testing hay for horses is virtually unknown.
I have tried some Irish commercial haylages in the past but haven't found them safe for laminitics.
Being so wet over here, unless it's a summer like the last one, mouldy/dusty hay is the norm, so I would say plan to start soaking sooner rather than later, sorry.
 

amage

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Loads of good forage suppliers in Ireland and very easy to get forage tested if you are concerned. Chris Ryan at the Scarteen hunt makes absolutely beautiful haylage....round bales but smaller than usual size and we have never had to throw any away even when open for a few weeks. I know of another excellent small haylage bale (well 50kg bales) supplier in east Cork. Eclipse haylage in Inishannon make super bagged stuff. Hayden's haylage in Urlingford is more beautiful stuff. Kehoe's in Wexford is another maker of note. All bar one of those I have mention ship stuff nationwide and also sell through co-ops etc so your local co-op can get stuff in and you don't necessarily have to buy in bulk.

Haylage by its very nature is high fibre...you may find some is more digestible than others but I have personally tested various batches from all of the above through work and found perfect levels in all criteria for horses. Testing forages for horses is VERY common place....I do it regularly as part of my job and it is also very much the norm to send samples to the Equine Centre in Johnstown, Kildare for testing. The Racing/breeding industry here is HUGE....they don't feed stuff without testing it. Anyone stating they have issues getting quality forage or getting stuff tested either is looking in completely the wrong places or has never searched too hard...the Equine Centre are reknowned and its very much common place to send stuff there. It is also far from the norm to feed dusty or mouldy hay.

It is worth noting that the west of Ireland would not be particularly known for lush pasture....ground would generally be under more pressure over there so it may not be as rich as you think. There is huge change in land as you travel from east to west so you could be pleasantly surprised with how suited it is for your horse.
 

amandap

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Loads of good forage suppliers in Ireland and very easy to get forage tested if you are concerned. Chris Ryan at the Scarteen hunt makes absolutely beautiful haylage....round bales but smaller than usual size and we have never had to throw any away even when open for a few weeks. I know of another excellent small haylage bale (well 50kg bales) supplier in east Cork. Eclipse haylage in Inishannon make super bagged stuff. Hayden's haylage in Urlingford is more beautiful stuff. Kehoe's in Wexford is another maker of note. All bar one of those I have mention ship stuff nationwide and also sell through co-ops etc so your local co-op can get stuff in and you don't necessarily have to buy in bulk.

Haylage by its very nature is high fibre...you may find some is more digestible than others but I have personally tested various batches from all of the above through work and found perfect levels in all criteria for horses. Testing forages for horses is VERY common place....I do it regularly as part of my job and it is also very much the norm to send samples to the Equine Centre in Johnstown, Kildare for testing. The Racing/breeding industry here is HUGE....they don't feed stuff without testing it. Anyone stating they have issues getting quality forage or getting stuff tested either is looking in completely the wrong places or has never searched too hard...the Equine Centre are reknowned and its very much common place to send stuff there. It is also far from the norm to feed dusty or mouldy hay.

It is worth noting that the west of Ireland would not be particularly known for lush pasture....ground would generally be under more pressure over there so it may not be as rich as you think. There is huge change in land as you travel from east to west so you could be pleasantly surprised with how suited it is for your horse.
I meant for suppliers to test it. I am in the West in a very rural area no Racing or horse industry round here and hay quality here is poor generally even though some comes from the Midlands. I find Co Ops vary as to how helpful they are getting stuff in for you. I have tried long and hard to get what I want and have to import all my feed except speedibeet. I had forgotton all my trials and tribulations of the first couple of years. I do not feed the usual compound feeds though.
I have reclaimed bog pasture mostly Yorkshie Fog grass and it is not good for my pony.

Hopefully my experience is a one off op.
 

amandap

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Thanks Wheels. I have tried the ordiary EH haylage 6-7 years ago but I don't remember them doing a high fibre one so it's good to see they do. I hope that or similar suits ops horse. I daren't use any haylage for my pony these days, as she is so sensitive, but I will consider the high fibre for some of the bigger horses.
I don't recall the other supplier.

I was unfair, the haylages I tried were good quality they just sent my pony footy, so were imo unsuitable for laminitics as are a lot of haylages in UK.
I also assumed laura_nash was referring to Marksway high fibre horsehage.
 
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laura_nash

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Thanks Wheels! that EH Hi-Fibre one looks like it might be just what I wanted, and they have a stockist in co Mayo.

Yes, your right amandap I was referring to the Marksway high fibre horsehage, however beautifully made normal haylage is definately no good for my boy. Even the countrywide "leisure" one is too rich for him. In the longer-term I'm planning on having my grass and forage tested and getting forage-plus to check it for me, as currently. Luckily I do have a hay barn at the new place so can buy the hay in bulk. I am expecting to soak for the winter, just want to avoid it for the first few weeks as we will be so busy.

I will need to source something to put the forage-plus powder in (currently use Fast Fibre) and micronised linseed eventually, though I still have a huge bag of that from Charnwood Milling so I won't have to worry for a while.
 

foraday

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I would pop on stable to stable dot com

Irelands leading horse forum! You will get all the tried and tested there straight from the heart of ireland
 

doriangrey

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A bit late to this thread. I live in Mayo about 15 minutes from the Galway border and the pasture here is very lush. I guess it depends OP if you purchased farmland intended for grazing cattle. We moved over about 14 years ago now and feed big bale haylage. We buy from a local person who produces his own from sheep-type pasture which is more of a mixture of grasses and not ryegrass. I have a retired tb and a young connie mare on this throughout winter with no problems. Good luck with your move :)
 

amandap

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You could always try to make your own hay/haylage, lots of farmers willing to contract but they may be very busy.

You will love it over here btw. Just takes a bit to get your network set up or it did me.
 
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