Start Date

19-2-2009 9:45 AM

Description

How Much Hay Does A Horse Need?

A horse owner once described their Quarter Horse gelding as “a hole in the stall that I throw hay into”! This description is certainly accurate… a 1200 lb gelding used for light recreational riding will consume about 700 lbs of hay per month during the winter in Kentucky. If the horse is kept in a place with minimal pasture, yearly hay consumption will be about 4 tons. Restricting hay intake can lead to digestive disturbances and behavior problems, so it is recommended that most horses be allowed access to 1.5 – 2.0 lbs of hay (or pasture equivalent) for each 100 lb of body weight (so 18 – 24 lb of hay for a 1200 lb horse). The amount of hay a horse needs will be influenced by the nutrient requirements of the horse as well as the nutrient content of the hay, and any other feeds the horse is receiving. Lactating mares will consume higher amounts of forage than horses at maintenance. Elite performance horses and weanlings might receive somewhat lower levels of forage because they will be receiving significant amounts of concentrate. Nonetheless, the minimum hay (or pasture) intake for any horse should be above 1 lb of hay for each 100 lb of body weight. When choosing, or producing, hay for horses, several factors should be considered. Cleanliness of the hay, nutrient value, palatability and cost are all important.

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Feb 19th, 9:45 AM

Alfalfa Hay for Horses: Myths vs. Reality

How Much Hay Does A Horse Need?

A horse owner once described their Quarter Horse gelding as “a hole in the stall that I throw hay into”! This description is certainly accurate… a 1200 lb gelding used for light recreational riding will consume about 700 lbs of hay per month during the winter in Kentucky. If the horse is kept in a place with minimal pasture, yearly hay consumption will be about 4 tons. Restricting hay intake can lead to digestive disturbances and behavior problems, so it is recommended that most horses be allowed access to 1.5 – 2.0 lbs of hay (or pasture equivalent) for each 100 lb of body weight (so 18 – 24 lb of hay for a 1200 lb horse). The amount of hay a horse needs will be influenced by the nutrient requirements of the horse as well as the nutrient content of the hay, and any other feeds the horse is receiving. Lactating mares will consume higher amounts of forage than horses at maintenance. Elite performance horses and weanlings might receive somewhat lower levels of forage because they will be receiving significant amounts of concentrate. Nonetheless, the minimum hay (or pasture) intake for any horse should be above 1 lb of hay for each 100 lb of body weight. When choosing, or producing, hay for horses, several factors should be considered. Cleanliness of the hay, nutrient value, palatability and cost are all important.