How much do you feed a Draft?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Tempurr, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. Tempurr

    Tempurr Registered

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    I have a 6 year old Belgian draft gelding, 16.3hands, 1700 pounds. I am new to draft horse ownership, and don’t know exactly how much to feed him. From doing some research, I know what to feed and what not to feed, but not *how much*.

    “Tiny” came from a 140 acre farm, and was pasture fed (they had lots of grass in their pasture). Since we’ve had such a dry summer and fall, there is no more grass for him to munch on (we have about 5 acres of pasture), so we’ve been feeding Bermuda hay and crimped oats for the last couple months. Recently he has started acting like “starvin’ Marvin”, and goes after his hay in a bit of a frenzy as it’s put into the manger. I am concerned he is not getting enough feed?

    We’re giving him about 2 flakes in the morning and 2 flakes in the evening (about 8” each time), with about a pound of oats in the evening. We are feeding Bermuda hay, which is looser in packing and lighter in weight than that of Alfalfa hay. Is there a pound-for-pound ratio for feeding, i.e., a percentage of weight of hay per his body weight (1% of hay to total body weight)?

    Tiny is not skinny, but since we’ve had him (since September this year), and specifically in the last month, he has appeared to have dropped some weight – maybe as much as 75-100 pounds. He is not worked or ridden – he is just a pasture pet. He is sound and good health otherwise, and you can feel his ribs a little bit if you press on his side with your hand, but you can’t really visually see the ribs. We thought he might need to be wormed, so we tried that (although there were no visible signs of worms) but that wasn’t the problem apparently. He seems to be very happy here, and gets lots of love and attention. His eyes are bright, and he is normal acting and looking except for his acting like he is so hungry at feeding time. He is the only horse we have, so it’s not like he’s afraid another horse will take his feed.

    I certainly don’t want to think I’m under-feeding him, so thought I’d ask in this forum. I’ve tried to cover the basics, but if you have pertinent questions please ask. If anyone has suggestions, or a link to where I might read up on this subject, I would very much appreciate the help.

    Thanx!
     
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  2. Nevada_Silk

    Nevada_Silk Senior Member+

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    Is there a way you could feed hay free choice?

    Oh and I love his name! I, too, had a Belgian draft horse (27 year old rescue) that I named Tiny. Folks always gave me funny looks when I told them his name.
     
  3. Oscar

    Oscar Full Member

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    A horse should eat daily around 1% -2% of their own body weight.
     
  4. Tempurr

    Tempurr Registered

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    Hi N.S.! What does "free choice" mean?

    ... and yes, people think the name for this big ol' boy is rather cute!
     
  5. Oscar

    Oscar Full Member

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    Sorry, also. Why are you feeding oats alone? What research did you do to decide on this.
     
  6. Oscar

    Oscar Full Member

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    Free choice means he has as much hay as he can eat and can eat it whenever he pleases. So you would leave him with a whole bale or likewise.
     
  7. Nevada_Silk

    Nevada_Silk Senior Member+

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    Oscar explained it before I got to it.
     
  8. Peg D

    Peg D Senior Member+

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    I see nothing wrong in feeding straight oats.... no need to "research" anything. How the heck did my great grandpappy feed his horses without "research"?
    I don't understand why one has to do all this high tech stuff. Horses have been around people for a very very long time with no difficulties...
    if I were to research anything it would be how the indians took care of thier horses.
     
  9. Tempurr

    Tempurr Registered

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    I looked on hoof.com and ruralheritage.com, plus reading in this forum. He is not EPSM, and other than an appetite is in healthy condition. I am staying away from the sweet feeds and alfalfa as is suggested on these sites; oats are very easily digested and is Tiny's "goodie" side-dish. Do you suggest something else maybe? If so, what?

    Also, regarding free choice (thanx for the explanation), I have always been under the impression that you shouldn't do this as the horse would overeat and possibly founder. Is this not so, or is this perhaps only related to grain and not hay? And with only one horse, wouldn't the hay have a tendancy to get wet & moldy, or dirty, if left out? (I can't fit a whole bale in his manger). Are there cons to free choice? I appreciate your info, thanx!
     
  10. Oscar

    Oscar Full Member

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    There was nothing ****** in my comment like there has been in yours, thank you. It was a simple question of why, I just wanted to know.

    I was not at all saying there was anything wrong with this, Tempurr said they had been researching what to feed thats why I asked what sort of research had they done.

    Sorry if you have a problem with me, but I did nothing wrong.
     






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