Blog

Horse Hay Feeder

Horse and Cattle Nutrition

Without the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals, horses, cattle and other livestock could suffer from poor nutrition. For optimal growth, it is important your livestock is getting the proper nutrients.

Most feeds are simply designed to be the primary source of food for animals, while others are designed with a primary focus on animals eating forage with extra protein and energy so if necessary, they can improve their diet.

For horses, most do not need grain as good quality hay will suffice. And, while grain can be added, the majority of their nutrition should come from roughage. This makes ensuring you contain as much hay as possible in a hay feeder important in order to save hay and money.

If you do feed your horse grain, it should be given in small amounts as they can’t digest large amounts effectively.  Find out more about the best way to feed your horse.

When it comes to feed, it isn’t always ‘one-size-fits-all.’ Your horse and/or cattle will have unique needs, so it is important to be aware of which feeds will be best for them based on their nutritional needs.

Different types of feed include:

  • Pelleted cattle feed (ingredients are formed into small pellets)
  • Sweet feed (comes from fresh grains)
  • Block feed (formed into solid blocks)

Similarly, there are different types of minerals that are important for your cattle’s’ health. Minerals can be loose, separated in mineral feeders, or if preferred, they can be added to normal feed the same way humans would add salt onto food, whereas block minerals are meant for animals to lick.

To keep your animal’s energy up, be sure to provide ample water, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

H8 Hay Feeder in Use

Horse Care in Spring

It may be warm enough for the snow to have melted, but the springtime is still too damp and cold to jump right into summer practices. This makes spring one of the most tedious seasons to care for your horses, preparing them for the warm months of summer.
Luckily, we’ve put together a short to-do list so you can start preparing for the summer now.

  • Schedule Your Check-Ups
    The spring is the perfect time to schedule your horse’s annual wellness exam. It’s especially important to get them vaccinated for mosquito season as mosquitoes and other insects oftentimes carry preventable diseases.
  • Check Your Fences
    Once the snow and ice melts, you may notice that some things have shifted a bit during the cold weather – like fences for example. Freezing and thawing of the ground can cause fence posts to “heave,” resulting in downed rails, loose mesh or high tensile fences, which no longer have high tension. It’s important to make note of this now so you can tighten any fence posts that may have become loose over the winter.
  • Hay and Grass Intake
    When the first sprouts of grass begin to pop up, it’s common for horses to overindulge in the beginning. To prevent overindulgence, grazing muzzles can help to monitor grass intake. In addition, the use of a hay saver hay feeder can assist in preventing horses from overeating. It’s also important to keep a steady supply of forage for your horses as this is what will help to keep them warm through fermentation. The threat of laminitis due to over consumption is at an all-time high during the early spring.
  • Hoof Care
    Do not neglect regular trimming and resetting of shoes during the winter, even if your horses are not working. Letting horse hooves get overly long increases the chances of them chipping, cracking or other major changes in hoof angles. That’s why it’s important to keep up with hoof care during all seasons.

Summer is only right around the corner, so start gearing up for busy season while you can!

Best Hay for Your Horses

Best Hay for Your Horses

When it comes to finding the best hay to feed your horses, there are actually a select few choices for you to pick from. Generally speaking, however, hay will fall into one of two categories: legumes and grasses.

Legume hay has higher protein content, higher energy content and higher calcium levels than that of grass hay. Higher protein is especially important for young, growing horses and/or working or performance horses. With protein levels ranging anywhere from 15 to 21 percent in legume hay, horses are getting the nutrients they need to grow properly. However, it’s also important to understand that legume hay typically has more calories per pound than grass hay, so horses consuming these particular types will need to consume less to maintain their body weight.

Grass hay has its benefits, too. Lower in energy content and protein, grass hay is oftentimes preferred – especially for older horses as it is much easier on the kidneys and easier to chew and digest. Grass hay has high fiber content, which makes it a convenient solution to horse feeding as it satisfies their appetites without adding extra calories or protein. The lower nutritional values in grass hay is also a plus, not to mention, it’s less dusty than legume hay which makes it a smarter choice for horses that may have respiratory issues.

Every horse has different nutritional requirements. Age, activity level, breed and size all contribute to finding what hay is the best choice for your horse. Since there is no cut-and-dry answer to which hay is the ‘best’ generally speaking, it’s important to become familiar with your horse and your options to pinpoint the best choice specifically for you and your horse.

Run in Horse Shelter for Cold Weather Care

Cold Weather Care for Horses

Winter is officially here, and with a change in the weather comes a change in horse care routines. While horses can live comfortably outside year-round, there are specific requirements that need to be met during the winter to ensure a happy, healthy and comfortable living environment for your horse. Here are some things to keep in mind when caring for your horses in the winter.

Watch for Ice

Oftentimes in the colder, icier months of the year, chunks of ice will accumulate in a horse’s hooves. When the ice builds up, this causes stress on tendons, ligaments and muscles. That’s why it is imperative to monitor the ice buildup on your horse’s hooves during the winter as they will need to be removed soon after it appears.

But it’s not just the ice on your horse’s hooves you need to watch out for, it’s all ice in general. When areas in or around the barn get icy and slick, it can cause accidents and sometimes even injuries. When you notice it starting to get icy out, take precaution by sprinkling sand on or salt on the icy areas to prevent any slips.

Shelter & Blankets for Warmth

Ideally, three-sided constructed shelters provide the best ample protection for your horse from any wind, rain, snow, ice and precipitation. Trees also serve as a natural wind barrier, providing some protection as well. Stocking up on blankets during the colder months is also a necessary step to keeping your horse safe and warm.

Blanketing your horses during the winter months will keep horses warm that cannot naturally grow thicker winter coats on their own.

Hay Feeding in the Winter

Lastly, hay feeding plays a major role in winter horse care. On average, horses need to consume at least 2 percent of its body weight in forage (hay and/or pasture) to maintain its body condition. It is the digestion of fiber that will keep your horse warm. When in doubt, feeding your horse additional hay meals will ensure that they’re getting enough nutrients and fiber to keep warm.

Horses in the Heat

5 Steps on How to Take Care of Your Horse in Heat

Although summer is wrapping up, these later summer months can often be some of the hottest. Heat can be dangerous for horses resulting in dehydration, lethargy, malaise, stress and even colic.

It’s important to know the right steps to take when looking after your horses during the warmer months. Consider these five useful tips to prevent heat exhaustion and other trauma to your horses in the heat:

  1. Provide Shade Seems obvious enough, but if your horse grazes outdoors or must be outside during the day, provide some sort of relief from the sun. Whether that be a shade shelter or some other source. Sure, trees are a source of shade, but as the sun moves, so will the shade.Choosing cooler turnout times is another way to prevent your horse from being in the heat for too long. If your horse has a stall, but is turned out for part of the day, provide turnout during the cooler hours – preferably nighttime if at all possible.
  1. Mist Your Horse Misting systems for horses are extremely beneficial. As moisture is absorbed from the horse’s skin, it takes away some of the heat. Frequent mistings are far more effective than one single dousing of a horse.
  1. Provide an Electrolyte Source Your horse should be provided fresh, cool water throughout the day. Buckets that hang off of a fence get warm and don’t appeal to the horses. If left long enough, the water can actually become unhealthy.Providing a salt block can help the water stay laced with electrolytes that help keep its body in balance. However, not all horses drink electro-laced water, so be sure to provide another source of water to ensure they’ll stay drinking.
  1. Slow Down If you work your horse in the heat, lighten the work or spread it out over a series of shorter sessions than you would normally – especially when humidity levels are high. There’s no need to truck through a days’ worth of work in the heat. It’s not safe for you, or the horse and you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.
  1. Stick to a Schedule Within the parameters of keeping your horse cool, stay as close as possible to their normal schedules. Throwing off their routine schedule can add confusion and imbalance. Too much change at once can be an invitation for a colic.

If you are concerned that your horse is suffering from a heat stroke, heat exhaustion or other heat-related stress, call your veterinarian immediately and get your horse into a safer, cooler environment.