No matter the season, you should always be focusing on doing all you can to keep your horses happy, healthy, and well-fed. But this is especially true during those frigid winter months.
The changes in weather can impact how you feed your horses hay, how much you should be feeding, and how often you feed them.
Energize your horses with hay
Hay is the primary energy source and calorie source for horses and since the winter limits the amount of pasture grass available to horses, you’ll need to supplement a lot more calories in the form of hay.
And not just any hay. You need quality hay. Hay offers higher protein stability, stimulates salivation, promotes digestion, and provides horses with all the necessary nutrients. Because of these benefits of quality hay, it also has a great warming effect on horses.
To properly energize your horses, start by feeding between 1.5% and 2.5% of your horse’s total body weight per day in hay. If your horse is 1,100 pounds, start by feeding between 16.5 and 27.5 pounds of hay each day.
It’s crucial to monitor severe weather changes during these winter months, including 10-degree temperature drops and high wind speeds. Each will require an additional intake of between 2 to 8 pounds of hay per day to meet your horse’s increased energy requirements.
But what about storing all this hay? You don’t want to waste a lot of the extra hay you’ll be providing, so you need to make sure it’s being held in quality hay feeders.
Hay feeders for horses
Make sure you’re using the best kind of hay feeders year-round. The highest quality products, including round bale feeders and square bale feeders, allow for easy access, minimize hay waste, and slow down feeding time, which helps your horses properly digest hay.
Round bale feeders are great options due to their lower cost and overall convenience. Plus, these hay feeders allow you to always keep your hay available, which is important because you should be feeding your horses hay at least three times a day over the winter.
Finally, especially during rough winter conditions, make sure you’re keeping your square or round bale feeder sheltered. Not only do horses need to stay warm to maintain their internal temperatures, but your hay feeders also need to be protected from the elements, as well. To prevent mildew and mold spores from building up, use quality tarps specifically designed to store hay to cover your round bale feeders.
Keep your horses healthy and well-fed throughout the winter. Give us a call today to learn more about our quality hay feeders for horses!