Strategies for Feeding Horses Turned Out in a Herd
Studies reveal that horses are happiest when living outside with other horses. Researchers also noted benefits to the overall health of these individuals. However, there can be feeding challenges when feeding horses turned out in a herd. Kentucky Performance Products, LLC has put together some feeding strategies that will help make group feeding more successful. In the end, the dynamics and personalities within the herd may make it necessary to separate at least some of the horses at feeding time to make sure everyone receives the feed and supplements they require.
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Group horses by personality or nutritional needs to minimize conflict. Evaluate your herd dynamics to pick the best grouping.
- Hard Keepers
- Easy Keepers
- Horses in Light Work
- Horses in Heavy Work
Routinely evaluate your horses’ weight and body condition for any changes. Make sure they are not being chased away from their feed.
Bullies may need to be separated from the herd.
Observe feeding time from start to finish to see how fast each horse eats and where they fall in the pecking order.
Feed in a container with a wide base to minimize flipping over from pawing. Do not place feed directly on the ground where there is a chance the horse could ingest parasites or sand.
Keep your routine the same so horses learn the program. Once you understand the pecking order, feed each horse in the same order every time.
Feed at the same time every day so horses know when to come up to the feeding area and are all present at the same time.
Place feeders far apart and away from a fence line, if possible. A fence line or gate creates a barrier for horses if they are being chased by another horse.
Don’t feed in or near small run-in sheds.
When feeding hay on the ground, place more hay piles than horses and space the piles several feet apart. Change the number of piles and space as needed for that particular herd dynamic.
Use round bale feeders. Feeders allow individuals to pick a side away from dominate pasture mates.
More than one round bale may need to be placed.
Neigh-Lox® Advanced provides complete support for a healthy digestive tract, which reduces the risk of colic and digestive upset.