Bedding choice to compensate for time without hay

Gary Moore

DJ gets a late night snack of beet pulp (1 cup after R/S/R )(9:00-9:30PM) and 5 lbs of soaked hay. The hay goes in her porta grazer. She eats everything from the floor due to epiglottis surgery. She can consume it pretty quickly (1 - 1 1/2 hrs) Her morning beet pulp and hay is at 6:00 - 6:30 AM. I am concerned about the length of time without hay overnight. We board so that can't be changed. Previously she was bedded on straw so I didn't worry. She could munch on it during the night. I did have it tested and it was very low ESC + starch. Now she is on shavings. Which bedding would be better for her in regards to insulin. DJ is on metformin twice daily. Now that we have her diet well controlled, soaked hay, a stone dust paddock, and regular exercise, her insulin levels have been very good (14-20) The vet is coming today and will be drawing blood to check  insulin. Thanks to this group, she is in the best shape she has ever been in.

Sue in PA 2020😊

Sherry Morse

Hi Sue,

She's fine being without hay in front of her for that long as you're talking about 8 hours max and most likely she's sleeping at least some of that time.  For safety she should continue on shavings, not straw unless you're going to muzzle her so she can't eat it.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

I want to emphasize, again, that horses do not need constant access to food and that is especially true for metabolic horses. .

For one thing, you can't compare hay to grass for the feral horse. Live grass is about 80% water - hay 10%.  Because the grass is much lower calorie, they have to eat more.

If gastric ulcers is your concern, that amount of time without food won't cause them. Researchers have found that to induce ulcers they have to put the horse through a cycle of fasting for 12 hours, refeeding, fasting for 12 hours, refeeding, another 12 hour fast.
Eleanor in PA  BOGO 2 for 1 Course Sale Through End of January
EC Owner 2001
The first step to wisdom is "I don't know."

Gary Moore