is free choice hay dangerous


Debby Sharbaugh
 

My IR mare is on carefully measured and monitored low sugar/starch hay (combined 5.5%), fed every 4 hours by timers located at the far ends of her run, so lots of moving about as well.  However, I am going away for 2 weeks and don't think I can get a 'sitter' to load all the timers twice a day.  She will definitely overeat if given free choice (and not move much if all the hay is in one location), but I am considering giving her free access to a round bale while I'm away, to make it easier for the house sitter.  Is this dangerous in terms of laminitis, or only going to be expensive and result in some extra weight to be lost when I return?  Do I need to maintain the strict controls 365 days a year, or is a 2 week free-for-all safe enough?
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-Debby

 

November 2017, Muckleford South, Victoria, Australia

 

Chicory Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Debby%20and%20Chicory

 

Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=10826


Trisha DePietro
 

Hi Debby- I went to review your case history and it was last updated for diet, etc in 2017.  If you could update it with current feed information and medications, etc that would be alot easier to answer your question....Your auto hay feeder sounds so wonderful! Instead, would your house sitter be able to fill hay bags with the correct weight and hang those? I prefill my hay bags and weigh them for my sitter when I go away. Eventually, they have to fill the bags, but at least several meals are prepped...and their medications are all set up as well with their minerals all measured out. I get piece of mind that nothing is disrupted in their diet or routines, because coming home to a laminitis or colic or worse, is not worth it to me....but thats just my personal way of dealing with vacations...knowing what Chicory is currently eating along with a full update to the Case history would really help to see how a big a change this would be....
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Trisha DePietro
Aug 2018
NH
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Primary Responder


Debby Sharbaugh
 
Edited

Sorry, the file was updated, but I hadn't changed the date on first page.  She went through a period of free choice hay (over a year) when I was using really poor nutrient, ultra-low sugar/starch hay that she was not inclined to overeat.  I've stopped using that as it was getting worse and worse with each load and switched to lovely new supplier with slightly higher sugar/starch but still under 6.5% and better nutrition.  This hay is too delicious to be fed free choice, at least so far.  With luck she will get used to it and not think it's so delicious, but I'm not holding my breath for that.  

PS: Check out Batt-Latch solar gate timers.  I have them hanging in trees, dropping hay every 4 hours.  They are life, sleep and sanity-savers in my book:

https://www.grazetech.com.au/shop/product/51541/batt-latch-gate-release-timer/

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-Debby

 

November 2017, Muckleford South, Victoria, Australia

 

Chicory Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Debby%20and%20Chicory

 

Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=10826


 

You have the solar gate timers dropping bags loaded with hay from trees?

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Gail Russell 8/30/2008

 

 https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Gail%20and%20Brother%20-%20Odin%20-%20Decaffe%20%20-Gunthar .


Debby Sharbaugh
 

Yep.  I have three, plus one manual feed means I can make sure she has hay every 4 hours.  I'll add a pic to my album.  Don't see a way to insert here.
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-Debby

 

November 2017, Muckleford South, Victoria, Australia

 

Chicory Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Debby%20and%20Chicory

 

Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=10826


Cindy Giovanetti
 

Hey Debby.

 

I also have automatic feeders at opposite ends of my horses’ area, so I have the same strategy!  It is time consuming, though, filling the feeders.  I can understand why you think it will be hard to get a pet sitter to do that for you. 

 

Simplify as much as possible.  Pre-mix and measure out whatever can be pre-mixed.

I know what Batt-Latch solar gate timers are.  But, like Gail, I can’t picture them for dropping hay nets.  I am intrigued!  I need details and pictures!

 

Cindy


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Cindy, Oden, and Eeyore, North Texas
On ECIR protocol since 2/19
https://www.facebook.com/LifeWithOden/
History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Cindy%20and%20Oden
Photos:  https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=91125


Debby Sharbaugh
 

Not sure if can insert links here or not... this is video of loading one of the BattLatches.  Hay net is attached by a scissor snap to the unit. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/eN2No2iMwDGfiJ977

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-Debby

 

November 2017, Muckleford South, Victoria, Australia

 

Chicory Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Debby%20and%20Chicory

 

Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=10826


Cindy Giovanetti
 

I was able to see your video.  You win the internet for creativity.  I still can’t quite picture the set up (Batt Latch timer to drop hay from a tree in the middle of the night), but I believe you that it works.

 


--
Cindy, Oden, and Eeyore, North Texas
On ECIR protocol since 2/19
https://www.facebook.com/LifeWithOden/
History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Cindy%20and%20Oden
Photos:  https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=91125


Kirsten Rasmussen
 

Hi Debby,

While it's not ideal, as long as the hay is low s/s it's probably ok to free feed for 2 weeks.  I'm sure she could put on a few lbs in that time.

What I do if I'm going to be away is measure out a day's worth of hay into garbage bags (sometimes I divide it into AM and PM feeds, too) , then ask my boarder to set it out in hay nets.  I'd want to feed at least 2x a day doing this though, since I'm sure my horse can finish all his ration in 6 hrs, so if your sitter can't feed 2x a day then the round bale seems like the next option.  Or, can you find someone else to do the AM or PM feed so your sitter only does one feed?  Even if all the hay is fed at the barn, rather than spread out, at least she can't overeat.

--
Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
 
Shaku's Case History
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