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nutrition fact or myth?


Hay should be fed before grain -- yes or no? I know we talked about this before but it was on the old forum and I've forgotten.

Heidi Sat, 04/18/2009 - 00:31

I had always been told to feed grain after hay, so the hay didn't push the grain through the digestive system too fast.

I've decided, unless there is a fast-transit (diarrhea) problem, food will spend whatever time inside it is going to spend and the only thing that would help a horse get more benefit is good teeth so they can break down their grain, pellets and roughage into smaller, more digestible pieces.

PamelaTX Sat, 04/18/2009 - 02:46

Hmmm...does it matter??
I have my girls on a round bale so they get free choice.
Even when I was/do feed square they just eat whenever I throw it over.
Never thought it mattered.

Heather Sat, 04/18/2009 - 06:20

I feed hay constantly , when ever I pass an empty plate they get more, grain comes at certian times, hay whenver and often...keep them grazin, a constant flow.

At the hunter barn I worked at we hung whole bales in the stalls in hay nets. That was the PITA to get up LOL

Monsterpony Sat, 04/18/2009 - 11:41

It makes no difference. The only change in transit time is how fast the stomach empties the food into the intestines and that won't change based on whether hay or grain is fed first.

NZ Appaloosas Sun, 04/19/2009 - 02:47

At my uncle's racing stable in Ireland, with the horses in work, we used to feed grain first, but as he explained it--that way he knew for sure that the horses were hungry and would eat up any and all supplements/meds added to the feed.


Monsterpony Sun, 04/19/2009 - 10:52

Yeah, I have heard it told both ways, but it doesn't make much of a difference. The stomach slows emptying when high fat, high soluble fiber or high protein are present and speeds it up when high insoluble fiber is. So hay gets moved through faster than concentrate, but the stomach adjusts to whatever is present at the time.

Morgan Sun, 04/19/2009 - 10:57

The reason I heard to feed hay first is that if they havent had anything to eat they are more likely to bolt their grain.

Sara Sun, 04/19/2009 - 12:09

That's what we were taught as children but I guess it doesn't matter after all. Most of mine gulp down their grain pretty quickly whether there is hay or not, or even if they are on pasture. Only the TBs pick slowly through it.

Krickette Mon, 04/20/2009 - 01:55

right now my horses have a round bale, but normally, I call them up, pour feed in buckets after yelling "get in your stall!" 15 different times, lol, then while they eat and can't rush past me into the hay room, I throw 2 flakes each out into the paddock. That way when they are done, they go off to eat hay rather than bully each other over who gets to steal who's food.
Jazz is a monster. She'll finish half her food, spilling the other half on the ground since she loooves to look around while she eats. She goes and eats some of nike's food, and then she eats what she's dropped on the ground. We actually cemented the corner of her stall under her feed bucket, because I was worried about sand colic. Now all my horses that drop feed eat over concrete.

accphotography Mon, 04/20/2009 - 12:04

Lacy is a **** when it comes to feed. We started with a ground feeder (our preference) but she'd nose most of it out over the side. We dealt with that for a while, but then she started hammering a hoof down on the edge of it intentionally to flip the tub completely over. We use very fine wood shavings (pellets actually but they break down into a powder practically) so she was getting a ton of wood in her mouth when she'd eat this way. So we switched to clipping a standard feed tub to one of the screweyes in her stall. She'd nose it all out over the side and eat off the ground. So we switched to a water tub (much deeper and narrower) and she could no longer nose it out the side. She'd stick her head in all the way, put her nose in a corner and then FLIP her head as HARD as she could turning the bucket almost completely upside down and dumping the feed all down her head, neck and back. Of course it would go in her ears as well so she'd stand there shaking for a moment. :shock: :roll: :laugh1 Sooooo. Now we have this:

and she has a board slat stall so it's hooked between two of the boards and impossible to get out. However it freely SLIDES the whole length of a wall from corner to corner so she can PUSH it all she wants, but she can't flip it. The way it's shaped she can't nose anything out of it either. She HATES it. :rofl She pushes that thing around with all her might trying to spill it. :laugh1 Don't mess with mom... she WILL figure it out! :rofl

She gets hay 24/7 so I can't comment on the hay before or after food thing.

Morgan Mon, 04/20/2009 - 12:10

hehe V gets to eat out of a great big muckbucket all by herself, that was after she started flipping the hanging bucket upside down, nearly hitting me and getting rice bran all over her head. :roll: The others share out of a trough, except Classy who eats from her own pan in the field because they wont allow her. :(

Sissy cannot be given a loose pan or bucket at all. she grabs the edge in her mouth and shakes it to redistribute the food, but sometimes she's a little too enthusiastic and throws everything in it out, and not in a pile either, just flung like you are spreading seeds :roll: . She will also pull buckets out from other horses for herself and bring an empty pan to you like a dog. :lol:

Sara Mon, 04/20/2009 - 12:18

Diana used to flip her bucket in her stall too and it DROVE ME CRAZY but for whatever reason, she seems to have stopped.

Tiffany can't have a ground feeder because she does that thing too where she puts a hoof on the edge and flips it over. If she's being fed outside and it has rained at all (in Oregon, hahaha!) the feed is lost in the mud.

I currently have five mares and fillies living outside and they have it all figured out. They go and stand in order, each by their own ground feeder, when they see me coming with grain. It goes Rosalynn, big empty space, Jasi, Tickle, Diana, Georgie. In every barn I've ever been at that allows group turnout, Alpha Mare 1 has been a red based warmblood. :whip