Friday, December 30, 2011

Sheave Peeve

There was hay in Pippin's stall in the morning. 
Unheard of, absurd! 
Hay in a Haflinger's stall after twelve hours? 
Who do you think you are? 
A Thoroughbred? 
Who do you think they are?

Haflingers NEVER leave hay just standing around. They eat it all! But a few days before this one of the horses (they aren't talking) managed to pull down a few bales of hay from a stack in their run-in shed. The house sitter isn't quite sure how they did it - nor am I. The hay is stored about two feet away from fence panels. They'd have to climb up the fence (and it wasn't bent), push it in (it was still in place) or reach over the fence (with little Haflinger necks...are you kidding?!) Hmmm...maybe they enlisted the help of the pigeons!
I'm still not sure quite how they did it... but there was extra hay hanging around. My horses evidently ate, and ate, and ate some more. They were in Haflinger heaven! The house sitter would push it out of the way, and they would manage to retrieve it. By the time I got home they were either filled to the brim, or perhaps their jaws were tired from chewing! They weren't overly interested in more hay! This is probably a once in a lifetime experience! 

This brings to mind a pet peeve of mine....

Peeve #328: Listing 'flakes' of hay in a feeding chart. A flake, IMHO, is not an accurate measure of feed! 

Scene(sic) at a local barn:

I recommend that horse owners weigh the hay they feed their horses. If horses are being fed by different individuals, I think weight is a must.  I've had bales of hay where a flake weighs under 3 pounds and bales where a flake weighs 7.5 pounds. That's a huge difference! 

I weigh hay daily, either using the basket
or hanging their NibbleNets on the scale.

As a baseline horses should eat approximately 1 1/2% - 2% of their weight in roughage daily. That translates to about 16 pounds for my boys...each! This needs to be adjusted for each horse based on their level of fitness, their usage, other feed they receive and their access to pasture.  Over time, owners have a good feeling for what amount works for their horses, but in a stable, where different folks might be feeding the horses, they may not get the appropriate amount. 

Despite getting on my soapbox about feeding 'flakes' of hay, I couldn't help but chuckle at this little fella's feed chart!

Oh, you poor little thing. 
I know how you feel. I'm an 'easy keeper' too!

*This was an attempt to play off of Tevye's monologue from "Fiddler on the Roof"....  just in case you didn't catch the subtlety of it!


  1. Love your soapbox and couldn't agree more!!! Amen Sista - Preach it!!!

  2. I know I should be weighing hay. Keep intending to get a hanging scale to do so. But...SIGH
    I'm a bad Mom in that respect

  3. Susan, you aren't a bad mom! I do think that owners who are the exclusive feeders get a feeling for what amount of hay is appropriate. I changed my post to put that in! But, I still like to weigh my hay so I know. If someone else is feeding, I certainly want them to weigh the hay as my interpretation of a flake could be very different from their view.

  4. Clever, clever Haffies. Hmmm? I think Doc was the master mind and Pippin performed the Mission Impossible type maneuvers to get that hay within lips reach.

    I too am a fan of weighing my horse's hay. I weigh it for every feeding, except for snacktime, when I'll just grab a flake for each horse. I can never judge the weight correctly by just holding the flakes.

  5. Gosh, all this flake-stuff sounds complicated. Little did I know that the feeder of horses needed a mathmatical mind --- or is it that Mom has a mathmatical mind that she must/wants to exercise? Too deep for the holiday season!


  6. This is why we don't have anyone to critter sit, because if I expected them to weigh hay for every meal, they'd probably say, "what a hassle" and never want to work for me. I think something an owner could do, though, is to weigh the hay themselves and place it in individual piles or bags for each feeding, so it makes it easier for anyone else feeding their horse.
    Of course, a small mesh slow feeder is the best way to go for an easy-keeper and most any horse who needs to watch their mid-line. :)


  7. I fear colic, founder and ulcers, so we are weigh-ers too. After the evening feed, we get ready for the next day. Each horse has a rolling hay box in front of its stall. We roll it to the scale, weigh out the hay, then roll it back. The next day, we feed out of the box at 7am, 11am, 3pm and 7pm.


What thoughts do you have?

Invincible I am Not

Despite my belief (certainly flawed) that I am invincible and irreplaceable, I find that alas, I am not.  Despite my consistently taking pre...