Okay, so we’re all worried about the coronavirus and many people are stockpiling toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Zelda was particularly concerned that we might run out of grain. I told her not to worry. I ordered extra bags of Triple Crown Senior, hay stretcher, Purina Amplify, and hay cubes. We’re set for a while. My grain supplier says the grain manufacturers have not said anything about delays, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed
One of my biggest concerns is hay. We are still several weeks away from having enough grass to sustain the horses — forage being the foundation of the equine diet — nutritionists recommend horses consume 1.5% of their body weight in fiber every day with at least one to two pounds (0.5 to 1 kilograms) of long-stem forage (hay that’s at least 2″ long), although my horses get a whole lot more. I managed to squeeze an extra 40 bales into our storage area but if you have to get creative, here are some options
Hay cubes — they are easy to store and provide some long-stem forage. Hay cubes have several advantages — the nutritional profile is usually consistent and it can have a higher digestible energy value than mature baled hay. Soaked cubes also benefit horses that have difficulty chewing or are affected by dust. While hay cubes technically don’t need to be soaked, I always do because Curly is prone to choke and I don’t want her to snag one from Freedom (who gets them as part of his ration). Soaking, to me is an added benefit, because it increases water consumption, but in hot weather, the cubes can start to ferment if soaked too long. My solution? I use mini cubes and soak in hot water.
Hay pellets — These are nutritionally similar to hay but without the long-stem forage. It can replace up to half of a horse’s hay intake. I always order the smallest pellets (mini bites).
Chopped hay — This hay is high-temperature dried and dust-extracted to retain nutrients and eliminate mold, mixed with a bit of oil and molasses. It is a complete forage that can be used as a replacement for baled hay. I’ve used Lucerne Farms Alfalfa as a way to encourage Freedom to eat a bit more hay when he turns his nose up at the baled hay. Zelda would walk through fire for that!
Complete feed — We feed Triple Crown Senior, which is a beet pulp-based formula includes enough bulk fiber to be used as a sole ration for horses unable to eat hay or pasture. Not sure I’d want get to the point where it was the only thing the horses were eating, but comforting to know they could survive on it.
How are you set for supplies? Are you stockpiling too?