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Country Discussion Topics
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Winter pasture or Hay
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OKRon    Posted 09-17-2003 at 19:06:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Will horses and donkeys eat dry pasture grass that has not been cut and baled, or are there benefits of baling that make hay better than dry grass in the winter. We have two horses and two donkeys living on about 10 acres, with another 30 available to them. In northeast Oklahoma, do I have to rely on strictly feed and baled hay in the winter (only snows 2 or 3 times, usually after February), or will they make use of all of that pasture. We only got these animals last year and I had them up on 2 acres, so they ate almost nothing but feed and hay during the winter. I'd like to cut down on the hay consumption if they will eat the pasture.

fiddler    Posted 09-18-2003 at 17:16:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
If the pasture is green and not dried out yet, cut the pasture and leave it on the ground, it still will have it nutrients and the animals can forage through the winter on this. Horses and mules can digest and live on forage that lots of other livestock wouldn't last a month on.

drummer    Posted 09-19-2003 at 03:39:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
it would be a good idea to keep a mineral block in the field.

deadcarp    Posted 09-18-2003 at 05:48:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
one of the main reasons for baling is to save the nutrients in the hay - hay is just another grain and if left standing the seeds will fall off (trying to reseed itself) and only the stalks will get et. generally it takes 4 acres of growing land to carry a cow-sized animal thru winter. :)

Tom A    Posted 09-18-2003 at 04:09:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
My "guys" eat both through the winter...they like to go out during the day and forage, but as winter progresses there is less and less grass available so they eagerly eat their twice a day hay feeding.

My mule, donkey, and mixed herd of goats and sheep share about 8 or 10 fenced acres. Up until about January, unless there's snow on the ground, they do pretty well finding their own out in the field. By the end of January there isn't much left that is palatable, so I think they go out more for fun and exercise than feed value. By early March I'm feeding quite a bit of hay even though they continue to look for grass every day.

So, all in all, the forage should greatly reduce your hay requirement but will not eliminate it all together.
Tom A

LH    Posted 09-17-2003 at 19:19:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Tehy will pasture over the winter but grass and hay lose their nutrients when they go dormant. So even using the pasture as roughage youre still gonna hafta feed them extra hay and grain unless your pasture stays green all winter

Ron,Ar    Posted 09-17-2003 at 19:29:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
another problem that can show it'self is with the short grass they eat. It will pull up roots and all with dirt (sand) in the roots. With nothing else thay sometimes ingest too much sand and it creates problems in their digestive tract.

wvbill    Posted 09-18-2003 at 03:46:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
yes they will do a lot better in the 30 acres and you will find that they won't eat hay unless there is snow on the ground or just before spring.

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