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Standlee Premium Western Forage
 

Managing Local Hay Shortages This Winter

Hay Rolled in Snow

This year, many areas of the country have suffered droughts. As a result, the local hay you've turned to so often may be in short supply, especially as winter begins to sweep across the nation. Whether this has happened in your area or you simply don't have a very large hay loft to store hay for the next several months, it's important to be aware of alternate feed sources so you can keep your horse's diet healthy and balanced.

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Chopped Hay and Hay Cubes

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Chopped hay and hay cubes are both easy to store long-term. However, chopped hay can get dusty, so a good tip is to dampen it with molasses or oil. If you're using Standlee Premium Western, our chopped forage already contains canola oil, which has essential fatty acids. These fatty acids help keep your horse's skin and hair healthy.

Hay cubes are a very convenient item to add to your horse's diet. Available at most feed stores, hay cubes are easier to handle and waste less food than many other forms of forage. Because horses like to gorge themselves on hay cubes, pay attention to how much you give them by measuring out the weight of the cubes so that it equals the same weight of hay the horse typically consumes. Here's another pro tip: Since hay cubes can be hard, soak them for about 30 minutes until they're properly softened.

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Pellets

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Pellets are made from ground up forage, which minimizes the dust and makes them even easier to store than hay cubes. The great thing about pellets is that their quality is usually consistent. Pellets do well at supplementing a diet, especially when your horse eats very little hay. However, unsoftened pellets can be especially hard to chew, so take care when feeding horses who aggressively eat. When you're feeding a horse who has lost teeth, pellets can also be soaked in water and mashed up to make them easier to digest.

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By-Products

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There are other non-forage options you can choose, but these should be given in moderation. Beet-pulp, for instance, is a great source of fiber. It can generally make up 55% of a horse's diet before any adverse effects kick in. As beet-pulp is easy to digest and also has a low protein level, be sure to balance the rest of the horse's diet to compensate. Serving your horse brans is also an option, but as these have high-phosphorous content, make sure the horse has an extra source of calcium. As brans are also high in fat, do not feed them to overweight horses.

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Avoid These Common Feeding Mistakes

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Never feed your horse clippings from the lawn, as a horse can develop colic, laminitis, or death as a result. You should also avoid haylage and silage, as these feed options have a higher chance of contamination.

To learn more about the different options and forms of forage available to you, click the button below!

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