How Much Hay Should My Horse Eat Per Day?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

All horse owners know that the way they feed their horse is extremely important to their animal’s overall health and condition. However, horse owners sometimes need help figuring out exactly how much hay their horse should consume in a day. Horses that are more active will require more hay than those that are idle. Each animal has a different metabolism and will need an individual meal plan.

Most horses should be fed in small amounts frequently each day, rather than in large amounts at one time. Many owners choose to let their horses graze freely on hay or grass throughout the day. This method is known as “free choice” feeding. Feeding in specific amounts is another popular method of feeding horses.

Free choice feeding

There are many horse owners that prefer to let their animals graze on hay or grass throughout the day. These owners do not set a specific amount of food out, but let their animals graze on available grass and forage. This method of feeding is often referred to as “free choice” feeding and is considered the most natural way to feed a horse. Though free choice feeding might work for some horses, others are prone to laminitis or excessive weight gain if fed in this manner. These are just a few of the health problems that freely fed animals can run into. Be sure that your horse can be free fed before choosing this method.

Feeding in specific amounts

Giving your horse a specific amount of hay might be a healthier option than free feeding. Experts suggest that these animals need to be fed at least one to two percent of their body weight in hay each day. These small meals should be spaced out throughout the day into about three to four small amounts.

Hay needs to be measured and fed to horses based on weight, not volume. This process ensures the animals are being fed the right amount. Some horses may need six pounds of hay due to their body weight and metabolism, while others may need ten pounds. Bales of hay vary in weight, but an average square bale weighs about fifty pounds. When feeding hay, be sure to take into consideration the work level and age of your horse.

If you would like to learn more about hay for horses, contact SB Hay & Feed in Amarillo, Texas today. You can call us at 1(800) 652-3036 or Contact Us by email for more information. We aim to help farmers with abundant hay serve other farmers in need across the United States. Don’t forget to view the hay we have available to buy or sell your own!