Feeding  

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THE BASICS OF FEEDING A MINIATURE HORSE:

  • About $ 0.50 per day will keep a mini happy, individuals may not require this amount of food outlined below.  It may be too much.
  • Feeding a mini is very inexpensive since they eat about 2 - 4 measuring cups of sweet feed a day until they are mature, about three years of age.  A 50#  bag of top quality sweet feed is approx. $11.00 and that would last at least, 50 days.  The daily cost for sweet feed is $ 0.22 
  • During periods of time where you have no pasture grazing available you need to give a mini  1 - 1.5# of grass hay morning and night.  A bale of hay weighs about 50 #'s at the cost of $ 5.00 per bale.  $ 0.30 per day cost for grass hay.
  • One acre of pasture can sustain about 5 minis depending on the climate. 
  • Always have a salt or salt/mineral available in the pasture or stall with your horse.
  • Plenty of water must always be available.
  • A horse needs plenty of exercise.
  • A horse that is too fat is just as bad as one that is too thin.   Check the ribs by gently pressing you fingers into their side.  If you can't feel the ribs, slowly taper the grain and hay ration down.  If the ribs are very easy to feel and are prominent, begin to slowly increase the amount of feed you give them.   They should have a nice fat layer over their ribs.  This test is especially important during the winter when they have a heavy winter coat.  They may "look" fine on weight but do the rib test.

WHAT DO WE FEED OUR MINIATURES?

We feed good clean, mold free, grass hay and (here is my plug for Purina) Omolene 200, a 14% sweet feed, grain.

Keep in mind to make any changes to your minis diet slowly!   Abrupt changes in diet can cause a variety of health problems like colic, founder and hyperlipemia.

PASTURED MINIATURES HORSES: 

All but a very few of our horses are out on pasture 24/7.   In southern Texas that means pasture grass is available 7 - 8 months of the year.   Our mature, over three years of age, minis do not get grain of any kind unless they are broodmares.  They do just fine with pasture grass in the warmer months and coastal hay during the winter months.

FEEDING BROODMARES:

Our broodmares are brought up about 2 months prior to foaling and we gradually add grain to their diet.  Their protein requirements go up during the last trimester and certainly are higher when they are feeding their nursing foal.   Prior to foaling they receive 1/2# of 14% sweet feed AM and PM.  After the foal is on the ground we gradually increase them to a max of 1# AM and PM - only if needed.  If your mare carries a lot of fat she may get by fine on the 1/2# twice a day. 

FEEDING SHOW HORSES:

To be continued .........