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January 2014

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  • In Praise of Difficult Horses
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The Safest Way to Feed a Herd

Try these tips to safely feed every horse in a herd at the same time.

To when delivering grain meals to a herd, group horses of similar nutritional needs together, whenever possible.

Pastured horses reap physical, mental, and emotional benefits from continual turnout. But caretakers may face some challenges, among them how to feed grain to the group. Try these tips for delivering meals to a herd safely.

  • Serve more meals than there are horses. Set out two or more extra buckets so that herdmates can swap and no one will be without.
  • Put some distance between diners. Spreading out the buckets will decrease the likelihood of altercations.
  • Segregate bullies. Usually they are the first at the gate at mealtime so take the opportunity to separate them from the rest. Feed them on a lead or in a small catch area. Release them when their herdmates have finished their meals.
  • Group horses by nutritional need. Put those that are underweight in one enclosure and those that are overweight in another. Then feed accordingly.
  • Fill a nosebag for each horse, put it on at feeding time, remove it immediately thereafter and then make sure it's clean. Though labor intensive, this approach may be worth the effort for a small herd.
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