The Effect of Small Square-Bale Feeder Design on Hay Waste and Economics During Outdoor Feeding of Adult Horses

Amanda M. Grev, Emily C. Glunk, Marcia R. Hathaway, William F. Lazarus, Krishona L. Martinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hay waste during feeding represents a costly expense for horse owners. The objectives of this study were to determine hay waste, herd body weight (BW) change, hay intake, and economics of small square-bale feeders used in outdoor feeding of horses. Feeder designs included a hayrack, slat feeder, basket feeder, and a no-feeder control. Feeders were placed in separate outdoor dirt paddocks. Twelve horses were divided into four groups and rotated through the paddocks in a Latin square design. Horses were weighed before and after each rotation. Horses were fed grass hay at 2.5% of the herd BW split evenly at 8 AM and 4 PM. Waste hay and orts were collected before each feeding. The number of months to repay the feeder cost (payback) was calculated using hay valued at $250 per ton and improved efficiency over the no-feeder control. Mean hay waste was 13%, 5%, 3%, and 1% for the no-feeder control, hayrack, basket feeder, and slat feeder, respectively (P < 001). The hayrack, basket feeder, and slat feeder paid for themselves in 12, 11, and 9 months, respectively (P = 0049). Herds gained 10 and 7 kg when feeding from the basket feeder and hayrack, and lost 3 and 11 kg when feeding from the slat feeder and no-feeder control (P ≤ 0015). Estimated hay intake was 2.4% BW for the basket feeder and hayrack and 2.2% BW for the slat feeder and no-feeder control (P < 0001). Small square-bale feeder design affected hay waste, hay intake, herd BW change, and payback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1273
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Volume34
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Economics
  • Hay intake
  • Hay waste
  • Horse body weight
  • Small square-bale feeder

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