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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was supported by a grant from the American Quarter Horse Foundation .
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.
- Hay intake
- Hay waste
- Horse body weight
- Small square-bale feeder