P.E. Robbins

Sue 309-368-6578
Tim 309-368-0529  /  Ed 309-351-3383

We still have hay!


    The major effect of cold on an animal is an increase in energy needs.

    That doesn't mean you should drastically increase the amount of grain you feed your horse.  For horses, hay is the best way to increase the amount of energy consumed.

    Free-choice grass mix hay promotes not only essential digestive system activity but also generates more body heat than grain or sweet feed.

    A 10-mph to 15-mph wind will require horses to consume an additional 4 to 8 pounds of hay to meet their increased energy requirements.

    Hay loss and waste can also be reduced by how often we feed. Daily
    feeding will force cattle to eat hay they might otherwise refuse,
    over-consume, trample and waste.

    Cattle waste less hay when the amount fed is limited to what is needed each day. Twenty-five percent more hay is needed when a four-day supply is fed with free access. Cows will over consume, if hay is fed free choice.
  2. GREEN COLOR does not always mean GOOD HAY

    Hay that is very green can be a good indicator of the amount of nutrients in the hay; however, color is an inconsistent factor to evaluate hay quality. Smell and texture are also important.

    Color is more important to the person buying-feeding than it is to the horse, as the horse is color blind and cannot distinguish green from brown. Horses don't eat with human eyes, therefore, color should not always influence your buying choices.

    Judge the color inside of a bale, not the outside.

    Hay is bleached by the sun in 72 hours from baling time and the nutritional value is not depleted with the exception of Vitamin A; however the greatest loss of Vitamin A occurs right after harvest and the amount of change from 6 months to a year or more is relatively small.

    Quality hay can be bleached out on the outside of the bale. When the bale is opened, it will be bright and clean.
  3. Water Absorbing Capacity of Bedding
    Lbs. of water/lb. of bedding  

    4.0 Tanning bark
    2.5 Dry fine bark
    3.0 Pine chips
    2.5 sawdust
    2.0 shavings
    1.0 needles
    1.5 Hardwood chips



    2.5 Shredded stover
    2.1 Ground cobs


    2.6 Flax
    2.8 Oats, threshed
    2.5 combined
    2.4 chopped
    2.2 Wheat, combined
    2.1 chopped


    3.0 chopped mature


    2.7 Cocoa
    2.5 Peanut, cottonseed
    2.0 Oats

  4. Alpacas and Llamas
    Alpacas and llamas will eat approximately 1.5% of their body weight as dry matter to maintain body weight. Growing alpacas and late-pregnant and lactating females will eat about 2-2.5% of their body weight as dry matter. One adult llama will consume about one 45 pound bale of 6-10% protein hay every 5-7 days.


    Cattle consume around 2.5% of their body weight each day. A 1200 lb. cow would be expected to eat 30 lbs every day. Multiply that by the number of days you expect to feed hay to estimate the amount of hay needed per cow. More hay is required during winter weather and colder temps.

    Sheep and Goats

    When feeding a sheep or goat to meet its maintenance requirements, the goal is to maintain body weight and condition.

    Sheep have higher maintenance requirements than cattle, whereas goats have slightly higher maintenance requirements than sheep.

    1.5 to 2 percent of body weight (dry matter intake) or 2 ½ to 4 lbs. of grass hay.

    Since the horse is a grazing animal, the basis for all horse diets should be hay or pasture. Good-quality forage alone can meet the maintenance requirements for most horses. Each horse is an individual and has different needs.

    Two major factors for deciding how much your horse needs to eat are its size and the amount of work it does. A general rule is that a horse needs half a bale of hay per day to satisfy baseline dietary requirements or 20-22 lbs. of hay. This is a very rough average and horses will require more or less depending on their metabolism, workload, time of year, and what else they may be eating. 

    Ponies will require considerably less, while large draft breeds can eat 30 pounds a day or more. Even for high performance horses, forage should make up at least 50% of the total ration.

    Mixed hays are better in that they include grass and legumes. They offer variety and more protein than straight grass hay. Our mixed grass hay is preferred with horses, cattle, alpacas and llamas. 

How to Mathematically Determine a Horse's Weight