Price of hay and feed for horses

I picked up feed for my horses yesterday and it was very depressing. I am wanting to buy premium quality because I believe that is what my horses deserve and that is what keeps them healthy. I am beginning to wonder if I need to think about my health, especially financial. One 40 pound bag of feed that cost me $16 last year is now $23 and a 50 pound bag of fortified bagged forage that was $18 just a few months ago cost me $22.50. Hay for my horses has gone through the roof. Round bales are $90 a piece if I pick them up which adds another $20 or so depending on the price of diesel. Square bales are $8 to $9 for grass hay and $14 for alfalfa.

I do use feed supplements because I feel each horse is an individual and has special needs over basic nutrients especially since I have older individuals and performance horses. These feed supplements add about $2 a day per animal but I don’t worry about my guys getting sick so it is worth it to me. I notice when I give the whole food type feed supplements such as the packets of algae, probiotics and enzymes. I can feed much less in the way of a grain product. I like this because I feel feed for horses should be mainly forage. I also don’t like the synthetic and inorganic feed supplements in grain type feeds.

With the price of hay for horses so high and the availability so unpredictable I have been looking more and more at bagged hay for horses. I have fed alfalfa cubes, timothy balance cubes, chopped timothy hay and fortified timothy/orchard grass fortified hay. I have also fed an extruded feed for horses that is primarily alfalfa. I like the bagged hay for horses because there is almost no waste. I have a round bale so my horses still get long stemmed hay to munch on. Luckily, none of mine are overweight and I think this is because I meet there micro nutrient requirements with my natural feed supplements so they are not hungry all the time. If I had a horse that insisted on overeating even with good feed supplements I would use the hay nets with small holes to limit intake.

Even with the high cost of feed and hay for horses I do not see myself cutting back on my horses program. I am looking at the bagged hay for horses because it stretches my hay supply and I feel the lack of waste covers the extra cost and it is easy to get and store. So it looks like I will be eating more rice and beans but sleeping well because my horses are happy and healthy. Madalyn

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