Will my mini horses eat straw if I put it down for a bedding?
Will my mini horses eat straw if I put it down for a bedding? If they do, is it bad for them?
- OcimomLv 78 months ago
Straw can harm a horse or pony. Please provide the proper diet of hay and grains for your horse.
- SnezzyLv 78 months ago
Make sure to feed your horses plenty of hay. That'll keep them warm better than anything else. Only worry if you see shivering.
Best bedding we've seen is rubber mats, or rubber mats plus pine shavings.Beware of using three-sided shelters. Some horses do well in them, but occasionally the top horse will kick the daylights out of the other horses. "You're eating MY food!" The result can be a horse trapped in a three-sided and getting kicked with nowhere to run, or else the shelter getting destroyed by all the kicking.We generally keep our horses outside with no shelter at all except for their lush coats and they do just fine. Some of them get a two-sided run-in shelter. For freezing rain we'll bring them in and put them in stalls.
- Anonymous8 months ago
Heather, what you need to remember first is that these are still horses you're talking about, despite their small size. Some horses will eat straw, regardless of how well they're fed otherwise. This is considered to be a vice (meaning a bad habit) if it occurs consistently. Such animals should be bedded on something which doesn't appeal to them so much, such as shavings or wood pellets, or peat moss.Straw is warmer in some respects than shavings are, but it has a lot of drawbacks. For one thing, it tends to be really dusty a lot of the time. This dust can irritate the nasal and lung passages of horses, and can lead to their developing heaves or allergies. In horses that already have known cases of heaves or COPD, bedding on straw will aggravate their condition and make them vulnerable to complications like pneumonia. Straw also has the disadvantage of being less absorbent than shavings. It doesn't hold urine as well, and if the wet straw isn't removed promptly, it can start to rot and will generate ammonia odors that are also extremely irritating to horses- not to mention people. Wet straw is also very heavy to lift.
You'll need to decide ahead of time how you'll dispose of it, if you plan to use it. Some states, like Pennsylvania, have a lot of mushroom farmers who will gladly take soiled straw and manure off your hands for a reasonable price, or for free in some cases. They use the stable cleanings (as they are called) to grow mushrooms and other delicacies which people buy in supermarkets and restaurants. If you're lucky enough to have a mushroom farmer or farmers near you, then yes, straw is an option for bedding.The kind of straw used is important, if you decide to use it. Most straw is generally the dried lower portion of the wheat plant. This means that in the northern hemisphere, the ideal time to get really fresh straw is in early summer, generally in June- after the annual wheat harvest. Once the heads are cut off the wheat plants, the wheat fields are normally mowed a second time, and the remaining part of the plant is allowed to dry and cure prior to being baled. Wheat, however, is not the only grain or cereal plant that can end up as straw. Oats are also grown for this purpose, as are barley, millet, and a few other grains. Wheat straw is preferred as bedding because many horses are attracted to the taste of the oat or barley straw and will eat that instead of eating their hay. To discourage this, always feed hay in a rack or in a net or hay bag- not on the floor of the stall, and NOT on the ground outside, if you can possibly help it. For horses that are habitual straw eaters, bed them on something else if you can.
- John AldenLv 78 months ago
No expert, but if your horses are well fed, they should not eat enough to do harm. But why risk it?
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- Anonymous8 months ago
Probably not if they have adequate hay or pasture. But yes, many equines will eat straw if there isn't anything else to eat.
I have rubber stall mats and don't really need bedding for my horse other than a few pine pellets here and there to dry up any wet spots. It really cuts down on the waste. I never lock my horse in her stall so she never pees in there which helps too. It takes me several months to go through one bag of pine pellets. I can't imagine trying to compost all that straw, but your situation may be different than mine.
ETA: Yes I think it's probably fine, but as I said, it's not a material I would want to use.
ETA: I don't know anything about minis, but horses are herd animals and should nestle up to one another to keep warm. Horses don't spent much time lying down so I really don't see the point of trying to insulate the ground. They're just going to poop on the straw and then you have a big mess to get rid of.
- FuhrLv 68 months ago
They will only eat mini-straw.