Basic feeding tips
Most of our ponies are at grass all year round. In the event they have to be stabled for any reason, we give our ponies ad lib hay – we feel this is preferable to haylage. We are fortunate in making some of our own hay which is guaranteed ragwort free of course. Hay prices have been steadily going up so whilst it’s a hard slog there’s a saving to be made! If giving hard feed, we mainly use low sugar feeds such as Dodson and Horrell “Safe and Sound” or Spillers “High Fibre Cubes”. We’ve made some secure, vermin proof bins to store the feed.
The ponies at grass have hay outdoors usually from October to April, as needed, depending on the grass situation. We always ensure that when we put hay out that all ponies can access it – there are some ponies who think it’s all theirs so the more timid ones can be pushed out. We use haynets where appropriate. The large blue ikea bags are perfect for delivering hay to fields!
As weaning approaches at around 4 -5 months, we give our foals a daily balancer (such as “Suregrow” or Gain Opticare) sometimes fed together with a little cool mix (we use Baileys everyday mix with oil for coat shine). Sugarbeet can be added to overcome any dryness. This is continued until the following spring to ensure they get all they need during this important growth and development period.
A few carrots can be fed though we don’t give too many as they have a relatively high sugar content (as do many prepared feeds – we always check the bag!). We also add Flax oil to feeds 2/3 times a week.
We start to feed mares in foal once/day from around January when they are taken away from the herd and put in a separate field and fed outdoors. The fetus is only one third of its final bodyweight at 8 months so in the final 3 months, 65% of fetal growth occurs so this is when additional feeding of mares is recommended.
We find using the indestructible black rubber trugs is ideal, adequately spaced out so everyone is happy! They also have access to salt and mineral licks.
Visitors are welcome but please contact us first.