Springtime Caution! Feed your horse by weight, not biscuit!

Hay Weigher handing on a tree

Most of us feed our horses by biscuits of hay for convenience without a second thought! However, the individual hay bales weight is different depending on what source of fibre the hay is made from, for example lucerne v’s pasture v’s oaten v’s teff. A bale of lucerne can weigh approximately 10 to 15kgs more than a bale of light pasture hay. Therefore, every biscuit of hay we feed out also weighs a different weight depending on what type of hay it is. Pasture hay can also be very light and fluffy and lucerne can be quite heavy and compacted per biscuit. So you might find you need to feed your horse 3 biscuits of pasture hay to feed the equivalent weight of one biscuit of lucerne hay.

As a feeding guide, a horse should receive approximately 1.5 to 2.5% of it’s bodyweight in forage. Therefore on average, a 500kg horse in maintenance up to moderate work should be getting 10-12kg of forage (hay / grass from grazing) per day. An overweight horse or pony might be best being fed 1.5% of it’s bodyweight per day, whereas a horse or pony in light condition might be best being fed 2.5% of it’s bodyweight in forage per day.

This is especially important in Spring when a lot of horses and ponies have a tendancy to become overweight (if they aren’t already). So weighing the hay instead of feeding per biscuit takes the guesswork out of knowing how much hay your horse or pony should actually get. This is particularly relevent for horses and ponies that are locked up in yards, stables or paddocks with little to no feed so that you can accurately determine if your horse or pony is getting enough forage in it’s diet.

This is where having a hay weigher becomes a very valuable tool in conjunction with your GutzBusta Slow Feed Hay Netto know exactly what volume of hay your horse should be getting based on his lifestyle.

OurSmall,Medium and Large GutzBusta Slow Feed Hay Nets are available in both 3cm and 4cm sized holes and are perfect to use with our Hay Weighers to accurately know how much hay your horse is eating if weight management is a concern. Knowing how much your horse or pony is eating is particularly important for IR / Cushings and all Equine Metabolic Syndrome horses and ponies if weight management is a primary concern with that individual.

In an ideal situation when managing overweight horses and all horses, you would have access to low sugar pasture hay (not rye or clover) and your horse or pony would have 24/7 access to hay in a slow feed hay net. This is very important as it reduces stress, especially for IR and Cushings horses. However, if your horse or pony isn’t metabolically challenged and you are feeding hay such as Lucerne which is high in protein or other potentially high sugar hay such as rye, clover, or cereal hays, then knowing the weight and therefore how much hay your horse should get is very important.

It is not only important to know if your horse is getting too much hay, but equally important to know that your horse or pony is getting ENOUGH hay/roughage/fibre in their daily diet.

Adequate fibre intake is essential in maintaining a happy and healthy horse to minimise risk of stomach ulcers, stable vices (cribbing, weaving and windsucking), and maintaining a general happy demeanour. Having adequate fibre intake is also very important to help minimise the risk of colic.


In a recent testimonial from Stephanie Evens she said:

‘Morning Nikki,

Just a quick message to say a huge THANK YOU.
My 4×4 round bale net arrived Thursday and it’s been in use since.

Your product is fantastic! I can tell it’s quality, I love the way it fits and it was very easy to put on.

My broodies have had 24/7 access to the bale ever since and are loving it. I’d also like to add, the change in their behaviour is incredible! No more narky mares hunting each other from the food.
They’re 100% content and are happily sharing, which is lovely to see.

I would love to purchase another one, so I will definitely be in touch again soon.

Kind regards,