I don’t know about you, but when my horses (& other stock) aren’t in prime, fighting fit body condition my heart hurts. Currently we are in the midst of a horrible drought. It’s been years, not months. The drought is widespread across most of Australia at the moment. Many, many are in far worse state than I. I am grateful for my off-farm job that is at the very least providing a steady income & keeping food on the table.
My angst is currently around keeping the condition on my older horses, particularly my older quarter horse stallion & two older broodmares with foals at foot. They are all on twice daily rations & should be rolling fat on the quantities they are receiving. But they aren’t??!! & I’m tearing my hair out over it!!
The aha moment came last night from talking with others who are also seeing dismal results. One friend after having the cost of their feed was hiked up over $200 per tonne over & above the usual cost & who was also not seeing weight gains from their ‘tried & true’, sent that processed feed to be tested. The results were shocking. The protein content was 9% less than what the manufacturer was stating it was. No wonder it wasn’t doing the job!!
Farmers who grow the grains that are the basis of our processed feeds are also in the midst of drought. Many have not been able to have a successful harvest due to lack of sufficient rainfall at the right time. Those that have managed to get a crop off have had lower yields & poorer nutritional content in the grain. This poorer quality grain has been sold into the livestock feed chain & thus our processed horse feeds are not what they should be.
What am I to do??!! The cost of hay is beyond ridiculous so I can’t just put them on round bales without going into some serious debt. Do I sell them all??!! I’ve already reduced my numbers down to my core mares. We’ve sacrificed a hell of a lot to hang onto what we have, to keep the dream alive.
So for now it’s back to basics. Sourcing unprocessed feeds. Looking at the best value for money to try & get more fat on their ribs.
How are you handling the dry times?
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