How much hay should you feed your horse at night?
🐴👫 Feeding hay at night. If we don’t eat in the middle of the night (aside from those occasional midnight snacks, haha) then surely our horses don’t need hay overnight when they are stabled. After all, wouldn’t they be sleeping too? 😴
We usually eat dinner sometime between 6pm and 9pm, and then we go to bed and hopefully sleep for around 8 hours. So, it’s easy to assume our horses do the same thing. But do they?
In general, horses rest/sleep from two to seven hours per day. In contrast to us, they do not sleep continuously. Rather, they take a series of short naps of 15-30 minutes each and you’ll see that they nap both during the day and at night.
Due to their unique sleeping patterns and digestive systems, it is important for horses to have access to food at all times. When they only sleep for short periods and just 2-7 hours a day, they have more hours in a day to fill. Horses digestive system is designed to graze almost continuously, with saliva production occurring as they chew. The production of saliva is essential, as saliva buffers stomach acids, which helps prevent gastric ulcers. Therefore, it is generally agreed that horses should not go without food for more than 4 hours, which is why it’s important to feed hay at night.
What amount of hay should you feed at night? The best way to make sure your horse has enough is to feed so there is a small amount left over in the morning. You can experiment feeding your hay out in a Just Grazin custom net. By using a slow feed hay net, you will slow consumption and make your hay last longer. In the morning, if there is no hay left, add an extra biscuit or flake. Continue doing this until there is just a little bit left over in the morning. This will ensure that your horse never goes hungry.
The weather can also affect the consumption of hay. During hot weather, horses consume less hay, while during cold weather, they consume more. The reason for this is that digestion produces heat.
So, although you might be asleep, your horse will likely spend the majority of the night eating! 🌿
*This is a general guide only. Contact your local Equine Nutritionist or Equine Vet for specific advice for your individual horses needs.