Influence of Hay Ring Presence on Waste in Horses Fed Hay
Four quarter/paint horse open mares between the ages of four and seven years old were used to determine dry matter (DM) and organic matter (OM) hay wastage on round baled Coastal bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) hay when hay rings were present or absent. Average daily gain (ADG), dry matter intake (DMI), and DMI as a percentage of body weight (BW) were also collected. Results indicated that percent DM wastage was higher (P < 0.001), for horses fed hay without rings (WOR) than for those fed hay with hay rings (WR). No differences (P > 0.05) were found in ADG. Furthermore, there were no differences (P > 0.05) in dry matter intake (DMI) or DMI as a percent of body weight (BW) in horses between hay ring treatments. However, there were increases (P = 0.03), (P = 0.01) respectively in DMI and DMI as a percentage of BW for horses fed alfalfa (ALF) independent of hay ring. Conclusions indicate that a high percent of wastage occurs when horses are fed either coastal bermudagrass or alfalfa round baled hay without hay rings. Also, when horses are fed alfalfa round baled hay, DMI is likely increased due to increased palatability.