When feeding horses, it does make sense to try and keep the feed schedule the same each day. Horses tend to really stress out and get impatient when they cannot eat. Stress seems to make the weight drop off the horses back. Something I don’t like to happen!
Here are some tips to stick to your feed schedule when you need someone less familiar to your horses feeding schedule feed for you. You know, a replacement for when you want to have a life outside the barn.
Have the horses feed amounts listed on the stall door.
Have the horses feed amounts also listed in the area where you keep the feed.
Place a scale by your hay to weigh the flakes of hay.
One flake of hay could be super heavy, and one could be super light. It works best even for yourself to weigh the flakes of hay to be sure you are feeding the same amount each time.
If you will only be missing one or two feedings you can ration each horses feed into a bucket ahead of time. To be sure the correct horse gets fed the correct bucket place the horses name on the individual bucket. Or, you can have a different color for each horse. Just be sure and mark the horses stall with his color. It is also wise to have the horses name on the stall as well. I always like to color coordinate each horse. Lead ropes, halters, saddle pads, boots, blankets, brushes. Whatever you can coordinate helps keep the confusion to a minimum.
I use the 2 gallon fortiflex buckets to put in the pre-made feeds. Just be sure to keep them covered. I like to use plastic disposable shower caps. They are cheap and can be used many times. They close up the buckets keeping the food safe from flies. Be sure and keep the food safe from a horse that could escape and eat all the feed! I actually have hooks on the outside of the stall, and can hang the buckets when necessary for the next feeding. I like to keep it simple. If you are going to do this, it is extremely important that you be sure the horse is safely locked in his stall. I always walk the barn isle before I leave to make sure every door is locked. I also train everyone else that comes to the barn to do the same. We all police each other.
Weighing the grain is also an option if you would like to be more precise in your measurements. There are many scales to choose from, you can place your fortiflex bucket on a scale, measure and pour. Just be sure to account for the weight of the bucket.
Scale scoops are also a great invention. They are quicker easier to use.
Have supplements in separate containers or plastic baggies rationing out the portion for each individual feeding. You can write the horses name and feeding AM or PM with a sharpie on the plastic bag. If you are feeding a liquid supplement, you can use a squeeze water bottle to have your replacement add the supplement directly to the horses feed. If it is for more than one feeding, using that trusty sharpie, you can draw lines on the bottle so that the supplement can be accurately measured.
One other important thing to consider, always have emergency numbers posted in the barn. Farrier, vet, horse owners, and in case you cannot be contacted a secondary emergency contact.
Being prepared, you can comfortably leave the barn in someone else’s hands knowing things are being done exactly the way you like them.
*This is not a paid post. These are actual products I use or have used to make my life easier, featured solely for the benefit of my readers.