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Author Topic: Shetland ponies winter feeding  (Read 1885 times)

laurelrus

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Quainton,Buckinghamshire
  • Hobby farmer
Shetland ponies winter feeding
« on: October 31, 2017, 10:09:19 am »
We got our two Shetlands this summer so this will be our first winter looking after them. We have donkeys so know how to do them over winter but I'd really like advice on the right feed/amounts for the little boys.
We give the donkeys (big miniatures!) HiFi Lite and Saracens donkey diet in the winter and barley straw (all year).
I've read a lot about the importance of not overfeeding Shetlands but with the weather changing I'd like to know what's best for them.
Thanks very much
2 pygmy goats, 3 Ouessant sheep, 19 chickens, 2 donkeys, 2 Shetland ponies and 2 dogs
Voss Electric Fence

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 11:35:22 am »
Shetlands are designed to thrive in harsh conditions with little to eat so they are great converters of not a lot. I wouldn't expect them to need any more than good hay and a mineral lick once the weather really changes.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 11:49:39 am »
I have several donkeys, a mule and used to have a cob pony.
I believe the cob is very similar to a Shetland in that both will put weight on readily, especially in spring. 
So my cob was kept with the donkeys and mule over winter and fed the same, ie ad lib straw, a bit of hay, and a mineral lick. That way he didn't put on weight over winter, but always had plenty to eat. He may in  fact may have lost a bit, but he was never hungry and was ok then to graze spring grass without the risk of becoming obese.
Equines are kept warm by the fibre they eat, so however cold it was he always had sufficient fibre available in the straw to keep him warm.
So I would give your shetlands exactly the same as your donkeys, and that way they'll have a bit of leeway to put on weight when spring arrives.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 11:55:18 am by landroverroy »
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  for the guidance of wise men
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laurelrus

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Quainton,Buckinghamshire
  • Hobby farmer
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 11:54:28 am »
Thanks very much, landroverroy and harmony, they already have a mineral lick and it's good to know we're on the right track!
2 pygmy goats, 3 Ouessant sheep, 19 chickens, 2 donkeys, 2 Shetland ponies and 2 dogs

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2017, 09:40:19 pm »
I'd even be wary on the 'good hay'... good quality straw, poor hay (not mouldy, never mouldy!!! but cattle rather than horse/sheep quality) or no hay at all if they have access to decent sized fields with scrub cover such as gorse... they genuinely can live on virtually thin air and water.  Just keep an eye on their condition.  You should be able to feel but not see ribs (and given the coats they'll grow you may need to dig deep when feeling through).  As long as they have bright eyes and good coats you'll do more harm than good feeding them through the winter as you'll be storing up trouble for spring.  They are designed to live in conditions where the rain comes at them sideways, the wind cuts through anything over 4' high and the snow is sometimes up to their bellies...  I've a friend with a couple of miniatures who live on a dirt yard and get no more than one 'slice' of a small bale between them each day split between 3 feeds.  It's more than enough to keep the condition on them.

Donkeys, on the other hand, need to be kept warm (they're hot country natives) so need a good bellyful of high quality hay to keep their 'central heating' running.
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 09:24:27 am »
Good points well made Scarlet Dragon.


One of the points about over rugging is that horses/ponies should lose weight in the winter. Obviously not to the point of starvation.

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 02:14:10 pm »
I have had Shetlands for many years and it all depends on age, health, and the grazing you have. I have 3 out all winter with the sheep. they have a field shelter and get addlib hay plus a  very small feed of hi fibre cubes and speedy beet. My small cob and my other Shetland( he has back problems and has had laminitis due to his back)  come in at night. Again hay nets and a small feed. They also all get carrots. Some Shetlands will put on weight all year but mine lose in the winter and then get fat over the summer eeven though I strip graze them.

laurelrus

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Quainton,Buckinghamshire
  • Hobby farmer
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 11:03:30 am »
Thanks very much Sabrina and Scarlet.Dragon - they act like they're really hungry all the time and we've been falling for it...!
I'll stick with the barley straw, carrots for treats and not be conned!
They do have the most incredible velvety coats for winter, they're beautiful but much less sweet and placid than the donkeys!
They have a new stable, we'll keep the doors open all the time.
They have eaten their paddock down to absolutely nothing which is why I worried they were getting hungry. We're
going to have to fence it off, move them to the paddock behind and reseed it ready for next year.
2 pygmy goats, 3 Ouessant sheep, 19 chickens, 2 donkeys, 2 Shetland ponies and 2 dogs

LeanneR88

  • Joined Jan 2014
Re: Shetland ponies winter feeding
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 12:09:07 pm »
My Shetland gets a haynet along with the other 2 horses, if feed needed then a little chaff with speedibeet :)

 

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