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Poll Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.

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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2012-12-23 12:05 PM (#148918)
Subject: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC
I have been working with horses since 1964.  My horses range in ages of 2 years old, 5 years old, 15 years old, 20 years old and up to 25 years old. In the past 5 years, hay producers in my area have turned to using poultry litter on their hay field as fertilizer because of costs.  The square bale hay looks green and great, but my horses just sniff it and walk away.  They waste it.  They won't eat it.  Each year, I have to return the hay and buy hay that was not produced with poultry litter.  Thank goodness, most hay producers are being honest when I ask if they used poultry litter in the production of their hay.  Last year, when I took 100 bales home from a hay producer that I had bought from previously that season, my horses would not eat the hay. I called the hay producer.  He confirmed that he had distributed poultry litter in the production of that hay.  When he looked in his notes and realized that I had requested non-poultry litter fertilized hay from the start, he came to our place and removed the 100 bales of poultry litter fertilized hay and replaced it with hay that did NOT get produced with poultry litter.  My horses immediately started eating the hay that did NOT have poultry litter used in the production of it.  So, here is my question.  Has anyone experienced this problem with their horses?  If so, what did you do?  This has happened to me with 4 separate hay producers.  I cannot find anything on the internet that explains this problem.  I understand that it is a fairly new process, but surely, someone is recognizing the problem besides me!!!
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Painted Horse
Reg. May 2005
Posted 2012-12-23 1:49 PM (#148919 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.



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Posts: 2453
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Interesting. Are you finding any chicken litter in the baled hay?  Or has it all disolved into the soil?

 



Edited by Painted Horse 2012-12-23 1:50 PM
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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2012-12-23 3:16 PM (#148920 - in reply to #148919)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC
If you call feathers, chicken litter, then yes, I am finding feathers in the bales of hay.  I haven't looked for actual litter.  I was wondering if the hay producer was using 'fresh' litter, then maybe it had a lingering smell.  I can't get the last hay producer to admit to anything.  Transparency can help recover the reason and then a possible solution.
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bbsmfg3
Reg. Dec 2006
Posted 2012-12-23 6:42 PM (#148922 - in reply to #148919)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


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Posts: 376
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Location: Missouri
Not at all uncommon. A lot of horses don't like hog manure fertilized hay either.

Not new at all. A lot of farmers use manure from chickens and hogs when the price of commercial fertilizer get high. In years past it was much more common.

Guess what, if that's all they have to eat for a few days, they get over it, and eat it just fine.


Edited by bbsmfg3 2012-12-23 6:44 PM
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IcePonyGoddess
Reg. Nov 2006
Posted 2012-12-23 8:13 PM (#148923 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


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Posts: 792
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Location: East Tennessee, USA, Planet Earth
Be careful feeding this hay to your horses. Chickens spread salmonella. I myself, would never feed my horses this type of hay.
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cajunmuleman
Reg. Oct 2011
Posted 2012-12-24 6:03 PM (#148931 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.



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Posts: 645
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Location: Rayne, LA
What are we voting for?
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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2012-12-26 5:14 AM (#148946 - in reply to #148922)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC
Bob, Thank you for your reply.  Have you had the experience with horses not eating their hay?...and you continued to only give them that hay AND they started eating it???  If so, what problems did you observe? Any health issues? From my experience, this behavior of not eating their hay is not natural.  I have been feeding my groups of horses for 48 years.  This issue with my horses not eating the hay given them has only occurred since the poultry litter has been used as fertilizer, which has been in the last 5 years.  I understand the farmers' need to keep down costs, but for the end result to be that the product not be used (wasted), that seems to defeat the purpose of growing the hay.  I wonder what problems have occurred that have not been registered by some agency....where would one report this anyway?  It is just not natural for my horses to refuse hay.  This is a BIG problem for me.  My experience is that the hay producers really don't want to hear this.  Yet, to be honest, they need to know this.
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bbsmfg3
Reg. Dec 2006
Posted 2012-12-26 8:55 PM (#148961 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


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Posts: 376
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Location: Missouri
Yes, I've had experience with hay fertilized with chicken, hog, and cattle manure. Sometime they eat it without a problems and other times, a couple of days of it alone, and they eat it just fine. The smell is usually the problem. If they get hungry, they will eat.

Chicken is very high in nitrogen and bad about burning if applied to heavy. It should be composted for awhile before applying. The problems associated with e coli, etc, are usually not there if the application doesn't burn up the hay crop. Seldom do they apply any of these close to harvest time, which gives mother nature plenty of time to dispose of e coli, etc. Sun and rain, will do an excellent job of decomposing.

It was used a lot around here, more so, a few years back, and never heard of any problems feeding the hay to horses. When the farmers used horses for tilling it was used extensively for horse hay.
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Are we there yet
Reg. Jan 2011
Posted 2012-12-26 8:59 PM (#148962 - in reply to #148946)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 20

Location: Woodland, Wa
I wouldn't feed it to my horses for the same reason IcePrincess mentioned. You might want to cal your vet or the closest equine hosp and run the question/problem by them.
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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2012-12-27 6:08 AM (#148968 - in reply to #148962)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC
I sent a sample about a month ago to the Clemson Extension Service and they reported back that the sample was good quality hay.  They could not give me a reason for why the horses refused to eat it.  They indicated that it was actually higher in Crude protein (Nitrogen) than they would have expected.  Potassium and Phosphorus were also higher than average in the sample of this hay.  They felt that the hay was of good nutritional quality.  They did note that the NDF was higher than 65, which is the point at where most horses may refuse to eat  hays, and that NDF of higher than 65 indicates more maturity at harvest time.   We had a wet summer.  Hay harvests were delayed a lot around here. 
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bbsmfg3
Reg. Dec 2006
Posted 2012-12-27 4:10 PM (#148973 - in reply to #148968)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


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Posts: 376
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"which is the point at where most horses may refuse to eat hays

They will eat snow balls if they don't have anything else. They will not go hungry. The NDF along with the smell is probably the reason they didn't take to it right away. Years ago we feed ground straw when there was nothing else. They didn't like that either, but they didn't loose weight on it either.
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3ponies
Reg. Jul 2007
Posted 2012-12-29 8:31 AM (#149002 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 18

Location: concord nc
My hay guy fertilizes with chicken manure and I find feathers in some of the bales. The horses eat the hay without any problem. He has great hay no weeds etc. Maybe if you bought the fall cutting it would be better, since most of the fertilizing was done earlier in the year

Edited by 3ponies 2012-12-29 8:32 AM
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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2012-12-29 4:23 PM (#149014 - in reply to #149002)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC

Thank you for your input.  I bought these 220 bales out of the field on September 14, 2012.... I believe that was their last cutting on that field. 

 If I could only find out WHY this is now occurring.  I have been feeding coastal bermuda hay to my horses for 48 years and it has only been in the last 5 years that I have had ANY problems with my horses eating their coastal bermuda hay... AND those times where the horses wouldn't eat the hays, the common denominator has been the hay producer used poultry manure as fertilizer.  Surely, there has to be a good explanation as to WHY my horses won't eat that hay!!! 

Thank you again for your input.

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horserider
Reg. Jan 2013
Posted 2013-01-03 2:53 PM (#149113 - in reply to #148920)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


New User


Posts: 3

Location: Illinois

My vet's office swears and declares that horses can contract salmonella from poultry (they don't get it from wild bird droppings in the field because it is much less concentrated) so this is really bad that hay producers are doing this. What state are you in?

I asked this question specifically because I raise ducks and was wondering about grazing the horses in the part of my yard where I move my wire pens around, and the answer was a resounding NO unless I want to go through the huge hassle and expense of treating horses for salmonella.

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horserider
Reg. Jan 2013
Posted 2013-01-03 2:54 PM (#149114 - in reply to #148923)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


New User


Posts: 3

Location: Illinois
Originally written by IcePonyGoddess on 2012-12-23 8:13 PM

Be careful feeding this hay to your horses. Chickens spread salmonella. I myself, would never feed my horses this type of hay.
Ditto.
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horserider
Reg. Jan 2013
Posted 2013-01-03 2:57 PM (#149115 - in reply to #148973)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


New User


Posts: 3

Location: Illinois

Originally written by bbsmfg3 on 2012-12-27 4:10 PM

"which is the point at where most horses may refuse to eat hays They will eat snow balls if they don't have anything else. They will not go hungry. The NDF along with the smell is probably the reason they didn't take to it right away. Years ago we feed ground straw when there was nothing else. They didn't like that either, but they didn't loose weight on it either.

Just because a horse will eat something does not mean it should be fed.

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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2013-01-03 3:31 PM (#149116 - in reply to #149113)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC

South Carolina.  I just wish that there was a central location of valid information on the use of poultry litter as fertilizer on hay production.  As I have indicated, after over 48 years of feeding my horses coastal bermuda hay, it has only been in the last 5 years that my horses have ever refused to eat their bales of hay and it was Hay that had been fertilized with poultry litter in each case!!  The hay producers are trying to control ever rising costs AND they seem to make ME WRONG for telling them that my horses won't eat their hay fertilized with poultry litter.  Most have been very honest.... the last producer's wife has acted ugly toward me...like I was the cause of my concern!!  That was why I contacted the Clemson Extension to analyze a sample of their hay.  The results from Clemson was that it was good hay.... even slightly better in areas that they normally did not see.  So, I am confused as to WHY my horses refuse this hay!  I have over 200 bales of this harvested hay in my barn.  What I have put out is still sitting on the ground wasting.  They have eaten other harvested period hays.  I just hope that I don't have any problems.  If someone could research other sites for information on this subject, that would be great.  Surely, someone is having this problem now besides me!

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siseley
Reg. Jul 2006
Posted 2013-01-05 11:40 AM (#149134 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.



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Posts: 385
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Location: high desert, CA.
My chicken coops are right next to the horse stalls, so my horses are used to the odor of chickens. I also let the chickens loose in the turnouts and stalls to keep flies and other bugs down in summer. I am more afraid of using Bermuda hay!!! I have seen many horses colic badly on long Bermuda that was not chopped up! Since I feed Barley/Oat/wheat/Alfalfa hays, we don't have as much problem I guess out west.( We are in the high desert of California)
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hosspuller
Reg. Oct 2003
Posted 2013-03-28 6:03 PM (#150928 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


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Posts: 2936
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Location: North Carolina

Some horses are picky eaters... If I put a pile of Alfalfa and a pile of prime Orchard grass that I grew, cut and baled...The alfalfa pile is licked clean before anyone touches the Orchard grass.

Of course, I like ice cream more than carrots... choco chip cookies more than rye bread.

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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2013-03-28 9:47 PM (#150932 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC
I can appreciate picky horses. However, my horses range in age of 2 years, 5 years, 15 years, 20 years & 25 years old. NONE will eat this poultry litter fertilized hay. I have been using it as bedding for their stalls. I have been feeding them alfalfa pellets and hydration hay blocks to replace the fact that they won't eat the coastal Bermuda hay. It makes me upset that hay producers are not interested in the final product... of course, cows will probably eat it. Otherwise, what is the purpose in producing hay that horses will not eat, just because they don't want to spend the money for traditional fertilizer???
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hosspuller
Reg. Oct 2003
Posted 2013-03-30 7:30 PM (#150968 - in reply to #150932)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Expert


Posts: 2936
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Location: North Carolina

Originally written by Shadowboxer on 2013-03-28 6:47 PM

I can appreciate picky horses. However, my horses range in age of 2 years, 5 years, 15 years, 20 years & 25 years old. NONE will eat this poultry litter fertilized hay. I have been using it as bedding for their stalls. I have been feeding them alfalfa pellets and hydration hay blocks to replace the fact that they won't eat the coastal Bermuda hay.

Alfalfa Pellets !  Who eats beans when cookies & cake are served!!  I use alfalfa pellets to get medicine into the horses !

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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2013-03-31 6:39 AM (#150983 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC
Let's see...you can go days of no eating with cold winter weather and allow weight to drop off and take a chance of horses getting pneumonia OR you can look for other methods of feeding your horses so that they DON'T have health issues. Did I say that I have had almost 50 years of feeding horses? Did I say that for almost 45 of those years, I fed coastal bermuda hay and it was being eaten? Did I say that the last 5 years have been my problem years with getting my horses to eat coastal bermuda hay AND THE COMMON DENOMINATOR WAS THAT THE HAY MY HORSES WOULD NOT EAT WAS FERTILIZED WITH TURKEY/POULTRY LITTER???? My horses have had Alfalfa pellets throughout their lives. That has NOT affected the hay that they ate. I don't understand why you are so insensitive. The Horses will NOT eat hay fertilized with Turkey/Poultry litter and the Hay Producers need to be honest about this. I am NOT the only person that has experienced this. I am sorry that chemical fertilizer has risen and hay producers are looking for alternatives to keep costs down. However, if the alternative is NOT producing edible hay, then WHY ARE THEY GROWING IT??? AFIA is interested in encouraging Congress to allow more acreage for producing corn instead of eliminating ethanol when there is a huge reservoir of oil under North Dakota/Canada which could be processed to reduce fuel costs and thereby fertilizer costs... Is anyone talking to AFIA and NGFA about this? I bet not... it is better to make me WRONG in my observations that to look at the real problem!
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bbsmfg3
Reg. Dec 2006
Posted 2013-03-31 8:44 PM (#151004 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


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Posts: 376
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Location: Missouri
I have been feeding horses for quite a few more years than you, and have yet to see one go hungry, if there is food(hay) in front of them for several days. I've seen a few that would get into the second day before they'd eat what, they thought they did not like, put never longer.

How long did you let them go with only the poultry fertilized hay to eat?

If you really want to get them eating it quicker, spray it with some sugar water, with peppermint flavoring added to the water.

I really don't think your going to get anyone to change their practice. You can either get them to eat this or find another source.

If you really feel it is bad for them, your only choice, is to find another source.
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Shadowboxer
Reg. Dec 2012
Posted 2013-04-01 5:46 AM (#151015 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.


Member


Posts: 12

Location: Cassatt, SC
The first time that I offered the hay to them, it sat out in the pasture untouched for a week (and then onward) before I really started looking for alternatives. (I have to look at the time line on my pictures. I took pictures at different days a week(s) apart to show to the hay producer so he would understand that my horses would not eat his poultry/turkey litter manure fertilized hay.) It wasn't into the full winter concerns then. Yet, the pasture grass wasn't growing then either. My horses were losing weight after a week and I was very concerned. So I started the path of looking for alternatives to the 210 bales of turkey manure fertilized hay that I had bought and stored in our hay barn. What a waste!
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Painted Horse
Reg. May 2005
Posted 2013-04-01 3:40 PM (#151033 - in reply to #148918)
Subject: RE: Horses won't eat poultry litter fertilized hay.



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Posts: 2453
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Location: Northern Utah

I don't know how much manure they are spreading on your hay field. But my horses don't really seem too worried about the smell of chickens. My chickens get a couple hours each day of free range.  They climb all over the hay stack, sometimes even hiding eggs in the haystack.

Periodically I clean out the chicken coop, I throw all the old straw and manure onto the same manure pile I use for the horses. It's in the corner of the horse corral. And leave it to my horses to wander over and see if they can find any grain as they snuffle through what I've thrown over the fence.

I don't enjoy a spooked horse trying to jump out from under me when a wild turkey or pheasant blast off along the trail. Since I got the chickens and let them wander around in the horse corral, My horses have become much more immune to getting spooked by flying birds.

 

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