Feeding Dynamics

Almost any time something changes with feeding the animals, there is a ripple effect.  The timing changes or the order everyone gets fed changes, sometimes the location of getting fed changes.  So it is no surprise that all the animals are in a dither when it gets close to feeding time now that Jazz has been changed from dry whole grain feed to very wet pelleted feed.

The small bucket at the back is for Eclipse who is our oldest Welsh pony and has few teeth left and not much saliva so he gets Purina Equine Senior mixed with beet pulp and wetted down.  The much larger bucket in front is for Jazz, who at 20 years old has made the transition from full grown adult Welsh pony to old pony.  Jazz gets twice as much Equine Senior as Eclipse and half again as much beet pulp and significantly more water added.  Jazz has plenty of teeth and enough saliva but a history of choke so he needs his feed to be totally mush.

Eclipse's feed pan gets filled up for each meal and it takes him 45 minutes or so to finish it all.  He's holding his weight well and has energy so for now we have found his correct feed.

Jazz gets so much feed that it won't fit in the normal flat feed pan so we bought him an extra large version.  Because he needs his feed to be totally mushy I've had to change my feeding ritual.  I used to feed the goats, then the alpacas/llamas then water down Eclipse's feed and drive slowly across the property to where the ponies are.  By the time I got there, Eclipse's feed was mushy enough for him.  Unfortunately, that isn't enough time for Jazz's feed to totally break down.  Now I walk Jazz's and Eclipse's feed buckets over to the dye studio and fill the buckets full of water.  While it soaks I feed the goats and the alpacas/llamas.  By the time I get back to the dye studio, the feed is mushy, mushy, mushy and ready to feed.

Now for the funny part.  Jazz is in the same pasture with Steele.  Jazz belongs to Peggy and Steele was the wonderful new pony my daughter was going to show but our timing was off.  By the time Steele was ready to show, Katy was getting married and having babies so Steele had a short show career.  He has always wanted to be top dog in the pasture but never could pull it off.  All the other ponies were able to run him off.  They didn't harass him, just didn't put up with his shenanigans.  So now Jazz is getting a huge bucket of very wet feed twice a day.  Steele still gets his normal handful of grain but wants to share in the wealth of wet sloppy feed and for some reason Jazz doesn't run him off.

Jazz (on the left) has let Steele (on the right) move in and share.  But look at Steele's back.  Jazz eats by grabbing a mouthful of slop and moving his head up and over before he grabs another bite.  He ends up dropping globs of wet feed all over Steele's back.

Both Steele and Jazz are a mess.  Both of them end up with dark muzzles from grabbing wet sloppy food out of the deep feed pan.  Steele has dark streaks down his withers, back and sides - it looks like it's been raining mud.  But for now it works.  Jazz is putting on weight which is very important since he had gotten so thin, and Steele hasn't added much weight showing that he isn't stealing too much food from Jazz.  I'll keep an eye on both of them and we can adjust everything as needed.  And all the other animals are slowly getting used to the new system.   They still stand at the gate and tap their little feet in anticipation of breakfast but that's to be expected.

I may make one more change.  That huge bucket of wet food is really heavy.  Pulling if off the mule and walking it through the gate and over to Jazz's feed pan is literally a pain in my back.  I think I'll bring him two smaller buckets tonight and see how that works.  It means I'll be walking more but splitting the weight into two trips sounds like a winner to me.