Updated: May 10
When people say a pony is an "easy keeper" they mean it thrives on little feed. But what does this title really mean?
Here on my little farm it means I have to schedule small feedings several times throughout the day. My entire day revolves around feeding ponies. Every 4 hours I am out there weighing and measuring feed to ensure they aren't getting too much of anything.
They don't have fed 24/7 so this means they don't get fed at night.
Having easy keepers means I have to have all the hay I feed tested to be sure it's low sugar low starch. When I DO feed hay. If you read the last blog you'll know I am going to be cutting down on hay around here to prevent Zorro from having another colic episode.
I have to choose the low sugar low starch hay pellet option and have found that the teff pellets are the best for that. Zorro bloats up on alfalfa so we steer clear of that. Oliver does get alfalfa pellets so they have to be separated at feed times.
As mentioned above, I have to weigh and carefully measure all their meals. I have a fish scale hanging in my hay shed with a bucket dangling from the hook. I carefully pour the pellets into the bucket to weigh them. Then measure each supplement carefully. Every four hours, all day long.
Being away from home is tricky because finding someone to feed is nearly impossible. Who wants that responsibility? If my youngest son isn't going to be home then I can't leave. It's as simple as that! OR I have to bring the ponies with me. This has resulted in them being very good travelers. They pretty much make themselves at home where ever we go. But it's not possible to take them EVERYWHERE I go.
So easy keepers? It seems to me they are actually more difficult to keep. So much to think about and try to balance. Ensuring they have food as often as is possible without over feeding them.
Oh how I wish I could just stuff a hay net, as I used to do, and allow them to "graze" 24/7. But alas, this just caused such extreme weight gain that it became a health issue. I would rather my ponies live long happy, healthy and active lives than be obese and sickly. So I will continue to weigh, measure, test and schedule feedings for as long as we all shall live! (and I hope that's a long long time!)