Weigh Your Hay!
A cheap bathroom scale is all you need---and you don't need to use it often-to be sure Dobbin is getting his needed roughage.
Hay is generally considered to be green forage with at least 85 per cent of its moisture dehydrated. The degree of curing (dehydration) affects the hay's weight. (The kind of hay (grass, cereal or legume) determines the protein value.) Check out the online course, Nutrition for Maximum Performance
Since your horse should be getting a minimum of 1.5 per cent of its body weight in forage, you need to have a pretty good idea of how much a flake or two of your hay weighs. That's why you need the scale.
Most of us can't really make a good guess at what a flake of hay weighs.
Use the scale today to determine the size and number of flakes of your hay it takes to fulfill Dobbin's need. (A 1,000 pound horse needs a minimum of 15 pounds of hay per day.) Once you've used the scale and determined how much to feed, you can revert to the speedy method of approximation.
But, whoa! Hold on. Every time you start with a new delivery of hay, you need to get the old scale out again. The amount of water in the hay will determine its weight, and that can vary day to day, bale to bale.
Anytime you start feeding from a new delivery of hay, it should be introduced rather gradually. Always open new bales to mix with old bales so the switch over takes a few days.
Avoid very green damp hay…while the feed store guy is telling you how pretty and green it is, you're buying a lot more water than hay, and you're going to be putting your horse at risk for colic.
If you can guess with great accuracy the weight of hay you're feeding your horse, I've got the perfect job for you---guessing weight at the county fair. (Even the good guessers use a scale.)