Friday, March 12, 2010

taking measure

It's time to get out my measuring tape and open up the Excel program to get new weights on the equines - my plan last March was to do this monthly but I didn't. I calculated weights last March and I did it prior to deworming, and that's it!

The hay analysis for the interim hay came in via email yesterday afternoon, so before I start doing the math, I want to make sure the weights are current and as accurate as can be.

The good news is that after studying and doing the math twice before, with this report I can scan the raw numbers and make some sense of them. This hay won't be hard to balance, and while the iron is a little higher than our local hay, it's still low, as are the sugars/carbs. Great for easy keepers.

The less good news is that I've decided to stop feeding beet pulp, which is going to shift my calcium : phosphorus ratio and especially with Salina's complete senior diet, I've got some substituting to do.

I may plug it back in if balancing w/o it is too difficult, but over the past six months I've seen the quality of the beet pulp decline considerably, and was getting more and more disgusted with the rinse water coming off the beet pulp as well as with the way the actual pulp looked upon close inspection. The smell changed too, and although the horses didn't stop eating it, I felt I was putting something less than healthy into their feed tubs every day. For now, I've subbed in Ontario Dehy's Timothy Balance cubes, which I've been using for the pony and donkeys. The cubes have some beet pulp in them, so I'm not getting away from it completely, but it's a start.

Just about the time I get over doing the math for this hay, it will be time to do it again for the local spring cutting!  But my hope is that each time I go through this process, it gets a bit easier, a bit more intuitive, and at some point it will be No Big Deal to do the math.

There's actually a spreadsheet on my desktop that runs all this for me - but it is in itself overwhelming and does nothing to help me understand how to get from the raw numbers to final results. I've been playing with the spreadsheet a little but am not relying on it or using the numbers it pops up as I type in the values.

On other notes, there is a growing glimmer of green in the front field, which will increase over the weekend as we get sun after a day of rain.

And daylight savings time happens this weekend, which means more daylight after husband gets home from work, which means more time for outside chores that need both the husband and the light of day!


Grey Horse Matters said...

It all sounds very involved, that's why I leave all this to my daughter.

I can't wait for daylight savings, at least it won't be so dreary.

Claire said...

how very complicated!

but ... have you checked that your weight tape is accurate?

i read some posts on a forum recently where people had had the chance to get their horses weighed properly, and discovered that their weight tapes were giving a totally inaccurate picture! (said they were less than they in fact were..)

billie said...

Arlene, I'm hoping one day MY daughter will take over this stuff... :)

billie said...

Claire, I don't use a weight tape. I measure heart girth, height, and length, and then use a formula that gets a very good estimate using those measurements.

I've found that the weight tape underestimates the horses and overestimates the pony.

ponymaid said...

Billie, the woman once tried to use one of those weight tape devices on me and within a nano-second I was at the other end of the paddock. She has a bizarre idea that I am somewhat tubby - maybe she should try it on herself first. I tell her everyday that my diet is deficient - not enough of the mint or Stud Muffin group but still she insists on starving me.

CharlieHorse said...

bless you ponymaid, Cookie agrees whole-heartedly with you, but would add carrots to the peppermints and Stud Muffins :)

Ah, Billie, I remember a long, long ago time when at the tender age of 13 I was thrilled to get a ton of hay and a pair of blue jeans for the first Xmas with my first horse. I've a picture...when did life get so complicated?

Still, I would love to know that formula as I do have to monitor both my girls weight (think it would work on me?)

billie said...

Sheaffer, the donkeys were only willing to chew the measuring tape - not at all interested in having it go round their girths! Fortunately estimating their weight is a little easier than the horses!

billie said...

Beth, the ton of hay is still the most important thing!

The formula I have is in an Excel format, so I'm not sure how I'd post it here, but if you email me I'll send you a copy of it. Very handy and by all accounts more accurate than the weight tapes.