Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Winter Horse Feeding

North Carolina is known for mild winters; however, there are still a few things that horse owners should think about in order to keep their equine friends happy and healthy during these colder months. 

It happens every year during the winter, some horses put on extra weight and some start to look too skinny.  The best way to tell if your horse is getting enough food (or too much) is to monitor their Body Condition Score (BCS).  Most horses require 1.5 – 2 % of their body weight in forages and feed a day to maintain the proper BCS (which most experts agree is a 5 on a scale from 1 to 9).  This means that for a 1,000 pound animal, they will need to consume 15-20 pounds a day.  Of course, a majority of that should come from forages.  Horses that are “easy keepers” may require a little less to maintain their BCS and older horses, horses with certain medical problems or those that are just plain harder to keep may require a little more to stay at their ideal weight.  Likewise, horses that are kept in a stall during the colder winter months might not need as much as horses that are on pasture all winter.  The following article from the University of Maine describes body condition scoring and what to look for when doing so.  The main thing is to just be aware of your horse’s BCS and how it changes throughout the winter. 


With all this talk on feeding, don’t forget the water!  Cooler months usually lead to periods of inactivity, changes in diet and drinking less water than normal.  All of these have the tendency to raise the incidence of impaction colic.  A typical horse should drink between 8-12 gallons of fresh water a day to ensure that the normal bodily functions continue to stay “normal”.  Horses like their water between 45-65°F and free of ice.  This is often hard to do during the coldest months of the year.  To guarantee that your horse’s water is adequate, check buckets at least twice a day, emptying the icy cold water and replacing it with fresh, warmer water.  If twice a day water checks are not feasible, then you may want to check into some automatic de-icers.  Most experts advise that you continue to offer access to free choice mineral/salt blocks throughout the winter months, as this will also increase their intake of water.

For more information on winter feeding, body condition scoring your animal or anything else mentioned in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Cooperative Extension Center.     

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Horse Trailer Maintenance

It’s that time of the year again when equestrians are hitting the road to enjoy the summer time, their horses and each other’s company.  Before heading out on the road, there are a few things you should consider when it comes to trailer maintenance.  As a responsible horsemen and trailer operator, here are a few things you should check regularly.  

·      Tire condition:  Check the pressure, tread and overall appearance of all tires.  Don’t forget to check your spare too!
·      Floorboards:  Make sure the drainage holes are unblocked and that there are no weak or rotten boards.
·      Brakes:  Truck and trailer brakes
·      Safety Chains:  Be sure they are crossed and hooked to vehicle frame.
·      Hitch:  The socket should be seated on the ball and securely locked into place.
·      Lights:   The tail lights, brake lights, turn signals and interior lights should all be in working order and bright.
·      Sharp objects:  Screws, nails or bolts that are protruding inside should be removed.
·      Insects:  If it has been awhile since you have used your trailer, check to make sure there are no stinging insects inside.
·      Final Inspection:  After loading your animals but before you pull off, do a final inspection of the rig and secure all doors.

In addition to checking all of the above on a regular basis, it is also recommended to get your trailer inspected annually by a professional and replace all rotted, rusted or busted parts.

Remember the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, adequately maintain your trailers and enjoy your summer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 Sandhills Farm Tour

Do you like buying local?  Do you enjoy visiting farms?

 If so be sure to take your family on the 2013 Sandhills Farm Tour! Local farms in Montgomery, Anson, Moore and Richmond Counties will be hosting the third annual farm tour Saturday, June 15th from 9am-5pm

The farms participating last year were phenomenal and this year we have increased the participation to 18 Farms! This year’s kickoff event will be at the Sandhills Research Station (2148 Windblow Rd, Jackson Springs) with registration beginning at 8:30am. We will have fresh sausage biscuits for sale, a hayride and much more! This is a perfect family outing where you can tour various farms, sample great locally grown food, and have a day of excitement!

The afternoon tours will begin at the Star Heritage Center (454 South Main Street, Star, NC) around Noon.  Locally sourced hamburgers will be for sale during lunch while local musician Will McCanless performs.  There will also be a mini farmers' market and some family fun activities.

If you are interested in attending tickets are only $20.00 per carload at participating Extension offices before June 14th! Tickets can also be purchased the day of the event at the Sandhills Research Station from 8:30am-11:30am for $25.00 per carload and at the Star Heritage Center from Noon to 2pm.

For more information on the tour or to purchase tickets please contact Jamie or Danelle at the Montgomery County Cooperative Extension (910-576-6011) or visit for the tour brochure.  This program is funded by the CFSA and Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

Interested in Joining CFSA, check out their website!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Montgomery County Beekeepers Association Meeting Dates

The Montgomery County Beekeepers Association meets monthly at the Ag Center on Glen Road.  The meetings for the 2013 year are as follows:

January 17
February 21
March 21
April 18
May 16
June 20
July - No Meeting
August 15
September 19
October 17
November 21
December - No Meeting

For more information about the Beekeepers Association, please contact Jamie or Danelle at 910-576-6011.

2013 Montgomery County Cattlemen's Meeting Dates

The Montgomery County Cattlemen meet 6 times a year for a good steak dinner, an educational program and fellowship!  Dues are $30 per person per year and include all dinners.  If you would like more information about joining the Cattlemen's Association this year, please contact Jamie D. Warner at 910-576-6011.  The meeting dates for the 2013 year are:

January 8
February 12
March 12
September 10
October 8
November 12

All meetings are held at the Agriculture Center located at 200 Glen Road, Troy (right beside the Montgomery County jail).  These meetings are open to the public, but PLEASE call the Extension Office to be added to the mailing list.

Animal Waste Management System Operators Continuing Education Training

Animal Waste Management System Operators Continuing Education Training
January 18, 2013
8:30am - 4:00pm
Richmond County Cooperative Extension
123 Caroline Street
Rockingham, NC


8:30 - 9:00am - Registration

9:00-10:00am - Pasture Weed ID and Control

10:00 - 11:00am - Deciphering NCDA Reports

11:00 - Noon - Fire Ant and Fly Control on Livestock Farms

Noon - 1:00pm - Lunch on your own

1:00 - 2:00pm - DWQ Inspection Updates

2:00 - 3:00pm - Safe Operation of Swine Waste Management Systems

3:00 - 4:00pm - Maintenance and Winterization of Animal Waste Facilities and Equipment

Fore more information about this training contact Jamie D. Warner at 910-576-6011.

New Year, New Horse - Why not Adopt?

Thinking about getting a new horse?  You may want to consider adopting one.  Just like the millions of dogs and cats in need of homes, there are horses that for one reason or another have ended up homeless.  Here are a few things to consider when trying to decide whether to add to your herd or not:
1.    Are you ready to make a life-long commitment to the animal?
2.    Can you afford it?
3.     Do you have time for it?

If you answered YES to all of the above questions, then ask yourself:
1.     How do I intend to use the horse? Showing, pleasure riding, hunting, etc.  Is the horse that you are considering able to perform in this capacity? 
2.     Is the horse a good match for my skill level?  If possible, can you find out the history of the horse?  It may have been hurt or upset at some point and unwilling to perform certain tasks.

Adopting an animal of any species is not a decision to be entered into lightly. Some of these horses are owner surrenders that could no longer be cared for due to health or monetary issues with the owner themselves.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with these animals.  Some horses were confiscated by law enforcement because they were not taken care of.  There are some places where you can even adopt a wild horse that was rounded up to control the wild population; however, unless you are a VERY seasoned horse owner, this should not be your first choice.

When you make the decision to adopt, there are several places that you can start to look for adoptable horses. To begin your search for the perfect addition, you can simply search Google for “horse sanctuary in NC” or “adoptable horses in North Carolina”.  There are so many to choose from, all over the state.  Most of these sanctuaries have pictures and details about each horse and have contact information so that you can set up an appointment to visit and check the horses out in person.  If you think a horse could be a fit for you, don’t be afraid to ask them about a “foster program” where you can take the horse home for a trial basis to see if it’s going to work on a permanent basis.

If you need more assistance, contact your local Livestock Agent.  They may be able to put you in touch with some of these rescue organizations or answer any other questions that you have about horses and adopting.