Short strand hay and looking tucked up


Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
So Ale looked tucked up this morning, like his belly was pretty empty. He's on this hay at the moment which has a shorter length, but I've been feeding the same amount.

Do you think I should feed more of it because a shorter length means less fibre? Ever since starting it he's been doing slightly less poos. Still around 1 every 2 hours though so wasn't worried until this morning. It was cold last night but he got a haynet at 8.30pm and was back up at half 6 this morning.

He looks a little less tucked up this Eve but still a little. All other behaviour seems normal, wormed recently. Was grazing when I got here too although grass is minimal!

Maybe he's just a little too slim at the moment?!


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
What a question indeed with the hay - in theory we all feed hay by weight don't we, so it ought to not matter so long as you're giving him the same weight of net. But if it's shorter, then yeah I see your point about it being less fibre. Interesting! One thing I have noticed with the old girls is that at night when they are in overnight they poo less because they get a couple of bucket feeds of Speedi Beet / Fast Fibre and although it's good for their teeth and can be used as a partial replacement for hay, they do poop less. Sorry useless waffle! Hopefully someone else will have a scientific answer!
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Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
Is the hay leafier or softer as well as shorter? It may be there's less stemmy fibre in which is less digestible and so inclined to give more of a hay belly/full tummy look.

I'd do a proper condition score and see what you think he's like overall. If it's just his tummy that's gone I wouldn't change what he gets, but if you think there's all over weight loss and he's too slim then I'd leave it as it is because it may be he's actually getting more out of the new hay because it's easier to digest.
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Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
Thanks for the replies. I monitor water intake every day and he's not drunk less, more if anything which I have put down to the warmer days.

I've looked for pain but his behaviour and facial expressions were totally normal, will keep a close eye though.

It is quite soft the hay too and fine in texture. I upped the amount he had today so will see. I body condition scored him few days ago and he's around a 4.5 but the grass is shooting up so I'm happy with that.

Will see what he's like tomorrow and monitor. We are getting very chilly nights still


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
Soft fine hay generally has less non digestible fiber, but more digestible fiber, strand length doesn’t effect how much fiber there is exactly. As it’s short, soft and leafy it’s probably early first or second cut. More NDF tends to cause more ‘bloating’ so their tummy appears much fuller, as you’ve recently switched to the softer hay it’s possible he’s just less gassy.


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
Thanks for asking this @Ale. I'm having real trouble getting hay at the moment and am going from long and stalky to short and fine and back again, so it's interesting to know what effect that might have.
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Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
He looked back to normal this morning (from what I could see out of my iffy eye 😂) so I think I'll just stick to slightly more hay and see how we get on as I didn't like the look of him yesterday.

Thanks again for all the replies ☺️
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