Horse Protection Society of North Carolina Inc.

Feeding Procedures

About Us
HPS Media & Features
Recent and Upcoming Events
Meet Our Horses
Saddle Pals
Pasture Pals
Equines in Recovery
Permanent Residents
Happy Trails
Ways to Donate
Education Barn
Visiting HPS
Become A Member
Getting Involved
Feeding and Procedures
Horse'n Around at HPS
Poems & Stories
Just for Fun
Partners and Affiliates

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.  But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."  By Mother Teresa

All new volunteers will work with a trained feeder that will teach you the following and how to do things correctly.  It takes time and no one expects anyone to learn everything the first few times you come to help at the sanctuary.  Please do not feel overwhelmed by the following information.  You will be given as much time as you need to learn everything. You will only be expected to do what you are comfortable with. 
Morning feed begins 7:00-7:30 a.m.  General duties include feeding and watering all the horses, the cats, dog and the chickens, and doing all the meds and doctoring needed.  Morning feeders should make a serious effort to complete all the doctoring needed.  Mornings and evenings are the only time that all the horses are put up in stalls making this the most convenient time to do meds.

Evening feed begins between 4:00 -5:00 p.m.  However, it is okay to start earlier as long as the horses are not stalled and given their feed before 4:30 p.m.    General duties include feeding horses listed on the p.m. section of the feed books, watering,refilling the feed bins and supplements.  Evening feeders should always check the medical book for horses needing twice daily care.  Feed and supplements must be rotated and restocked for the a.m. shift.  The morning feed generally takes 4-5 hours with 2 people working (longer if feeders have to stop and refill feed and supplements).

It is important that the horses are fed in a timely manner.  Horses in general need to be fed on a routine schedule.  Many of our horses are elderly or recovering from starvation and their health has been compromised so it is extremely important that they have their daily feeds spaced apart adequately in order to prevent colic.  Colic can be FATAL.  Therefore, we cannot feed them too late in the morning or too early in the evening.

Feeding 45 to 51 horses that are recovering from illness & starvation is a daunting task and requires the efforts of everyone on the feed schedule.  Your feeding partner and the sanctuary depends on you to keep your feeding commitment.  If for some reason you must break your commitment, please find your own replacement for that feed.  If it is last minute due to an emergency:  1. call other feeders to trade days.  2. Send an email to all the feeders to ask for a replacement. 3. last resort call: Joan Benson (704) 855-2978

Below is a list of procedures for feeding.  Some items may seem to be picky but there is a reason behind each one and they are there to ensure that all the animals receive a high standard of care.

Walk through the barns and check stalls and look at the horses in the fields to make sure all is well with them. 
Feed the dog, cats and chickens.
Check the notebook, special medical book and whiteboard for important or critical updates.

  • Please mix all the feed before putting horses up in their stalls.
  • Each horse has a specially designed diet that is recorded in the feed books.  Carefully read instructions for each horse and follow instructions to the letter.  Measure the feed accurately.  Do not give anyone extra feed unless directed to do so.
  • Check under the Special Instruction column in the feed book for each horse and the medical book for special insturctions. 

  • Add molasses to feed only as directed.  Most of the horses will readily eat all their feed and do not need molasses to entice them.  Horses with conditions such as EPM, Cushing's Syndrome, Insulin Resistance, and Glucose Intolerance should never be given molasses.
  • Supplements should already be stocked and ready for the morning feeder, but if one isn't, do not assume that we are out.  Check for the supplement in the feed room or up at the house.  Make every effort to get the supplement for that feed.
  • Do not leave lids off supplements or feedbins.  After a supplement is used, immediately replace the lid. Do not leave the feedroom unattended with feeds & supplement containers uncovered.
  • Each horse should be checked over for any injury or issue.   All needed doctoring should be done before letting the horses out of their stalls.
  • Check that all horses have finished eating before letting them out of the stalls.  Slow eaters will not finish eating if their friends have already left the barn.  If a horse doesn't finish a large portion of its feed, listen to the stomach on both sides for gut sounds.   A good stethoscope is kept in the house for checking gut sounds.  If the gut sounds are not normal, you don't hear any or are not sure, contact Joanie or an officer.
  • Uneaten feed should be thrown in the trash.  Do not leave it for the horse to finish later or give to other horses.  Notate any significant amount of uneaten feed in your daily report and tell Joanie before you leave.
  • Uneaten soaked alfalfa can be distributed among other horses.  Do not leave the alfalfa where other horses can't find it or it will sit and gather fungus, mold, and bacteria.  If you find alfalfa leftover from the evening feed, throw it in the trash.  Wash out the feed bucket, and return the bucket to the stall.  Notate if a horse is not eating its alfalfa in the daily log and tell Joanie.

  • In the barn, let older, weaker horses clear the barn before releasing younger, more aggressive horses from their stalls.  Ensure that all the runs are open and that horses can pass freely along the aisles.

Check Whiteboard in feed room to see which horses receive alfalfa with their meal.

    Measuring alfalfa:

 1/4 scoop = cover 1/2 bottom of white bucket

 1/2 scoop = cover bottom of white bucket with 1 layer of cubes

Cover alfalfa cubes with hot water until they float up about 2 1/2 inches.  (Or measure a half to two-thirds of small bucket of hot water to cover the cubes.)   Use hot water from the wash bay stall.  Allow time (20 to 30 minutes) for the cubes to COMPLETELY fall apart in water.  Check cubes and break up chunks before serving to the horses.  You may need to add more water (or drain off water if soupy).  Hard cubes can cause a life-threatening choke!

Summer Choking

  • Read Medical Treatment Log in medical cart in the feed room.
  • Do all meds on the sheets and  mark of when completed.
  • Check all horses for any additional conditions that may not be listed on the sheets.  If you find a problem not listed please write the problem and treatment on the Daily Med Sheets.  If unsure, see Joanie for the needed treatment.
  • Give a list of any supplements, medical supplies, or feeds that are running low to Joanie before leaving. 

  • Clean water tubs before refilling them.  Drain the tubs to remove cloudy, stale water.  Skim debris off the tubs,  Scrub with a little bleach if algae is beginning to grow.  It is usually better to clean & refill the tubs after the horses have been released from their stalls and have drunk the water level down.  This way, we are not draining large amounts of water onto the ground and creating mud near the barn entrance.  Also, if a tub is it.
  • Never leave water hoses in the water tub after the pump has been turned off.  Water can siphon back into the well and contaminate our water supply.
  • Always turn the pumps off after use by gently lowering the handle to the off position (you may need to adjust the handle until the water stops dripping) then open the nozzle on the hose to release pressure off the pump.
  • Be sure to connect hose firmly to pump.  If leaking around the connection, replace washer in the hose or tap.  Prevent water from puddling in front of the barns or in front of the white block building.
  • If temperatures are in the freezing range, disconnect ALL hoses, drain them completely making sure the nozzles are open. 

  • Rinse all the buckets used to carry feed in grass by white block building away from the barn 1.   Do not wash them near barn. 1. because the water mixes with the manure on the ground and increases fly problems in the barn.  Please rinse all buckets; do not just wipe them out.  Mold can grow very quickly on grain products even in cold weather and is extremely toxic to horses.
  • Do not stack buckets after they are washed. They need to air out completely.  Also be sure that the bottoms of the buckets are not dirty or muddy.
  • Return white buckets for soaked alfalfa to the yellow wagon.  Include enough for the next feed.
  • Return feed buckets to wire rack in feed room.
  • Clean all utensils with soapy warm water, rinse well and return to feed room.

  • The chickens are fed a feed located in the hay cart building.  Do not toss the chicken feed into the pasture or paddock area where the horses can eat it.  Yellow feed bowls are placed on the ground for their feed.  Do not over feed.  The corn will lie on the ground and mold.
  • Keep a water bowl of fresh water under the tree in the paddock & behind the water tub in the old barn for the chickens to drink from.  If there are baby chicks around, please fill a low dish or lid for the chicks to drink from.
  • If a hen is sitting on a nest, please let Joanie know where it is.

    Chickens (other than setting hens & new born chicks) are only fed chicken feed during the winter.  They are not fed in the spring and summer.  In the spring and summer the chickens roam the property killing insects and vermin such as ticks, maggots, and baby rats.

Notify Joanie when the following feeds get down to these amounts:
  • Regular Feed (green nutrition labels)... 7 bags
  • Alfalfa Cubes......................3 bags
  • Alfalfa Pellets...................3 bags
  • Progressive Grass Balancer...1 bag

Check levels of supplements in all containers...refill any that are low and notify Joanie if any supplements are running low.

Check and replace empty vitamins...replacements are kept in the  right cupboard in the feed room.  Tell Joanie if any are running low.


  • For the pm shift, check every horse for any injuries or illness before you leave for the night.  The evening feeder may be the only person to check some horses until the next morning.  Regardless of whom may be on site, it is the feeder's responsibility to check the horses.
  • Place dirty towels and rags in the laundry bin.
  • Write a short report in the daily log. Sign your name.
  • Make sure feed bins and supplements have been refilled (pm) and that lids are secure. 
  • Double check that all horse have been let out of their stalls.  The Main feeder is responsible for checking behind all helpers.
  • Check fence and repair any shortages or downed wires.
  • Check your pockets for medications and other ranch items.
  • Return aloe vera  juice, and MMS  to refrigerator.  In winter, they must still be put in the refrigerator to prevent them from freezing.
  • Lock feed room and tack room and return key.
  • Turn off all lights and fans before leaving in the pm & turn off all lights in the am as soon as it is light enough to work without them.

Horse Protection Society of NC
2135 Miller Rd,  China Grove, NC  28023
(704) 855-2978
501(c)3 Nonprofit