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View Full Version : Keep hay out of the mud.....(updated) building a hay box



Houdini1220
Dec. 18, 2008, 08:19 PM
The friend I board with is having a dillema. She feeds individual flakes of hay to the horses twice a day (she also has a full time job, so she is not home all day). The horses get smallish individual dirt turnouts. She is finding lately that they are wasting a lot of hay that is getting all caught up in the dirt. She is also concerned because she would like for them to eat slower for more of the day, however, she isn't going to give them more hay if they are wasting it.

So far she has tried mats (the horses buried them pretty quickly and they also got very icy in the winter) as well as some larger feed tubs (the horses pulled the hay right out of those).

Price is an issue.

I suggested hay nets but she is worried that the horses may get caught up in them. Also, she feeds very early in the morning before work and has the same problem I do with finding hay nets to be very confusing and time consuming. I think she is worried that she will not tie them correctly while half asleep when she feeds.

I feel hay nets would be a good solution, but every time I mention them she seems resistant. So....

Any other ideas? I know that there are a number of great hay feeders on the market, but they all seem pretty pricy. I'm considering spending the money on one for my horse's turnout, but I would like to help her think of a cheaper solution for the other horses.

shakeytails
Dec. 18, 2008, 08:27 PM
How 'bout one of those hay rack type feeders with a roof over the top? Like this one- http://www.horizonstructures.com/hay-feeders.asp If someone in the family is handy a similar structure could be built fairly inexpensively.

Leather
Dec. 18, 2008, 08:53 PM
Can she get some tractor tires?

http://www.axeholmeshires.com/tirefeeder/

Inverted works even better:
http://www.bigskytirefeeders.com/

Houdini1220
Dec. 18, 2008, 09:09 PM
shakeytails, I like the idea of that....but it may be a bit big, although maybe we could try to create something similar but smaller.

Leather...the smaller ones of those may be an option. I will mention it to her. I'm not sure where we could get them...but may be worth looking into.

PNWjumper
Dec. 18, 2008, 11:18 PM
As far as hay nets go, there's a really easy trick to filling them.....

Place the hay net in a garbage can so that the top edge/rope is on the outside of the can and the inside bottom portion of it's on the inside (I hope that makes sense....you place it in like you would put a garbage bag/liner in a garbage can). Drop the hay in, pull the strings up, and you're done. It makes hay nets easy to use and way less messy.

Another alternative is to use hay bags....the ones that just have a hole in them.

I have an OTTB who is TERRIBLE about peeing on and then not eating his hay. I just started putting his hay in a hay net and I'm feeding him half of what I was a month ago. Not to mention the fact that there's way less to clean up now.

costco_muffins
Dec. 19, 2008, 01:26 AM
We also feed our guys hay out of garbage cans, though minus the hay bags. The garbage can is bungee corded to the fence with a stall mat under the whole thing. Very little spillage and that which is spilled is still salvageable.

Houdini1220
Dec. 19, 2008, 06:05 AM
We also feed our guys hay out of garbage cans, though minus the hay bags. The garbage can is bungee corded to the fence with a stall mat under the whole thing. Very little spillage and that which is spilled is still salvageable.


What kinds/sizes of garbage cans do you use? Do you just bungee around the whole can? What do you attach the bungeee to? Sorry for so many quesitons, but that sounds like something that may work for us so I am very interested in the details. :D

strawberry roan
Dec. 19, 2008, 06:13 AM
I wouldn't use hay nets since she is not home all day. Horses get bored and will play with whatever is available and there go the nets. If they get the net down and then get tangled, well there you go. :)

retreadeventer
Dec. 19, 2008, 08:36 AM
Costco Muffins, LOFF your name!
I too am interested in the exact brand of the garbage can you use.
Not sure mine would work - they would STILL pull the hay out I bet. Keep the ideas coming. I need something that will work too. I have sheds and can't figure out how to put up hay feeders in them somehow. Racks? Which kind?

justdandy
Dec. 19, 2008, 09:22 AM
I have a neighbor who uses these: http://www.horse.com/Double-L-The-Grazer-BRX02.html. They work GREAT! And it definitely helps to slow them down.

Sansena
Dec. 19, 2008, 09:32 AM
I understand your concern about hay nets, but I also feel a net hung high & securely enough will be something they'll be hard pressed to hurt themselves on.

The trick is to place eye screws high, preferably in an inverted triangle shape, then use double ended snaps instead of knots to secure. Run the 'tie' of the net through it's body several times after stuffing, then through the highest eye screw. Back through a low part of the net's body, then back up to the middle/ highest screw. Secure w/DE snap. Secure either 'side' of the net to the remaining two eye screws. Only a *very* determined horse will manage to get this down & play w/it.

This is, of course, if you have no problems w/your horse eating with his head in a high positin while he's eating. Definitely something I would not reccomend if you've got one w/ respiratory issues..

LookinSouth
Dec. 19, 2008, 01:12 PM
I think the ideas already mentioned for using hay nets are great and would be your best (and most inexpensive) bet. In fact I might try it myself to save on clean up time.

deltawave
Dec. 19, 2008, 01:16 PM
Tractor tires are great and the price is unbeatable--they are FREE. :yes:

I have one really big one and 2 big ones, and they work great. I can fit half a bale of hay in them and they're as close to indestructible as I'd ever need. My one horse used to pick them up and throw them around :rolleyes: but I put some stakes in and filled the bottom sidewall with big rocks so that's no longer a problem.

Try the local tractor dealer.

Houdini1220
Dec. 20, 2008, 04:11 PM
Hay nets are out. But thank you for all the ideas.

She mentioned the tire idea to her dad...and he sent her a bunch of car tires. :D:lol:

She thinks he didn't quuuuuite get what she was describing.

But it was a cute thought anyway.

Now the horses have new toys to play with :lol:


But we still need a feeding option.


She seems to be interested in possibly trying to build some hay boxes. We have wood fencing so a hay box could be easily attached to the fence.

We just need to work on some ideas....so any input on building an outdoor hay box that will drain is greatly appreciated.

PonyPile
Dec. 20, 2008, 06:59 PM
Hay nets are out. But thank you for all the ideas.

She mentioned the tire idea to her dad...and he sent her a bunch of car tires. :D:lol:

She thinks he didn't quuuuuite get what she was describing.

But it was a cute thought anyway.

Now the horses have new toys to play with :lol:


But we still need a feeding option.


She seems to be interested in possibly trying to build some hay boxes. We have wood fencing so a hay box could be easily attached to the fence.

We just need to work on some ideas....so any input on building an outdoor hay box that will drain is greatly appreciated.

Could you make a feeder with the tires? If you built a wooden frame and..hmm, bolted the tires around the outside for walls, then space some along the top for spacers, like on the tombstone style feeder. At least they are soft, round, and won't rot, rust or get eaten.

walkers
Dec. 20, 2008, 07:01 PM
I was having the same discusion with a friend today about feeding hay in the wet dry lot. I have three horses in a one acre dry lot. I don't think tires are safe, seen to many pictures of dead horses caught up in tires.
So I'm also wondering what to use, I've tried muck buckets tied to the fence but they just pull it out. I want my horses eating with their heads down not up so no hay nets.
Please explain the garbage cans.........They are to deep for a horse to get to the bottom and if I cut them in half then its just like the big muck buckets.
Any more ideas?

MistyBlue
Dec. 20, 2008, 07:45 PM
I forget who it was on here that had what I thought was a really neat hay feeder idea. They had posted photos of their horse and on a few spaced out fence posts they had attached one of those plastic laundry hampers with the holes in the side. I think she said they drilled a couple in the bottom too for rain drainage. Stuffed those full of hay, kept it off the ground and from being peed and pooped on, drained well, was inexpensive and looked neat too. Probably easy to fill too, just walk the fence line and stuff them full. I'll see if I can find the old thread, it had a photo of them in it.

duecavalle
Dec. 20, 2008, 08:31 PM
Here's a link to a bunch of home made hay feeders. http://www.swedishhoofschool.com/hayfeeders.htm Not the most organized site, but it has a lot of information and if you click on the pictures, you're linked to even more photos and info. All types of materials have been used - inverted desks, hay nets made into "pillows",etc. :) I love the idea of making the hay harder to get to, thus feeding less, reducing waste and keeping the horses busy.

MistyBlue: did the laundry basket hay feeder work so that the horses had to pull the hay through the holes in the basket?

Whitfield Farm Hanoverians
Dec. 20, 2008, 08:35 PM
I agree that tractor tires are a real hazard. I've also seen pictures of horses killed using them. They crawl inside them somehow & get stuck. Don't know how they do it but you know horses...they'll chew a hole in a rubber wall & stick their leg in it.

MistyBlue
Dec. 20, 2008, 09:12 PM
Nope Duecavalle...out of the top. I looked for the old thread and can't seem to find it.

costco_muffins
Dec. 20, 2008, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the comments on my name! We love the garbage can for hay because of its practicality.

Our hay setup:

One standard sized garbage can (like the type you put out each week for the garbage guys to pick up) with no wheels or anything fancy. A bungee cord around each handle that wraps around the fence as well - the bungee goes through the handle, around the fence board and hooks back to itself - off of each handle. Small holes drilled in the bottom of garbage can to allow rain, etc to drain if necessary. Stall mat under the whole thing to allow the horses to stand someplace dry while they eat and save scraps.

This set-up has also worked wonders for a horse who constantly stood not square and was affecting his musculature because of this. We made him stand square every time he was at the garbage can getting his hay and soon he figured it out. Every time now he stands square and as a result he is becoming more two-sided.

I will take a picture of the setup as soon as I can, although it will probably be after the new year.

deltawave
Dec. 20, 2008, 10:48 PM
If you had weanlings or very small ponies, and very large tires, I suppose a horse COULD fall into a tire and get stuck. Yep, I've seen the photo that makes the rounds every time this topic comes up. :)

Fact is, horses can kill themselves on ANYTHING, pretty much. If you cut the sidewall off a tire, it becomes basically a large rubber bucket or tub, very much like a Rubbermaid container or watering trough. You can even turn 'em inside out, although I imagine this takes some doing. There's no way one of my big horses could fit even one butt cheek in my tires--they're not THAT big. ;)

shall
Dec. 21, 2008, 03:39 AM
I'd love a hay feeder and have been thinking that something based on the Duplessis design would work around here. The latter is the one that looks like a playhouse. I want horses reaching down and the hay protected from wet. Maybe a big Rubbermaid trough would be a start on that with some kind of a top or roof or location that keeps the rain off? Basically, you need a plastic playhouse with big open windows - go shop Christmas after the sales. And attach that to the ground so they can't tip it over. The worst season for hay waste is mud. Snow and summer dry are fine.

cbv
Dec. 21, 2008, 09:11 AM
I have searched for the thread to no avail. But I liked them because you could stuff them full and horses could only get a little at a time so spread it out over a long time. They were fairly simple and I wanted my husband to build me a couple but have been unable to find the link...

LookinSouth
Dec. 21, 2008, 10:37 AM
I like all of these different ideas but my challenge is designing a hay feeding system that will work for both a 16.2 TBX and an elderly Mini:D.During the spring, summer and fall he mainly eats grass but right now he needs access to the big guys hay as well. I was ready to try to the hay net set up but then realized the Mini would not have access to the hay. Fortunately my guys are on 3 acres, much of which stays dry even during mud season so I just put the hay out on the grassy/dry areas. It would be nice to have a system so that there is a little less waste/clean up but I am out of ideas at this point.

One barn I truck in to uses tall rubbermaid trash cans for the hay attached to the fence posts. It did seem to work fairly well but again wouldn't work in my scenario with the mini.

costco_muffins
Dec. 21, 2008, 12:29 PM
In our field, the horses always go to the same hay stations. In that way, could you use something smaller for the mini and a large trash can for the big guy? In the beginning when our horses were chasing each other off of the hay (trying to establish whose can was whose) we just had an extra trash can out there as well. This way the TB (low man on the totem pole) always had another can full of hay to run off to. Eventually they settled down and now eat happily out of their own cans.