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SAcres
Jan. 9, 2011, 11:46 AM
I've been feeding small bales to my horses in their winter lot. I've been ending up with a TON of waste! Each horse gets about a 1/3 of a bale in the morning (~12 lb) and another flake late afternoon. The hay gets trampled, peed/pooped on, ground in with mud, etc, and I feel like way too much is getting wasted. I'm looking for an ECONOMICAL way to feed hay in the field. I can't use hay nets hanging on the fence because my fence is electric. I have 3 horses sharing a paddock. I would prefer 3 individual spots to feed them because my two obnoxious geldings tend to bully the pony I board, or at least 2 seperate spots, however, feel free to include group feeders.
I think I have access to round bales (my hay guy still had some a few weeks ago) but I'm not sure if 3 horses would eat one fast enough? I think my hay guy said they're ~500 lbs, or maybe 700 lbs? I didn't really pay much attention. I don't have a round bale feeder.
So wwyd in my shoes, what would you feed hay in?

GoForAGallop
Jan. 9, 2011, 11:53 AM
I'd look into getting some better quality hay. My three horses split a bale in the AM and a bale in the PM and hoover up every stalk there is, I just dump it all right on the ground.

Otherwise, I'd do some smaller feedings, if possible. Give them just a flake or two each in the morning, and let them finish that before they get anymore.

The "Freedom Feeder" can be left right on the ground, I'm pretty sure.

SAcres
Jan. 9, 2011, 11:58 AM
It's not the hay quality, they eat it up no problem in their stalls.

shakeytails
Jan. 9, 2011, 12:00 PM
That's not an excessive amount of hay, and they should be cleaning it up if it's decent quality. As for eating a round bale fast enough- I have 3 3yr olds in one paddock that can eat a 900# bale in about a week.

I feed round bales, and there's a lot of waste- but I don't use a bale feeder either. For economical, I've heard of people feeding hay in (empty, obviously) water troughs to keep the hay contained. Or maybe if there's somebody in your life handy with a hammer they could build a couple/few plywood boxes for you to feed the hay in.

Mr.GMan
Jan. 9, 2011, 12:21 PM
Don't know how the quality of your hay is, but that does help. What I do, I spread the bale out in the field, throwing flakes throughout the field, so they have to keep walking to find each flake. Everyone is pretty good about finding their own piles and being it isn't a big pile of flakes, they eat it, move on to the next one.

oldpony66
Jan. 9, 2011, 12:26 PM
I know exactly what you mean!

Do you want to be able to move your hay feeders? That's a big question.

I second the trough idea, as long as the horses don't take the hay out and play with it, which mine will do!

This fall we built two hay feeders out of 2"x4" horse panel. They are about 20" on each side and 4' tall. We top-load them. The catch is that we can't move them around the paddock because they are set in the ground and onto a 4x4 post. They have a 'lid' and a slanted bottom so the hay doesn't sit on the ground, and slides 'forward' so they can get every last crumb.

I see that next spring I will either have to dump loads of gravel or possibly put some mats out because of the mud. However, not a leaf of hay gets wasted and the hay lasts them for hours instead of minutes. We have three horses that can all eat at one feeder at the same time. We only feed hay in the winter so it's not a big deal for me that they can't be moved.

Another idea is a standard 'hay rack', you know the V-shaped kind. A lot of them are (somewhat) easily relocated around the pasture as needed.

lcw579
Jan. 9, 2011, 12:54 PM
Don't know how the quality of your hay is, but that does help. What I do, I spread the bale out in the field, throwing flakes throughout the field, so they have to keep walking to find each flake. Everyone is pretty good about finding their own piles and being it isn't a big pile of flakes, they eat it, move on to the next one.

This is what I do too and there is little to no waste at all. The ponies have access to their stalls so I hang small hole nets in there. Often there is hay left inside but they have finished up every bite out in their field.

jn4jenny
Jan. 9, 2011, 02:22 PM
How about some kind of bins or barrels with weights on the bottom, one per horse, so that you can feed the hay in bins and it will be harder for the horses to fling it around?

If you have any tree branches or run-ins in your turnout area, there's something else you could hang a hay net from...

I know your goal is not slow feeding per se, but slow feeders tend to minimize waste. This site might help you brainstorm. Not all of the ideas are safe for shod horses but some are...
http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Slow+Feeders

pony4me
Jan. 9, 2011, 02:36 PM
I started using hay nets in the common paddock, and waste went way down. A basic hay net is about $4 at Valley Vet, and a brief look through their catalog shows many other options including larger bags, over the fence hay feeders, etc. The other options were from $30 - $70 each depending on the size of the holder. I hate stuffing hay nets but prefer that to looking at great hay that's been trampelled into the mud, with a topcoat of poop just to make absolutely sure it can't be eaten, and horses looking at me like I never, ever feed them.

S1969
Jan. 9, 2011, 02:42 PM
I also spread my pasture hay out more, usually one flake in each pile and spread them out. So for my 3 horses I usually put out about 2/3 bale in the morning, and about the same at night. If they've eaten everything they often get 3 more flakes mid-afternoon.

With only one flake in each "eating area", they are less likely to take a nap in it or poop on some of it while eating. Also by moving it around you keep the pasture from being totally trampled or thread bare in any specific place, and any fallen grass seeds can overseed the pasture.

Generally my horses will not eat every single bit of hay out of the snow or mud, but I'm ok with that.

Bravestrom
Jan. 9, 2011, 02:51 PM
www.prospectequinefarms.com/hayfeeders.htm


The smaller hayrings may work well for you.

K~2
Jan. 9, 2011, 03:03 PM
We're using used tractor tires this year, and it helps quite a bit. It's better if you can get inverted tires (the sides are taller and it keeps the hay in better).

Our hay had a tendency to blow away in some of our winter winds, and the tires are great for keeping everything in one place. They were quite economical too - we got them for free from a agricultural tire place. :)

saje
Jan. 9, 2011, 03:06 PM
I do the many many piles too. Single flakes, maybe two if they're thin. There does seem to be much less wasted that way. If they start leaving lot, I cut back on the hay for a bit, or give it to them later.

billie
Jan. 9, 2011, 03:10 PM
We too spread the hay in very small clumps - it takes a little time but it keeps them moving all day and all night and it also reduces waste, as they don't stand around in one area trampling the hay which they then wouldn't want to eat.

caper
Jan. 9, 2011, 04:10 PM
Or you could get one of these!

http://www.duplessishorsefeeder.com/

Round bales are way cheaper than square and this allows me to save time putting hay out and saves me $$$, not much is wasted and it is protected from the elements.
One round bales last 3 horses about 10 days.

clanter
Jan. 9, 2011, 04:15 PM
We unroll round bales on a concrete pad (one 1000# round bale feeds eight head --four horses, four ponies-- for eight days this way) then feed the guys their hay in the lot and about once every three weeks we (I) take a mower to mulch up what they haven’t eaten, wind rowing that so that it can be picked up then use it as bedding in their paddocks...zero amount wasted

Tamara in TN
Jan. 9, 2011, 04:34 PM
I've been feeding small bales to my horses in their winter lot. I've been ending up with a TON of waste! Each horse gets about a 1/3 of a bale in the morning (~12 lb) and another flake late afternoon. The hay gets trampled, peed/pooped on, ground in with mud, etc, and I feel like way too much is getting wasted. I'm looking for an ECONOMICAL way to feed hay in the field.
So wwyd in my shoes, what would you feed hay in?

I have to do this fast my internet connection is sucky right now :>

you may look at running a trot line between trees or using slick cotton ropes around trees and using metal "S" hooks to hold the hay nets above where they can catch a hoof...

not unlike the little suet bird feed holders but on a larger scale...impractical and a pain in the butt but may be useful to you in your condition

Tamara in TN

CatOnLap
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:00 PM
A) horses and hay in the field are like cats and litterboxes in the house- you need a pile for every horse plus an extra one.
B) if they are still wasting the stuff, I'd get the tire feeders- simple enough- for 3 horses you'll need four old tires, with a piece of round plywood screwed/bolted through the tire side walls, on the bottom. Easy to move, a good recycling project and they work. Just make sure you fluff the hay up before putting it into the tires so they don't grab a whole flake and spread it outside the tire.

In the Air
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:02 PM
http://www.neubauerquarterhorses.com/doublepasturefeeder.htm

Something like this?

coloredcowhorse
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:33 PM
I spread the hay out with a flake every 12-15 feet or so for my mares plus some out further in the field. There are always two-four more flakes than horses as they play musical flakes. I have one filly that for heaven knows what reason likes to step forward and pee on the edge of the flake she selects....fine...she eats it anyway so I dont worry about it. Due to the mud road getting to the stallions field they sometimes get fed once a day as soon as I get home from work and while the ground is frozen and I can get in there.....so I take a whole day's feed for them and scatter it out over the 8-9 acres of their field...they spend the day "grazing" and are still eating when the sun goes down.

I also second the tires....when the individual pens are built (electric tape fencing) this spring I also hope to have tire feeders in each (with the plywood or a rubber mat fastened to the "bottom" to decrease eating on the dirt. They CAN push them around a bit but we too have wind and it does save hay blowing all over the place. And I can regulate who gets how much so it may save in the long run as the easy keepers won't be sucking up the extra flakes.

MunchkinsMom
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:54 PM
I spread them out also, and never feed in the same place twice until the area has recovered enough. And with this drought/freeze. . . I'm getting my exercise finding spots to put the hay. I figure it is also giving the horses some exercise as they have to walk to get to it.

msj
Jan. 9, 2011, 05:59 PM
Come spring or summer, sink a couple of posts in your pasture when it's dry enough. If you have 3 horses, put out 4 posts. Make sure they are stout posts and sunk pretty deep. About waist high put in a couple of screw eyes. Now, go order the small hole hay nets and either tie them to the screw eyes or use a ring tied into the top of the hay net and hook 2 double end snaps to the screw eye and the ring. I say 2 because they will be banging those nets around and will undoubtedly manage to unhook one of the double end snaps, at least my boys do. On a good note, the horses clean up everything. :):) :)

I had that same problem for years and finally went to the small hole hay nets last spring after I had cleaned the mess up in the paddock. Right now I have the hay nets hanging on the side of my barn (stalls open to paddock) but when it's really blowing (like today) the snow blows off the roof and onto the horses. Now they don't seem to care, but I hate to see them coated in snow. :( Come summer, when I have my fence guy out to repair/replace any fencing, I'm going to have him sink a couple of posts about 25' into the pasture.

Jleegriffith
Jan. 9, 2011, 06:16 PM
My hubby built these and OMG I didn't know life could be this good. No waste, easy to fill, last one full day and the horses stay busy eating all day long
http://dixierumble.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/staying-positive/

There is 1 feeder per horse so they all have one. It fits a bit over a half of bale (big 55-60lb bales).

DesignerLabel
Jan. 9, 2011, 06:41 PM
I use old water troughs that don't hold water any more. They work great as hay feeders, and you can generally find people willing to give them away.

coloredcowhorse
Jan. 9, 2011, 07:33 PM
I use old water troughs that don't hold water any more. They work great as hay feeders, and you can generally find people willing to give them away.



I 've used them as well and love 'em. Did have a big round one about 24 inches tall and 10 ft across....held about half of one of the big bales here (they weigh 1250 lbs). Was great until one of the mares figured out she could get INTO the tank and keep everyone away from it, get all the hay AND a bed to lay in (I had a layer of gravel/dirt in the bottom to help weigh it down and keep them from dragging it around...didn't work). I took it out of that corral and slid it under the fence between two other corrals so that it fed both but didn't give anyone room to climb in....gave smaller oblong one to the creative mare and her buddies.

shakeytails
Jan. 9, 2011, 11:17 PM
My hubby built these and OMG I didn't know life could be this good. No waste, easy to fill, last one full day and the horses stay busy eating all day long
http://dixierumble.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/staying-positive/

There is 1 feeder per horse so they all have one. It fits a bit over a half of bale (big 55-60lb bales).

Those are really neat, and fairly cheap and easy to build. I imagine you could also build them to fit a whole bale and have to haul hay less often.

chai
Jan. 9, 2011, 11:38 PM
If you use a hay net, make sure you hang it high enough that it will hang way above the horse's legs when empty. Some of those hay net photos make the pony clubber in me cringe because of the danger posed by a nylon hay net that hangs low to the ground. If a horse caught a shoe or a hoof in one, it would be a disaster.

nashfad
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:22 AM
You could take the plastic 50 gallon drums and cut them in half and put them in the paddocks to put the hay in. I think you'd have less hay loss. You can usually get them at Ace hardware and maybe Lowe's or Home Depot. They work great for me. If you have 3 horses, I'd put 4 feeders out. IMO.

merrygoround
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:28 AM
Don't know how the quality of your hay is, but that does help. What I do, I spread the bale out in the field, throwing flakes throughout the field, so they have to keep walking to find each flake. Everyone is pretty good about finding their own piles and being it isn't a big pile of flakes, they eat it, move on to the next one.


Same routine in my barn, sometimes they play musical piles, but since there are more piles than horses, it only serves to give them exercise.

However, if they don't eat it, the bales decrease.

ReSomething
Jan. 10, 2011, 02:31 AM
My hubby built these and OMG I didn't know life could be this good. No waste, easy to fill, last one full day and the horses stay busy eating all day long
http://dixierumble.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/staying-positive/

There is 1 feeder per horse so they all have one. It fits a bit over a half of bale (big 55-60lb bales).

KY Horse Council had an article that basically suggested something like this, they had a nice picture but no actual plans of course :rolleyes:. I'd not build it entirely out of treated lumber though, I'd keep the treated stuff where there is contact with the earth and non treated for food contact.
We had trees in our pasture and have hung the hay nets from those, we also have huge flat rocks that we spread the hay on. It's sort of Nature's stall mat and does reduce trampling into the muck.

EquusMagnificus
Jan. 10, 2011, 09:00 AM
There's no miracle to be done, either you use hay nets or you build some cheapo wood boxes to hold the hay.

My partner and I built two wood hay feeders with plywood and 4 x 4 corners (about as cheap as it gets) to fit big square bales (8' long). Worked perfectly well and we cut down the waste by AT LEAST 30%, if not 40%...

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2011, 09:33 AM
I feed hay out of old tractor tires. I cut off one side wall, but to be honest that was a big waste of time--none of my horses is going to jump inside a tire and kill itself. :lol:

They were FREE, and are very durable, although I do have one horse who enjoys picking them up and flinging them. :rolleyes: Now they're tied to the posts of my horse porch with baling twine so I don't have to roll them back up to the barn every DAMN day. :lol:

msj
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:54 AM
If you use a hay net, make sure you hang it high enough that it will hang way above the horse's legs when empty. Some of those hay net photos make the pony clubber in me cringe because of the danger posed by a nylon hay net that hangs low to the ground. If a horse caught a shoe or a hoof in one, it would be a disaster.

Chai, look into the small hole hay nets. They are a godsent and should have been available yrs ago. Unless you are dealing with a foal or a mini, they shouldn't cause a problem for any horse. Misty Blue turned me onto them and I love them. Miller's (below)seems to have the best price on them.

http://millerharness.com/Small+Mesh+Hay+Net/p/X4-27286/

KSAQHA
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:10 PM
I use large rubber water tanks, removing the plugs so I can tip any rain out. My horses will push some hay out, but for the most part it stays contained. I've found about the only way for them to clean it all up, is to close the gates to other sections of pasture. They'd rather pick through the snow for precious dead blades of grass than clean up dead blades of grass hay in tubs...as they're currently doing with 3 inches on the ground and no end in sight.:yes:

coloredcowhorse
Jan. 10, 2011, 01:23 PM
You could take the plastic 50 gallon drums and cut them in half and put them in the paddocks to put the hay in. I think you'd have less hay loss. You can usually get them at Ace hardware and maybe Lowe's or Home Depot. They work great for me. If you have 3 horses, I'd put 4 feeders out. IMO.

You can also cut a "window" (about 2/3 of length of the barrel and about 16-20 inches wide..wide enough for horse to get his head into the "window" into them), mount them horizontally on fences (esp good if you have pipe fences or pipe panels used for fencing) with the "window" toward the field/pen and the barrel turned so that the "window" is about half way from being at the top and being straight toward the pen/field. Drill some drain holes in the bottom if you have much rain/snow. If feeding a group be sure to have at least one more feeder than there are horses. Depending on barrel size you can put a whole days feed in there.

magicteetango
Jan. 12, 2011, 11:48 AM
Em, do you have photos of this? I feed large squares and would love to not rip flakes off every day!

sar2008
Jan. 12, 2011, 11:53 AM
I didn't read all the replies, but I am also feeding bales at the moment.

I have three horses on a 9 acre field and normally throw out about 2.5 bales at a time in the mornings/evenings. I split up the bales by throwing two-three flakes about 8 feet apart throughout the field.

I never have any problem with waste or them peeing/pooing in it. There is never any left in the morning.

deltawave
Jan. 12, 2011, 12:11 PM
It is so windy here that if I just throw flakes of hay on the ground I would find about 1000 pounds of hay down in the woods by the east end of my paddock in the spring! :lol:

Mine don't trample too much of it, and rarely waste any . . . I just need something to hold it down so it doesn't blow away!