Can you show/describe your homemade hay feeders to me please?
I'm going to get resourceful this winter!
I have 3 horses at a farm I rent. I like them to have as much hay possible (close to free choice) and they are out 24/7 even in snow or rain (ok I do bring them in if I start to feel really guilty for leaving them out!)
Last year I did hay bags because I would throw them hay and they'd pee and poo all over it and just make a mess. Hay bags are sooo obnoxious and took too much time.
I don't want to spend the money on a round bale feeding b/c 1) I don't feed round bales and 2) I'd be afraid the one gelding wouldn't let the other gelding near it. 3) they're expensive
Has any one made a simple hay feeder? Maybe even like 3 small ones for each horse that hold a bale or two?
I'm not very handy but my brother can make almost anything if I tell him what to do! Ideas please!
We've got a hay feeder outside made out of a hay rack/bunker. You can see it here and here.
Essentially, we bought the short one (height and length) and then wrapped the inside of it in 2"x2" woven fence wire attached with heavy duty zip ties. Then we cut a piece of plywood that sits in the top as a lid. It'll easily hold 50 pounds of hay if you strategically put it in there.
You have to put the wire on the inside or the horses pull hard enough to break the zip ties (ask me how I know). And you need to drill drain holes in the bunker below or it fills up with water when it rains. At first I had a bungee cord holding the lid on, but we didn't really need it. Only design flaw is that the ends are open. You could fix that by adding wire there too. We don't ever fill it full enough to matter.
They do adapt fairly quickly to eating out of it, but it does definitely slow them down, plus it keeps the hay dry and prevents them from putting it all over the place and then walking on it. We have no wasted hay, ever.
We also use Nibble Nets inside. Our two geldings love them. They'll actually choose to eat out of them first even when there's also hay on the floor. Again, they do adapt to them and speed up, but it does still slow them down. We've got ours hung around the posts in our pole barn and then use a double snap on one bottom corner to keep them from flipping them over the stall door.
That first picture shows a feeder I made - they are super easy to fill up (I don't use the lid anymore, just toss the hay in) and cheap to make. you can attach them to a fence or a stand alone post. With 3 horses, I would put 2 or 3 out there.
Mine are very large tractor tires, which I got FOR FREE from the local John Deere dealer. Cut off one side wall, and I tie them to the posts of my horse porch with hay string, just so my one mare doesn't fling them around. Easy hay feeder. Cost: zero.
I use a large wooden box (much like an orchard crate). I only have 2 geldings, and they don't mind sharing. You could certainly put a few different "stations" out to keep horses separated. Mine is smallish, so it only holds about 20-25lbs of hay.