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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2010
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    2,252

    Default Feeding Hay in the field? WWYD

    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?
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    7,121

    Default

    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.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2010
    Posts
    2,252

    Default

    It's not the hay quality, they eat it up no problem in their stalls.
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2005
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    4,431

    Default

    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.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2009
    Location
    Apex, NC
    Posts
    681

    Default

    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.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,287

    Default

    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.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    5,070

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.GMan View Post
    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.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,857

    Default

    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
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    3,061

    Default

    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.
    It's 2014. Do you know where your old horse is?



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    4,975

    Default

    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.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
    Location
    Port Perry Ontario - formerly Prodomus
    Posts
    2,364

    Default

    www.prospectequinefarms.com/hayfeeders.htm


    The smaller hayrings may work well for you.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2003
    Location
    Thorold, ON
    Posts
    777

    Default

    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.
    Equine Web Design http://www.tbconnect.net | Kingsgate Stud home of Legal Jousting (IRE)



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2001
    Location
    Almost Aiken
    Posts
    2,782

    Default

    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.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    76

    Default

    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.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2001
    Location
    Canuckistan
    Posts
    383

    Default

    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.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4,707

    Default

    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



  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sundance_Solo View Post
    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
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2007
    Location
    Beyond the pale.
    Posts
    2,957

    Default

    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.
    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2004
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    1,303

    Default

    Fullcirclefarmsc.com



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2010
    Location
    Nevada
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    2,561

    Default

    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.



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