My IR horse has to have soaked hay, and I know many barns have at least one or two little high maintenance darlings in the same boat . Currently we use a rather crap system of a muck bucket in a muck bucket cart, with a laundry basket full of hay in it, that we drain and them dump into his stall. I don't really love this method, because it's hard to get enough hay into the bucket, and because it's almost impossible to not get covered in icky wet hay when you dump it. I think I have come up with a solution that would be much easier and allow for much easier transport of the hay, and allow you to dump the hay into the stall without touching it (not going into details just in case by some fluke this is my million dollar idea ). Today I found someone who can possibly build such a thing, which was way beyond my skill level. Assuming you could purchase something like this, would you be interested or are you happy enough with your current system to not bother? I really don't have a clue on the cost we could manage yet (we're going to build an experimental one for my horse), but I would guess $50-100, and with regular use it would probably last several years but maybe not forever because of the water. I'd love any thoughts or wish list items from people who have to deal with this yuck job.
I stuff small hole hay nets, stuff two in a big plastic garbage can, weight them, and then fill the can up with water. Pull one out when needed. I have all my hay nets on bucket straps, so I just clip the hay net up, no bothering with hoisting it up and tying it weirdly and all that jazz. Takes less time than throwing loose flakes.
Of course, once I got my act together with my newly-aquired foundered/IR horse, I got all my hay tested and lucked out with one large batch that she can eat unsoaked. FANTASTIC, 'cause soaking hay BLOWS in the winter!
About a decade ago, when one of mine needed soaked hay, we used tupperware bins. Find two that fit together nicely, drill holes in the top one. Hay goes in the top tupperware, fill with water, when ready to fill pull out top tupperware bin (strains water out like a giant colander) and dump in stall. Toss more hay into top tupperware and stick back into the bottom tupperware for more soaking.
Make sure your tupperware bins are not too big - the hay gets really heavy. Two smaller bins that can take 1/2 a bale each are more useful than a huge bin you cannot lift.
Agreed that this can be a huge PITA, especially in the winter. Good luck.
A small-hole hay net and muck bucket or trash can for soaking.
As for the eye issue, a flymask and hanging the net low should alleviate that problem. A small-hole net should not pose any entanglement danger when hung low (many people actually put them on the ground as a "hay ball" type of feeder).
I have a regular muck bucket, and that fits about 3-4 flakes of hay. It gets weighed down with a cinder block and soaked. When it's done, I just dump it out (my muck pile is conveniently about 20' from the gate) and drag into the ponies dry lot/stall.
To get all the water out, turn it upside down, and leave it like that for a few minutes. The wet hay has expanded enough to not just slide it when you turn it back over.
I have tied a pice of twine to the handle, so I have an easy way to drag it PLUS, it gets clipped to the wall, so pony won't drag it into the middle of his stall at night.
It the summer, it gets fed in hay nets, which is a little more annoying...but I am strong, and using more than one hay net isn't beneath me, haha.
Idk if I would buy a contraption, since my father is a carpenter, and I could get him to build me one...
"On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."
Deep plastic wheelbarrow with 2 wheels in front to make it stable when heavy. Bungee cords and plastic garden lattice or chicken wire to hold it down. Easy to dump water, then wheel to feeding area and dump in a low rubber tub.
EZ hay feeder. Toss in tank. Rope hoist out, lash to fence, and let drip. Super easy to hang or dump. No mess, no fuss, no wet/frozen fingers. If the carabiner freezes a quick tap with any tool out of my back pocket suffices. No reason to spend $50-$100.