extreme hay dunker - how to keep stall from swamping...
I don't really care that he dunks his hay, at least I know he's getting lots of liquid in every day. Its gross but whatever. What I'm struggling with is the toll its taking on the stall. I hung a hay net in the corner next to his water, this eliminates any desire to walk around from hay to water, so that's good. BUT, when he dunks he frequently comes out of the bucket with a full moutful of water that he then slobbers on the floor. I have mats down, but the water gets under the mat and forms a puddle that 1) is destroying the bluestone base and 2) forms a weird slimey REALLY SMELLY mold that is totally disgusting.
At one point I put a thin layer of rubber under the mat, but that only helped a little.
Not sure if this a new habit, but I have heard hay dunking can indicate the horse needs its teeth done. I'm not saying that's true of your horse, but if it was a sudden issue it might be something worth looking into.
I have an extreme dunker - forget what comes out of his mouth, most of the water on the floor is because he submerges his face almost up to his eyes! You can hear this process all over the barn because he sounds like a deep sea diver - I just know some day he is going to drown himself. If I tried the muck bucket idea I am fairly certain he would try to get into it the way he does with the outside tubs.
So, we just pull the bedding out of the corner his hay and water are in and try to dry it out while he is turned out. Summer isn't too bad because we have huge fans in the stalls but in the winter, we will actually have ice on the stall walls. For this reason, he lives at the sunny end of the barn to help with year round drying.
Haven't had any issues with our mats or submaterials but usually try to scrub the walls in that corner a couple times of year with a Clorox and water mix - helps the funky smell and mold growth. I just can not imagine the mess I would have if we didn't have mats though.
SAacres - as it would happen last night I took a few handfuls of pellets and put them under the mat to see if that would help, so will see how that went..
Eventer - not a new habit, teeth were just done...
Knk - seriously the funniest thing ever, I was laughing out loud, I know what you mean about the noise. I'll be standing somewhere in the barn and here this flood of water as he brings his mouth out of the bucket, can't even imagine what your stall looks like in the morning!
To those suggesting a tub with water and hay in the stall I just don't dare. I cannot imagine how that would go and I'm too afraid to find out he decided the tip it over in the night! AND, he won't eat any of the hay he leaves IN his water bucket so I am not sure he would eat it that way anyways...
How much 'engineering' are you willing to do? Is it possible to:
1- dig out an area under his main dunking spot that is the right size to hold a RubberMaid shallow tub / pan
2- cut a rubber mat to fit around the pan like a drain collar
3- repack / slope the stall base so the mat / pan arrangement become the lowest point in the corner, effectively funneling drippings into the pan
4- remove and dump or otherwise drain / clean the pan regularly to deal with the dripped water
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
- Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926
How about an automatic waterer instead of buckets? You don't have to plumb them in, necessarily--they sell smaller units that can just be hooked up to a hose. Perhaps the relatively small bowl and volume of water would convince him not to dunk.
Back to the muck bucket idea but instead of putting water into it, just put the hay into it dry. Locate it under his water bucket. He will pull the hay out of the bucket, dunk it and then dribble all over the rest of his hay as he chew it.
It is a messy habit but they just look so damn happy doing it - its like a ritual high! Plus for my older guy I know if makes it easier for him to keep eating regular hay and adding some extra water isn't going to hurt either.
My favorite thing in the summer is to turn off the lights after night check and stand there and listen to the night sounds and horses munching hay - there is usually a cool breeze blowing through the barn.....
and then suddenly there will be a dunk, a splash, and a sound like blowing bubbles through a straw - yep, he's in heaven!
It is a messy habit but they just look so damn happy doing it
My horse is in heaven when I have a blonde moment and I toss a flake of hay right next to the big water trough outside. Next thing I know he is making a huge trough full of hay soup and I swear he is smiling from ear to ear.
Could you switch him to soaked cubes or pellets? That would eliminate his need for dunking since he would have soaked food already and it wouldn't be at all messy and no extra water to seep under the mats.
I agree with a layer of pre-soaked/fluffed pellet bedding under his water bucket. If you just throw down the pellets, I'm wondering if they wouldn't soak up the overflow fast enough to prevent it from working its way under the mats. If the pellets are pre-fluffed/soaked, they're ready to absorb the water the second it gets to them. I think. :-)