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Feeding Hay in the field? WWYD

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  • 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
    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.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      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

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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
                Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  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 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

                  www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      www.prospectequinefarms.com/hayfeeders.htm


                      The smaller hayrings may work well for you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                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

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  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.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      http://www.neubauerquarterhorses.com...turefeeder.htm

                                      Something like this?
                                      Fullcirclefarmsc.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                                        www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                                        Northern NV

                                        Comment

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