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What to do about horse that wastes hay in pasture?

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  • What to do about horse that wastes hay in pasture?

    I have a 25 y.o. TB that never finishes the hay that I throw out in the pasture for him. He's not turned out with anyone else so whatever he wastes I have to pick up or it kills what little grass I have. There is not much grass right now so I'm not sure why he doesn't eat his hay (the hay is fine, he gobbles it up in his stall at night).

    Hubby keeps fussing at me telling me to quit throwing hay in the field for him but I can't leave him with nothing to eat all day. I have one of those big metal hay feeder things with a plastic pan at the bottom but am hesitant to put it out there because I worry about him rubbing on it. So, wwyd? Try a hay bag or nibble net so he wastes less hay?

  • #2
    The never ending battle!!!!!!!!!!! I am sure others will chime in here....

    I HATE hay waste. It is my biggest pet peeve. I have two who eat with gusty when I put the hay out, but inevitibly they spread it around, use it as a toilet, and ignore the rest. I have tried a variety of things in the past year:

    1) Nibble nets: hang long enough so they are eating at chest height, but can't get a hoof caught when empty. Also, secure the bottom so it cannot be flipped. I use these in the stalls (horses have 24/7 access to stalls and paddock)

    2) Hay feeders (homemade): I have one made from a muck bucket and the other from half a barrel. They are mounted on 2 x 4s so they sit off the ground and have holes so they drain. Still trying to find a solution to the "top" that forces them to pull hay through holes. Plywood not durable enough so may move onto cutting boards.

    3) Limit hay: I cannot do this because I work full time, otherwise I would feed a little at a time.

    Bottom line, try to find a way to make them eat it as they want it, and not be able to scatter the rest. Look up slow feeders or something like it to get feeder ideas!
    Gone gaited....


    • Original Poster

      Forgot to add, I also work full time so cannot distribute hay throughout the day. Horses are out all day and in at night.


      • #4
        Is he generally playful and destructive? I have one that is NOT and feeding him hay in a muck bucket worked great. Luckily, however, he never tried to dump it over or play with it... My other two aren't so kind. One used to save half his hay outside so he could make a bed out of it. If you gave him less hay, he'd still save some for a bed. If you gave him more hay, he'd eat much more and still save some for a bed. He, of course, peed on it first before laying on it. Just for good measure.


        • #5
          Buy small-mesh hay nets from Millers.

          Get a plastic barrel.

          Make and mount slow feeder as shown here (Bearcat's feeder...top right) http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Barrel+Feeders

          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


          • #6
            worse in winter!

            I feed hay year round, as I have 3 horses on a small pasture, so it stays mostly overgrazed.

            Anyway, I find that they waste hay worst in the winter. It always gets muddy about now, and when they paw at it or shove it with their noses, welln some goes in the icky areas, they tromple it, etc.

            They also seem to have more of a desire to have a cozy warm place to nap in the sunshine in these wet, cold months.

            They next to never waste hay on me in summer and fall!



            • #7
              nibble net... I hate hay waste, its a waste of money, its gross looking and a mess for me to clean up. the more chores and cleaning up I have to do the less opportunities I have to ride.

              my horses get hayed once per day, it has to last 24 hours. the nibble net has been a god-send for me because they can't pull out huge clumps of hay, they're forced to eat slowly.

              I spread my hay out into about a dozen piles and/or "stations" (hay bag/NN) around the paddocks every am, so they have to walk all day to get their hay, and I generally put the hay right up against the bottom of a tree or the fenceline, or under low hanging branches, so its physically difficult to walk through and pee on.

              and I hate to say it, but being miserly with the hay every now and then has resulted in horses not so quick to pee on it when its plentiful. took me nearly a year to get tough but I finally had it.
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


              • #8
                I can relate

                Except that mine paws his into the mud and then eats only the pieces he wants.

                Right now I have two kinds of hay. Slightly late cut timothy and gorgeous orchard grass. Guess what they are eating????? the timothy... the orchard cost me more, so of course they just won't touch it...and I have 200 bales of it!!!


                I am always worried about the dust factor..and I have group turnout, so I am not sure how I should handle this myself. I usually just pick and area and call it the sacrafice area and feed hay there all the time.
                Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!



                • #9
                  SO timely!

                  I have 2 horses on 5 acres but right now most of the grass is dead so I've been feeding a lot of hay. Even though my guys have been together for almost a year and are connected at the hip I think the move to my new farm has brought out some dominance issues. If I put 2 piles out for them Juice will run over and pee on one pile and then leave it to eat the other. Of course my other horse doesn't want to eat the pee pile and neither does Juice so it ends up getting wasted

                  I tossed around the idea to start getting round bales but I really don't want to put out $400 or more for a round bale holder and the way my farm would set it, it wouldn't be easy to have them delivered.

                  The NibbleNets look like a good idea but are they really worth $50? and do they give enough hay to horses that don't need it restricted.. just need help being a little neater?

                  For a horse that doesn't need hay restricted, just reduce weight; is the NibbleNet better than a normal hay bag (about a 1/5 of the cost) or even something like this Hay Bag (half the price of the NibbleNet)

                  This also looks cool but I don't see how it would be safe to "hang low to the ground" because the horse could put a foot in it.
                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                  • #10
                    Try feeding the hay in an old water trough.
                    It doesn't get muddy, or get tracked around. Works great and I worry about injuries less with a trough than I would with net when I am not around to monitor things
                    "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Phaxxton View Post
                      Is he generally playful and destructive? I have one that is NOT and feeding him hay in a muck bucket worked great. Luckily, however, he never tried to dump it over or play with it... My other two aren't so kind.
                      I actually tried this today (before reading this thread!) I put a flake in the muck tub and one of my horses walked over, grabbed the bale with his mouth and pulled the entire thing out!

                      He was very happy to eat it off the ground with the empty muck bucket sitting near by
                      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                        I actually tried this today (before reading this thread!) I put a flake in the muck tub and one of my horses walked over, grabbed the bale with his mouth and pulled the entire thing out!

                        He was very happy to eat it off the ground with the empty muck bucket sitting near by
                        One of mine does this with his feed tub... with bran mash. Licks the bran mash off the stall floor while his bucket sits next to it.


                        • #13
                          I fight this battle all winter as well. My mare will *never* eat hay that has touched dirt, manure, pee, or has been rained on. She will eat it out of the snow, but generally no matter what I do there is always a thin layer of hay left no matter where I put it or how long I leave it.

                          I prefer feeding it in the pasture because it will ultimately compost into my grass; in my paddock I tend to have to rake up hay a few times each winter. Sigh.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                            The NibbleNets look like a good idea but are they really worth $50? and do they give enough hay to horses that don't need it restricted.. just need help being a little neater?
                            imho, nope. cheap hay nets work just fine for keeping hay from being dragged and walked all over. I use a NN for the specific purpose of slowing consumption down, but also use regular nets in areas where I just don't want the hay scattered everywhere.
                            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                            • #15
                              I fed a friend's horses for a week ...

                              She has a terrific method - she uses those really deep rubber water tubs - I'm talking they come well above the horse's knees, the long 100 gallon ones - and since her one horse is very prone to colic, the tubs get filled with a few inches of water so the hay is wet. The horses can't tip the buckets because of the water - I would think that a couple of cinder blocks would work the same way, or maybe some of those big salt blocks. And these tubs are in the middle of rubber mats. So the horses do pull some of the hay out, but not that much, and they really don't waste a whole lot.

                              And as a bonus, they seem to really like the hay water so drink that down.

                              Seems to work really well for her, and she has 2 fussy TBs.


                              • #16
                                I bought a metal pasture feeder about 6 years ago and it's more than paid for itself.

                                Not only do I hate looking at wasted hay, I hate having to scrape up and dispose of said hay.

                                The feeder I bought is pretty sturdy. Occasionally I find it tipped over, but not often.

                                You can see it here -- I wrote up an article that compares different kinds of feeders.

                                Save Hay and Money with a Pasture Feeder.
                                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                • #17
                                  I second Chocomare's advice. I bought the small mesh hay nets last year (after using hay bags or hay nets exclusively for many years) and I have to say that they are GREAT!!!

                                  There is so much less wastage with the small mesh because the horses can't pull out large clumps of hay and waste it. The other advantage is that they eat more slowly instead of wolfing down their hay and hanging out waiting for the next feeding. It's kinda cool-when I turn mine out in the morn, they will eat from the hay nets for awhile, then graze in the pasture, then return and eat more out of the haynets.

                                  If you click on my website(on my signature), you can see the horses eating from the haynets under the overhangs in the photo gallery section.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by mkevent View Post
                                    I second Chocomare's advice. I bought the small mesh hay nets last year (after using hay bags or hay nets exclusively for many years) and I have to say that they are GREAT!!!

                                    Do you worry about them getting legs caught in the hay nets, as apposed to the hay bags that seem a bit safer?

                                    (sorry to high jack this thread OP but I have the same problem!)
                                    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                    • #19
                                      I love my hay net with smaller holes. Mine was pretty darn cheap at Millers. My guy was on stall rest and INHALED hay. I would give hay and go to work and he generally finished it within 2 hours. Purchased the small holed hay net and hung it up from the rafters (about wither high) in a free span area. Not only could he get only a bit out but he could not stabilize it on anything which made it even more of a challenge. Worked perfectly. Only a little hay would be left when I came home and I know he was not bored during this time. Also there is little to no waste that makes it to the floor. By far the BEST haynet I have had. Very good for overweight horses not on pasture.
                                      With the hay bags and haynets it just seems to make it so much easier to waste (holes are way to big).


                                      • #20
                                        sounds to me like you're feeding too much. Horses will eat what they need and waste anything more. Only toss a couple flakes at a time and when he stops eating it then don't toss more.
                                        "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."