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slow feeders for the more destructive type?

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  • slow feeders for the more destructive type?

    OK, I'm not really into the whole slow-feeding movement, except that when my grass dies back, my gelding starts digging for roots. Not only does it destroy my pastures, but I live on a sand bar. Not good.

    Can't leave a round bale out with free access because they gorge themselves, and then stomp on it and use it as bedding. I refuse to waste good hay like that. Plus, my two air ferns would be HUGE. Free-choice hay would be an awful idea.

    But I need some kind of feeder that will make their hay last a bit longer, to keep them entertained so they can't get into trouble. The gelding can be rather destructive, and my filly is suicidal. So Nibble Nets and the like just aren't going to hold up.

    Has anyone had any success with anything that's fairly horse-proof yet will make 30lb of hay last longer than an hour for 3 horses? I would like to be able to take a day trip without coming back to find holes in my yard

  • #2
    I feel your pain .......the nibble nets I bought were destroyed in a few short weeks.........hubby had to revamp them......I took the vinyl backing off and we attached the net part to the wall of their stall with a few extensions so it would hold 5lbs of hay..........my 4 mares have yet to damage theirs.......mind you I can see some wear and tear after 12 to 16 months of use.........plus my horses learnt to get very efficient at getting the hay out so they are now down to 60 minutes to eat 5lbs of hay.

    I pull my horses off pasture and put them in individual dry lots for the winter......this saves my pasture and I don't have to worry about my air ferns getting too much hay as they are all individually fed.

    Dalemma

    Comment


    • #3
      Two choices for tougher nets:

      1) Freedom Feeder Hay Nets @ http://www.freedomfeeder.com/ -- good for the "hang on the fence" options.

      and

      2) Cinch Chix @ http://cinchchix.com/the-cinch-products.html -- Several sizes, including round bale nets.

      I just got a Cinch Chix "West Coast" net. It seems to be of a much tougher netting that the 3 Freedom Feeder Nets I already have used for year (and with much success).
      <>< 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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
        OK, I'm not really into the whole slow-feeding movement, except that when my grass dies back, my gelding starts digging for roots. Not only does it destroy my pastures, but I live on a sand bar. Not good.

        Can't leave a round bale out with free access because they gorge themselves, and then stomp on it and use it as bedding. I refuse to waste good hay like that. Plus, my two air ferns would be HUGE. Free-choice hay would be an awful idea.

        But I need some kind of feeder that will make their hay last a bit longer, to keep them entertained so they can't get into trouble. The gelding can be rather destructive, and my filly is suicidal. So Nibble Nets and the like just aren't going to hold up.

        Has anyone had any success with anything that's fairly horse-proof yet will make 30lb of hay last longer than an hour for 3 horses? I would like to be able to take a day trip without coming back to find holes in my yard
        put piles of hay out as in 4 as you have three horses and put them down so that they cant kick or moved into one another so move them far enough away so they dont get hurt i have 10 horses and i put 11 piles down

        then they can monch about as they like and no it doesnt get wasted as they tend to eat it all up

        would use a bale net as if you have an alpha then he will take control of the bale and ther other wont get a look in

        Comment


        • #5
          Have you thought about overseeding with rye grass? Would save you the cost of having to feed hay and would save your pastures.

          Comment


          • #6
            Pricey, but looks durable

            These have been advertised in local horse mags. I bookmarked the site. They are pricey but look durable.

            http://www.porta-grazer.com/
            There is no such thing as "bad" horsemanship or "good" horsemanship. There is simply Horsemanship or the absence thereof.

            www.oldmorgans.blogspot.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I posted this on another slow feeder thread, but would apply here. I'm not sure it would work for 3 horses - though might if they all get along.

              Essentially, we bought short hay rack/bunker (height and length) and then wrapped the inside of it in 2"x2" woven fence wire attached with heavy duty zip ties. Then we cut a piece of plywood that sits in the top as a lid. It'll easily hold 50 pounds of hay if you strategically put it in there.

              Pictures:
              http://www.flickr.com/photos/notsour...ry/5066671348/
              http://www.flickr.com/photos/notsour...ry/4810782189/

              You have to put the wire on the inside or the horses can pull hard enough to break the zip ties (ask me how I know). And you need to drill drain holes in the bunker below or it fills up with water when it rains. At first I had a bungee cord holding the lid on, but we didn't really need it. Only design flaw is that the ends are open. You could fix that by adding wire there too. We don't ever fill it full enough to matter.

              They do adapt fairly quickly to eating out of it, but it does definitely slow them down, plus it keeps the hay dry and prevents them from putting it all over the place and then walking on it. We have no wasted hay, ever.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                I'm trying to avoid anything involving nets. The gelding likes to chew on things, mainly wood and reins, but I wouldn't put it past him to try to eat a net.

                I have considered rye grass, but we just don't get much rain, and it's not at all practical to try to water the pasture. I just can't get any real water pressure back far enough to grow much grass. Plus we have free-range chickens that would just eat the seed anyway.

                I'm thinking about making my own Porta-Grazer. That might entertain the gelding, especially if he can roll it. My other thought was doing something like Urban Henry describes, only mounting it on the wall of the shelter, or inside the shelter somehow. That way the hay won't get wet if it does happen to rain.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hampton Bay -

                  Securing it to a wall would work well if you've got a place to do that. FWIW, we life in Western Washington where rain is pretty much a constant and with the plywood lid on the feeder we haven't had any problems with the hay getting wet.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by UrbanHennery View Post
                    Hampton Bay -

                    Securing it to a wall would work well if you've got a place to do that. FWIW, we life in Western Washington where rain is pretty much a constant and with the plywood lid on the feeder we haven't had any problems with the hay getting wet.
                    Does it rain sideways up there? When we get rain, many times it comes in sideways.

                    I do have a wall I could secure the thing to, with a bit of work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Since you mention that you have a wall, I tacked a giant net to a wall. Picture a soccer net tacked to a wall. There's no way they can put a hoof in it; it's higher than hoof height. As far as your gelding who might eat it, well, he might.

                      For mine--it's on the side of my feed room. I cut a hole through the wall so I can toss feed from inside feedroom, through the wall, into the net. The horses, of course, are on the other side of the wall. It works really well.
                      Last edited by Cindyg; Nov. 25, 2010, 11:24 AM.
                      I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

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                      • #12
                        It rains sideways up here. It seems to stay dry (even overnight) because of the angle of the sides. Of course, I also don't worry too much about it since we're putting in a feeding's worth at a time - they don't seem to mind even when it does get a bit damp.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For my horses I bought the inexpensive, black, small mesh hay nets from Miller's, but Dover and many others have them. They are thick and durable mesh that my chewer hasn't damaged in one year of daily use. I removed the drawstring, fill them with three flakes of hay and gather the 25 top loops onto a large carbiner. This makes a cube of netted hay that is impossible to get a hoof into and slows the consumption waaay down. They roll them around their drylot, which has them walking one step at a time and eating in a head down position.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I feed a herd of 10 mares with one weanling in the mix.....so 11 horses in that group.....and a bachelor herd of 9 in another field. NO grass....live in the desert. I simply figure out how much hay I need to feed (figuring with winter temperatures, no other feeds, horses that average about 850-900 pounds each and then adding some due to pregnant status of most of the mares.....I feed a 125 lb bale (nice alfalfa) to the 11 girls twice a day.....that's 22 pounds each more or less each day....by mid Jan I'll be putting about another 1/2 bale out there to account for pregnant appetites/needs. The boy herd is about half youngsters still growing so they get a bit more....125 lbs for the 9 of them twice a day... a bit over 25 lbs each. I don't feed grain so the hay amounts are a bit higher than they would be if feeding it. I scatter the flakes (there are 14-16 per bale on average) over an area about 60 x 120 feet or so in the mare field and they scatter it further so they end up "grazing" it for about 2 hours to clean it all up (there are still a few scraps at that point but pretty much gone). The boys take about 2 1/2 to clean up theirs. With this many flakes out there even the bossy horses can't "guard" every one of them and the more timid ones are getting plenty without getting eaten up by the bosses. There are several water tanks and salt/trace mineral blocks (locally produced to account for our soil needs) out there as well. That's it. Every time I've tried feeders they have gotten beaten up (except when I used an old round water tank....the piggy ones climbed INTO it to keep the others from eating!) so I find ground feeding with more flakes than horses and scattered out to work well.
                            Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                            www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                            Northern NV

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I have been scattering hay, about 10 piles for 3 horses, but they still clean it up very quickly, and then go looking for trouble. Well, the two youngins go looking for trouble. The gelding paws and chews on things, and the filly likes to try to escape (and can clear at least 4' easily, hopefully the hotwire at 5' will keep her in this year).

                              They share well, and I don't have issues with that. Just issues with how fast they like to inhale their hay.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                [QUOTE=Hampton Bay;5243968]I have been scattering hay, about 10 piles for 3 horses, but they still clean it up very quickly,

                                What breed and size are these horses? How much hay and what kind are you feeding? One old rule of thumb was that horses should have as much as they can clean up in an hour... this was back when no one weighed their feed so they needed some way to figure out how much to give. Lower quality hay of course would take more to meet their nutritional needs so how much kind of depends on the kind of hay you are using. As a general rule today the suggestion is for about 1.5 to 2% of their ideal body weight per day in divided feedings. If they should weigh in at 1000 pounds this would mean 15 to 20 pounds of good quality hay per day. In colder weather of course it takes more just due to heat loss and maintaining body temperature.

                                What about some pasture toys to keep them occupied?
                                Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                                www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                                Northern NV

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I'm in FL, so "cold" is relative. But in the coldest part of the winter, they are getting 20 to 25 lb a day of hay plus soaked alfalfa cubes. The hay is an excellent-quality coastal. Best coastal I have ever seen. They clean up a feeding in a bit over an hour, and in the least-grassy parts of the winter I feed it 4 or 5 times a day.

                                  I tried pasture toys, but they have no interest if it doesn't dispense food. The Lick-it didn't even get a second sniff. Jollyball was completely ignored.

                                  And they are hardly starving. They are all between a 5 and a 6 BCS, glossy coats, good muscling, etc. Just bored once the grass dies back. And with living on a big sandbar, that boredom can be dangerous when they start digging up my pasture to eat roots.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    we made feeders that were indestructible, and slowed our fatties down to 3hrs per feed rather than 1/2hr.
                                    very simple, was a solid 2x6 box ~2' deep by 6' high, length varied depending on #of horses. back was a sloped sheet of smooth plywood, and frong was the plastic coated chain link fencing.
                                    i made the mistake of thinking they couldn't pull hay through the holes well, so cut some larger openings, but once they had the idea it was the perfect size, they could NOT destroy the chain link, and the plastic coating ensured they didn't have rough edges.
                                    silly me i got rid of them for summer, need to make some more asap.
                                    if you need more details i'd be happy to take pics/send diagrams.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Regala View Post
                                      we made feeders that were indestructible, and slowed our fatties down to 3hrs per feed rather than 1/2hr.
                                      very simple, was a solid 2x6 box ~2' deep by 6' high, length varied depending on #of horses. back was a sloped sheet of smooth plywood, and frong was the plastic coated chain link fencing.
                                      i made the mistake of thinking they couldn't pull hay through the holes well, so cut some larger openings, but once they had the idea it was the perfect size, they could NOT destroy the chain link, and the plastic coating ensured they didn't have rough edges.
                                      silly me i got rid of them for summer, need to make some more asap.
                                      if you need more details i'd be happy to take pics/send diagrams.
                                      That would be awesome! I will check out the coated chain-link. I've not seen that before.

                                      My other idea was to use a piece of bull wire (we have several hanging around somewhere), and mount it to my wall like a regular hay feeder, and then line the indie with the 2"x4" wire mesh. I could make a lid for it so they can't get into it, and the lid would flip down so I could load in more hay. Sorta like the hay feeder Urban made, but out of bull wire and mounted to the wall. My bull wire doesn't have sharp edges, and it's very sturdy. If I mounted it about waist-high on me, they wouldn't be able to paw at it.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Slow Feeder

                                        Originally posted by Regala View Post
                                        we made feeders that were indestructible, and slowed our fatties down to 3hrs per feed rather than 1/2hr.
                                        very simple, was a solid 2x6 box ~2' deep by 6' high, length varied depending on #of horses. back was a sloped sheet of smooth plywood, and frong was the plastic coated chain link fencing.
                                        i made the mistake of thinking they couldn't pull hay through the holes well, so cut some larger openings, but once they had the idea it was the perfect size, they could NOT destroy the chain link, and the plastic coating ensured they didn't have rough edges.
                                        silly me i got rid of them for summer, need to make some more asap.
                                        if you need more details i'd be happy to take pics/send diagrams.
                                        Do you still have the details on building this feeder?
                                        I'd really appreciate the info.
                                        Jan

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