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Ideas for further slowing down the super fast hay eater

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  • Ideas for further slowing down the super fast hay eater

    My easy keeper arab cross can finish off her allotted hay much faster than any other horse in my barn. She has a "Nag Net' small mesh hay bag in her stall, but that barely slows her. In her pen I tried the hay bag, but it seems to be better if I scatter her hay all over the pen vs having it in the bag for her to stand and devour.

    She has shoes, so I can't leave the bag "loose" in the stall/pen which I think would make it harder to eat as quickly, but I don't want to risk the bag getting caught in her shoes.

    Is double bagging a suitable solution for a horse? I have heard of people doing that for little ponies, but not full sized equines. Are there other feeders or hay bags that would be better for an agile nosed equine?

    Is it possible there is a health concern such as IR causing her to have an increased appetite/need to eat quickly that I should consider?
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2
    I'm curious to see what people suggest. Mine can finish off hers in an hour and a half. Small mesh hay net only slows it to 3 hours.


    • #3
      How small are the holes in your nets? Maybe going to a smaller than 2" hole would extend her hay eating time.

      Dover has a small hole hay net with 4cm size holes. I make that out to be about 1 inch to equal 4cm, so those are pretty little holes.


      You might find this size holes, in hay nets in other places.

      The 2" holes work very well for my big horses, slowing down consumption greatly, but they have big lips. Where an Arab has probably got very thin and FLEXIBLE lips to work hay out the 2" holes quickly.

      A very small, 1" hole in her net might be what works for her. Or at least adds a BIT more time to getting it out to eat!


      • Original Poster

        1 inch is more like 2.5 cm. I think her Nag Bag is 1.5 inches, but I see on their website they sell 1 inch for ponies, so maybe that will be the next thing I try.

        The hay bag she has adds hardly any time to her eating time...maybe 20 minutes to eat a flake instead of 25.

        Thinking too maybe I should add a second bag to add some travel time searching for the best bits?
        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


        • #5
          Do you mean the slowfeeder.com nets? Great products but STUPID expensive, aye.

          I wonder why you would think that double netting/bagging might only be a solution for ponies? If she's an easy keeper and you're trying to control her overall consumption while slowing it down at the same time, why not?

          My only other suggestion would be, depending on your board situation is have several small nets/less full nets put out periodically throughout the day- though depending on who you ask it may be a huge deal and incredible amount of work... Personally I don't find filling up several provided nets up at the beginning of the morning when filling the rest up anyway, and then changing them out when I have a moment/happen to pass by the pasture to be that incredibly taxing. That being said if they're at home and you're their caregiver and are at work it's not really feasible.
          "Sit back and prepare to be pissed off!"

          Eventer, Ballerina, Dancer, Model, and Waitress Extraordinaire (cos a girls gotta eat!).


          • Original Poster

            Fortunately it is my barn. I currently feed her hay 4 times a day, twice outside, and twice inside. Adding extra feeding at night isn't really possible as I do sleep. It is mostly the stretch from her last haying at 9:45ish, to her first feeding around 7:30ish that I worry about. Considering she finishes her 2-3 flakes in about 1.5 hours, that is a long time with no food.

            Might try double bagging and see if that works for her, and order a smaller net hay bag in the meantime.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #7
              Has anyone had a horse who wouldn't or couldn't eat from a small mesh bag. I hung one for my dry lotted mare, showed it to her, even pulled some hay so it would stick out. She bit the net but never tried using her lips to wiggle the hay out.


              • #8
                I just started my recently retired easy keeper gelding on a nibblenet with 1.5" holes. The first few days he was taking 4-5 hours to eat, but he's figured it outand now is done in about 3 hours. Then I got a Porta-Grazer, and he emptied that in what is surely record time. I'm going to try the double bag technique next. They say that once they know they have a steady supply of food they slow down, but as the OP said, it's those overnight hours that I can't seem to cover. And he is an eating machine!


                • #9
                  I don't know what your setup is like but could you suspend her hay net from somewhere in the middle of the stall. I think if they can pin it against something, it's easier to get the hay out.

                  JBD, yes, there is one at our barn that refuses to eat out of a small hole hay net. He just stands there yelling for his dinner when it's right in front of him!
                  "Be the change you want to see in the world."
                  ~Mahatma Gandhi


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CHT View Post
                    My easy keeper arab cross can finish off her allotted hay much faster than any other horse in my barn.
                    Is it possible there is a health concern such as IR causing her to have an increased appetite/need to eat quickly that I should consider?
                    Do you have your hay analyzed so you can feed her a suitable IR diet?


                    • #11
                      I tried double bagging for my horse, didn't slow him down at all. I ended up splitting his hay, half orchard, which he loves, and half bermuda, which he doesn't like. So he burns through the orchard and goes slower through the bermuda.


                      • #12
                        You can get a NibbleNet. They come with hole as small as 1.25"


                        • #13
                          I got the 10$ small hole nets and double bagged. It worked for me (and really pissed her off)
                          Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                          • #14
                            Here is another look at this "problem" from a worried horse "MOM" who informed me she thought my slowing down a horses eating with my Nibble Net woul cause them to be too anxious and nervous and that would make them unhappy.

                            I replied Yeah I know how they feel because... I get that way about slowing down bread pudding with Ice Cream too.
                            Larry Garner
                            Spalding Fly Predators


                            • #15
                              I double-bag mine. I use a "busy buffet" bag, then a small hole net on the inside. I lace the net to the top of the busy buffet bag. Very easy to open and fill.


                              • #16
                                I agree with the smaller hole hay nets and the idea to hang it in the middle of the stall if possible, but do watch for respiratory irritation, horses were really designed to eat with their heads down not up.

                                Since I'm on a rather drastic budget I decided to experiment with making my own 'nibble net' out of baling twine. I figure at least then I can fix/replace it easy enough. No guarantees, this is still very much in the experimental stages! Lol

                                Also have you thought of using a grazing muzzle when feeding hay? I think a haynet and a muzzle might make it too frustrating for most horses but I do know a few who are patient enough to eat loose hay through a grazing muzzle.
                                A student in all things.


                                • #17
                                  I tried suspending my hay net so they could not press it against a wall.

                                  My two arabs have figured out that they can get the hay out just as fast by having one of them hit the bottom hay net with the top of their head. Even if I lower the hay net as much as is safe, they still manage to bump the hay out with the tops of their heads.

                                  For my geldings, hay net = pinata.

                                  Today, I'm ordering the small hole Freedom hay net from SmartPak. The holes are smaller than the slow-feed hay nets I have now. I'm going to try double-bagging the hay until the new net gets here.

                                  I'm constantly amazed with how dexterous my arabs are with their lips.

                                  What I really need is a arabian-proof horse version of those dog treat toys, the ones where the dog has to roll the toy around just right to make the treat come out.
                                  PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

                                  Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique


                                  • #18
                                    Nag Bags

                                    [QUOTE=CHT;6898689]"1 inch is more like 2.5 cm. I think her Nag Bag is 1.5 inches, but I see on their website they sell 1 inch for ponies, so maybe that will be the next thing I try.

                                    The hay bag she has adds hardly any time to her eating time...maybe 20 minutes to eat a flake instead of 25."

                                    I have 7 Nag bags in two different sizes. I have collected them over the years . Like you I feed 4x a day. My Connie mare has dust allergy so all her hay has to be soaked first in tub. The 1.5 " Nag bag is wonderful for that and I can line up 3 bags ready to go, and one in her stall.
                                    My Highland pony, has been on rest from injury since before Christmas....He's large and in charge (of his food) Vet concerned of weight gain so recommended going to the smallest holes which is the 1" Nag bags for minis and goats. I tried one on both of them. At first they were 'ticked off'. Came back in 5 hours....everything gone. So HiPo is on the 1 " one and it takes hours. He has even left a bit... as I think it tires him out .

                                    Love the Nag Bags, and its good to have a few, so easy to grab already filled, especially if some one else is feeding.

                                    Great tip I only just got: the Garbage Bag metal frames are a wonderful invention for setting hay nets up to fill. No more hay in pockets & in my hair!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I can't hang the bag from the middle of the stall as the ceiling is 16 feet high. Plus, I do want to be able to hang it fairly low.

                                      I tried double bagging last night, and was worried she would be unable to get the hay out, but it was all gone by this morning! No idea how long it took, but I will see how long her 1 flake of afternoon stall hay lasts.

                                      Do you think it takes longer to get the hay out the less that is in the bag? I am wondering if I should split her night hay into two double bags (or the smaller mesh) to further slow her eating.
                                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                                      • #20
                                        Recommend nibblenet!
                                        "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
                                        as a thoroughbred horse."

                                        -JOHN GALSWORTHY