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newbierider 06-28-2013 09:18 AM

slow feeders with alfalfa?
anyone have any experience using slow feeders and specifically the extended day freedom feeder with alfalfa? I take care of 3 horses and a pony on land i lease about 12 miles from me. Would sure be alot easier to only feed once a day. That way after work I could feed/water/supplement/muck all at the same time.

I know the alfalfa leaves are smaller etc... so wondering if anyoen has tried slow feeders with alfalfa.

then today I read because alfalfa leaves are more brittle it may wear the net?

anyone share your experience

Freemare 06-28-2013 10:18 AM

slow feeders are best for grass hay. The thing with alfalfa is that is tastes super good. So horses will try to eat it as fast as they can. If you would like them to slow down you need to feed grass. It does not taste as good so they eat slower. I have tried both in feeders. The reason we don't like them is.

1 Horses are meant to eat off the ground. Not from a net on a wall were their heads are at there withers.
2 I have seen horses get them selves caught on the net. No idea how but they did.
3 Some horses will get so mad they will keep chewing up the net. So you have to keep buying nets, wasting money.
4. You are putting more hay in the bag with alfalfa due to most of it is leaf. So when the horse pulls it out. The leaf falls on the ground. So the horse does not get everything that was in the flake.

Thats why if you would like them to slow down feed grass. You can even mix in a bit of alfalfa so every now and then they get a little taste of something good. hay nets are great for horse shows and for when you are on a road trip.

hemms 06-28-2013 10:47 AM

I don't think the OP is refering to a regular hay net.

A friend of mine feeds her drafts with slow-feeding nets (she uses hockey nets). She fills them once per day and it works well for her. She has 4 horses on 2 nets.

I tried it with a herd of 10, four nets. They destroyed them in 2 months. Additionally, you do end up feeding more hay. MUCH healthier for the horses though, to simunlate grazing as they need. When we dump our boarders and just have our 3, I'll def get back into it. Mine are draftXs + one pony.
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deserthorsewoman 06-28-2013 01:15 PM

I switched over from on the ground to using homemade slowfeeder nets about a year ago and never looked back. I make them out of baling twine and can choose the size of net and openings also, which proved to be great, because I was feeding oat- and 3-way hay until about a month ago.
Consumption, free choice, went from 25 to 15lbs/horse/day. I weighed everything, even raked up and weighed leftovers and spoiled stuff.
I did mix the alfalfa with the grain hay, and had a tub or stallmat under the nets to catch the grain kernels and leaves.

I never had a horse get frustrated, maybe because I started them slow, gave some hay in the ground along with the nets and had " learner" nets with larger holes first.
No pawing at the nets, the eating off the ground happens when they go for the leaves and kernels/seeds.
I got them tied to fenceposts, so I can move them around, to get out of the wind, or sun, or away from the palm tree which throws " things" in the paddock when it's SW wind.

I also noticed my horses prefer eating from the nets, they left what was on the ground and ate from nets first.

newbierider 07-13-2013 08:26 AM

well I just bought one extended day freedom feeder three days ago. I have placed it in the stall with one horse and so far I have stuffed the net with bermuda (my horses were on all alfalfa) and have been adding her flake (about 8lbs each) each am and pm to the net. I thought this would help her get use to the net.
The first day she acted as if she was scared of the net but quickly overcame that. She is of course eating all her alfalfa but she is also eating the bermuda.
This afternoon I will try to put both feedings in the net and see what happens.
if all goes as planned then I can start transitioning all the horses. Life will sure be easier when I can do everything once a day.

deserthorsewoman 07-13-2013 11:04 AM

Good to hear it works for you:-)

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