A hay feeding net that REALLY works!
Not exactly a "trail riding" topic--but hey, they gotta eat on the trails, too, right?
We recently ordered a feeding net from Cinchchix.com. It's a net bag that opens and closes on one end. The net mesh is small enough that a horse can't get it's hoof stuck in the netting.
You put the net bag over a bale of hay, close the end, and let the horses work on it. Our six horses used to wolf a bale of hay in about an hour, maybe a little more. I was feeding 2 1/2 bales per day and cleaning a lot of waste hay off of the ground.
Since we started using the net bags I'm feeding 2 bales a day with virtually no waste on the ground! I put the hay (open or bagged) into feeding tubs just to help keep it contained.
It takes them all day to go through a bale now. I feed AM and PM and there has been a bit of hay left over each time--which tells me they are getting all they need and just quit eating before it's gone. I actually am using two net bags now. At each feeding one will be empty and one will have a little left in it. I leave the not quite empty one for them to finish and put a new bale in the empty one--and leave the bale tied so it's a little harder for them to start it.
Because the loose hay in the left over bag is easier to eat they finish that first. Then start working on the new bale. Next feeding, I just repeat the process.
These things seem to be working GREAT! The come in sizes for small and large bales.
One thing to note: They can't be used with shod horses! The back of the shoes can get caught in the netting and then you'll have a train wreck on your hands!
But, if you're barefoot and having problems with a lot of hay wasteage, these seem to be a great way to go!
I gotta check that out, thanks for sharing!
Even for unshod horses, the risk of getting caught up in it is way too great for me to change it without a feeder.
To each his own. I've seen them walk all over the nets when they pull them out of the feeder and there's no way for them to get a hoof caught--the holes are too small. But it IS a legitimate concern.
One of the things I'm watching for is signs of damage to the net material. If the strings making up the net started to break then there could be a big enough hole. But, so far, I've seen no signs of fraying let along breakage.
I checked out their website and this is the slow feeding program. I met someone in my town that does this with their horses and they look fantastic! No waste or anything. It keeps the easily bored horse busy!
I'm acutally getting one next month for my horse as she eats fast and then realizes she is out of food before the other two are :P
Thanks for posting!
I've been using the small hay nets that hold maybe 3 flakes. In winter I'd throw it on clean snow like a pillow. The horses seemed to enjoy tossing it about as well. The nets were walked on, pawed at and thrown about and never was a hoof caught. As previously mentioned, the holes are too small. BTW I never set out only one source of hay. I always set out two as far apart as possible. This keeps the horses moving from one to the other and the walking aids digestion. I also place them as far as possible from the water source to add more walking.
When we feed them in the field we spread the hay out a flake at a time--6, 8, even 10 separate piles. In the corral that doesn't make sense. But we do have plans to separate the two feed bins. More to keep the horses sharing than for walking about purposes.
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