Question about putting slow eaters with fast eaters - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Question about putting slow eaters with fast eaters

Hello all. I have a question about putting slow eaters in the same paddock as fast eaters. Here's the situation:

I have 3 horses now:

1. Luna is a pregnant quarter horse, very dominant or so I hear (just got her and she's alone in a paddock right now getting to know our other horses over a fence line.) Luna eats her granules quick enough, which are fed to her 2x a day morning and night, but just nibbles at hay very slowly during the day. It took her 12 hours to eat 3 flakes.

2. Organdy is a half draft/half arab who's 13 and very mellow, always the bottom of the hierarchy. She wolfs her food down and eats anything. She'd love to eat everyone's food.

3. Buddy is a New Forest, 5 years old, dominant over Organdy but not many others - I'm sure he'll be under Luna in the hierarchy. Buddy eats slowly, but he will also eat just about anything. He won't let Organdy share his food so far, but they've only been together a couple days.

I want to put all 3 together, but I worry the two non-pregnant horses will eat all the pregnant horse's rations before she has a chance to finish them (the hay, not the granules).

I bought 3 slow-feeders (very cool looking ones, I have high hopes, link below) hoping that might keep them away from her rations since it might make them take all day to eat their own.

Any suggestions? Anyone dealt with this before?

I want to put them together because we're moving to a place where I can finally put my paddock paradise into place! This will happen after the baby is born, if that matters to your answer.

Slow feeder link: Home - Harmony Trickle FeederHarmony Trickle Feeder | …trickle feeding that allows you to feed your horse like a horse.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #2 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 05:37 PM
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Only Luna is getting hard feed?

Even with the hay slow feeders, they will still play ring around the hay. Because, as we all know, the hay is greener, and much more yummy in the next pile!
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post #3 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 05:38 PM
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Are these horses all able to just be free-fed? If so, I'd just make sure they always have hay in front of them, and are each able to reach some hay even if the dominant one(s) run the submissive one(s) off, and just keep them fed 24/7. My horse is in a pasture/dry lot with a large bale feeder. Even if one horse runs another off, it can move to the other side of the large feeder to access the hay. When they're fed nicer hay, it's fed in feeders that equal the number of horses, so even if one horse gets run off "its" feeder, it can go to the one the dominant horse just abandoned, etc.

If you're talking about rations of grain/pellets, especially where they're drastically different quantities or have different medications or supplements, then you do need to ensure that each horse eats its own food and no one else's. You could actually halter them and tie them somewhere to eat separate from each other. Or feed them in the open but stick around until all horses are done to monitor the shenanigans. I've also seen setups with kind of partial stalls set up inside the pen (just one panel sticking out between two horses will work). It would minimize the amount of picking on the other horses, as the horse would have to go out and around and into the next stall to reach the horse or its food. If you don't tie them, you might have to babysit, at least the first few times until it's clear they'll leave each other alone, but probably best to always just hang around till they're done.
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Shawna
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http://yougottastart.blogspot.com
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post #4 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 05:39 PM
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Interesting design. Please let me know how you like them.
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post #5 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sarahfromsc View Post
Only Luna is getting hard feed?

Even with the hay slow feeders, they will still play ring around the hay. Because, as we all know, the hay is greener, and much more yummy in the next pile!
No, the other two get granules in the morning too, but a different kind. Hers are specifically for pregnant and lactating mares.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #6 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by whisperbaby22 View Post
Interesting design. Please let me know how you like them.
Will do. I have high hopes!

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #7 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sabowin View Post
Are these horses all able to just be free-fed? If so, I'd just make sure they always have hay in front of them, and are each able to reach some hay even if the dominant one(s) run the submissive one(s) off, and just keep them fed 24/7. My horse is in a pasture/dry lot with a large bale feeder. Even if one horse runs another off, it can move to the other side of the large feeder to access the hay. When they're fed nicer hay, it's fed in feeders that equal the number of horses, so even if one horse gets run off "its" feeder, it can go to the one the dominant horse just abandoned, etc.

If you're talking about rations of grain/pellets, especially where they're drastically different quantities or have different medications or supplements, then you do need to ensure that each horse eats its own food and no one else's. You could actually halter them and tie them somewhere to eat separate from each other. Or feed them in the open but stick around until all horses are done to monitor the shenanigans. I've also seen setups with kind of partial stalls set up inside the pen (just one panel sticking out between two horses will work). It would minimize the amount of picking on the other horses, as the horse would have to go out and around and into the next stall to reach the horse or its food. If you don't tie them, you might have to babysit, at least the first few times until it's clear they'll leave each other alone, but probably best to always just hang around till they're done.
No, unfortunately, they don't have the choice to have 24/7 hay. The owner of the barn is very much against that. The hay she has is too rich and she doesn't want to do something for me that she doesn't do for the others (buy less rich hay and keep it stocked in their paddock.) When I move to my own place this summer I will have complete freedom, but for now, my hands are a bit tied.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #8 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 06:03 PM
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I'd worry that somehow the hay could jam up inside. I'd still put extra piles spaced well apart. I learned a long time ago you need more feeding stations or piles than there are horses, double plus one. That way the bully tires of chasing the others off a pile.



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post #9 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ecasey View Post
No, the other two get granules in the morning too, but a different kind. Hers are specifically for pregnant and lactating mares.
But they are brought in to eat the hard feed? That is a harder thing to deal with when free feeding three.

My gelding is in a herd of eight with four 1500 round bales, and they still play ring around the hay! But at least as they play the game it keeps them moving instead of just standing in one spot all day.

I will be curious to see how they work for you as well!

OT. How's your husband doing?
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post #10 of 29 Old 01-28-2016, 08:52 PM
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Sounds like the two are fine. If the higher one wants the food and won't share but takes longer to eat it then perfect. They should still be supervised for eating so they don't swap back and forth.

The pregnant mare is more of an issue. I wouldn't think you would have to separate just for that, or at least for longer than just feeding time, but from the sounds of the management you may need to. It doesn't matter if she's dominant if she doesn't care if everyone else eats her food. She also needs her food more than the others.

That trickle feeder may well turn off an already lackluster eater. I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't use it and just went hungry.

Nor do I think any type of feeder will help with the main problem.
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