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Hello All,

Im currently trying to put a plan in place feeding wise for this coming winter. I have 3 full sized horses (1 who is a yearling) and a mini (who likely won't be out with them but not sure yet.)

Last winter I basically had hay chix and handy hay nets hung everywhere. This is too labor intensive though on the bad days and I may not be home at all this winter. (Someone else would be feeding for me).

I was thinking of something I found on Hay Chix page - the tartar hay basket + a roundbale net with 1" holes. I want my horses to have 24/7 access but not making a mess and wasting a lot. Does anyone use this set up themselves?

I dont have a tractor or a barn to store large bales and dont want to deal with the questionable quality - mold and dust. So I think I will stick with squares. Just need to figure out a way to get more bang for my buck. And keep the horses happy and healthy to boot. :smile:

If you have any ideas throw them my way!
 

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I took a look at this, I don't know how much it costs, but I am a big advocate of trying out a new system before spending the big bucks. I would suggest getting a rubber water trough, drilling some holes in it, putting it on a mat and some bricks to keep it drained and putting your net in that. I have a setup similar to this and can get you some more info on this if you like. If you already have a rubber water tank this will not cost much and will let you know if this type of set up will work with your horses.
 

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I gave up with the slow feeder nets as the horses were chewing through them too fast, one also figured out how to push her head under the net and shove the hay up out of the top.
I’ve switched to the rubber tubs with a grille over the top to slow them down
 

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I don't kno what a hay chix is but guessing just brand of net?

Yes I've used netted round bales for years successfully. I did have 2 horses that would aggressively bite & but holes in it though. Was still way better than not netting, even if I didn't fix the holes. I bought a reel of the twine along with the net(from manufacturer - way cheaper by the metre than retail) & just use that to 'darn' holes.

Then I got a mare who pawned at the net. Have fixed that by using a steel hay ring feeder. I attach the net over the top of that & a large round bale lasts about 3 weeks for 3 horses.
 

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We don't use nets as one mare insists on playing with it, and rips holes in it drags it out of the feeder, etc. When we found her with the net wrapped around her head and forelegs one morning, we got rid of the nets. We just stand round bales on end in the barn and unroll them like cinnamon rolls and fork hay over the fence into a couple of big rubber tanks with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage. This way we control how much is fed, and nobody is getting caught in the nets. It doesn't take long to put hay out twice a day, and we control how much is fed-- more in cold weather, etc. We give enough that they are still picking through the wisps when it's time for the next feeding so they're never without food, but not so much they toss it out and walk all over it. Works for us for 3-4 horses and we feed about as much as we did with nets and about half as much as we did when they got a round bale free-choice. It also allows us to see the hay as we feed it-- we've found some noxious weeds, bits of trash or twine on occasion and in one case, a cat that had been unfortunate enough to end up baled in the hay that we may not have found had the horses just been left to their own devices with a round bale. If a bale has any mold, we can catch that and toss that hay aside, too. It only takes about 20 minutes a day to feed the hay, and we like knowing what and how much the horses are getting. If we happen to get square bales rather than rounds, this works the same-- we toss a bale into each tank, break it up, and repeat at the next feeding. When someone else feeds, it's simple for them as well, and if the horses are only fed once daily due to a blizzard or someone else feeding, we just have them feed twice as much since they're only feeding once a day.
 

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I do know several folks that have gone with one of those plastic sheds (Bale Barn is one brand, as is HayHut) you put over the hay with a net included -- they're made for rounds but you could use squares just as well. They seem to like them, although one gal has a big mule who has figured out how to flip it off the hay so he can gorge himself, so they're not fool-proof. They also work best if your herd is amicable, otherwise a low horse in the herd who has his head inside eating won't see the boss mare pinning her ears at him and might get double-barrelled before he realizes she wants that spot. They seem to hold up ok and keep the hay dry.
 
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