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~TC~



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PostSubject: Slow feeders   Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:41 am

I think these have been mentioned on here before,....but it is worth repeating... as more ideas have come into play...

Thought I would throw this option out there for anyone it may work for...

I have looked at these ideas, and incorporated it into my own feeding program.

"Slow Feeders" They are a way to feed hay so that the horses do not gorge or stuff their faces with hay... It promotes more "Foraging" as appose to "grazing". It is beneficial for horses that are prone to laminitis/founder, stomach ulcers, "easy keepers", "Hard Keepers", Great for draft horses, down to miniature horses.. Works for one or two horses or a whole herd of horses..Works in a paddock, field, Run-in's or in a stall...and a lot less wastage of the hay, so it is benefical to your pocket book. :p

It may not work for every person, every horse, or every barn set up, but the ideas and options are pretty much endless. It's up to your imagination really... Although many folks have already come up with lots of great ideas. Troubleshooted them and improved on them...

Hard sided feeders:
http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Hay+Feeders+%28hard-sided%29

Small Mesh Nets:
http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Small-Mesh+Hay+Nets

Ones made from Plastic Barrels:
http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Barrel+Feeders

Challenge feeders for the horses that tend to need more stimulation, exercise, for hay that is higher in sugar that you don't want horses gorging on, or horses that may need to be on a major diet:
http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Challenge+Feeders

(Video of the horses eating from a "Challenge Feeder"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvUqKB-_WOw&feature=related )

Feed whole round bales?
http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Round+Bale+Options

This feeder idea works in a stall, or in a paddock. It is used for those types that need their hay soaked. Or can be used dry as well.. (Make your own I would say...cheaper, and doesn't look too difficult..) :
http://www.slowdownhayfeeder.com/


Common sense when deciding to use something like this.. Obviously the hay net feeders would not work on a horse with shoes, some net holes would be great for regular sized horse, but may allow a mini to stick a foot in... But the metal grid feeders could work)
Horses that tend to destroy things may not be able to use one kind but another style may work..

Time constraints when feeding a whole herd before taking off to work, may not be feasible. (Although some feeders allow you to load up in one evening and not have to touch for a day or so..)

I am posting these ideas, more for the folks who may have a "problem horse" when it comes to feeding hay.. (Founder prone, weight issues etc) that may benefit from one of these ideas.

The feeder I chose was more to reduce wastage. I took an apple box, I throw the hay in, or haylage.. I then toss a rope hay net on top..(Took the draw string off) then I bungee it down on 4 corners. It keeps the hay from blowing away in the wind.. The horses have to pull it out, so the loose stuff stays under the net's tension for the most part. The can't flick the hay aside with their nose and toss it out onto the ground where they then proceed to stand on it.. lol

I only feed two horses this way, so it works for my situation no problem. If I were feeding a few more horses, I would still use the box, but have 2 or 3 of them, and probably go to the steel grid style..

Moody Blue you just started the grid boxes... How are they working out for you?

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Dun Tru

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:56 am

I LOVE my slow feeders!! When we started feeding hay again late fall/early winter (before things started to freeze at night) Anna and I bought heavy duty hockey nets, we made each hockey net into its own giant hay bag, would stuff them full with hay and feed, it worked great. I instantly noticed that there was little to no waste, it took the horses longer to eat their given amount of hay for the day/night, rather than gorging on a huge meal and not having much to pick at for the rest of their time. And the horses seemed to enjoy them as well, even when I would offer loose hay (when first introducing them to the hay nets) they would pick to eat out of the hay net over the loose hay!

Once things started to freeze I found an issue with the hay nets, they were gettting frozen to the ground and the draw string was getting very stiff and difficult to work with, so I started looking into hard sided hay feeders and had my boyfriend make one for me.

The uprights are 8 foot long 2x4 studs that were cut in half, then cut on the diagonal. They give the box the support it needs, the sides are 3.5 feet wide and 3.5 feet long and made out of 1/4" plywood. On the bottom is a small metal mesh that is stapled and supported by a few boards, so the dust can fall through the bottom, but the hay stays in the feeder. The top and bottom is reinforced with 2x4 and 1x4 lumber as well. The grate on the top was originally a grate with 5 inch openings used for strapping down infloor heating, my boyfriend took it and welded one sheet over another to make the holes smaller. We put two samall blocks on the inside of the feeder at the top to prevent the horses from pulling the grate out and just having a free-for-all of the hay (we have a few LBEs and they have tried to get it out but have so far failed). I slide the grate out on a diagonal, and load it up with hay, then slide/wiggle the grate back in and its all ready for the horses!!








We only have the one hard sided one now, but Andrew is going to make another here shortly (hopefully this weekend), it works great, with it I notice a lot less hay, less bickering over the hay and it works great, 3-5 horses can easily fit around the one we have at one time.

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RobinsKelticBuckaroo

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:28 pm

very interesting! i've never seen or heard of this.
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Imagine



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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:00 pm

I just started to use a slow feeder with Imagine and I wish I would have done this sooner.
Since I only have the one horse, I used a large rubbermaid tote with the haynet.
Reduces wastage, and makes the ole gal feel like she is eating way more then she is.
She is an easy keeper and would tend to gorge her hay then be bored for the rest of the day, now she picks for a bit, has a nap, then goes back. its great.
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Barefoot_Horsegirl

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:20 pm

We just started using slow feeders and we LOVE them. During storms/high winds we know the horses have freechoice hay 24/7 and there is no waste so they are a big time saver.

We bought $9.99 hockey nets and sewed up the sides with nylon cord. They hold at least 100LBS of hay each. We attach them on the side of the barn with little clips. It took the horses a few days to figure them out but now they love the nets.

The down side to the nets we bought is they rip really easily, but for $9.99 with the time and hay they've saved, they are worth it. I'm going to sew up the holes with nylon cord and I'm sure I will get another couple of months out of them. I mentioned this at a Christmas party I went to and my friend gave me an old volleyball net she had! This netting is basically rip proof and will hold 100's of pounds of hay. I haven't had the time to sew it up and get it ready for the horses yet but I'll try and post pics when I do. Its perfect!

Another big benefit is that we would be able to go away for a day or two and leave our neighbours with only water duty. Right now we can't really go away over night because we have no one to actually feed the horses.

Hay feeders are the best.
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:39 pm

Quote :
We bought $9.99 hockey nets and sewed up the sides with nylon cord.

What kind of Hockety net is this? ball hockey net? The real ice hockey nets are like $25? And much more hardier.. might be worth a look... (Cdn Tire was where I picked one up at..)

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Dun Tru

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:40 pm

Yeah Canadian Tire is also where we got our hockey nets, we did get some of the cheaper ones and the horses would put holes in them far to easily, so then we got the more expensive ones and they work great!! No holes have been put in them yet *knocks on wood*

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:15 pm

I really like your hard sided feeder Moody Blue. I've been wanting something like this for quite some time because of the strong winds that we have around here but I wasn't sure how to go about it. I'm going to have Lord Gord look at yours and see if he can manufacture something like it. I'm sure he can - but I want to do it within a reasonable budget - he tends to go a little overboard.

This is a great thread!
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Yes, you're right, they are the floor hockey nets. Its nice to know that the $29.99 nets lasts longer, we'll be sure to buy those ones next time.

TC, I really like the idea of a hay box with a net bungied in the corners. I think I'll try it.
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:57 pm

I'll try to get more pictures of my hay box (empty) so that Lord Gord can see the "guts" of it ;)

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~TC~



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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:38 pm

Quote :
TC, I really like the idea of a hay box with a net bungied in the corners. I think I'll try it.

I will try to get pictures of how I work them, when it is emptier tomorrow...

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:45 am

I have never heard of slow feeders. Do you guys feed square bales? I only have round bales and no tractor with a front end loader, so I am not sure how you would get the hay into these feeders. I understand if using square bales, way easier to move. What I use now is snow fence around the round bales. I don't think it slows them down, but they can't sleep on it and there is way less waste.

Here is are pictures of my hay feeder.



Happy ponies!



When I get the boys at my own place, I will be incorporating more Paddock Paradise stuff.

Thanks for sharing this!
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:47 am

mypony: I use round bales only and the slow feeders work great for me! I just cut the string off the bale and unroll it as I need it and stuff it into the feeder. I found free-feeding the bales in the field resulted in soooo much waste!!! So this was the perfect solution for me!

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:14 am

I do the same...feed from a round bale... I wheelbarrow a huge load to the feeder and load 'er up...

Again, less waste.

I was wondering about that snowfence material though... is it tough? That could possibly be used in place of the metal grid in some ways... Provided they couldn't tear it with their teeth.

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:04 pm

I find the snow fence pretty tough in some ways. When it is cold it can be pretty brittle, like when I am putting around the bale and tying it closed with a rope. I have learned that I need to put two pieces of wooden laths, one on each side. This allows me to tighten the snow fence snug around the bale, and I remove the twine. Each wrap of snow fence last several months, but they do get ripped and bent out of shape just from use. I have never seen the horses rip the snow fence, so I guess you could try and use it instead of the metal grid, but I don't think it is heavy enough to push down the hay.

Could the horses get their tongues stuck to the metal grid when it is cold?
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:51 pm

If you think about it the horses are breathing their hot breath on the grid while they eat, so it isn't going to be cold enough for them to get their tongue stuck, at least it hasn't been an issue here so far or with anyone else I've talked to that use the metal grid.

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:59 pm

Love this topic, thanks for bringing it up again TC! Great to hear and finally see everyone's models!
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:04 pm

I'm also just using round bales but I never put them in with the horses. We unroll the haylage as we need it, load it in the wheel barrel or on the tobaggen and spread it out or bring the nets to the round bale and fill them up. I don't want my guys standing around at a round bale all day, they don't get enough movement. You can use feeders and still spread out some hay if its not too windy. Then, when they clean up the loose piles they still have hay 24/7 in the feeders.
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:04 am

There are some examples in there too, BFHG, that allow you to fill up smaller, more portable slow feeders, and dispurse them around your paddock, (On fence post, on trees etc) or if you have amore paddock paradise set up, you can dispurse them around the the trail system...

That allows the movement as well, with less wastage..

(but I think you are more like me, and have an open pasture?)

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:51 am

Yes, its wide open and always windy. I intend to make a bunch of different feeders when I have more time. Maybe a box style feeder at either end of the turnout, and a few more nets attached on fence posts throughout. Right now the feeders are mainly being used to prevent waste during storms but I want to incorporate multiple feeders so the fatties keep moving.

I feel like I spend all my time spreading hay. I can't wait for the day that I can put hay out once and not have to worry for at least another 12+ hours. Using round bales would really make my life easy but I think movement is so important. It would be great if I could incorporate enough feeders so I could spend an hour or so filling them all up and then not have to do it for a couple of days. AHHHHH, that would be so much better!
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:17 pm

I have only the one grided feeder, but do have a few more open wood feeders to help encourage movement - plus their feeders are far enough away from their napping, drinking and playing spots that they move around a fair bit. I would like to have at least 4 of the big grid feeders, I find right now the one I have if I stuff it so tight that I can barely get the grid in it will last 3 horses roughly 24 hours!! And can be stuffed/packed in 10 minutes so that is pretty awesome!!

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:40 pm

The box slow feeders are a great idea but since we feed multiple horses outside and feed round bales, my husband came up with a neat idea that seems to work well for us. He converted old manure spreaders, stripping them down to basically the frame and sides, floored them with plank and built slatted sides and a roof on them with a door in the back. They hold 2 round bales and are portable so we can move them into the shelter of the corrals in case of bad weather. The roof keeps the bales dry, there is little waste and we find that a number of horses can eat comfortably side by side. We usually keep two feeders in the yards during the winter and find the mares only eat for a while and then go about their business. I think it was CJ who commented that they look like little circus wagons





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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:01 am

Relly interested in seeing the inside we want to make one too to try
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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:14 am

I'll try to rememebr to get some pictures today after work of the inside of the feeder!!

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PostSubject: Re: Slow feeders   Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:18 am

Here is mine ...I took pics last week..

It is a very simple...quick (not really SLOW) feeder..but more to cut down on waste by the horse flicking the hay outside of the box and standing on it...
I want to do one more like Moody has...and will aim for that for next winter. For now, this is working..

Coming out to an empty box...You can see how the bungees go from the outside to the inside at the bottom and the top...




The loose net inside... usually just falls to the bottom, sometimes they have it pulled out... and if that is a concern..a better attachment to the bungee cords is all that is needed..
Also..the net will freeze, but it can still be spread out... just a little stiff... lol




With some hay in it... and how the bungee cords come up on the outside of the box from the inside...and hook to two horseshoe style nails.. As the hay gets eaten down, the bungees pull the net to the bottom with it... (I usually fill it right up...so it is more of a mound and that feeds them all night until the next night...... this was just enough hay to get them to morning cause it was the weekend)
(This is just chaff and snow in the bottom now... A gridded bottom would allow it to fall through... I just shovel it out once a week or more..)


(The burlap on the fence is to cut down on the wind..as they pull the hay out, the wind will catch it and blow it around.. it will also land on the other side of the fence where they can reach it... so this eliminates that quite a bit.. Just a winter thing...and will come down ni the spring..)


And some other pics of them hanging out at supper time..









This was a different evening...a wetter snow..







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Last edited by ~TC~ on Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:20 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Needed to add something..)
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