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Discussion on Round bale Feeder opinions

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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3115
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 4:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi years ago I used to feed my horses round bales. I used the horse bale feeder. One horse laid down next to the feeder...rolled and got 3 of her legs stuck in it. There was a new bale in there so she was stuck. I rented the place at the time and checked the horses twice daily(didn't live there) When I arrived She was fighting to get out but couldn't. She was stuck on her back/side with her legs in the bale feeder. I had to call a friend, he came out with a saw. We cut the feeder apart, I had put a phone call into the vet. I won't go into lengthy details of her injuries, but after many mos. of doctoring I ended up having to put her to sleep because of it.

That poor mare always was accident prone, but I just can't bring myself to buy another one. I have read of different injuries from such feeders.

I would like to feed big bales through the VERY cold mos. and have been researching big bale feeders (that are affordable) Then I ran across this... it is weird... has anyone used one? What do you think the downfalls would be? I have no doubt mine would eat peacefully so not worried about that. Any other ideas? Thanks

http://www.blazingstarstables1.com/page_597765.html
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 409
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 6:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I researched it before... read somewhere about it...the person seemed to like it.
But I think it will take a tractor to put the thing on the bale. It says:
"Stand the bale on a flat end. Remove the string or binding. Hook the elastic opening on one side of the top of the bale and then continue around, hooking it over and tugging it down towards the ground until the Big Bale Buddy completely covers the hay bale like a hat. Now flip the round bale over"
LOL they make it sound like flipping a round bale is like flipping a wrist.
But, you have a tractor, I think. So it may be a great solution.
L
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3116
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 7:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yeah I saw those directions...flipping a small round bale wouldn't be too hard, but the ones I'm looking at are pretty big!

We do have a tractor with a bale forks tho. I just wonder how durable they are? I guess I would probably only use it 3 mos. out of the year. I can see Hank pawing at it tho, wonder if it would hold up to that!
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Melissa Boschwitz
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Username: amara

Post Number: 480
Registered: 7-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 7:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

but if you used bale forks wouldnt you end up putting holes in the feeder?
i wonder if you could cut out the "bottom" so that you just wrap it up but dont have to flip it over.. sure, the bottom is exposed, but shouldnt give you that much more waste..
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3118
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 8:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't know! The bale forks are dull...more like pallet forks...now the bale spear would probably do a lot of damage. I wonder if all it is just a glorified tarp. I do like the concept tho. I may have to try one. If there isn't much waste I could keep it in the lean-to and not worry about water.
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leslie christian
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 411
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 8:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heres a new round bale feeder for horses. I dont like the openings or know why it even has em.


OOO I found a cool one that is 'easily assembled around the bale' It looks like its hard rubber or plastic... www.spacepac.com.au

This is one of my favorite topics, as Ive yet to find a easy way to do round bales ( I have no tractor). but this might be workable.
Leslie
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leslie christian
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 412
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 8:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

oops, I was so excited I forgot to attach picture.
Its even got its own cover.

L
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3120
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 8:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

HA Leslie when I was searching bale feeders I found that ring and wondered just what could a horse do to itself with it. In further researching(for prices) I came across a picture of a horse who had climbed in it and was stuck. I then realized the "tombstones" were there for a reason. The "tombstones" are what my horse got her legs stuck in.

Love the bottom one, but have a feeling it's way outa my budget! Did it have a price on it?
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 413
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 8:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

they call this homemade one a "ghetto feeder" lol, but says have yet to see a horse get hurt on it. I wonder if you made it with super heavy-duty hinges you can wrap it around the bale instead of lifting bale into it.
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leslie christian
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 414
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 8:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I didnt see a price, I was too busy ogling it:-)
heres another www.horsesafeproducts.com
but it does look like the 'bale buddy might be the best for the buck. the 1500 denier is used to describe the "nearly destructible' horse blankets in my cataloges. Does the Hankster destroy his blankies?
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3121
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 9:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hank doesn't get a blanket, he has plenty of fat and hair to keep him warm!

I looked at the Bale Buddy website and with shipping it would be about $90 in US currency.

I'm still looking, I did come across the horsesafe ones...don't think I like them...the one I think I would like is he AGI one, but I can't find any dealers anywhere!
http://www.agiproducts.com/HAY%20RINGS.htm
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3122
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 8, 2008 - 9:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

AHA I found a dealer about 30 mi. from us!!!!! The price is $375. The metal horse feeders are $275 well worth the difference I think, NOW to talk hubby into it
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3124
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 8:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

HMMM that AGI bale feeder I like is 4 ft. high, doesn't that seem a little tall (no one will climb in it anyway!)...especially considering my 2 oldies are short...Flash 13.1hh
Sam 14hh.. Does anyone have that tall of a bale feeder?
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 2103
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 8:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I read this last night and blew it off as I don't feed round bales. But I like the adjustable ones on the agi products link. Glad I kept reading. There is one 32" tall Diane.

I still have old tractor tires out, and one old metal cage from some factory. I wish I could find more of the metal cages, as it keeps the hay off the ground about 4" and it's indestructable.

Look around factories and warehouses. Sometimes they have things stacked outside that they are not using and have to pay to get rid off, and will gladly give them to you if you haul them away. May not be a perfect "round bale" feeder, but you never know!
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3125
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 9:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie I saw the 32" one , but I want "tombstones" on them...I really can see one of them climbing in there to take a nap!

After thinking about this I wonder if the 48" includes the "tombstones" if it does then the height
would be fine! (DUH) I was thinking the skirt was 48" if that's true ...then too tall.

We don't have factories and warehouses around here much...remember I live in the sticks!
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 313
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 9:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane,
For the past two years, my horses have been given free choice round bales during the winter months. I hate to admit it, but because they are both easy keepers, they gained more weight than I would have liked. However, the boarding barn definitely enjoys the ease of just hauling a round bale out with a tractor, and forgetting it for a week or two. Last year, I created my own haynet and tied it to the top of the round bale holder. It worked to slow down the horses, but then trying to get the last little morsel, my horse apparently got his head stuck, based on the round bale holder being located about 20 feet away one morning. (The openings were only about 6-8 inches wide.)

This year, I decided to dole out flakes to try to get their weight down (Hank's diet was and is an inspiration). I'm waiting to receive a new product (a hay bag which holds either 2-3, 3-4, or 4-5 flakes at a time with small 4 inch openings made by web strapping. But thinking ahead to the farm that I will be setting up in a year or so, I've found a couple of products which seem like good solutions. One is this covered, plastic bale holder: http://duplessishorsefeeder.com/Feeder8USA.html

The other product, it's horribly expensive - is a product recommended by Dr. Karen Hayes. If I could ever afford this (and it seems you need one for each horse you have!), I'd get:
http://www.stablegrazer.com/testimonials.html

For now, I'm trying to figure out how to attach the haybag to something stable (pun intended!) so my two horses can eat from the bag in a natural, head-down position. Any ideas? Here's a picture of the product: http://www.thinaircanvas.com/nibblenet/nibblenetframe.htm
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 314
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 9:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh, btw, I also like this round bale feeder:
http://www.oneillbalefeeders.com/dealers.htm
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3126
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 9:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dove, I don't know how horses manage to hurt themselves so easily! That's why I was looking for something as safe as possible.

The weight thing does make me nervous, I have found some all grass, first crop, kinda stemmy hay in big bales. This year is going to be an experiment, to see if they get humongous. If it doesn't work out hubby needs a new bale feeder for the calves, so at least it wouldn't be a waste of money. I am not going to let them at it 24/7..just during the daylight hours and give them a flake or 2 at night.

The nibblenet looks like a good idea! However I have tried a similar thing and the horses seemed to get very frustrated. Hank continuously pawed and tried to kill it, the mare would throw her head and pace, the arab gelding just quit trying. My horses are hogs tho, so it probably would work for you. Have you tried them yet?
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 315
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 10:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

No I haven't tried it yet, although I did recently order two. When I tried the haynet over the roundbale, they just kept at it until they ate it all, but then the openings weren't terribly small.

As for the bale holder, I would recommend some type of overhead cover to keep as much rain/snow off hay as possible. With only two horses, I worried about the hay becoming moldy. Mostly, I just was unhappy that they never left the round bale and got huge hay bellies.

What product ("similar thing") did you use?
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3128
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 10:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dove I tried the haynet that has smaller "holes" for dieting horses. I have fed round bales in the winter before and had no problems with mold. I only feed them after the ground has froze and the temps stay below freezing...for the most part. I want to feed the round bales from the middle of Dec. to the middle of FEB. It's more for my convenience, there just isn't enough daylight in the morning to feed, opening a gate will be much easier!
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Ann
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Username: dres

Post Number: 2053
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 11:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dove 2 let us know how this nibblet hay bag works.. that looks interesting for the wet months around here.. I wonder tho,, my horses have teeth? How the front will hold up to trying to take a huge bite out of em vs. a nibble??

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots..
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3129
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 11:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes Dove please let us know how they work out. I can see hank grabbing on to one and ripping it to shreds eventually.. he is very opinionated and has the patience of a 2 yo when it comes to his food!!
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 417
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 6:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

<grin>
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leslie christian
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 418
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 - 7:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A little off topic, but neat... for those who need diets
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVQ_hFXYUAc
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3136
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 6:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I like them Leslie. I went to the slow down website and WOW they are expensive...I think the were $400 something (each). If someone had a inventive hubby I bet they would be easy to build.

Then I ran across a big heavy star shaped thing you just throw on top of the hay in a muck bucket...much cheaper and I thought a good idea. Horse people are so inventive!!!
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3137
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 6:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here is the star shaped thing. Even I could come up with something similar to this

http://www.hayledge.craddocksmoss.co.uk/
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 316
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 7:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Can anyone provide the web address for the youtube feeder? Leslie?
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3138
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 7:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dove, this doesn't look like the one in the video, but it is called the slow down hay feeder?
http://www.slowdownhayfeeder.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Ite mid=1
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leslie christian
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 419
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 8:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I left a question with the utube person. maybe we will get an answer, not sure tho.
L
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 317
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 8:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Can anyone provide the web address for the youtube feeder? Leslie?
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3139
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 8:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The one in Leslies video looked more like the Dover hay Pillow tho I couldn't fine any info on it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwFGwFZIs0k
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3140
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 8:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The one in Leslies video looked more like the Dover hay Pillow tho I couldn't find any info on it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwFGwFZIs0k
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3141
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 10, 2008 - 8:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well the AGI Feeder is out, the dealer 30 mi. from us doesn't carry them anymore. They said they were cheaply made and broke easily. We saw all the broken ones there, so I guess I'll steer clear of them Bale Buddy is climbing back up the list.
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Imogen Bertin
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Username: imogen

Post Number: 1194
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 - 1:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What about leaving the feeder empty for half to one day between bales to cut down the feed rate?

I looked at the horse safe tombstone round feeders last year but they are twice the price and I actually think young horses would be MORE likely to climb into them than the traditional 4 ft high circular jobs. Our local agicultural engineering suppliers has also given up trying to sell them - not enough demand.

I think that an important function of round feeders is to provide feed to the horses lower down the pecking scale with less fighting over the food...

I seem to remember Denny lost a horse to a round feeder accident but they seem to be quite rare here where it's usually muddy when they are in use. The only accident I've had (yet!) was a horse which liked the warm dropped hay/mud mixture close to the feeder and then rolled and cut his leg on the sharp "skirt" at the bottom. This horse just won a major dressage trophy for his owner so obviously no long term damage!

All the best

Imogen
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3142
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

After searching most everything, it would seem the metal one with the tombstones are the only "affordable" option around these parts.

Anything else would have to be shipped$$$. I don't think I can bring myself to get one, since that's what my horse "killed" herself with. The 3 I have now are not accident prone and I guess since I live where they reside now maybe it would be ok...I would feel like a hypocrit getting one tho!
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Melissa Boschwitz
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Username: amara

Post Number: 481
Registered: 7-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 - 8:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

what i do to minimize waste is to at first keep the strings on.. this helps contain it.. as they work down i take off those strings before they become a problem.. every day i then go out and pick up the loose stuff and move it to another pile, so that all that is left of the round bale is "the bale"... this way they arent standing and pooping on loose stuff.. it takes me a few minutes every night, and does require some light to see by, but it completely cut down on my waste... the few times i didnt do this i had several wheelbarrows full of wasted hay to clean up... when i do it this way, all i have of waste is the outer layer of hay that is "yucky".. about a wheelbarrow and a half or so...and they completely clean up the other "piles"...
i just have 2 on a round bale right now, and the bale lasts me about a month.. i never have any problems with spoilage because the weather down here is generally dry (except for yesterday, who woulda thought tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in november??)...
my little guy is a fattie, though have never had to worry about any founder issues with him (must be that haflinger blood)...every night i put his grazing muzzle on.. he hates it, but it does slow him down some, and keep his weight at a somewhat obese level, rather than morbidly obese, as would be his preference...
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 318
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 - 9:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

After hours looking at different "slow down" hay feeders, I thought you might like the idea of your round bale in a hockey net! I tried to upload the photos, but the sizes were too big, so go to this web address, scroll down to the picture of the hockey net haybag, and click on that picture for details.
http://www.swedishhoofschool.com/hayfeeders.htm
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leslie christian
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 421
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 - 11:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

OOO thats neat Dove2. Love it.. and it looks like you can buy the net for around 20 bucks.

Diane, just think of the savings on your hay bill...enough to afford another horse
Leslie
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3144
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008 - 4:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That is neat! It has one drawback for me anyway...you need a place to hang it

I need to find out if the old girl had copd. If she does I think big bales are out!
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3150
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Nov 14, 2008 - 12:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well I got my quandry figured out for me! My brother-in-law came over and is putting electricity in my lean-to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No more 2hr. fan hangings with extension cords!!
I will be able to see when dark out to feed!!!
Vet won't have to string extension cords!!!!!
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 435
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Friday, Nov 14, 2008 - 12:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Send him over to my place when he's done.
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3219
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 - 4:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well hubby thought it would be nice for me not to have to trudge thru the cold and snow to feed sq. bales and talked me into getting a feeder and some round bales. A farmer we know has some very nice PURE grass hay in big bales, he stores them inside and said he'd only charge us $25 a bale and we could keep them stored there until we needed them. It is very nice hay ...maybe too nice, he said it was just hay he baled along the ditches, but is really nice, wonder if ditch hay is fattening!!

We got the feeder all set up, went and got a bale this morning and the pigs haven't come up for air yet!!! The arab gelding has his head buried so deep you can't even see it, Hank the HOG thinks he has died and went to smorgasboard heaven...I hope this works

My headless Arab

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leslie christian
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 463
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 - 5:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lucky You!!!
Looks great, Is that the tombstones thingies you were talking about?
I sooo want to go round bale too
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 4201
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 - 5:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

They all look so happy! I know if I had something like that for my horses they would all just eat themselves to death! Either that or they'd never come up for air and would choke to death. I hope it works out for you. I like the IDEA of horses "free feeding" and think mentally it's wonderful for them; I've just never found hay I'd be comfortable doing it with. Given the chance, I'm sure "Miss Piggy" and her friends could "out pig" Hank!
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3221
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 - 6:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sara, I have a hard time believing anything could out eat Hank! This hay is just perfect, I was very thrilled to stumble upon it. It isn't dusty, smells good,green and is a little stemmy...perfect for the pigs!

I am just going to allow them at it during the day light hours for now, once we get some snow cover they can have at it 24/7 unless they start getting fatter.

They really didn't come up for air until I moved them to the other pasture, hubby says they will do that for the 1st bale then be more "normal" I don't know if I buy that or not!

Sam's head wasn't visible most of the day, so obviously they can breathe when smothered with hay. Here's a little closer pic of his head buried and you can see what nice quality the hay is. This would be just wonderful if they don't "bloat" up.

Leslie yes the round things are called tombstones, I really don't like this feeder at all, but that's all that is available around here

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Sara Wolff
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Username: mrose

Post Number: 4203
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 - 7:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That does look good. My parents got hay that looked a lot like that when they lived in East Texas. Around here even our grass hay is too rich.
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 24
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 - 11:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

What a wonderful thread....so full of info....and I am wondering if Ziggy would be like Hank when it came to the textilene haybags. Perfect idea...if he didn't become impatient. I can only feed one pad at a time though so I emailed them for a quote on a custom size. My easy keepers could never have free access to hay, no how, now way, no hay...beyond 4 pounds per horse per day.

I thought the bucket idea was interesting until I saw the $400.00 price tag...yikes. Right now, I'm doubling the haynets I have but even that doesn't slow him down much.
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3223
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 7:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

WOW Patty 4lbs. per day! I thought I was strict when Hank was on his diet, no wonder Ziggy is cranky. Hank would want to kill anybody or anything if that's all he got! I'll take for granted he is grazing some too.

There are a lot of fat horse threads on here under horse nutrition-obese horses. I have a couple on Hank...filled with great advice! It's called Hanks weight watchers diet, and what a challenge it was/is!

Stemmy hay is a life saver for these types of horses, once I found the right hay, they were able to eat almost free choice last winter and came through in perfect weight! The vet even said AWESOME when he saw them in the spring. I'm hoping these big bales will be the same...it's from the same guy I got the small squares from last year (ditch hay)!

Dove2 how are your bags working out????
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Dove2
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Post Number: 322
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 9:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm glad you asked, Diane! I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! Everyone else at my boarding barn goes the round bale way. Four horses in each field go through one huge round bale in about four days. One horse is now on a permanent muzzle due to foundering from obesity. With my one HYPP N/H and a mare that looks like she's ready to foal out, slowing down and keeping hay to a minimum was super important to me.

You may recall, I created a "round bale haynet" last year in an attempt to combine the convenience of the round bale with slowing down the horses. It sorta worked, but the knots I created would sometimes come apart, or the horses would find a weak link or open side, and work their head into that opening. I finally stopped when I noticed the round bale holder (100 pounds or whatever it weighs) was moved about 20 feet, and I just imagined my horse's head got stuck inside the net, and he had to move the whole thing while trying to extricate himself.

A funny thing happened this morning, though. I've been using the slow down haybags now for a couple of weeks so the horses are used to them. While I muck their run-in, I'll sometimes throw one flake into the round bale holder to keep them out of my way. This morning, my gelding left the round bale and went to the net to eat! And while I thought he might have been frustrated or something while trying to get the hay out between the small 2inch squares, he proved me wrong! Unless (and he's smart enough to do this), he went to the mare's bag to eat her hay, so that when he gets to his own bag, it's still full. He's clever like that, that little bugger.
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Diane E.
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 9:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dove that's great!!! what's the chances of posting a pic of them with the hay in them??? PLEASE.

My "clever" one does that...saves his hay to last!

The round bales are scary!!!! Thankfully I have the choice of pastures to rotate them to. Yesterday they got to have it all day, then scooted to the other pasture with 1 leaf of hay for the night. Hopefully being able to regulate their intake will help! I opened the gate this morning and their heads are still buried! I'm going to weigh Hank today and track his weight, the winter hair is almost all there so that shouldn't throw me.
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Dove2
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Post Number: 323
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 10:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Once my company leaves, I'll be able to post a picture (another couple of days). Meanwhile, I think it might be easier on the horse's digestive system if their intake is consistent, instead of feast or famine. But then, in the wild, it may be feast or famine, so I'm not sure. I'd be curious to hear Dr. O's opinion of that.
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Cheryl K
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 10:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm really curious to hear Dr.O's opinion too. The following is from an e-mail I received from an equine nutritionist:
"In the meantime, let me caution you about putting Fox on a “diet.” Restrict any grain, but let her have all the hay she wants. Yes, you read that correctly.



Horses are meant to graze 24/7 and their stomachs produce acid all the time. They need to chew to produce saliva to neutralize that acid. If they go for more than 2 to 3 hours without anything to eat, it is extremely stressful, both physically and mentally. Stress results in the release of cortisol, which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to fat storage (so ironically, restricting hay keeps her heavy) and also leads to laminitis. I have seen many, many cases of induced laminitis by putting a horse on a hay-restricting “diet.”



So, the best thing you can do for her is to give her hay – all she wants. At first, she’ll overeat. But, after a few days, she’ll start to realize that she can walk away and the hay will still be there. And, she will relax her intake and self-regulate to only eating what her body truly needs."
Fox has had 15 or 16 founder episodes. I've been able to get her close to a good weight - but just close. I would dearly love to allow her free access to hay - but We've been here for over a year and I haven't been able to find a decent farrier - much less someone capable of dealing with a bout of founder. I feed round bales - but by the pound - not by the bale.
Cheryl
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Diane E.
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

HMMMM Do You mean my horses??? They have hay all day, a leaf at night + pasture(no snow) yet.

However I do have to throw in when they were on their VERY restricted diet, nothing bad came of it, only good things!!!

As stated above I think the "type" of free choice hay comes into play here. Good quality stemmy hay is the way to go with "easy keepers" IMHO.

Free choice has NEVER worked for mine..NEVER. That said they are not as fat as they usually were when given the free choice, so I'm willing to "play with it"

When Hank was fat+foundering my vet said to cut him back as far as possible without starving him. I have to say that didn't sit well with me and I gave him about 2% of his bodyweight in good quality grass hay....he didn't get better....had to have vet back out and he said to cut that amount in half!!! I HAD to follow his advice, Hank was crippled! I asked about ulcers ect. He said he would rather treat an ulcer than a coffin bone going thru the sole....now could I argue with that???? He never got an ulcer...just sound and maybe a little cranky!!!

ONCE in good weight he was/is able to lead a fairly normal diet...with exercise. BUT getting him to "normal weight" was imperative first.

I did ask Dr.O. about free choice hay once....here's the discussion

http://www.horseadvice.com/horse/messages/3/95000.html
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Angie J.
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 11:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Cheryl, thanks for that info from the equine nutritionist.

My horses get grazing 24/7 during a few months out of the summer, but have NEVER EVER had free choice hay. This time of year, I am betting they are out of hay from 9 p.m. til 8:30 or 9 a.m. and no one has any problems, never have. I give a bale at dusk, and another one as soon as I can get out there in the morning, with a mini feeding mid day. Even being it's not the best hay after 2 very dry summers, all 4 horses are fat enough for winter.

I wish I could provide hay 24/7 but it's just not practical. And even with limits on the hay, mine do walk away and come back, so they are getting enough it appears, not stressing over it at all.
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Melissa Boschwitz
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 12:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

For years I fed my pony hay in meals split up during the day, and i noticed he never came up for air till every last piece - and every last imaginary piece - was vacummed up. This was when I lived in the northeast and was managing a farm. He was always a fat little pig, bordering on true obesity, (even though he was in regular work) (thank heavens for good old style Haflinger blood I guess).

Since then we've moved to Texas, and to round bales. When I boarded them for awhile we had to share round bales with two other horses, and I swear my horses never came up for air. If it werent't for the fact that I would have them off the round bale for some hours every day, they would have gone thru it in days, rather than the 1-1 1/2 weeks it took them.

But now I have them home, and on a round bale about 20 hrs a day, with the other 4 being on pasture, and the pony is retired, and amazingly enough there are times when he is NOT eating... I think FINALLY he has figured out that there will always be food, and he can leave it for awhile and eat later. I do put a muzzle on him at night, just because I want to really try to avoid any weight related problems, and he's actually lost a few pounds. I'd put him at just over a 5, and for a fat little retired pony who gains weight on air, that's pretty good! He's in his 20's and i great health.

So it did take a long time for my guys to figure out that they could self regulate, and there were times when the pony became scary fat, so while he was learning to self regulate i really had to keep him exercised.

The bales are pretty good quality 1st/2nd cut bermuda grass hay. They get minimal amounts of grain - a literal handful with a small scoop of vitamins (i'd measure in ounces, not pounds), once or twice a day. (or sometimes not at all if i'm busy - they dont care)

I really am glad he figured this out,as the other horse is a more difficult keeper, but the two of them are joined at the hip (i swear, they have matching gold rings somewhere), so I need to keep hay in front of the other one all the time so he keeps a good weight (he looks awesome), but I do think that for both of them the environment that they are in (extremely low stress), has really made a difference. I wonder if that time when I had them boarded and they had to live with the other horses there was a stress and competition factor that made the pony eat so much. I wonder if things will change when I get a third horse next year.
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Cheryl K
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 2:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just read through Diane's discussion - and then read some of the info Dr. O has posted - ahem - It's not the free choice hay that's the problem - it's lack of exercise - Now I just have to figure out how much exercise and how I can get that exercise in when all we have right now is muck - and will have until the ground freezes.
Cheryl
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Diane E.
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 4:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Cheryl I hear ya about the exercise, my riding days are about done now for the winter. I'm hoping this is where the stemmier hay will come into play and not make them fat.

I have been watching them today just to see how much time they spend at the round bale and they are surprising me. I let them out about 7 a.m. Their heads stay buried pretty much until 10 am. They came back for a small nibble around noon and have been fake grazing since. Tonight we are suppose to be getting our first measurable snow I'm curious to see after grazing disappears how much they "stay at it"

I LOVE experiments!
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PattyB
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Posted on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 - 8:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I sooooo envy you ladies. Not only do I have two easy keepers that blow up on even extra hay....but for the older horse, I have to hose down allll of her hay or she threatens me with an impaction colic. She came here from Connecticut several years ago and to this day, she does not drink enough water....and I've tried every idea out there. She and Ziggy both eat out of haynets so the watering is not much of an issue.....but that cuts out any idea of free range round bales. When I had the chance at lunchtime though, I did find several sites that sell small size haynets made for ponies, exactly what I need for vacuum cleaner Ziggy.
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Diane E.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Patty maybe the nibblenets Dove is using would work for you.
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Diane E.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 7:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Cheryl I just re-read what the equine-nutritionist said about they will regulate themselves eventually....hubby said the same thing about my horses. Just doesn't make sense tho, if that were true there would be no fat horses would there? or am I mis-understanding this?

I sure like the theory though and it is going to be put to the test with my horses...with very careful weight monitoring
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Rachelle E. Morris
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Post Number: 97
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 8:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane,

Just some observations about my own horses in regards to horses self-regulating themselves.

For a very long time I fed my horses on the floor in their stalls and on the ground in the paddocks. When they cleaned up what they had I gave them more, the more I gave them the more they would eat and if they didn't eat it, they pooped on it. I found every time I walked near them, they thought it was time for more.

When I started to read this thread about the round bales and the feeders. I thought I'd try an experiment. All my horses have hayracks in their stalls, so I started filling the hay racks with the equivalent amount of hay that each horse was used to eating and I made sure that the rack stayed full, so they had hay in front of them all the time. After the first few days they self-regulated themselves and half the time they didn't even look at the hay for part of the day, in fact, I noticed my 2 year old colt would eat some and go to sleep which he was not doing before this experiment. He would save his hay for the nighttime and by the morning everything was gone. He has gotten neater in his stall ( I used to call him the party animal, no matter how many times I would pick up his stall, by the next morning it looked like there had been 5 horses in there, instead of 1. The other thing is I think he is not as bored since he now has to figure out which slat to pull the hay out of and that keeps him more occupied then eating the hay off the ground.

The filly sort of munches all day long, but never completely finishes the hay and there is just a little bit left in the rack in the morning. She always chowed down and ate every single piece of hay and was always wanting more.

So basically what I've found is that since they have hay in front of them all the time, they quit begging for something every time I walk in the barn, they seem a whole bunch happier and more relaxed. I am not wasting hay and they do not seem to be getting to fat.

With regards to Hank, I think eventually he will slow down his eating and he may even gain a little weight, but unless his weight gain is really dramatic, I'd just monitor him. I'd be curious to see if he really eats all day or is he giving himself a break at night, when you are not there to see him not chowing down.

I know with my colt the first day or so, I got worried when he wasn't eating during the day, but that worry went away when I realized that he saved it for his midnight snack. Maybe Hank is on a reverse schedule, eats all day and just hangs out at night. I think the hardest part especially with multiple horses eating from the same place is monitoring how much hay they actually do eat.


Just my thoughts.
Rachelle
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Diane E.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 8:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rachelle interesting I agree I think it makes for calmer, happier, no begging horses!!

Yesterday they were allowed free choice until dark, Before locking them in their pasture for the night I did what Melissa suggested and raked up everything they had pulled out (quite a bit) and put it in their lean to for the night. (I'm not letting them have it at night...YET)

Guess what...no staring at the house this morning..no pacing the fence and pawing...no running around like idiots when I went out the door. There was a tiny bit of hay left in the lean to...They didn't suck down their "grain" like it was their last meal.

This morning when I let them out instead of begging at the gate, they slowly shuffled out, buried their heads for half an hour and now are grazing...There is not any grass that I can see. So yes they are much happier, and calmer. (maybe Hanks horns will disappear)!

BUT once again I think for easy keepers the hay quality is important. I would not even consider this if I hadn't found what I THINK is perfect for them. Somewhat stemmy, green, pure grass, low dust, 1st crop hay. It'll take awhile to see if the weight piles on, but I'm optimistic
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Angie J.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 9:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think the one thing we are forgetting here is that the while horses were grazing 24/7, they were also moving the whole time in the wild. For most of us, that is hard to duplicate. Even as I type this, our snow cover is going down and I can't keep the horses on the large pasture much longer or they will be eating the roots for next years pasture!
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Cheryl K
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 9:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The key point I was missing is the exercise - Dr.O explains it very clearly in his article - Now I just have to figure out how I can force myself to ride my horse in this kind of weather - I absolutely hate riding in the rain - just ain't no fun a'tall - :-(
Cheryl
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Diane E.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 10:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think the exercise part of it is VERY important, but as Angie said they are mostly kept differently than wild horses. (I always have to throw in a but)

BUT lets consider what the wild horses eat also, I doubt very much they are grazing lush plentiful grass like our horses. In the winter I would imagine anyway they get what would be considered stemmy, brown type grasses.....Loose weight and are Grass ready in the spring.

Last year Hank was in good body weight 4-5 bcs come spring and lo-and behold he was able to graze MOST the summer unrestricted, with very close monitoring. He did blow up to a bcs of 7 over the summer...and in the drylot he went, but I think he probably only spent a total of 2-4 weeks dry lotted and still grazed some daily. I find that quite a feat for a horse VERY prone to grass founder. He wasn't exercised much because of weather, then my broken ribs.

So it would seem for my founder prone, fat, IR horse bcs going into spring and the TYPE of hay I feed thru the winter has played the key role with him, way more than exercise (which I think is VERY VERY IMPORTANT) when it's possible.
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Ann
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 10:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

simple create a revolving round feeder to keep their hoofs moving... excuse me for forgetting her name... she is looking for a horse related job and is creative.. here ya go...

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots..
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PattyB
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Post Number: 27
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 10:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Diane....I was thinking that too. The lady that makes them replied to my email requesting price for a custom made one of a smaller size and in her reply, she says that she doesn't charge extra for the custom size. The nibblenet is now on my "wish list."

As for the free access to hay, I'm going to watch your experiments. When I tried it with Ziggy, he just kept on eating, first his then vacuumed up Bokay's leftovers. It would be nice to leave hay out for them..........................
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Rachelle E. Morris
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 11:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Patty,

I think the idea is to make sure they have the hay in front of them at all times, so they know its not leaving. I think it would take a few days of getting used to it before your horse backed off the hay on his own.

As far as exercise goes, I remember reading somewhere that horses that are turned out for a good part of the day walked an average of 22 miles. I think someone used a pedometer and monitored several horses. Now, I don't know if that was in a huge paddock or a small one.

I also remember reading in a Natural Horsecare book, that one way to increase a horses exercise is to put hay out in many different places so the horses would move from place to place ( just like they do in the wild) to get their forage.

So basically, if you want them to move there has to be forage elsewhere for them to move to.

This might negate the entire round bale feeder unless you can get several smaller ones that could be placed in different parts of the turnout area.

Rachelle
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Diane E.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 11:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Patty can you find some stemmy 1st crop hay? Less than desirable....yet clean hay seems to be what works for fat boy, and that is what Dr.O.'s article says too. When I weigh Hank again in a couple weeks I'll let you know how it's going. We are expecting 8 in of snow so grass will be taken out of the equation..

And good riddance to snakes...I think I like snow now!!!!!
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Diane E.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 11:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rachelle mine move about quite a bit through the day, and our pastures are nothing but hills. When I'm at home I see them go up and down the hills many times a day...that does change when there is a lot of snow. They come up for water a few times a day and that is quite a walk, well usually they gallop. Which is wonderful...here's my but again!

BUT putting hay around a paddock wouldn't constitute "exercise" in my book. Of course any movement is good, but the way many of us have to keep our horses it just isn't possible to give them the exercise they need through turn out alone.

So the formula for success would be (if vigorous exercise isn't possible) less calories. I don't know why that was so hard to get in my head!!!

Stemmy low quality hay with a good vitamin supp, and no grain seems the easiest way for horse owners with limited space, limited time or weather restrictions for exercise.

With the correct hay I think (hope)especially IR type horses can eat free choice hay....we'll see.
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Lori
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 12:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have used a round bale feeder during the winter for several years.
My experience is my easy keepers park by the feeder and rarely leave it. They will gain weight over the winter to the point of obesity. So I bring them into the corral overnight to restrict their eating for a few hours. However, by spring they are still overweight. Almost anytime you look these two are eating.
One of the three will lose weight if not supplemented.
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leslie christian
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Post Number: 467
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 1:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ive always fed free choice, ... And a neat trick Ive stumbled upon is this:

1)Pumpkin hates being in, she would rather be out in the open pasture getting snowed on.
2) If I keep her hay in a rubbermaid trough in her stall, she will go in there to eat but doesnt linger in there. She eats and then goes back out to the pasture.
3) Ive been keeping her water out in the pasture with the heater going in it and they are really drinking good:-)
3) Even spongebob (shetland) isnt getting too fat on free choice because he will follow pumpkin anywhere. (the one good thing about herd-bound). So basically when pumpkin leaves the hay he does too.

In AZ I didnt have barn(stalls), so Pumpkin was fed outside, free choice, and she tended to keep her face in the hay 24/7. But here she is staying a nice weight, I assume due to claustrophobia LOL
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Diane E.
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 6:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

YIKES. I weighed fat boy tonight...after having his head stuffed in the bale most of the day and he went 1067#'s This may be a short experiment!

Honestly I haven't weighed him for quite sometime months actually and I have just been going by his bsc. He's been a 7 for awhile, Last year he went into the winter between a 6-7 so not a big difference...I just want him to emerge a 5 come spring!!!!

I will weigh him when this bale is gone, hopefully that's enough time to decide. I figured if it takes them 10 days to eat it, that would be about 15lbs of hay a day per horse....guessing at wastage. Was getting too dark to weigh the other 2 but will do it tomorrow....forgot I had lights until I came in! That's going to take some getting used to, I'm getting so spoiled
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PattyB
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 6:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh Diane, Confucius say...He/She who can laugh hardest at one's self has a kind soul. My guess....he's right?

BTW....right now, Ziggy gets the stemmy Orchard grass, not real green, with minimal TC Lite for vitamin/mineral supplement. Bokay gets 1st and 2nd cut Bermuda with TC Lite and beet pulp for added fiber. That's in addition to pasture and arena turnout time.
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Ann
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Posted on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 - 7:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I hope this works out for you Diane, but i have to say i could never free feed my gelding , he would just gain to much weight for his and my comfort... not to mention the $$ now that hay is so darn expensive... well my kids get fed three small meals a day.. the last / dinner is a wee bit larger .. no waste, and no fat horses...
good luck..

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots..
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Diane E.
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Posted on Monday, Dec 1, 2008 - 6:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O. would 10 days be enough time to consider weight gain/loss with free choice hay?

Ann feeding big bales is half the price here, but I am loosing my optimism about the fat thing!!!

When we had that ferocious winter last year the horses were fed pretty much free choice, I gave up on the diet! This year the winter is starting earlier. I think maybe they need more hay to keep warm with the -60 windchills we have so often!!!

That's why I don't mind a LITTLE fat going into winter.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
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Posted on Monday, Dec 1, 2008 - 8:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

When discussing feeding practises with other horse owners it is important to note the differences in individual horses. Horses as a group have a 300% range in their metabolic need for energy. This means some horses need 1/3 as much energy as other horses to maintain the same level of condition, given all other variables and factors are the same. Someone at the lower end of the efficiency scale, say racing TB's, will have a hard time understanding the feeding practises of someone at the high end of the efficiency scale like those owning Morgan and Morgan types.

I am sure horses in the wild get more exercise that those in the pasture but that is just a part of the equation. Another big difference between horses in the wild and horses in your pasture is the quality and availability of feed. Consider the horse on the northwestern mesa in the winter looking at 24 inches of snow on the ground. This leads to another big difference the quality of the shelter and the effects of fighting the cold on metabolic needs. I wrote in an earlier post that horses were not hot house flowers but then again compared to what they face in the wild...
DrO
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KatR
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Post Number: 18
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Monday, Dec 1, 2008 - 8:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

On the Nibblenet discussion, I also have a very easy keeper who inhales hay all day. Recently I found if I buy the nylon hay nets and double them up (or even triple for even smaller grab holes) it slows him down significantly and they are much cheaper than the Nibblenet and seem to be holding up. He did bang it around a bit at first but settles down and picks at it now. It works well for me but I do mount it so it hangs above his withers to avoid any acrobatics he might try.
I don't think he was fond of his new nickname Tubby though...
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3240
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Posted on Monday, Dec 1, 2008 - 9:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O. I know there are many differences in horses metabolisms, and as you know all 3 of mine are VERY easy keepers.

I'm trying an experiment of sorts with the free choice "stemmy hay"...it is nice hay, but something I had hoped the "fat ones could possibly chew on all day, just through the winter mos....which tend to be rather extreme lately around here.

I TRY to keep mine from being hot house flowers! They don't get blankets, have 40 acres to roam if they please (during the day) 10 acres at night. lean to for shelter.I know if I were really tough I would just turn them out on the back 40 and let them live off the land (don't think it hasn't crossed my mind).

I was just wondering if 1 bale (ten days) would be enough to determine if this is possible? In other words if they were going to gain weight would it show up on the weight tape by then, or would that be considered too short of a time for me consider the results? I ask because I will have to order another bale when this one runs out.

Thanks
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 324
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 - 11:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

OK, so I've been busy with my own set of experiments! First, the Nibblenets have been working out beautifully. I bought the two flake (4 inch) size for each of my two horses. I hung them at eye level in their run-in and they caught on easily and had no problem consuming the whole thing. Absolutely no waste! Over the past three weeks, I've also noticed their weight has been slowly coming down to a better BCS (cresty neck went away!). Since I prefer they eat in a head down position, I have finished building a Nibblenet box for one horse, and will build a second one as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, I built a 4x4 foot haybox for outside, to replace their roundbale holder. I put it out for the first time last night around 5 pm, and filled it with one full bale of hay. This morning at around 7:30 am, they were still working on it, with may a third of a bale left. One side of the metal grid got caught on the metal corner support (I'm planning to remove them and reattach on the outside of the box so the grid doesn't get hung up on it). I'll be going out again at noon today to see how much is left, and to see how long a bale actually lasts.

I was a little alarmed, as you will see in the following pictures, that the hay bellies were back. The two flakes in the am, and two in pm, I was feeding each one seemed to be a good amount (even though they were a bit hungry). I would imagine that, for my horses, three flakes twice a day, might be a "maintenance" quantity. I just bought a hand-held luggage scale, so I'll be weighing just how much that is in pounds. I've already had the hay tested, so I do know I need to continue them on their Balancer Pellets. But....

I'm so thrilled with this slow-down hay feeder! I saw it on other websites and decided to make one. The beauty of it is that I can still control how much hay they get. The grid slows them down significantly so that smaller amounts lasts longer than a larger amount. This is especially helpful for my HYPP N/H horse. Also, when I need to go out of town for a few days, I can fill up the feeder, and let them at it, eliminating the sub's need to fill haybags twice a day.

All in all, I don't think I can get too much better than this set-up. The horses seem to enjoy it. I think there's something therapeutic about pulling food up and giving it a tug.
New Haybox

Inside Feeder

Feeder
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 32
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 - 12:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wooo hooo, I love the boxes you built!

Yesterday I ordered from Tony's Tack Shop in Vermont(?) 4 smaller holes haynets.....they're just like a regular haynet but have smaller openings, 2x2, same size as a Nibblenet but much cheaper. Since I've always fed hay with nets, to water it and slow them down both, I'm anxious to get my new smaller size ones. I tried doubling the regular size, that slowed Ziggy down by maybe ten minutes. I'll let you know how they work.................

And while I'm here, I have a story about round bales to share that I was told last night: A lady that lives not far from me lost 3 horse and another 8 colicked....she had no idea why. All the feed was the same, hay from same source, nothing was different. After she lost the 3rd horse, a friend thought to test the hay (round bales she had in the pastures) and it turned out that the hay was being baled with a new baler, one that didn't have a moisture censor. The very innards of the bales were fermenting and that's what wrecked havoc at her barn.

I know you have to be careful with round bales in terms of rain but this was sooo unforeseen that the problem wasn't known right away....very sad story. Having the hay come from the same source for years kept her from thinking it was something wrong with the hay.......who'da thunk it was the baler?

To those who can use round bales....I really do envy you...................
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3243
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Posted on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 - 8:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dove Love IT!!! How do you keep the grids down?
And what are the grids made of? Isn't metal suppose to wear horses teeth down or something??? Looks like your horses have the same "hay belly" mine have Thanks for the pictures!

Patty round bales do seem to have more "dangers"
USUALLY if you get all grass bales you don't have to worry about fermenting. I have a friend that lost all of her horses but 1 feeding haylage, they got botulism. When I lock my horses off the bale at night I always dig through what's left checking for mold or anything, these bales are pretty clean.

Hubby is on vacation this week and he said the horses actually came up for air today and didn't stand with their heads buried all day, he said after they filled their guts this morning, they went off and "grazed" and left the bale the rest of the day!

I think I will easily get 10 days out of it, but only because I lock them off it at night, then they get what ever they pulled out for the night.

Can't wait to weigh them when it's gone.
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Dove2
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Post Number: 325
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Posted on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 - 8:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well......a slow down feeder does not mean that they automatically eat less! Ha ha ha. The 45 pound square bale that I put in last night at 5 pm was eaten by 5 pm today. That's 22.5 pounds of hay each! Double the 10 to 15 pounds they should be getting.

So now that I see what piggies my two darlings are, I will have to mete out their two flakes each morning and evening, just as I was doing with the NibbleNet. However, this is a good alternative while the run-in shed dries out from the rains we've had. It's quite muddy in there.

What a timely topic, folks. Has anyone seen the current issue of The Horse Journal? There's an entire article on Slow Down Hay Feeders, with several recommended. I'm surprised they did not include NibbleNet, but I'll probably write in so they will at least mention it in the next issue.

Patty, thanks for the sentiment. I think you are going to love the small openings haynets. Actually, that's a very good idea. I just found out I should be soaking my gelding's hay for half hour before feeding it to him, but in this cold, it's tough to do. Can you please explain how you soak? How do you keep the hay submerged?

And, finally, back to the topic, Diane: My guess is that you need about three months to figure out whether the round bale is going to work for your guys. By then, spring will be just around the corner. My round bale revelations came last year when I tried to haynet the whole thing, but it still didn't work to reduce their intake. So now I have to be the Hay Police!
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 326
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Posted on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 - 8:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, I used the metal "wall grids" which are sold in store fixture stores. Unfortunately, they are prohibitively expensive to ship. They're quite heavy so their own weight holds them down. I looked into ordering them on-line and the freight was triple the cost of the product. So I drove to a store in Maryland to get mine.

They don't really bite the metal with their teeth. They use their lips and teeth once they feel the hay. I was worried their mouths would get stuck to the metal on freezing days, just like in the movie "A Christmas Story." (You'll shoot your eye out fame.) But they don't use their tongues on them either. They are quite adept at getting the hay out -- no problem!
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3246
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Posted on Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 - 9:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hog horses just seem to find a way to stay fat no matter what we do to them.

Even when Hank was younger and in "hard training" 6 days a week + being trail ridden 5 days a week...with no grain and limited hay and grass.. he remained chubby.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
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Username: dro

Post Number: 21879
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Posted on Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008 - 8:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, I don't know if you will be able to detect differences in 10 days, there are too many variables. As a general practice there is no particular time frame that should be referenced as to this question you always should be assessing your horses for change in condition. In cases where specific changes in condition are sought I recommend evaluation every 3 weeks to determine if a change is achieving the desired results.
DrO
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3252
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Posted on Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008 - 7:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dr.O. I will give them a few weeks. Today it was cold, windy, sleety, and then more snow for the topper. When I got home from work I couldn't believe how much they had ate out of the bale, even hubby commented. He said the cows always eat more right before a cold snap too. They all seemed warm and satisfied with their heads buried...I so hope this works!!!
It's so nice to just go out in the morning, open the gate and leave!
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3261
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Posted on Friday, Dec 5, 2008 - 10:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I ran into my vet today (fat police to the extreme). I told him I was trying big bales and really expected a lecture. He said as cold as it is he doesn't blame me and the horses SHOULD have hay in front of them most of the time 1st weigh in is mon
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 41
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Friday, Dec 5, 2008 - 7:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I soooo love the pics of all your horses, maybe on Sunday I can relearn Photobucket. The last time I tried to resize pics for message board posting, they kept transferring to big.

My new Roma haynets came yesterday. The holes are just big enough to pull hay thru and it took Zigman twice as long to eat his pad of hay. The small net is really small though, only holds one pad at a time so I will order the larger size next time. For anyone who needs a slow'em down haynet, these should work just great. But I do so envy those beautiful hay boxes.

Good luck Diane.
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3269
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Dec 5, 2008 - 8:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Patty I use picasa and it's very simple to resize.
Ann has said using web resizer is very easy and you don't have to download a program...it looks very simple http://webresizer.com/

Good Luck with your nets.
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Michelle
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Username: mleeb

Post Number: 91
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, Dec 6, 2008 - 10:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi,
I just thought I'd post my info on the Bale Buddy Bag, as promised in another thread several days ago.

Before I get to that bit though, I wanted to add this little info for all of you above discussing weight control. I've fed small squares for years now. The whole crew is out on pasture 24/7, and I would feed twice a day. Even in the worst Canadian winter weather I would feed the equivalent of 2/3 of a bale per horse per day. When I worried it wasn't enough, I'd toss an extra bale out there, and 98% of the time, that extra hay was still on the ground when I came out for the next feeding. On this plan, they ALL arrived at spring in beautiful condition, not fat, needing only a little exercise to start getting into peak shape. My daughter's part welsh mare runs towards obese whenever she can, and this keeps her in pretty decent shape, too.

So, that said, this year the price of hay went up considerably, and I knew for a fact we were going to be gone a bit this winter, so we purchased round bales to help offset cost. The price of a tombstone feeder was close to $700, so that wasn't going to happen. I didn't want to use the regular cattle feeder and risk someone getting their head stuck in it, so I thought for the $99 it was going to cost me, it was worth trying the Bale Buddy Bag.

The bag comes in 3 sizes, and you choose the size by measuring your bale for diameter across a round end. I choose the biggest size, 6'. My bales are grass hay, and estimated at 1400 pounds. If there was a 7' size bag available, I would have chosen that instead.

You still need a tractor to manipulate you bale to wherever you want it. Remove the twine, then slide the bag on over top of the bale (this is upside down), and then flip the bale over. The downside to all this is you can't flip a bale that size without a tractor, and it took 2 of us to get the bag on, because it really needed to be bigger. Flipping the bale was easy.

So, now the bale is right side up and waiting for your horses. One thing to consider is with this size bag, it's not tall enough to cover right to the top of your bale, so the top 20" or so were exposed. Apparently the smaller sizes will cover better. The horses made quite a mess of this exposed hay, and I found myself outside with a fork on a daily basis cleaning it off the ground. This was only mildly annoying, because I didn't intend to keep the horses eating there 24/7, and so cleaning the stuff off the ground gave me easy hay to throw over the fence to the other pasture. So, they come in and eat while we're at work, and in the evening they get kicked out, and fork over whatever they spilled on the ground. It works pretty decent so far.

They are just now getting the bale down to the rim of the bag, so I'm waiting to see how this next bit goes. Maybe it will be less of a mess.

My husband is not at all optimistic about how it will work. He feels that once the bag is still and cold in the dead of winter, manipulating it over the bale will be impossible. Also, if there is any ice and snow built up on the bales, the bag might not fit, since we're pretty much at maximum capacity with it already.

I've read all the posts above, and I really like the feeder with the metal "screens" in it, what a great idea! I also like the "ghetto feeder" -- is that made out of pallets? Somehow I never thought of building a wooden feeder, and now I'm wondering why. Surely you could build that in two halves and just latch them together around your bale.
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3274
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Dec 6, 2008 - 12:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Michelle thanks for the bale buddy review, keep us informed as the bale shrinks and it gets colder.

I'm doing the same thing with my feeder, they make a mess of things with the tombstone feeder too. They are locked off the bale at night and I throw what's on the ground over the fence for night time. seems to be working well and there isn't a bunch of wastage. I do believe when we get more snow and colder I won't want to be doing that chore any longer, so a mess is expected come spring. We have manure tines for the tractor tho and that will clean up the hay mess well...I hope!

Tomorrow is actually day ten and that is when the bale will be gone from the looks of it, our bales are only around 800 lbs. tho.
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Rachelle E. Morris
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Username: rtrotter

Post Number: 105
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Saturday, Dec 6, 2008 - 12:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just for everyone FYI,

On another thread about mats and flooring, someone posted the stallskins website. WHile I was looking at the other products on this site, I came across the Grazer Hay Feeding system. It looks very similar to Dove2's wire mesh box but the entire thing is made of metal and is spring loaded.

The website is www.stallskins.com and you might want to check out their other product for outdoor footing called Cedarest.

Rachelle
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3284
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 2:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

For anyone with the "pudgy" horses I'm happy to report Hank weighs the same exactly. It's only been a week, I think next bale will "tell the tale"

The 800lb bale lasted 10 days as planned. They are not on it at night, but I rake up the pulled out stuff and give them that and there is still a little left in the morning. I can see by hoof prints and paw marks they still go out on the pasture at night, which is good at least they are getting a little exercise other than the jaw muscle.

It's unbelievable how much easier this makes my life in the morning.

Hubby picked up the last bale while I was working and I'm not real impressed with it, but think it will be OK. Never send hubby for horse hay! (note to self)
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 45
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 4:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

[Hubby picked up the last bale while I was working and I'm not real impressed with it, but think it will be OK. Never send hubby for horse hay! (note to self)]

LOLOLOL Diane! But to be fair.....never send a wife to pick out firewood or Quickcrete. When I was sent to buy firewood, the guy was loaded with trick questions like "seasoned or unseasoned," "hardwood or pine?" I had no idea and didn't have a cell phone back then. When I was sent across the river for Quickcrete, the fella at the store had the gall to ask me "which kind?" Talk about a blank stare....I had no idea which one of 7 types I was supposed to get so, I just told the fella which ever one you use for setting corner posts. All the way home, I was loaded for bear if I had bought the wrong one.

Glad to hear your air fern is doing well. My pasture is finally dying off so I can let them out earlier..which makes everyone happy.

Smaller haynet is working great, still slows him down to twice as long. Now let me go see if I can figure out how to post a pic here (can't remember the size limit). Thanks for the link.
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 46
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 4:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

First try, hope it works. If it does, this is me and the Zig right before Halloween that year. PS: The shirt makes me look fat but it's a good one of Ziggy.Me and Zigman :-)
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 473
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 5:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

WHat a nice picture! Ziggy looks to be in great BC in that pic!
Cheers
Leslie
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3288
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Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 5:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yea you did it Now get a recent picture of the fat pony and put it on your bad boy post (can't remember the name of the thread)

Very handsome fella and doesn't look fat in 2005
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3289
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Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 5:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Leslie I have been meaning to ask why you can't feed big round bales?
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 474
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Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 5:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

D
No tractor and only 1.5 head of horse(s). I would love to just pick one up in the bed of my truck and dump it out in the pasture but I dont know about if only one and half horses could eat it fast enough before it goes bad??? (I would love to hear if anyone has fed Rb's to only 1 horse succesfully)

Sheesh I keep tellin the hubby having another horse (irish draught) would actually 'lower our feed bills' LOL
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3290
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Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 6:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well I have fed them to 2 horses. How big are the bales can vary greatly. Mine are on the smaller side 800#'s. So if it takes my 3 pigs 10 days to eat one. It would probably last you a month or a little less. If you got grass hay and fed through the colder mos. I don't think you would have to worry about it...I wouldn't. Mine was snowed/rained on and it never molded. Alfalfa makes me a little more nervous.

We didn't have a tractor until this year..for this purpose anyway. We hauled it in the truck...pushed it off and put the feeder over it. Most feeders are light enough to lift over a bale. We actually haven't used the tractor to put the horses bales in.
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 476
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Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 8:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That is great to hear
I just put a ISO on craigslist for 1 clean grass RB. I will put one out there and see how it goes. My barn is full of 50 pounders. But man would i love to switch over! I always assume the feeders were super heavy.
I think I assume too much some times LOL
Thanks for the info D!
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Jo Ann Widner
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Username: jowidner

Post Number: 310
Registered: 5-2003
Posted on Sunday, Dec 7, 2008 - 9:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Leslie, another option is to take out the center divider in your horse trailer and have the farmer load the bale in there. We did that one year and it was very easy. Just pulled the trailer out into the field and pushed the bale out.
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3292
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Posted on Monday, Dec 8, 2008 - 5:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Leslie another thing I have done is fill the feeder with square bales. When I didn't live where my horses were I did that. Works just as well and you have the hay...you won't have to put out as much as a round bale. That would last my horses a week or so and you don't have to worry about finding a "clean" bale.
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 48
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Monday, Dec 8, 2008 - 9:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the compliments on Ziggy's picture. I'll have to dig to see if I can find a recent pic for updating. With him though, looks are deceiving....he looks real good but there for a while, you couldn't feel his ribs very well............
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3307
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Posted on Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008 - 6:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O. I have a question...more out of curiosity than anything.

The horses wouldn't touch the second bale we got them, not one bite...not kidding. They put their noses to it and walked away. It was out there for 2 days and they wouldn't go near it. I fed them squares bales during this time because I figured they knew something I didn't. They are HOGS and will eat just about anything that isn't horrid.

Obviously they were going by smell, because they would not take a bite. I could not smell anything different, I peeled a few layers off and they still wouldn't touch it. To my nose and eyes it looked OK...they've had worse It wasn't moldy, it didn't smell "off" to me. The only difference I could see was it was a little browner.

I know with my square bales if there is something dead in it that I didn't see they won't eat it.
Could they smell something dead buried in a big bale? They smelled the whole bale and not one side of it appealed to them.

We took it out yesterday and gave it to the cows, who proceeded to devour it.

Put a different bale in today from the same barn, same cutting and they smelled every inch of it before taking a bite, once it passed the smell test(which took quite awhile, was like they didn't trust it) their heads were buried.

Thanks for any insight.
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Sara Wolff
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Post Number: 4257
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Posted on Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008 - 7:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, just from my experience I know horses have very delicate sniffers. I've had my horses refuse to eat hay when I can't see or smell anything wrong with it and later found a dead snake in the bale. There isn't a horse alive more piggy than mine are, so if they refuse to eat something, I'm sure other horses would too.
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3308
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Posted on Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008 - 8:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Do you think they could pick up that smell in a big round bale? When I've fed a leaf of "snake hay" they do eat around the "edges" leaving the stinky part with the snake behind. Unless there was a nest of snakes, I wouldn't doubt it the way they were this year. Just hard to believe they wouldn't touch any part of it...botulism was going through my mind. Glad the horses have some smarts and are well fed, otherwise I'm sure they would have been forced to eat it.
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Shannon Steketee
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Username: stek

Post Number: 46
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 10, 2008 - 10:33 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, I bought a couple square bales (100 pounders) from our local feed store a while back, same hay as usual, and the horses wouldn't touch it. Beautiful bright green orchardgrass, sweet smelling, no weeds, not even a hint of mold, dust, or anything. I went through two bales thoroughly and never found the culprit .. ended up using them as bedding. I always wondered if that batch of hay had been sprayed with something they didn't like? Or maybe something peed on them that had long since evaporated to the point I couldn't smell it. Sure was frustrating, I was just glad I didn't have a large load of it!!
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3315
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Posted on Thursday, Dec 11, 2008 - 7:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I wondered if maybe he had sprayed it with the acid that helps dry bales. I told him when we went for our 1st bale my horses won't eat hay with that on it...he looked at me like he didn't believe me and said he had never had anyone else tell him that.

I wonder if it was sprayed with acid since it looked a little browner than the other bales and had gotten wet. They are eating this 3rd bale very well. Glad we have cows to eat everything the horses won't !!!!
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Ann S
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Username: annes

Post Number: 302
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, Dec 11, 2008 - 11:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, that reminds me of the farmer who cuts our fields who has said "they will eat it when they get hungry enough". I might eat a lot of stuff if I was starving but I don't want to live that way!
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Diane E.
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Post Number: 3329
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Dec 14, 2008 - 8:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Update on pigs and their free choice hay. I am of the opinion they never get full! I didn't get to weigh them today, but they do look fatter. I can still barely feel ribs. Our ground is icy and rutted...Hanks hooves nightmare. It never fails to make him a little sore, not so this winter (so far anyway)

The thing I don't like about the big bale is they never move away from it all day, they even take their naps with their heads hanging over it. I don't think it would be possible to let them at it 24/7 they would literally blow up I think Locking them off it at night with the raked up stuff they pulled out is working well. They do move around at night quite a bit according to the hoof prints in the snow.

BUT now the snow melted, and it's a sheet of ice again, so I had to lock them in their paddock UGHHHH. Mother Nature sure likes to test us! If it isn't too windy for the weight tape to blow away tomorrow, I will weigh the pig....don't think I am going to like the results tho

We can always do a crash diet come FEB. I'm thinking!
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 59
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Sunday, Dec 14, 2008 - 9:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the update Diane......I told Ziggy I've been peeking over your fence to see how it goes. I was just thinking today that I don't know how he maintains his weight on 2 pads of hay, 18 ounces of lite grain for vitamin/minerals and minimal grass time. That's not much yet he seems to thrive just fine..........
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3350
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008 - 5:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well Well what a nice surprise I was able to weigh Hank Hog tonight and he has lost a little weight. He went 1040 tonight a loss of 27#s and that was with 2in of snow on him.

They get one leaf of "good hay" at night..which is all grass also, just not as stemmy, PLUS what I pull of the bale which keeps them in hay all night with a little left over sometimes. 1/2 cup alfalfa pellets twice a day and a vit/min supp.

I do want to reiterate that I think this is possible only because the hay in the round bale is perfect for this. It is not "good quality hay" It is "nice hay" Stemmy, not dusty, and semi-green. This is great!!!!
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PattyB
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 65
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008 - 9:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am soooooooooooooo jealous Diane....can Ziggy come over and hang out at your house tomorrow?

Congrats to you dear lady!
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 498
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008 - 11:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

YAY! That's great news Diane! Sounds like "perfect" hay! Nothin like letting them think they are getting steak when they are actually getting top ramen!

I found some gorgeous, huge, super clean grass round bales!! they are 2000lbs each. 5X5's.
$50 bucks!!! Since I feed free choice grass hay its seems silly to pay square bale prices. (as long as quality is same)
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Shannon Steketee
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 51
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008 - 12:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Now I'm jealous of you both! Leslie at $50 a ton I'm tempted to order a tractor trailer load of your round bales and have it shipped to the west coast! Hmm, at $50 a ton I could feed 6 times as many horses .. maybe I better not after all ;)
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leslie christian
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 501
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Thursday, Dec 18, 2008 - 11:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon
Last week I was on my way to the grocery store and I saw this beautiful pristine trailer full of hay go by...it had a white glow surrounding it and I heard a choir of angels start singing <wink>
So I flipped a U and followed it and it pulled into a beautiful farm about 4 miles from my house! I said to them "Your hay is gorgeous!" and they gave each other a knowing smile...they knew what question was coming next...and before I could ask they said "$50 a bale". I sat there and talked with them for about 30 minutes, very nice people.
Later when I told my hubby about it he was all- You followed total strangers to their house!?
I said " but you should have seen this hay!"
....he's not a horse person, so he didnt understand LOL
But he did understand $50/ton vs. 180/ton. So all was well in the end
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3432
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Dec 28, 2008 - 10:26 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The Fat little toad got weighed yesterday, he went 1057#'s so he is staying at about the same weight with free choice hay...which is weird!

He needs to go into spring grass time 50- 100#'s lighter, so somewhere in the middle of Feb. I am going to stop feeding the big bales and start their diet. It sure is nice for the winter months tho!!! I am going to do this every year now as long as I can find the right type of hay. It will save me $$$$ to feed the big bales along with the convenience (which is even more important!)
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Diane E.
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 3533
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Jan 11, 2009 - 9:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have to admit these big bales have made me very nervous, especially since the seemingly gas colics last week. I started letting the horses back out on that bale slowly, with close monitoring and everyone has remained fine. They are back on it full time through the day. So I'm not sure if the hay or something else was the problem.

It is suppose to be so dreadfully cold starting the beginning of the week I'm glad they are on it, a new one will go in today and haven't really decided if introduction is in order or not.

ANYWAY the good news is I went over the horses well to check body condition, My preference is for them to be between a 6-7 bcs in the cold mos. even with their problems. They get wet, snowed on, iced on on have to deal with bitter cold and wind chills. My conclusion is they are all a strong 6 bcs I CAN feel their ribs through all that hair! Last winter when on their diet through the winter they were about the same bcs, so obviously the free choice hay isn't putting any more weight on them then when I was dieting them..Strange huh? I bought 2 more bales to get us hopefully through the worst of the bitter cold and then the rationing will start so they will reach a bcs of 5 around spring time.

Here's a pic of him from this morning and last year at the same time. I honestly think he looks a little thinner this winter, over last year when on the diet.

The 1st pic is last year..2nd this year.


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leslie645
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 534
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Sunday, Jan 11, 2009 - 10:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

He looks great! And thats with a full winter coat...not bad Hank 'ol boy!

Remember too changes in barometer can cause colic...with this crazy weather...one minute 50 degrees...one minute 0 degrees.
I wonder why that can cause colic??
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3577
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 - 10:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well the big bale experiment is ending, and the results have been good. As far as money I saved a bunch. they went through 5 big bales in 2 mos, 5x25=$125 if I had fed small squares it would have cost Approx.- 60 days x 2 squares a day @ $3 a bale= $360 BIG Difference!! Not to mention how much easier it is. The horses look like they are starting to gain a little weight so it is time to get them "spring ready". Hubby has a sick bull so needs the pasture the big bale is in anyway.

I will definitely do this next year again.
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DianE
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 5214
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 - 10:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Re-visiting this, hubby took away my round bale feeder spot with his machine shed, so no round bales this year. Since this thread had many good ideas about feeding hay and slowing consumption I was wondering if anyone has tried these
http://www.healthezhayfeeder.com/

They look EASY and simple, price isn't horrid,(they can be found cheaper if you search them. I kind of like the looks of them..opinions? experiences?

Thanks
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 346
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 - 11:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane,
Right idea (with the healthezhayfeeder) but the holes are way too large for it to work as a slow-down hay feeder. Looks to me like the hay will fall right out with the first tug.
I have been so happy with my slow down hay feeder (see photos above) coupled with the Nibblenets and the horses prefer them over an open round bale! There is absolutely no waste of hay - not one bit. The box is easy to build and cost me about $100 in materials. I can guarantee that once you try the slow down hay feeder box, you'll never want anything else. As I prepare to set up my farm, I plan to build two or three and have them on different parts of the "track." If you decide you don't want to dole out a certain amount of hay each day, you can fill it to the top and the hay will last much longer than any other feeder. P.S. I have been pulling off hay from a roundbale that sits in the barn to fill up the hay feeder. Saves lots of money in square bales.
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leslie645
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Username: leslie1

Post Number: 1072
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 - 11:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

hmmmm, I dont think they will slow consumption anymore than a 'small holed haynet'. They are neat looking and would seem to be easier to fill with hay tho. but pricey compared to the haynet.
JMO
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 5215
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 - 12:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Dove I think your hay feeders are the best! However getting hubby to build something would be like pulling teeth, possibly I could do it? What happens if the hay gets wet in your feeders? Do they eat it fast enough to deter mold? I guess it wouldn't be any different then a big bale and I had no problems with that in the winter months...

They are pricey for plastic, but they look so easy...I'm all about easy
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 347
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 - 1:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes Dove feedback about using them in a wet climate would be appreciated. I have been thinking about building something like this for feeding out in the field, our horses play with and destroy hay nets so they wouldn't work.

I guess if we just put a limited amount of hay in them at each feeding it would get eaten up before it went bad.

Do you find that the boxes are heavy enough to withstand horse play? Do you have any other pics you could share?

Do you wanna come to my farm and help me make them??!!

Thanks!!
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Dove2
Member
Username: dove2

Post Number: 347
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 - 6:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just think these boxes are the best. You can see more on http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/page/Slow+Feeders
Diane, I built it myself - not too difficult. But I did some "girly" things like wrap the "feet" in aluminum foil and duct tape so the wood wouldn't rot out as quickly. Also, I tried to get the hay to "breathe" so I put a heavy-duty wire on the bottom with wooden shelves on the sides, (i.e. one-third wood, one-third wire, one-third wood - all across the bottom). The hay that gets under the wire and sits on the wood does eventually mold, but cleaning it out twice a year is all it takes to start fresh.

As for the rain, I put in enough for them to eat up, twice a day. Not a straw wasted, they pull up everything. When I get my own place, I'll probably put up a canopy though - just for fun. The hay they eat never gets moldy.

But do check out the site above. There are lots of very inventive people out there. I'll say it again: my horses love to pull the hay up through the openings. It must feel like they're pulling it up out of the ground, I guess.

Shannon, if you weren't on the other side of the country, I'd be happy to come help build! To answer some of your questions: My boxes are 4'x4'x4' and they are VERY heavy. I even put handles on two sides to help move them around, but the horses don't even budge them. In my next box, I will use thicker wood than half-inch plywood so that I can use longer screws. My short ones do come out occasionally. For more pics, check out the above website.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 348
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 - 7:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks so much for the extra pics, I am officially inspired!

I think my horses, one in particular, would also get great pleasure from ripping the hay out of the feeder, but this way would be in small bits rather than huge (annoying) mouthfuls which are promptly dropped in the mud.

Off to the lumberyard!!!
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Vicki
Member
Username: kpaint

Post Number: 316
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Thursday, Nov 12, 2009 - 10:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I can't remember if I've posted pix of the Slow Down Feeders on HA or not. If so, here they are again. I'm happy with them. I have had them a year and they are holding up well. The one destructive Haflinger I have has NOT been able to chew it, kick it, or lean on it YET and damage it. The plastic must be really strong. There aren't even any teeth marks on it. He kicks the tub and pulls on it, but it looks good as new. There are no dents in the tub. I thought for sure he would loosen the posts inside the tub, but he hasn't yet. He did figure out how to remove the grid, so I had another one made that had an extra lip of plastic to make it even tighter. The holes come in various sizes. Diva mare pictured here is using a plate that has larger holes than the Haflingers use. She isn't quite the vacuum cleaner that they are... The were pricey, but have been worth it to me to control the pace of eating and there is zero waste. The tub has a plug at the bottom in case a person wants to soak hay...then water drains out plug. They can be attached in a corner or on the flat wall of stall/lean to.
Slowdown Feeder
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 351
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, Nov 13, 2009 - 7:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hooray for hubby, we now have one 'version 1' hay feeder box! Total cost was about $50 and hubby said it took him about 2 hours to put together. Would take a lot less the next time around now that he has his system down. We used the same design as found on the paddock paradise site (thanks again Vicki!!) for the box, except we used pressure treated lumber for the base and haven't added any anti-chew material around the top edge yet (thought the very first thing they did when it was put in the field was start nomming on the wood. beavers!!)

We started out with some 4 gauge welded wire livestock panels (couldn't find the gridwall stuff) cut down to fit for the metal grid, but the openings were 3.5x3.5 and we have one mare with dainty feet who I could just imagine getting herself wrapped up in it somehow. Then last night in a fit of insomnia the perfect answer came to me: chain link fencing!! It's super cheap, easy to work with, and much safer than the livestock panels.

The only drawback is that it has to be attached to the inside of the box. That was easy enough to do, I just added some screw-eyes inside the box and connected the two with a carribeaner. I started with just two connectors but think I will switch to one in each corner.

I left the chain link long enough so that it wraps up and around the hay in the box, used about a 5 foot long piece for a four foot square box.

Pics below, I'm just so thrilled with this! Also thinking the chain link material would be an extremely cheap and easy outdoor nibble proof large capacity hay net...

Thanks again for the inspiration guys!!!

feeder box

connector

munching
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 5228
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Nov 13, 2009 - 7:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

WOW Shannon, Dove and your hubby should go into business. Your first picture made think how putting these on skids so they could be moved easily would be a good idea too.

How does the chain link fencing stay attached over the hay? HA people are so inventive!
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 352
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, Nov 13, 2009 - 8:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The chain link just sits on top of the hay, it is heavy enough that its own weight keeps it pressed against the hay. The key though is to attach it to the bottom of the box on the inside, otherwise the ponies would pull it out in a minute.

I love that my bravest mare marched up to it and had it figured out in less than a minute, she showed the other kids that it's a food dispenser and not a trap!

Hubby is actually thinking of taking one of these over to the feed store to see if they want to re-sell them for us, or at least offering them to other horse people in the area. Personally I think they would go like hotcakes...

Diane I bet you could get your hubby to build one of these for you Diane, trade him a big steak and mashed potato dinner for his efforts! =)
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 24078
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Nov 14, 2009 - 7:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pretty cool Shannon, and congrats to Mr Shannon. If I were to do this commercially I would consider rods attached to the side for the fence to "float on". Then you could fill it to the top and as the horse's remove the hay, the fence goes down. Aluminum bar would be easy to bend, drill and screw down but I have not come up with an easy way to load it...
DrO
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Michelle
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Username: mleeb

Post Number: 138
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, Nov 14, 2009 - 8:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

load through a hinged side perhaps?
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Dove2
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Username: dove2

Post Number: 348
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, Nov 14, 2009 - 11:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,
Outstanding job! Congrats! One thing I wasn't sure about in your post: does the pressure treated wood come in direct contact with the hay? I've heard that the carcinogens in pressure treated wood might be harmful to the horses if their food comes in contact with it. I'm not 100 percent sure about the validity of this, but something to look into.

The grid on top of the hay needs to be heavy enough to stay down. When the horses pull the hay up, it tends to either stay up if not heavy enough. I've had a couple of times that even the heavy grid got caught up (mine bends in the middle because I had to get two pieces instead of one large one). If caught up, no way the horses can get to the hay. I like the idea of the fencing sliding down on corner rods, especially if the fencing was mounted onto a heavy "frame"; and the hinged side was also brilliant!
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 353
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Saturday, Nov 14, 2009 - 3:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dove, the pressure treated lumber doesn't come in contact with the hay, it's just on the under-side. I agree feeding off pressure treated would be a no-no if you can avoid it, that stuff is nasty.

There isn't really any way for the chain link to get caught in the 'up' position, it is attached to the inside bottom corners and kind of stretches up over the hay like a big metal cargo net. I might end up adding some bars to the ends though to make it more stable. We have one horse who is already working hard at beating the system... this is also why we are starting with just one box and adding more later, I'm sure there will be modifications needed. I will report back on version 1.1!

One more thing.. I thought of another use for the livestock panels with slightly too-big holes: they could be cut down and used to line the inside of one of those big pasture feeders that have widely spaced bars to convert it to a slow-down feeder. That project might be in the works too...
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Shannon
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Username: stek

Post Number: 371
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Monday, Nov 30, 2009 - 2:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just wanted to post a follow-up on this. As predicted some kind of frame on the outside of the piece of chain link fencing was needed. Our horses mangled the chain link in just a couple days. We priced out the chain link gate pipe kits and they were prohibitively expensive (about $50).

What we have done is to build a frame out of 2x4's and bolt it around the outside of the chain link. Total cost about $12. It has the added benefit of making the 'grid' too heavy for the horses to pull out. Functionally it is the same, the weight of the whole thing keeps it pressed against the hay and as hay is removed it works its way down inside the box.

I will have to post pics. But using this method you could use any kind of wire fencing, like no-climb wire, as your grid material.

After two weeks, I'm really pleased with the way this is working so far. We have zero hay waste using the feeder boxes and the same amount of hay lasts the horses all day, whereas before they would have eaten half and tramped the other half into the mud within a couple hours.

Thanks again for the great idea Dove!!!
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Vicki
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Username: kpaint

Post Number: 390
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Monday, Nov 30, 2009 - 5:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

wow! Looks great! I'd like to see pictures of your weight frame idea. I have one Haflinger that can mangle anything, undo anything, chew anything...
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 5358
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009 - 5:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes Shannon need pics PLEASE, I can't quite picture what you did.
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Dove2
Member
Username: dove2

Post Number: 351
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009 - 7:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon, Bravo to you! Not only are you doing a great service for your horses (and if they're anything like mine: they prefer the slow-down feeder over loose hay), but your creativity and thrift are going to help lots of folks. My feeder cost me approximately $100 in materials, so I wasn't looking forward to making too many. But with your innovative solutions for grids, lots of folks will hopefully be encouraged to try making a slow-down feeder box. They are truly the best thing we can do for our horses. Can't wait to see the pictures! Bravo to you!!!
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jos
Member
Username: paardex

Post Number: 1535
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009 - 8:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I love those feeders, no waste and the hay stays clean and doesn't get blown away. Do you think it would work with my neighbors skinny horses if I put alfalfa in? Or would it slow them down to much,I could take bigger holes in the fencing I guess?
Jos
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 375
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009 - 11:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dove :-) If there's one thing I'm good at it's pinching pennies. All in the boxes came to about $65 per, not including labor of course! Still not cheap but well worth it considering the amount of hay that was getting wasted.

Below is a pic of the new and improved grid (note the box is up on it's side in the photo but you get the idea)

grid 2

I think we might redo one of the grids and try it with 2x4" no-climb wire...

Jos I see no reason this wouldn't work with alfalfa though you might lose some of the leafy parts. Though honestly I completely stopped feeding alfalfa on the ground because so much of the good leafy parts got trampled into the dirt. This might actually be a big improvement!

One other thing I think we will be doing is putting rubber mats under the boxes to keep hoof holes from developing where the horses stand next to them. This wouldn't be a problem on hard ground or under cover but with our mud it is.
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Lilo
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Username: lilo

Post Number: 1291
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009 - 10:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have been following this post with interest. Such good ideas. Here is my questions - what if it rains? Should one have drain holes in the bottom of the feeder?

Lilo
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 376
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009 - 11:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes Lilo we drilled about ten 3/4" holes in the bottom of the box which allows any rain to drain out. The first week we used ours it rained and rained and rained and rained, and we had no problems whatsoever. We do load the box with a limited amount of hay morning and night; with our wet climate I don't want to leave hay sitting in there to get moldy. But the horses clean up every last scrap by the next feeding so nothing gets wasted.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 377
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009 - 4:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

One more pic .. can you tell I'm excited about these boxes? :-)

The hay that is left in the box is what was left about 6 hours after feeding their normal breakfast ration.

feeder box 2
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 5369
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009 - 4:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I love it Shannon!! Why are you considering using the no-climb fencing instead? Bigger holes?
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 378
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009 - 5:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think the no-climb will be a little easier to work with. It is flatter than the chain link so I think will be a little easier to clamp between the wood frame. With the chain link you have to really clamp the heck out of it to get the frame on there nice and tight. The hole size (2x2) of the chain link works fine, but the 2x4 of the no-climb might be a little easier for the horses too.
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