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Discussion on Slow Hay Feeder

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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 472
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 11:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey all,

Just an update on how our slow feeders are doing. We made some 4'x4' pasture feeders with grates last October and they have held up really well. We have 3 in use that have the grates made of chain link with a wooden frame around it, and one with a solid metal grate.

They all work well and the horses haven't been able to defeat any of them. I think the trick is not to overfill the feeders; we only fill them about half way at most. That is still more than enough hay to keep our horses busy from feeding to feeding. At the next feeding they usually take a few nibbles of their fresh meal then walk away, so we have zero mealtime stress.

We also have zero hay waste and less mud because of it! No big mucky waste-hay bogs. Our horses also seem to have less hay bellies than they have in the past. Not sure what the reason for this would be or if it's just coincidence...

We have also made some narrower 2'x4' versions for stall and run-in shed use. To those we added 45° corner pieces that keep the horses from being able to remove the metal grate. Those work well too. A photo is below ..

cassie and stall feeder

We have actually started making these for other horse people in the area as there really seems to be a need for the product. I know I would have been desperate to buy one if my hubby hadn't been so kind as to build them for me! Not something we could easily market outside our own region as shipping would be prohibitively expensive, but a good little local side business.

Anyway if any of you are still looking for slow feeders and have someone handy around the farm I highly recommend them! I'd be happy to share 'how-to' info if needed.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 473
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 11:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

One more pic, a close up showing the 45° pieces in a little more detail...

stall feeder close up
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 665
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 12:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

I am SOOO glad you posted an update! Hubby made the frame for my slow feeder, per your instructions from your previous post. Really heavy and well made, the way he builds every thing!

So it's sitting in the garage, on it's side, awaiting the top part.

We have an ongoing discussion though with the top grate. He thought he'd buy re-bar and have our son weld that together this upcoming week. I said "NO...that is some rough stuff and won't work...I think it would hurt their lips!"

And I think you need narrow diameter cross pieces for the grate?

I looked at chain link fencing...hmmm...have yours been successfully getting hay out of that?

And not "eating a hole" through it as one website suggested?

May I ask what you used for the "grid" I can't seem to find any heavy gauge fencing material (mine destroyed the tops I made out of garden fencing) and don't know where to buy just steel rods to make the grid. Something "pre made" like chain link would be the easiest to work with for building as I have also considered building some for selling locally. I am afraid one more dry summer will really hurt our hay supply, plus I know people can't give horses away. So the need for something to economize hay useage will be there.

I have the cost of the one so far, minus the top grid.

I do have a heavy metal "cage" I feed out of, we could dismantel that, but I almost think the holes are too small on it; about 1 3/4 " square.

Thanks again, such a great idea!
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 474
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 1:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie I can't take credit for the idea but am really happy we tried it out and got something that works for us!

Our horses have no trouble getting hay out of the chain link at all. If anything it is a little too easy. They also haven't eaten a hole through it, I can't imagine how that would even be possible. You do have to make sure your wood frame around it is VERY well bolted together so it holds the chain link, kind of like a canvas stretched across a picture frame.

The stall sized one above uses a piece of gridwall, you can google it to find a supplier. It is very expensive to ship however you might have some luck finding it on craigslist. The spacing of the bars is roughly 2.5" square. I wouldn't go any bigger than that.

Below is another pic of one of our boxes with a chain link grate...




hay box
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LynnL
Member
Username: lynnland

Post Number: 39
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Shannon,

This might be a silly question but...how are you getting the grate up off the one with the 45degree angles to refill it?

Cheers
Lynn
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 475
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 3:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

There are no silly questions =)

You lift the front or back of the grate and then pull it out at an angle. You have to put it back in at a little bit of an angle as well.

So on the photo above, imagine pushing down the back part of the grate (against the red wall) then lifting it out front-first.

Those pieces aren't really necessary but allow you to really pack the box full and keep ahead of the stall-bound horse who probably has more time on his hands to work out how to defeat things. The box above has about 40 pounds of hay in it and is only half full.
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jos
Member
Username: paardex

Post Number: 1587
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 3:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sharon a REALLY silly question, do you think if I had oats or rye grow through the fencestuff they would be able to graze the fresh stuff without pulling the roots out?SO CAL has no fresh grass for the horses and I know some way or other grass/rye was grown in cities for the police horses in a similar way in Holland and I got hold of a few big old [free ] citrus crates so got this crazy idea to grow some fresh stuff in them?
What do you think?
Jos
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 476
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 3:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I like it! Kind of like those cat nip plants they have for indoor kitties! I do think it would work, though if the horses had constant access to it they might kill it by keeping it too short anyway.

Maybe you could add 'blocks' around the edge to keep the grates at a certain height so the horses couldn't overgraze it. You can attach wood to the grates easily using regular fencing staples.

I imagine the citrus crates are not solid bottom? You could probably put heavy duty window screen in the bottom to keep the dirt in but allow water to drain through.

Oh one more thing I wanted to add: most farm supply stores sell livestock panel fencing that is 4x4 grid. I couldn't bring myself to use it as we have a couple small footed horses I could just imagine finding a way to get their legs through it. But if you only had horses with big feet that might work for the grate...
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 666
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 6:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Shannon! Hubby is on his long weekend coming up here, so hopefully he'll get the top grate done some way or another. He said his dad might have some chain link fencing just laying around...free sounds good to me, as I imagine chain link is only sold in rolls.

I'll check for the livestock panels too, that should be very heavy duty.
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rtrotter
Member
Username: rtrotter

Post Number: 663
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 6:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

How much do you charge for the ones you make for the local folks?

Is there a way you could make the pieces and ship them flat so that the only thing the enduser would have to do is nail the pieces together. I am not handy, and my hubby is not handy at all either, but I can deal with nailing or screwing things together. You can ship UPS up to 150 lbs ( I think). How much would this weigh?

Angie,
You might want to price chain link gates at Lowes, Home Depot or your local hardware store.

I know they come in different sizes so you might come up with a size you can use.

Rachelle
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6135
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 7:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon they are great, I wish you lived closer! Rachelle has a good idea tho. If they were shippable in pieces I bet you could sell them like hot cakes if the cost wasn't horrible!! I want one
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 477
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 - 9:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I wish it was feasible to ship them but they are so heavy .. I can't even begin to guess what the freight would be. They are at least 150 pounds.

However we are working on a corner design that is much lighter weight and even folds flat. I don't have photos on this computer but will try to post some tomorrow. It isn't perfected yet though, still in the R&D phase.

Locally we sell the big 4x4 boxes for $175 and the 2x4 for $145; the labor is about the same to make them and the smaller ones are built heavier duty to withstand more direct hoof contact. They are about the same price as regular pasture feeders and about half the price of the other slow feeders I've seen on the market. The ones we sell we have used the gridwall panels on; it looks a little 'home grown' with chain link even though it works perfectly well.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 667
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Thursday, Mar 4, 2010 - 6:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I estimated they'd have to sell for around $200.00 also, and I didn't even check the materials list. If I can have my hubby show me how to build our next one (he did this one without me knowing he was workin on it!)I'd like to make a few for resale too.

I ran the idea by a woman who has always had between 30-60 horses. She said her horses would destroy them by rubbing on them.

I also have wondered about a well placed kick destroying the side panels. I don't think my horses will use them for rubbing itchy spots but I do wonder if someone had lots of horses in a smaller space?

I like the idea of the whole thing being a "grid" side panels and all. Like my cage that came from some warehouse. (I think it was used to hold steel parts at one time; warehouse/factory salvages can be great resources.)

If anyone finds a source of heavy duty "panels" with the right size openings I'd be interested in hearing about them.

On my to do list: learn to weld? ;-)
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 478
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Thursday, Mar 4, 2010 - 10:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I like the idea of making the whole thing out of some kind of heavy welded wire Angie, the sides could have smaller openings too. I also need to learn how to weld!

When we first introduced these I was worried about the horses destroying them too. We had 6 horses sharing three boxes in a space about 100'x75' and they haven't sustained any horse related damages. Of course the horses aren't locked into this area, just come in there to eat. We have since scattered the boxes a bit and that works well because the horses go from one to the other and it makes them move around more rather than standing at one feeder all day.

I considered making the side walls out of t&g 2x6 but it hasn't been necessary. They don't even chew on the boxes since they have hay available all the time now. They are just plain too low to rub against unless you have minis.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 479
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Thursday, Mar 4, 2010 - 10:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Below is the corner feeder I mentioned that is still in R&D. Both wood pieces are on hinges so they fold flat when not in use. The top hinges open for filling (it's open in the pic) then folds back and rests against the wall at a slight angle.

corner feeder open
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6141
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Friday, Mar 5, 2010 - 7:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon how much hay does the corner feeders hold? It's hard to tell the size, can they be hung up?
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 484
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, Mar 5, 2010 - 11:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The corner feeder holds about 30-40 pounds when filled fairly loosely with partially shook-out flakes. The metal grate is 4'x4' and when installed in the corner it is about 2' from the corner to the front of the grate. It is designed to sit on the floor, I guess you could hang it too, that's actually not a bad idea. Then you could leave the top off. You would have to mount it with sturdy enough hardware to support the weight of the feeder plus the hay... We've found that plain old fencing staples work well.

Hmmmm, the hanging thing has given me another idea .. with it hung you wouldn't need to worry as much about feet getting caught in the grate so could use the slightly larger-holed livestock panels which are easier to cut to size and make the whole thing a little smaller... back to the drawing board!
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6143
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Mar 6, 2010 - 7:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon maybe if you made them hangable and a little smaller it would be feasible to ship them?

This got me thinking too. I have those hanging hay racks (metal with bars) in my lean-to. I don't use them because they pull the hay out on the ground and eat it. So they have been hanging in there never to be used.

I wonder if I wrapped them with chain link or something I could make them into slow feeders...HMMMMM.

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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 485
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Saturday, Mar 6, 2010 - 8:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane I have the perfect solution for you (I think, haven't tried it yet myself!)

Go to your local feed / farm supply store and get a sheet of livestock fence panel, around here it comes in galvanized metal with 4x4" spacing. Cut it down to size and insert behind your regular feeder. You might need to attach it with some wire scraps or something. If you are feeling especially industrious you could even cut it a little large and bend to fit in the sides too, it bends surprisingly easilly.

If you try it let me know how it works out!
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 670
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, Mar 7, 2010 - 10:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is getting as bad for me as looking at hoofs! We went to the movie "Stutter Island" last night for hubby's birthday, and I had to lean over and whisper to him "honey, the fencing looks like it's the right stuff for making slow feeders out of!" LOL!!

We looked at various gates and fencing materials yesterday, and went with a roll of chain link fencing, heavy guage. I looked a the ready made gates, and didn't like how they were put together.

My main computer is infected with a "rogue security warning"virus so it might be few days until I am able to get pictures up, but I do want to show what we come up with and how the slow feeders are working out for my herd.

I also like the idea of a stall slow feeder as I don't use bedding and a couple of my horses really waste the hay.
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muffi delaney
Member
Username: cometrdr

Post Number: 13
Registered: 2-2010
Posted on Monday, Mar 8, 2010 - 1:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Questions...
1 - do the horses catch their lips or teeth on the wire?
2 - is it better to secure the Fencing material in a frame as in post 474? or leave it loose on top as in the first post pic?
Anyway - these look marvelous Shannon!!! I wanna make one today!!! its so funny cause we were just talking about the wasted hay out there. our horses take it out of the ground buckets I use and toss it all over the place! I'd buy nicer fancier hay if they did't constantly make a carpet of it!
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 490
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Monday, Mar 8, 2010 - 2:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Muffi we have no problems with horses catching their lips or teeth.

Yes if you are using flexible wire like chain link you absolutely must secure it in a frame. Otherwise the horses will defeat it immediately. (I learned the hard way!)

I used to get steam coming out of my ears when I would feed because the first thing the horses would do is toss their hay around looking for the best bits, wasting half and creating a mud bog with the rest in the process! I really can't imagine going back after seeing how little hay got wasted this winter.

Also our horses are so much more laid back because they have hay to nibble all the time. I was watching them eat yesterday afternoon (still had some breakfast left at 2:30pm) and they would take a small nibble then chew, chew, chew, chew like a bunch of contented cows.

I don't mean to evangelize, this has just worked so well for us I can't keep it to myself!
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 673
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Monday, Mar 8, 2010 - 3:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

I think you answered this question before in another post, but I was wondering if you would tell me again about amounts fed now compared to before.

How many horses are you feeding?

How much hay did you typically feed daily last winter before you had the slow feeders, and how much are you feeding with them?

As I understand it, we are supposed to keep hay in them all the time?

BTW, I am fighting keeping steam from coming out of my ears; hubby got my box moved now to the cement in front of the barn...but he had to fix his jeep, and now hubby & son have car torn apart. All good from the point of saving $$$$ doing it themselves, yet I am soo anxious to see these feeders put to use! I doubt I can cut the chain link myself or stretch tight enough.

Sigh...patience needed.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 491
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Monday, Mar 8, 2010 - 4:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I bet you could do it Angie. The chain link actually doesn't need to be cut, all you do is 'unfold' the little loops at the top and bottom of a single wire (pliers work) and then that single link corkscrews itself right out.

Then lay out your 2x4s, so the breaks are staggered on the top and bottom layer, an example sketch is below. Toenail them together to hold temporarily, add the layer of chain link between them, then bolt it all together well.



Important: make the frame smaller than you think you need, the finished product will grow inexplicably when you try to fit it inside the box! The result will be much swearing and possibly some tears.

So if your box is 4' on the inside give yourself a good inch or two of wiggle. Rather than trying to cut the top or bottom off your chain link (which will make it unravel), build the frame a little smaller than the chain link then mash the top/bottom of the chain link down with a hammer or by slamming it on the garage floor (you can swear as you do this or not, per your preference)

Just remember the anger and frustration are only temporary and the hay savings is permanent!

I was just comparing my hay bill compared to last year and we have one extra horse but are feeding about 30% less overall. Right now I put out about 65 pounds twice a day for 6 horses. I feed twice a day regardless so am not hung up on the whole 'keep the box filled constantly' rule. Our horses have moderated their intake so they nibble and take breaks throughout the day and usually are just cleaning up their breakfast around 3-4pm.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 675
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 9, 2010 - 7:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Shannon!

I didn't look at the fencing very closely. Hubby bought a new tool just to cut it, he thought we had to cut it too.

I hope we can unfold little hooks both ways, we got the 4' x 50' because I wanted the heavier gauge, and that's the smallest roll it came on, and also have a few other things in mind for it.

Last sunny & warm day for awhile, so need to get after this project.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 676
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 9, 2010 - 6:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Celebration time here! TWO slow feeders are now in use. I officially had the horses eating out of them at 6 p.m. tonight; can't wait to see what's left tomorrow at sun rise.

Something did occur to me watching them pick the hay out through the chain link fence. Is this going to be o.k. as far as teeth go, long term? As soon as the hay is a bit packed, they use their teeth to get at it. I pulled some through the links, and they used their lips then, but they had to go back to teeth to get at it in a few minutes.

I guess horses graze amongst rocks...hmmm??

SO, my thinking is, why can't a really heavy duty net be stretched in the frame? Not a hay net, but something from the fishing world, or sports world? It's the weight of the frame that is holding it down, not the chain link it seems.

??? Anyone ???

Speaking of weight, the top grid is heavy!!

Got pictures, but have to wait til I get my own computer home.

DrO, any thoughts on teeth issues working on getting hay out of chain link fencing?
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 677
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 - 10:26 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Update from this morning. The large slow feeder per Shannon's instructions, 4 x 4, was empty this morning. My smaller one was not, I think because it had more leafy hay in it?

Got our computer back, I'll post pics of the smaller "cage" in a few hours.

Was funny, took a bale out in the wheel barrow, and they were grabbing the "easy" hay with gusto, lol!
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 678
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 - 12:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The cage I've been referring to.


Cody and Gem have it figured out.

Thank you sooo much Shannon for all your help!
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 6185
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 - 3:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nice Angie
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 493
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 - 5:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Looks great Angie! Glad I could help. How big is the smaller 'cage' feeder and do you notice whether they are eating from the top or sides on that one?

You are right about it being the weight of the frame holding things down. I had the same thought of using some kind of softer net material, it is actually a benefit of the chain link that it flexes and conforms to the hay under it as opposed to a rigid grid. Our horses have been so hard on any kind of net though I didn't bother to try it. I would also worry about horses getting caught in the net; I think you'd have to take some extra precautions against having it get loose from the frame.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 679
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 - 7:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

We made the top frame 36 x 28 so the cage must be about 38 x 30 and it is about 2" taller than the wood box. They've ate out of it from the top for years so I doubt they will think of eating from the sides.

We must have our chain link stretched tighter than you have; it don't "flex" at all. Hubby tacked the links all around the frame before sandwiching it between the 2nd frame. We pulled it tight as we could.

A question: Are your horses able to eat all the way down to the bottom of the boxes? It seems at some point mine cannot get at the hay any more. I thought that would happen once the frame sat on the base, but I am finding that is not the case, it happens before then. I've ended up with 4-8" of hay that can't be reached, the frame is too high above it all.

So I am still getting the benefit of them "grazing" more slowly, but defeats the purpose of having hay available 24/7 and me not having to worry about concrete feeding times. Not a concern about total content devoured as I put them in every afternoon for a few hours to get out of the mud this time of year.

I am shaking the hay up as I put it in (A bit more work, shake hay, wrestle with frame) and I even pull some through to get them started.

Should I sit the flakes on their sides?

My hay is grass hay, not much in they way of little leaves from alfalfa.

It is raining and I think that is making it worse as the hay gets wet it also sinks a bit. But it happened from the first time, so not just from the rain.

I have been experimenting with how much hay to put in each one.

I bet just laying a metal grid on top is working better?!
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Fran C
Member
Username: canter

Post Number: 2315
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 - 10:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just wanted to say how much I admire everyone's creativity and handiness!!
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 495
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 - 11:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie the chain link might relax a bit over time to flex, though it sounds like you did a bomber job putting it together!

Our horses get every last scrap of hay out except for any wisps that get stuck under the frame. I wonder what yours is getting hung up on? If you are spreading the hay around to fit all the way to the edges inside the box that might be it? Or maybe the frame fits a little too snugly inside the box?

When I load our boxes with the chain link grate I lay the flakes in flat on their sides roughly in the middle, or I guess everywhere except the outer 4" where the frame will sit. So the chain link pressing against the hay is what holds the frame up. As the hay is removed, the weight of the frame keeps the chain link pressed against the hay.

I actually find that the horses have an easier time getting the hay out of the chain link grate than the rigid metal ones. But with the metal ones I can fill all the way to the outer edges.

I also stand the frame up on it's side inside the box to keep it out of my way while I'm loading the box, then just let it drop down on top of the hay.

So the process is: stand frame up, toss in flakes, let frame drop again. I don't bother shaking out the hay or starting it for them, doesn't seem to make any difference in their ability to get at it. Also I live in the pacific northwest where it rains a LOT in the winter and haven't had any problems due to rain yet.

There must be something that is causing your frame to get hung up inside the box, once you identify that I think you will have clear sailing!
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 681
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 - 3:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmmm...it seems to be worse in the cage. So perhaps because the cage bottom isn't solid, and it is pushing the hay through that "grid". Or maybe I need to keep it away from the perimeter as you suggest. It is the hay itself holding the frame up, I can see that. So no shaking it out, laying flakes in it.

And yup, I set the frame on end inside the box as I fill it. It's too muddy to set the darn thing on the ground!

Funny, little things make such a big difference! I thought as they pulled the hay out, it would come away from under the frame...guess not. DUH.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 496
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 - 7:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It's all about those little things =) I have traveled over a bit of a learning curve so am happy to share anything I can that will help.

Another little detail .. best way to keep horses from trying to defeat the grate is not to overfill the box. I never fill mine more than half way full which is more than plenty anyway.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 683
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 - 9:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

Good news! Almost every bit of hay gone this morning in the large feeder. Laying the hay down in flakes, and not under the frame is the secret! Now I wish we had made that frame out of 2 x 4's, but we didn't have any left, so that frame is 2 x 6's.

The cage isn't faring as well; hay left yet, it's not a good size to put the flakes in side by side and the frame ends up needing to be tied on the sides or it seems to teeter totter all over. I can tell they worked hard at getting that hay out; the chain link has stretched, and they gnawed on the frame a bit.

So need to figure out how to best utilize that feeder yet. Still would like another 4 x 4 one made so I can put it in another spot to encourage movement. I have my paddock paradise track shut off right now, and my horses look like cows standing in mud around those feeders! They are not moving much, not good.

Next project: Gravel for where slow feeders are sitting.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 684
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 - 3:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

One last update from me: My 4 horses ate for 6 hours on their morning hay today! That hay would normally be gone in half that time, or sooner. And much of it wasted in the mud no matter if I put in the cage or in the tires.

And I noticed yesterday when I put them in for their afternoon "grain/vitamin" meal/feet drying session they didn't eat much of the hay in their stalls.
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 497
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, Mar 12, 2010 - 3:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Great news Angie! Yes I definitely recommend more than one feeder. We have 4 total, which is really one more than we need, and they are spread out so the horses go from box to box to box. I do also recommend putting gravel or mats or both down where the feeders are, otherwise as you have seen it quickly turns into a mud bog.

Also if you don't keep up with it you will end up with a ring of poo about 4 feet outside the area of the box where the horses hind ends are while they are eating =)
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 707
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Friday, Mar 19, 2010 - 12:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thought this might be an interesting addition to this discussion. I haven't checked it out myself real well. Link to slow feeders on home page.

http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/
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Shannon
Member
Username: stek

Post Number: 570
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Saturday, Apr 17, 2010 - 6:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie just wondering how your slow feeder is working out?
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 758
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 - 9:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shannon,

It's working out great! The chain link has stretched a bit, so it's easy to see what side goes down, which is o.k. I don't care for the metal cage any more than I did in the beginning, I don't like the size or the bottom; I think I've seen a few cuts in the coronet band area from them banging it.

We had a friend "horse sit" for us the week we were gone to FL, and she loved them also. So as soon as hubby gets around to it, he's building her one. I hope I get another one then too!

Right now they are getting a real treat; hay on the ground before some grazing time. Then back to hay in the slow feeders for the rest of the day. I've been able to cut back from 2 bales to 1 1/2 now with the grazing.

Sure am glad you posted pictures of yours, the word up here is that hay is going to be mighty hard to get this summer with this being the 3rd dry year.

Did you tweak yours any, or find a different sort of grid to lay on top? I'd still like something different than the chain link, it's o.k. though.
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1219
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Monday, Jan 24, 2011 - 8:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

A former HA member sent me an interesting link to someone who came up with a "slow Feeder" that they are selling. I think it's a bit spendy, but then again it sure looks like a great idea! Except for loading from the bottom.

http://www.thenaturalfeeder.com/Home_Page.php

Since I've been using my slow feeders for almost a year, I thought I'd add an update as to how mine are working out.

Pros: Definitely saves on hay, gives horses more natural "grazing" time eating out of them vs on the ground or in tires.
No wasted hay except for some that gets wet around the edges at times.
No injuries from using these homemade ones.
No fighting, 3 horses can eat out of one easily. I have 2 set up and they move between the 2 throughout the day and night thus getting movement too.

Cons: I'd like to redesign a few things about mine.

I think I'd like a grated bottom so that I don't end up with wet compacted hay that has to be dug out. There are drainage holes in the bottom but that don't work too well. Snow don't drain so there is always crud to be cleaned out.

I'd like a frame that is a thin sheet of metal and goes right to the edges, and is say only an inch wide maybe? That would prevent a wall of hay being built up along the edges to hold the frame up, and to turn into yucky hay.

The chain link is working o.k., yet I wonder about them eating out of that when it's so cold? I keep thinking of like if we stuck our tongue on a cold pipe in the winter, lol! I've actually checked their mouths/lips, don't seem to be bothering them.

My hay is very poor this year...musty, compacted bales. So unless the bale smells like hay should smell, I don't put it in the feeders. For one reason they can't get it out if it's too tight, and for the health reasons of not wanting them to breath the dust in an enclosed area.

So I can't give a big thumbs up on savings THIS YEAR with this system since my hay is so poor. But with good hay I have no doubt I would be ahead this year. If we don't take into account how much hay I am throwing away, I am feeding less. With the cold spell we've been under forever...well, it seems like forever ;-), I've never put out extra hay to give them eating time to generate warmth. Nor have I stalled them either.

If anyone purchases from the link I posted, please give feedback, k?
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1220
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Monday, Jan 24, 2011 - 8:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Meant to ask, Shannon...how are your's working out? Any modifications? (forgot it's your discussion!)

Ang
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 2369
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Jan 24, 2011 - 2:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Some very creative ideas! There is never a shortage of useful information here on HA!

I have loved using these very durable hay bays in the grande buffet size from Busy Horse:
http://busyhorse.com/

There are two choices for size of opening and the regular is fine for most uses. I used the "slow down" size when Perry was shut in with laminitis and took about 75 pounds off of him.

The feeders are very durable and hold loads of hay if you stuff it full. To serve three horses I hung four of the regular grande buffet type from 2 large trees (one on each side) near my water tank and also put rings in all of the stalls where the bags can be moved and hung as desired.

My bossy paint horse Buddy tends to select one tree while the two Arabians share the other.

This is a safe and practically waste-free method of feeding and the horses like the bags too.
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 74
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Saturday, Oct 29, 2011 - 10:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wow!! love this thread!! I will soon be (FINALLY) moving my horse and a friend back home and would love to design a way that they can keep themselves eating at will/as needed for most of the day and not fall apart if I hit traffic on the way home.
ANGIE...did you ever make a feeder with a grate on the bottom also? sounds like a great idea even if it rained so it would drain through and they could still eat the days worth of wet hay.
How are others holding up? I wonder how locking wheels would work so it could be moved around from time to time.....
Great idea ladies!!
Thanks
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1349
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, Oct 30, 2011 - 8:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi IKE,

I have changed my method a bit. I am currently useing small hole hay nets, from Dover, the number is 27286, current price $14.90. I have now bought 16 of them total, when they were on sale for $9.99. Then I purchased bucket hanger straps from Horse.com, I think if you order more than 6, they are $1.80 each. I use the bucket straps to close and attach the nets instead of the cord they come with.

I am doubling the nets so I have 8 filled at any given time. My reason for going to the nets is I want hay in the stalls too, and didn't want any type of hard type feeder built in the stalls. I attached the eye hooks with rings, (horse.com also, 10 in a bag I think best price)on 2 corners of the hard sided slow feeders, and attach the nets to them. Since my horses live on a "track" set up, I don't have any place else to put the nets. There is one tree on their side of the fence that I am trying to figure out how to attach a net to it. I have 2 hooks in each stall to hang nets from also for when they need to be in.

I am not sure they move as much eating from slow feeders with the nets in use as they did with the grids on top. Maybe because they are pretty busy trying to get the hay out? I am still experimenting with the nets. I would like to put 8 out late afternoon, and see if that works for 24 hrs for 3 horses. I'd also like a few sturdy wooden posts in the ground to attach nets to also, so I could spread them out. I don't want to throw them on the ground.

I still have the chain link tops for my slow feeders, may use them later this winter. For me, it's all about how much grazing time can I get out of the hay? AND movement. My goal is to consistently feed 1 1/2 bales for 3 horses, not go up to 2-2 1/2 bales when it gets colder. Hay is too expensive, and my horses don't need the extra weight!

A few additional notes:

My geldings can get the hay out of 2 nets put together, my Arab mare prefers just a single net so she gets that in her stall.

Over filling the nets makes it too hard for them to get the hay out, and they grab the netting material itself more.

I may try more single nets filled in more spots, vs less doubled nets filled in less places.

Dover has another net that SAYS the holes are smaller. Number is 27444, comes in red/black only. I have a box of 5 of them sitting here I am returning. The holes are NOT smaller, in fact they stretch out MORE than the other nets. AND the cording is HALF as thick as what I have. They are probably 50% bigger though. I called and explained I was not happy with the quality, and was able to order more of what I had gotten originally, at the sale price. Much BETTER.

To answer your last question, my boxes are holding up great. The frame on one of the chain links grids warped a bit, no biggie.

Another option is to go to Arizona Sports Equipment dot com I think...many make nets out of the hockey netting they sell. Doesn't look tough to my eye, but the options are only limited to our imaginations on how to build something, and it depends on how destructive or content your horses are.

Good luck and congrats on bringing your horse home!!

P.S., I need to make bigger holes in the bottom of my feeders for drainage. And am waiting for hubby to help with putting a center hook in them also since one of the eye hooks pulled out.
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 75
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011 - 9:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie, Thanks for the info. I love the idea of having the horses move from net to net. I was thinking of providing 1 of the home-made box slow feeders, and perhaps 2 other nets at other area's of the property and changing the location regularly so they are always thinking they should explore around for their hay.

Shannon & Angie, My horse has had some respiratory issues, often due to poor hay (I was boarding and not in control of it) We were always shaking it out and wetting it...AS I will now have my own (excellent) hay source which is great and not dusty...I will likely give up the watering, but was thinking that having a grate on the bottom of the box (or atleast some holes drilled in the bottom of the wood) would allow water to filter through. Any thoughts?

AS to the wire/fencing...was there an overall liking of the chainlink vs the Gridwall? I want the horses to have constant access to hay, but not be frustrated as this will be a new way of feeding to them.

I will likely wean them onto the slow feeders as they will both be new to it.

Thanks again for any input.
Much appreciated!!
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Angie KJ
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1350
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Thursday, Nov 3, 2011 - 10:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, I don't think Shannon is on HA any more. I can't say about the grids, it was Shannon who tried both methods; chain link and grids, I think.

I am still waiting for hubby to get the right tools to make bigger holes in the bottom of my feeders, I am think maybe 1" diameter since the ones I drilled (1/2")just filled up with hay.

Have you been to http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/ and read about the different ideas and what to expect?

If you start out with a single net, I don't think your horses will be frustrated. If you build some kind of solid grid top, I think you would want those holes bigger than if you are using the net. The chain link flexes no matter how tight you attach it in the beginning, and those holes, IMO, allow them to still eat too much at one time! NOT BAD, but not "nibbling" either. Yet lots better than them just being able to eat a huge mouthful at one time, and out of hay in an hour!

Mine have now adapted to just doubled nets. I find that one bale fills 5, and I put that those 5 out at night. I have 2-3 more ready to go for the morning. I wasn't out until 9 today, and they had some left again in a few of the nets. I see them standing in the sun (haven't seen the sun for days, don't blame 'em!) or wondering around the track, so they have now accepted there will be hay available, and I can see they don't eat as greedily. At first I thought they were going to destroy the nets!

Before you buy, there is a link on the paddock paradise site that rates the different hay nets. The nibble net and busy horse are 2 that sound really good, more expensive though.

Keep us updated how it works out!!
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 76
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Thursday, Nov 3, 2011 - 8:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Angie, I appreciate your feedback. I have checked out the Paradise website. makes good sense! I dont think I will be able to make a track as such on the slightly limited space I have in the suburbs of Boston...better than most about a full acre between 2 horses. An "L" shaped mix of roughly 55% grass paddock, 25% sand ring and 20% dirt paddock, each are fenced seperately as such, yet connected so you could have them all open at once in a big connected paddock. I will manage & conserve the grass to keep it nice. I will plan on perhaps starting with am/pm loose hay, just a flake or so (as they have been used to) and for majority of day I will use 2 or more haynets, and perhaps a ground slow feeder to keep them interested in moving. Night check will also be a haynet, eventually omitting the loose flakes.

I'll be moving the first week in Dec, so I will keep you posted shortly after!!
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auntbee
New Member
Username: auntbee

Post Number: 1
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 3:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Has anyone used the "Slow Grazer" ? It is a type of slow feeder using a wood box and a metal grate on top. THanks
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