Friday, December 7, 2012

Hay Nets

After a scare with a third horse (in seven years) and sand colic, I decided it would be a good idea to start feeding their hay in a hay.  Sand uptake isn't the only reason though.  Each horse here is fed individually, depending on size, weight, level of exercise, etc. For example, the growing baby, Bullwinkle, who is 4 1/2 years old, 17 hands, and 1400 pounds will be fed twice as much and the 13 hand, rotund wee pony Chiquita.  So, Bullwinkle, who is a nibble and slurp kind of eater, will take several hours to eat his hay, while Chiquita, who is a snatch, snarf, and gobble eater, will have chowed through her hay is an hour or less.  Since she is so fat, she is also on a dry lot 90% of the time.  So she gets to stand around and watch others eat while she "starves".  We also have wind here.  If fed on the ground, the hay will either blow out to the pasture or into a neighboring run, or in extreme wind storms, into our neighbor's pasture.

So, I had an epiphany and decided to switch all the horses to nets, but not just ANY net... Oh no!  I chose a Slow Feeder Net like what is found here.  So I ordered four of them.  I decided I couldn't wait so I made a net out of baling twine. (See video below)

Once the ordered nets got here, I found out what a pain in the butt they are!  Now don't get me wrong, I will continue to use them, but when they say "small", they don't mean just the hole size.  The NET size is small also.  I can stuff one flake of hay into them, IF I have three strong men and a small child help me out.  They just aren't big enough AROUND to stuff easily.  Plus, they collapse onto themselves so a person really needs four hands.  And they are round, when my flakes of hay are square.

After whining about it on Facebook, my friend Amy in Georgia send me this link.  So I ordered it and when it finally got here, I was SO excited I felt like dancing naked in the street!!!  It cut my loading time of the four hay nets from 40 minutes down to 10 minutes!

However, the net size is still too small.  So in another Facebook conversation with Liz and Denise, we discussed net size, style (round bottom or straight), how to hang them, how to close them, stuffing styles, hay type, and more.  Liz sent me the link to the style of net she uses - here.  So like a clown, I ordered ten of them.  I did manage to see that they have two different sizes: horse and pony, so I ordered the horse size.

So Liz, Denise, and I got pretty wordy about how to hang the nets, how to close the top, etc.  So I took some videos, complete with narrative, on how I stuff the nets I have, how I tie the tops, and how I hang them. I have learned some things - the horses dislike the nets because they can't stuff their mouths, they are forced to eat slower and for longer periods of time, they waste less, the fat ones have lost weight (some, but not a lot), and the hard keepers have GAINED weight.

So... ENJOY!


Nikker said...

Great videos! I watched them all! I was wondering about those slow feeder nets, they seem like a really great idea...but then again you never know. Really impressed by the lack of waste in Roger's stall. That was amazing! :0) Now I know what to expect and what size not to buy! Also totally see that I NEED a stable hand, or what ever that black things called to go with my net!!
Great info! Thanks for sharing!!

Karen V said...

Yes, It's a "Stable Hand" - I got it at There is a link in the text - in the paragraph where Amy sent it to me. I'll let you know what I think of the "horse size" nets.

The 2 inch size holes piss the horses off, but they figure it out and get fed.

Roger was wasting 2/3 of what I fed him! With the net, I stuff two flakes in once a day and he is good to go (He also has free access to pasture). The others get fed twice a day.

mrscravitz said...

FYI: THe link to the hay nets that you ordered 10 of, just says: "here" and Google doesn't like that link! LOL

Karen V said...

The link is fixed now...