Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

This Year's Food Experiment - The Slow Feed Hay Net

Hay - and getting enough of it - is a major concern for any horse owner.  We have three horses: Jesse, an easy-keeper; Washoe, a flow-thru (those that can eat everything and never seem to gain weight); and Ranger, a 'normal' I-will-quit-when-I-am-full horse.  How to best feed these guys together and have them all at optimal weights?  Last year I had thought I would need a grazing mask for Jesse, who could easily become insulin resistant.  Thanks to good weather conditions last summer and enough ride time (read exercise), I did not have to.  But the issue still resided in the back of my mind, so when I saw a new ad in a horse magazine from a company called Hay Chix, I decided to give it a try.  They sell different types of hay nets to fit your normal sized bales of hay - everything from flakes to large round bales - for a reasonable price.  After much thought, I ordered the size for 2-string bales up to 70 lbs.
Within a week, my new 'feeder' arrived in the mail.  This is going to fit a whole bale?  I ordered the heavy duty version, since Jesse is known for demolishing just about anything with her teeth.  It has 1 3/4 in. webbing; about one half the size of normal hay nets.
This is one of the things that tends to happen - even when there is always hay in the feeder.  This year it was Ranger's turn to officiate the opening of the hay stack!
Good, simple directions come with it.  Start by standing the bale on end and opening the mouth of the net.
Drop the net down over the hay bale.
Tip the bale over ...
... slide the boggle down the ropes and tie with a double knot.
Transport the hay to the feeding location by either using the strings on the bale, or passing the tie rope to the opposite end of the bale and using it as a handle.  I chose to just carry by the strings since that what I usually do anyway.  My greys were instantly interested.
To get it into the feeder, I decided the easiest way was by getting into the feeder and pulling it in.  Washoe ignored me; Jesse was irritated that I was IN the feeder.  Once the hay is in place you can either put the tie strings inside the netting or use them to tie off to something so it can't be drug around.  Considering Jesse's proclivity to do just that, I tied it to the fence rail.
Ranger was NOT impressed; this is him snorting his disapproval!  Then he backed away with an I'm-not-going-there attitude.
For the first few days or so you are supposed to cover with lots of loose hay, until they learn that there will always be hay without getting frustrated at the slow feed idea.  If you notice Washoe's mouthful of hay you will see why there is such a mess.  It would be nice to not have such waste.

Jesse seems quite pleased and preferred to eat from the bale while the others ate the loose stuff - and she is the one who needs this the most.  Yay!!!
This morning the net was still almost full - and there was plenty of loose hay left.  The horses did not seem upset at all.  Tonight there was still plenty of loose hay and the net was a little less than half full.  The horses seem quite happy so I guess they are making the transition pretty fast.  Notice the new snow on the ground.  Winter is not over yet up here.
Bionic Cowgirl


  1. We'll need an update in a week or so, I think. If it's still going well, I might consider one for our two.

  2. I forgot to add that when the bale is in place, you just clip the hay strings and pull out, so they don't get tangled in the net.

  3. Thank you for reviewing this net, there are so many on the market its hard to know where to start.
    I'll be watching for the update too! If you're still happy with it then, I think that I'll be adding a couple of these to my birthday wish list!

  4. Oh, poor Ranger. He is going to starve to death. Love the post and very great pics and details!


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