Feeding from the ground

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6 January 2019
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So I’m thinking of feeding my horse’s hay on the ground at night - he’s out during the day, is in his stable by about half six and is out at about eight thirty. He gets one big hay net at the moment which just about lasts him til the morning (there’s usually a little bit left, but not much).
I’d like to be able to put it in a corner and just let him eat it, but he’s a greedy little pig and I worry that he’ll finish it in an hour. He is such a pig that he actually seems to be losing weight out in a fresh field on the spring grass because during the winter, there were bales of hay out in the fields that he would stand next to or in, munching away for the whole day.
So... any ideas? Just give more hay so he can’t run out? Have looked at some types of ground feeders that act in the same way as small-holed hay nets, anyone have experience of those? Some of them seem awfully pricey for what they are but I’d be willing to pay if they do the job
 
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East Lothian
So I’m thinking of feeding my horse’s hay on the ground at night - he’s out during the day, is in his stable by about half six and is out at about eight thirty. He gets one big hay net at the moment which just about lasts him til the morning (there’s usually a little bit left, but not much).
I’d like to be able to put it in a corner and just let him eat it, but he’s a greedy little pig and I worry that he’ll finish it in an hour. He is such a pig that he actually seems to be losing weight out in a fresh field on the spring grass because during the winter, there were bales of hay out in the fields that he would stand next to or in, munching away for the whole day.
So... any ideas? Just give more hay so he can’t run out? Have looked at some types of ground feeders that act in the same way as small-holed hay nets, anyone have experience of those? Some of them seem awfully pricey for what they are but I’d be willing to pay if they do the job
Best to stick to the hay net,much can get trampled on and pooed on if put on the ground and its a waste of hay and the horse will go hungry I have tried it and doesnt work.The amount you are giving him sounds right if he still has some left in the morning.They need to be kept nibbling 24/7 anyway.I consider myself well versed in nets and ground feeders and have tried many.Feeders on the ground can get trampled on and pooed on.Haynets are best as long as not the very small holed as it can cause abrasions to the muzzle..If they are well rugged up out in winter eating hay all day switch to just a rain sheet and they wont pile the pounds on. The bad winter of 2010 when we didnt have a blade of grass available from Nov. to end March saw me rigging up huge haynets slung between two conifers in a very sheltered and covered part of the field.My horse with a heavy denier rain sheet and his unrugged pony mates munched happily all day and night outside.His weight was fine at the end of the winter, the hay was giving them energy to keep warm rather than heavy rugs.I dont believe horses are greedy with hay,its only if they are kept short of it or over rugged and boredom that problems arise.
 

meleeka

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If he’s not shoe you could feed from a small holed net on the floor or near to it. I’ve got wood in the corners that I can tie a teeny holes net it (a bit like a haybar but homemade). I also feed some in a normal net to satisfy hunger. I’d recommend Martsnets which aren’t as expensive or as frustrating as Tricklenets. 25mm is about right for a small hole or 35 if you don’t need to slow him down much. Shires blue/black or black/red are good too.
 

HeyMich

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If he’s not shoe you could feed from a small holed net on the floor or near to it. I’ve got wood in the corners that I can tie a teeny holes net it (a bit like a haybar but homemade). I also feed some in a normal net to satisfy hunger. I’d recommend Martsnets which aren’t as expensive or as frustrating as Tricklenets. 25mm is about right for a small hole or 35 if you don’t need to slow him down much. Shires blue/black or black/red are good too.
Just a word of warning - Our 13hh pony isn't shod but still managed to get his leg caught in a hay net in his stable. I feed them all from haybars now when they are in the stable (mostly out 24/7). It doesn't slow them down but I feel it's a lot safer.
 

meleeka

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Just a word of warning - Our 13hh pony isn't shod but still managed to get his leg caught in a hay net in his stable. I feed them all from haybars now when they are in the stable (mostly out 24/7). It doesn't slow them down but I feel it's a lot safer.
If the holes are small enough and the string is tied tight enough it can’t really happen. I have some that the string is cut so no loop and others that I just tie like a daisy chain and tuck in, so again no loop to get stuck in.
 
Joined
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Best to stick to the hay net,much can get trampled on and pooed on if put on the ground and its a waste of hay and the horse will go hungry I have tried it and doesnt work.The amount you are giving him sounds right if he still has some left in the morning.They need to be kept nibbling 24/7 anyway.I consider myself well versed in nets and ground feeders and have tried many.Feeders on the ground can get trampled on and pooed on.Haynets are best as long as not the very small holed as it can cause abrasions to the muzzle..If they are well rugged up out in winter eating hay all day switch to just a rain sheet and they wont pile the pounds on. The bad winter of 2010 when we didnt have a blade of grass available from Nov. to end March saw me rigging up huge haynets slung between two conifers in a very sheltered and covered part of the field.My horse with a heavy denier rain sheet and his unrugged pony mates munched happily all day and night outside.His weight was fine at the end of the winter, the hay was giving them energy to keep warm rather than heavy rugs.I dont believe horses are greedy with hay,its only if they are kept short of it or over rugged and boredom that problems arise.
This was really helpful, thanks! Maybe I’ll stick to haynets then...
I’ll keep the rainsheet in mind for next winter; he was out in a 100g for most days and a 250g for the snow but I suppose if he was still putting on weight it was too much.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I loathe haynets and don't use them except for travelling. When my Draft mare needed to lose weight but I wanted her to be able to nibble all night, I gave her a big trug of plain oat straw chaff (Honeychop or Halley's), as well as a measured ration of hay in her haybar. She gradually ate less and less of the chaff, as she started to regulate her own intake when she realised that food was not in short supply in this home.
 

Ambers Echo

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I have fed all mine from the floor through winter. Jenny eats much MUCH more from the floor than she does from nets so she is back on nets to prevent her getting fat. Mine have always had adlib haylage but some are just greedy! Jenny won't ration herself. Amber and Dolly will.
 

TPO

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I use haycubes as I was getting too much waste feeding from the floor or from haybars. They are expensive to buy initially but more than earn their keep. They are designed with soaking hay in mind too so that also helps decrease the calories (*disclaimer - lots of stuff being published that soaked hay is bad for horses/their gut so read, review and decide or yourself).

My mum has an obese cob who is slowly being shrunk. He gets steamed hay in a small holed net and that is then put in the cube to slow him down. It's still not ideal but is better than him pulling from a hung haynet or eating himself to an early grave!

I am not a haynet fan and I'm another that doesn't buy the "it's ok because they're not shod". I've heard horror stories and have gone onto a yard to find a horse tangled up in a small holed net despite not having shoes on. It wasn't hung high because "it's bad for their backs" and dropped further as it emptied. Thankfully the horse didn't panic but it had been stuck for a while and could have been devastating. As per the suggestion above, one of those hay pillows/a hay net tied to itself would be better, IMO, than a low hung net.

Not sure if your horse is new to you but as someone has already said, generally when they learn forage is adlib they slow down. My mum's last horse was "fat" so was given very rationed hay by previous owners. When we started feeding him adlib he was getting through almost a full bale at night. It took less than a fortnight for him to realise that there was always going to be hay and he went down to eating 3-4 sections a night. Mum's companion cob is the size of a bus and was really food aggressive when we got him. He's gotten adlib forage since arriving and he's slowed himself down. He's coming back into work to help shed the kilos but meanwhile the small holed net within the cube is definitely helping.
 

Auslander

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I dont believe horses are greedy with hay
I wish this was the case with a couple of mine! I have one in particular who will eat and eat and eat until she can barely move as she's so full - then she'll have a brief snooze, and start eating again.
I'm also a bit peeved with the two mares who live out. They munched their way through an 8ft bale in three days (and they were shut out of the pen during the day to prevent bloodshed when the other greedy girls were out). The two boys who are out 24/7 (both a lot bigger than the girls) took 6 days to eat theirs!
 

ester

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Is he shod? I've used nibbleze nets with success - and donated the smaller holed one to a friend's very greedy section A and it worked for him too.- My original intention was to use both so he had the small holed one second for later in the night but as there is nothing for them to pull against they take longer to eat anyway.
Not tied to anything so nothing to get stuck on/in etc.

Now he get's it loose as has eating issues.
 

JillA

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If the holes are small enough and the string is tied tight enough it can’t really happen. I have some that the string is cut so no loop and others that I just tie like a daisy chain and tuck in, so again no loop to get stuck in.
I have been feeding mine from tied up haynets like that (aka hayballs) for several years and never had any trouble - maybe with older haynets they would break before they caused a real problem? I know some people who remove the neck cord and replace it with a carabiner for safety.
 
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Unfortunately he is shod on his front at the moment so nets on the floor are probably not an option - I liked the idea about adding oat straw to hay, think that might stop him piling on the pounds if I fed on the ground/in a hay bar. I looked at the hay cubes and they look great - a bit pricey but if it works it’ll be worth it. And it would be handy to be able to add in a haynet if he doesn’t learn to regulate himself. Thanks for the helpful advice everyone!
 
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This was really helpful, thanks! Maybe I’ll stick to haynets then...
I’ll keep the rainsheet in mind for next winter; he was out in a 100g for most days and a 250g for the snow but I suppose if he was still putting on weight it was too much.
A no fill rug is what I used,so just a rain sheet. Of course it depends on the age ,breed,health etc. how much rugging is necessary.
 

Summit

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31 July 2018
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I converted a wheelie bin, This isn’t mine but shows you what it looks like. The hole in mine is much larger. No waste and keeps it dry

F1FA6C9A-351D-4BA7-A208-6C8DED7AF6B8.jpeg
 
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