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Use of Small Mesh Hay Nets?


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#1 Roxane Martin

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 09:51 PM

I have been wanting to move toward slow feeding so that hay can be present more often and encourage more natural continuous eating of hay. I cannot use round bales and don't like the mess I see of them anyway. I am in NE Penn and have timothy and orchard grass hay. I have been looking at small mesh hay nets--suggestion is to start with 2 inch openings and then maybe move to smaller if need be. Of course, most of the comments are with full-sized horses, so I'm unsure regarding that size with minis.

Have any of you tried them and what was your process to move toward that system of feeding? What size holes did you use?

Our herd ranges from 33 to 37 inches, 3 geldings and 2 mares, ages from 9-12 years.

Thanks for your observations and suggestions.

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#2 Marty

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:55 PM

I saw them in use at someone's farm and they loved them and said they were wonderful and very pleased. But what I saw was an accident looking for a place to happen. I wouldn't have them on my place for nothing. Just my humble opinion.

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#3 Leeana

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:55 PM

Hello - Yes I just bought four recently from Megan (Mydaddsjag) here on the forum.

I think the holes are about 2" and I really like them. They are the Tough-1 brand slow feed hay nets. I am not really showing a lot in the upcoming fiture, and well, it is fall/winter now, so I like for them to be able to "graze" as I think a full tummy is a happy and healthy tummy. What i've been doing is I only use them in the afternoon. I just throw hay into them in the morning, as I know personally in the morning I am hungry and want something to eat THEN, so am sure they are the same way. Then after they eat that, I will hang up the slow feed hay nets a couple hours later and they do work and last. Then I normally just have to toss just a little bit of hay in at night for them to eat. But the slow feed hay nets do the trick and give them something to do. The first day, I think the ponies used them more or less as "floss" though...didn't get the concept of SLOW (LOL) but now they all seem to get the concept.

I am a major anti hay net person - but these are safe and most my ponies are 36-46" and I don't worry at all about them getting their feet in them. I would almost say it was impossible. Perhaps a foal if they thought the net was a "toy", could get their feet tangled up in it, but I feel very safe with these nets in the barn and as soon as I have extra time to try and find them on the internet, I plan to order about four more. I put one between each stall so 2 can share and it seems to work well.

I do take the nets down at night when they are empty, maybe around 9-10'ish or so. I would like to keep them full 24/7 and eventually maybe my work/sleep schedule will allow me to do that and I will just move to keeping them full 24/7.

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#4 Matt73

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:05 PM

Why would you want to use them? The only time I use hay nets is when I'm transporting big horses and they are very high up by their head. If you're feeding grass/timothy hay, why can't you just put one flake/horse spread out around the paddock/field? The nice thing about feeding that type of hay is that you can just throw it at them :) My adults get 4 big flakes/day each and are never hungry :RollEyes

#5 Leeana

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:10 PM

I think she is asking about the "slow feed" hay nets. Not the regular hay nets.

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#6 Marsha Cassada

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:15 PM

I just ordered one from the Cinch Chix.

My dil uses one for her lipizan and she loves it. She says her horse chooses it over a pile of hay. Have not received mine yet, but I'm anxious to give it a try.

#7 mydaddysjag

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:19 PM

The slow feed hay nets really slow the horses down and make their hay last them much, much longer. Horses are designed to eat small amounts often through the day, and it helps reduce behavior issues, as well as digestive issues such as ulcers, and also reduces waste. I know I can toss my horses hay on their stall mats and they will have it GONE in 30 minutes. I put the same amount of hay in busy snacker hay feeders and it lasts them 4-6 hours. The "easy" answer a lot of people have is to just feed them more hay, multiple times a day, but honestly, my horses are both pigs and would be grossly obese if I did that. This way they are still getting the correct amount of hay for their size and weight, but it lasts them longer. They generally eat their breakfast around 9 and that hay lasts them until between 1 and 3, then around 6 I do just throw a handful of hay to each horse scattered in the pasture, and then they come in to eat again 830 or 9, and have another hay bag with their grain then. Its much healthier for them to eat like this than gorging every 12 hours. There ARE slow feed hay nets that are safe, the tough-1's I sold Leeana have very small holes, I wouldn't be worried to use them with any adult mini. I bought them to use with my own guys, not knowing that my husband had ordered me the busy snackers for my birthday. I kept the busy snackers because they are super simple to fill, and are easier to attach. I have a heavy duty eye bolt into my stall walls, and attach the busy snackers with a double end snap.
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#8 JMS Miniatures

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:32 PM

The only thing I have against these type of hay nets is this, ok maybe several reasons. One is they naturally eat with their head down. So if you have it against a fence or wall they aren't eating naturally and heard it could cause some health issues, another is they are grazers and look for food, this way they aren't moving around, also the safety issue as Marty said.

The plus side is that it does slow them down and saves your hay. But I just prefer to scatter the hay on the ground.

#9 shorthorsemom

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:54 PM

I bought one after the feed store showed me they had just gotten the hay bags in with the smaller holes...I thought it looked cool.... I filled it with hay and put it in my regular metal hay feeder to slow them down. My feeder has uprights where you put the hay, is custom made and very safe with a trough underneath to catch the fines, but they can still eat pretty fast out of it. so I tried adding the hay bag to slow them down even more..., I took the rope and wove it over and over through the holes practically stitching it in place in my rack and attached it very securely to my hay feeder with three double ended snaps. It wouldn't budge.it looked safe and really slowed them down. I watched them eat for quite some time just to be sure it would work.. .. I thought of every safety aspect...or so I thought I did...

I left for the day... came home, it was out on the ground and one of my boys was standing on it, pawing at it and could have easily wound the rope around his legs....The snaps were all still on it... Houdini horses had removed it from my rack.. It looked like an accident waiting to happen ...


I would like to check out a busy snacker... On the small holed slow feeder hay bag, nope... never again. I got lucky. I know it too. :yes

For now... my custom made feeder is good enough.:yes I need to do some more research before I try something else.

#10 Sandy B

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:35 AM

I have been using a couple different type of slow feeder hay bags. I have nothing but success! I use them in my stall hay racks and in pasture feeders. we have also used them in ground tubs secured by dee clips. I use them on both our quarter horses and our miniatures. I have not had one issue with horses getting caught up in them. We do tie them to the feeders though. The netting diameter is very small, maybe 1.5" t0 2" max. I really like the Kensington Slow Feeders and they come in two sizes. You can get just the plain all netting slow feeders too that are cheaper. They are great for horses that pork their feed and horses that are cooped up in their stalls. The hay waste is zilch too. I have been using slow feeders for about a year now and absolutely love them.
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