Slow Feeders & Feed/Grain Choices?

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poniesrule

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My mini's are kept dry lot without the option of grass. I have been running over 3 times a day to toss them some hay so they are able to continuously "graze" and when you work in a professional setting, the hay sticking out of my hair is apparently frowned on
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I was wondering what kinds of slow hay feeders (if any) people are using? My husband thinks he's got the perfect design down, but I want some other "horsey" opinions.

Also, I have a 2 year old filly who had a rough start at life and seems a little thin. I have been working with a vet to get some meat on her bones (she had severe worms) & use exercise to help get her in a shape other than round bellied weak backed. She gets Purina Miniature Horse & Pony feed daily, they each get their own ration, so I know she's getting her fair share. I read some old posts (I'm new here, so being a little obsessive with all of these forums
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), & I saw one post that said Strategy tends to add weight?

Looking for your opinions! Thanks!!
 

Jenny

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Hay Pillows!!! They are SO great. They slow them down a lot and are really easy to fill. They are just a pillow with a solid back and netting on the top. They are very durable. You just stuff the pillow with hay, close the zipper and toss it in their paddock/stall. They even have a Mini Hay Pillow which is the perfect size for minis and holds about 2-3 pounds. They have different sizes and thickness of netting, but definitely get the easiest one if they've never had a slow feeder (for the Mini Hay Pillow, that's the 3/4" 21 twine.) Only thing is that they don't work well in snow as the netting freezes and makes the holes really small, so my boy just gets his hay in the pillow for his two feedings in his stall, and the other two feedings he gets his hay in a rubber tub. They're supposed to last for a long time (mine probably won't last as long, as he paws at it a lot, but I'll just buy another one).

Here's the link: http://thehaypillow.com/

As for feed, I can't really help you there as I don't feed any manufactured feeds nor do I have experience with thin minis. There's lots of people here who know a lot about those topics, though.

Hope this helps!
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Miniv

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My recommendation for weight gain is a senior feed. Stradegy is fine, but a senior feed has more fat content.

We also will add in some alfalfa pellets. If you feed 4 to 6 cups of the combo twice a day, you should see a change in

about 2 weeks.
 

targetsmom

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I use Busy Snackers for slow feeders. I like soaked alfalfa cubes for adding weight because they are also very gentle on the stomach and ulcers are so common. Plus they add water. Senior feeds are also good as they are usually higher in fat and include pre- and/or pro-biotics.
 

Kendra

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We use Eco-Nets and we've been very happy with them.

I just attended a seminar on preventing colic and gastric ulcers, and "grazing" so that there is continually food in the stomach is so important. As well, she strongly recommended never, ever feeding grain (oats, barley, corn - complete feeds are okay) and is a big fan of feeding fat in the form of oil or rice bran for both weight gain and energy requirements in working horses.
 

rabbitsfizz

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I just put in a bale,in the round feeder and let them get on with it- horses eat far less if they have hay in front of them all the time. By feeding small amounts every so often you are encouraging the horse to do everything in it's power to eat more than it's neighbour- that is just their nature- if they have hay there all the time they slow down, the competition dies and they just pick at it. I do use hay nets, that I will hang on the fence at head height, but the "manger" woks better- I have one in each field, so there is one small bale between four/three and nine, this last on average three days in the mares (9) field and so far (only just started feeding hay) five days in the boys (3 and 4) fields, so none going to waste!
 

poniesrule

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Thanks for the replies everyone! When I had my big horses, it seemed easier just because they were either in a stall or were out on acres and acres of pasture. I have a new situation now, where my littles don't have those opportunities. I do like the big round idea, but don't have the space inside the lot for it. I was thinking maybe a fenceline feeder? Of course, I do like the time I spend with them, not "working" and just chatting & prepping their meals.... I'm nuts ha!

We use Eco-Nets and we've been very happy with them.

I just attended a seminar on preventing colic and gastric ulcers, and "grazing" so that there is continually food in the stomach is so important. As well, she strongly recommended never, ever feeding grain (oats, barley, corn - complete feeds are okay) and is a big fan of feeding fat in the form of oil or rice bran for both weight gain and energy requirements in working horses.
Kendra, I have to say I would be interested in learning more about grain free diets. I would love to avoid it, but seem to have it ingrained in my head it is necessary. The horses we used on the farm got grain every day more or less to catch them for the day's work, and because as farmers we had it on hand... the horses in training got it because they had huge calorie needs.... the mini's get it because Princess is thin & it's just something I always did. I'll be researching. Thanks for planting that seed!
 

wingnut

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I use a combination of things and feeds! With 5 horses, various ages and needs, it's not a one size fits all. I'll give a cliff notes version:

Hay/Pasture: Hard keeper gets as much as she wants, whenever she wants. So she gets pasture 24/7 all year round. Hay is kept in front of her 24/7 when there isn't enough grass like we have here in the winter. Weanling/Yearling also gets as much as she wants when she wants it. She is a growing girl. 6 yr old mare diagnosed with EMS (equine metabolic syndrome) last year. She gets little to no pasture grass during the spring/summer/early fall timeframe. Two 5 yr old mares get some pasture time during the grass season but otherwise get hay. In the late fall/winter (late October - late March), all get pasture time and we're using a round bale this year to keep a constant source of grass/alfalfa hay in front of them. This is new for us and seems to be a great option for us.

Grain/feed: During spring/summer/early fall, the younger mares get no grain. They just don't need it. The hard keeper gets 1lb of grain 2x a day. She was on Purina Miniature and Pony feed, but when I got the weanling, I decided to move her to the same feed for the sake of convenience. I'm using Nutrena's Safe Choice Pro Breeder Mare & Foal. This a sweet feed. I had to use this to start because my mill didn't have the pelleted version. I recently got a bag of the pelleted (special order) and will be switching them to the pelleted when the sweet feed is done). The weanling gets 1.25lbs split between two feedings. During the late fall/winter months, the middle mares get a ration balancer. I'm currently using McCauley's M30.

Slow Feeders: Our round bale has a slow feeder net that works great. I also have Busy Snacker bags that I use by hanging them in the stalls when I want them to keep out of the rain and in their stalls to keep dry, but not locking them in for the bulk of the day. As it is winter here, we are feeding everyone something in a bucket at least once a day and they are stalled to keep them separated during this time. When they are stalled they get a ration of loose hay.

Your thin girl could probably do with a grain higher in fat and calories until she gets to a desirable weight and is maintaining it.
 

Casey0Lee

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I use conch chix nets for my big horses and my mini's. I get the smallest holes they have for the mini's and the 1" holes for the big horses. I have the nexts that fit a whole square bale in them. They work amazing. I have 3 of them!

I feed Triple Crown Lite to all of my horses (mini's & big). It's a great low NSC feed that can be fed in smaller amounts than a regular "grain." The low NSC and grain-free make up makes it a great choice for Mini's. Especially my mare, b/c she was previously foundered and has had lamness issues in the past.
 

JAX

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I also use the Cinch Chix Nets and I LOVE them!! I find them easier to fill than the nibble nets. I now have two large round bale nets and 5 square bale nets. My nibble nets now live in the trailer.

Good for you CaseyOLee! So many people use the TC Low Starch thinking that its better for their IR or PPID equine when actually the Triple Crown Lite is much better for them.
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Casey0Lee

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^I've made a life around equine nutrition. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the subjet.
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