Slow feeding hay in the field

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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I hate that Ale grabs and pull haynets in his teeth to get the hay out. I currently tie a haynet into what you can see in the picture. I'm also putting a pole in to hang a net from but will still have the same issue. Worrying about the wear on his teeth. I cant give him as lib, loose he just eats so quickly, even nets don't slow him down very much. I've looked at slow feeders but they are so pricey, not sure how much they would actually slow him down. Any thoughts to get him grazing more naturally aka little and often IMG_20201028_065617.jpg
 

Jessey

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I feel your struggle, Jess got to the point that 2” nets didn’t slow her down at all and smaller holes she was just grabbing the net and ripping at it, often lifting the whole box up! I’d happily let her have ad-lib but she eats so much it’s ridiculous, the equivalent to 2 or more good sized small bales a day, and gets fat. If she’s allowed to eat it all and run out she gets hangry and the ponies suffer her wrath.

I’ve tried many different ways, initially trying to secure things more which ended up having the opposite effect and nets got destroyed. Then I went the other way and put up free swinging nets, with nothing to push/bite against she initially got the hump (I put out enough loose hay to initially fill her belly and the nets were just to keep her going once she’d finished it) but she gradually learnt to gently find the bits of hay sticking out and to tease them out. Feeding like that all summer and she seems to have totally replaced the more aggressive technique and now they’re back on boxes and posts without issue.

I don’t like feeding through any kind of solid feeder, I did in the past and it was fine for a number of years but did start to notice some odd wear on the teeth so stopped. I don’t worry about them running out in winter when they are on grass and have enough pickings to keep them occupied, but the rest of the year when they have limited other options I like to ensure they always have something. Buying low nutrient value hay definitely helps too, as they only eat it if they’re actually hungry (The lovely sweet stuff or haylage just gets inhaled hungry or not). I’m going to get some straw this winter as a back up, just so they can have something to fill up on if necessary.
 
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carthorse

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Ale without wishing to offend you're worrying too much about wear on teeth. Unlike ours they continue to grow, I've had Little Un wear his flat on poor grazing, but a few months later you'd never tell.

When they're back in stock Barnstormers do a softmesh haynet with 1" holes and they're nearly indestructible - we have some serious net destroyers on the yard but none have managed to kill these. They're woven rather than knotted so don't wear on teeth and lips the same, and the very small holes really slow them down.
 

Trewsers

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I've never really thought about wear on their teeth from nets. I wouldn't be too concerned, not unless your vet mentions it next time they check his teeth (or maybe already have mentioned it?). Ours have all eaten from nets on the yard for a good number of years and not had any issues. (Storm has other teeth issues but nothing caused by nets).
 
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Ale

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Ale without wishing to offend you're worrying too much about wear on teeth. Unlike ours they continue to grow, I've had Little Un wear his flat on poor grazing, but a few months later you'd never tell.

When they're back in stock Barnstormers do a softmesh haynet with 1" holes and they're nearly indestructible - we have some serious net destroyers on the yard but none have managed to kill these. They're woven rather than knotted so don't wear on teeth and lips the same, and the very small holes really slow them down.
I worry about everything too much ?

Could you send me a link if you get a chance to the ones you mean, they have so many on their website, always open to a recommendation of haynets that last!
 

Ale

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I have never had teeth wear issues from nets, my concern with the aggressive feeding was more for neck injury
We think Brodie hurt his neck from a haynet, well the vet did, I'm not sure as Ale can eat alot more violently than Brodie. I'm going to try encourage more nibbling less yanking of the net
 
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PePo

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Have you tried Nibbleze nets? Although they are small holes, they don't have the knots in them, so I think they are kinder on their teeth and neck.

The last ages too - Pete's oldest was was about 6 years old and it got soaked daily! It's all packed away now as I'd hate to part with them if I ever found myself on DIY livery again :)
 

Ale

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Have you tried Nibbleze nets? Although they are small holes, they don't have the knots in them, so I think they are kinder on their teeth and neck.

The last ages too - Pete's oldest was was about 6 years old and it got soaked daily! It's all packed away now as I'd hate to part with them if I ever found myself on DIY livery again :)
I'm looking to get one of these for my post once that's in, they are more pricey so don't want to risk the foxes playing with it! Thanks for the recommendation though
 

Ale

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I'm so impressed with my new net! I set up my wildlife camera to see what ale did with it. Not only does he eat gently from it he was stood grazing from it for at least 3 hours (it was no where near full) and even better that time was split into 4 chunks throughout the night. Theres still some left in the morning so guess if he was hungry enough he would eat that too.

Thanks so much for the recommendation, he's eating much more chilled from his regular haynet too now. And it also hasn't broken like other nets would have by now
 

Jessey

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I like the soft mesh nets because they do the job, Jess however isn’t the biggest fan as it’s difficult (the point I know) and in her usual style anything difficult simply means she uses brawn over brains ? 9EB5A5CE-6F0A-4058-8176-97DDC0A94F83.jpeg
The post wasn’t rotten or anything, simply didn’t stand up to the abuse ?
 

Mary-lou83

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My food angry mare is the exact same. Iv tried them all. She smashes everything to bits with her legs to get into anything. The hay balls lasted her a fair while until I lost it. Currently I'm using a plastic composting bin (obviously new) bottom door removed tied onto a covered palette so far it's working a treat even with her kicking it about she loves it as when it rains her hay stays dry and she manages to get every bit out just fine. The manger box gets kicked all over the field every day which worried me about her legs even though shes absolutely fine. I'm sure shes made of iron wrapped in fur and feathers ?
 
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