slow feeders and metal grates

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by mymarespet, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. mymarespet

    mymarespet Senior Member

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    I have slow feeder nets but would like to build boxes with a screen/grate on top. Then I got wondering if the horses lips or tongue would stick to the metal in the cold like a kids tongue on the flagpole? ?
     
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  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    I bet it would :eek:
    but it never gets cold enough down here for me to testify to that. :)
     
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  3. 2miniB

    2miniB Senior Member

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    I used to use slow feeders w/ 2" square lobster trap wire grates on top. I thought they worked well, even through super cold winters here, until it was time to have my horses' teeth floated. They all had abnormal wear to their front teeth from the metal grate.

    Right now, I'm using hay nets, a Nibble Net and Nibble Net knockoff to feed hay. They work well, but there's a lot of waste. I just got some Nag Bags, but I haven't used them yet. I plan to somehow use them in the wooden boxes that used to hold the lobster trap grates. Just haven't figured it out yet.
     
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  4. mymarespet

    mymarespet Senior Member

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    That is really interesting about the tooth wear and the metal grates. I am going to look into that some more, Thanks!
    I use Nibble nets too, I haven't noticed any waste with them. :)
     
  5. redhorseridge

    redhorseridge Senior Member

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    Had several friends report the abnormal tooth wear using metal grates as well. I used nets for awhile (made my own from hockey net) but finally switched to Portagrazers (much easier than filling the nets and easier to clean).
     
  6. MzCarol

    MzCarol Senior Member

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    Here's a pic of my slow feeder when i built it 2 years ago. The horses love it, I love it and we've never had any sort of problem with it.

    The metal rack is gridwall with 2" squares - the kind they use in store wall displays. They can't damage it - YAY! lol

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. mymarespet

    mymarespet Senior Member

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    Thanks it looks great! Are the ropes to prevent the horses pulling the grate out? When you have your horses teeth floated there is not abnormal wear? I wonder what makes the difference?
     
  8. mymarespet

    mymarespet Senior Member

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    what kind of abnormal wear? On the incisors?
     
  9. MzCarol

    MzCarol Senior Member

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    Yes, the ropes are to secure the grates into the box. They have to be loose enough so the grate 'floats' -> moves down freely as they eat the hay. I wrapped the tie knots because I have a very oral gelding who is a pro at untying knots :D

    We put a bale of hay in there "sideways" so the flakes are set in a manner where the strands are up and down and not flat - hard to describe so hope you understand. To 'start' the bale we pull up little chunks of strands through the grates - about 10 of the holes. Once it's started the horses will pull up more hay as they eat so, no, we haven't had any problems with teeth issues.

    The only adaptation we had to make was to anchor it to the ground because said pesty gelding is a playful nut and the first day it was out for them he drug it all over the paddock when it became empty :faint: Other than that I love love love it. I even made smaller ones for their stalls so there is zero waste and they aren't snarfing up bedding as they eat. I cannot praise these enough.
     
  10. lhoward

    lhoward Senior Member

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    I'm all about slow down hay feeders !!! After much trial and error, I have to say, I prefer NETS over any of the metal grates, etc. Not just because of the uncomfortable freezing cold metal they touch with their lips or the wear on their teeth, but also because 2 inch openings do not really "slow down". What they DO do, is keep the waste and mess down wonderfully !!

    But if you have a horse that really needs to be slowed down, you need smaller holes then that and a bigger degree of difficulty of getting the hay out. Of course, not making it SO hard that the horse gets frustrated and walks away.

    I have a few different nets. Some are from purelyponies, some from hay chix. My haychix nets have 1 inch openings and I have some from purelyponies that have 1/2 inch openings. You'd be surprised how well a horse gets hay out of those small holes. They just have to eat slower, which is the point that is important to me. After my mare had impaction colic surgery, I was told I could NEVER ever give her free choice hay. She wasn't on free choice when the colic happened, and after much thought and contemplation I figured that was precisely the problem. The "twice a day feeding". She got so hungry in between that she would INHALE the hay once it arrived. And she never has been a good drinker.
    After the colic I learned about "slow down" feeding. I was already using nibble nets (with the smallest opening) but that wasn't slowing my mare down much at all. So I got the really small holes, 1" holes. I fed her 4x the day, half a flake (after surgery, following vets orders) Suddenly, with those small holes, the hay lasted her from one meal to another, there was never "no" hay. Of course over time she got better at getting the hay out, but by then I was allowed to give her more. Suddenly she already was on "free choice". Because there was always hay left before new hay was brought out.

    And oh my god, what a difference, SUCH a happy, content horse !!! She stopped inhaling hay , because she never ran out. She stopped worrying in between meals. So she is now on "free choice hay". If the hay is slightly finer, softer, I use the 1/2 inch holes. If its normal thickness, I use 1 inch holes. But recently I've made my own bags using "knot free" nets I've purchased. The openings are 1 inch. I like them, because I feel they are less rough on a horses lips. They are holding up wonderfully..

    My next issue was that I believe in feeding from the ground. I think its healthier, plus their "neck" is in the correct position, which affects the entire back. So I built a very simple system of "hay feeder" that simply holds my nets in place. I have several "stations" throughout the huge paddock (some indoors, some out, some in shade, some in sun). I usually make 3 nets and put them in different areas, and my mare walks here and there, "grazing" throughout the day..

    I bought black water tubs from Tractor Supply and installed eyelet rings on each end. My haynets have a clip on one end and cord on the other. I clip the bag on one end and feed the cords through 2 holes above the eyelet ring and tie them in a knot on the outside of the tub. All this keeps the haynet in the tub, dry, and it "holds" the hay she drops. It works very well, and she can get all the hay out, right down to the bits and pieces left. Usually there is some left before I "re-fill" because I try to never let her run out of hay, so she won't start worrying and overeating again.

    Here are a couple of pics, sorry for writing such a book ;)
    hay1.jpg hay2.jpg hay3.jpg hay4.jpg hay5.jpg hay6.jpg
     
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