Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Slow Feeder, My Ass!

If you haven't been following the hay net exploits on our Facebook page, let me enlighten you here.

Mom has had great success with her hay net.  Us?  Not so much.

We started on Sunday and all looked good.  We started with a full bale, which should have lasted them 24 hours according to our regular feed schedule.  We were feeding 1/2 a bale in the morning, and 1/2 a bale in the evening.

 Since they were supposed to be eating from a "slow" feeder, I was confident that there would be a bit left over on Monday morning.


Ten hours after we put out the first bagged bale it was empty.  And I do mean empty!

It was so empty that I had to walk the pen to look for it.

I made Skeeter carry it to hay storage for me.
I filled it up for a second time that day, all the while cussing at them.  Certainly they couldn't kill TWO bales in 24 hours, right?

I was wrong.  At feeding time on Monday, we had to again walk the pen to find the empty net.  We filled it for the THIRD time and anchored it to a cinder block so we could easily find it when the pigs emptied it.  By this time, I was also cussing my mom for talking me into this cockamamie idea.

Bale #3 - we're going to go broke at this rate.
Not only was I cussing about it's lack of powers as a slow feeder, I was cussing at the increase in hay waste.  I mean, our horses are Hoovers - they clean up after themselves, there is very rarely a single snuffle of hay left ever.

After work on Monday, the hay bag wasn't empty-empty, but it was close.  Almost three bales in 36 hours.  We put out another bale and thought, surely they have to be slowing down.

Wait Dad!  Don't take it, there's still some in there!
Bale #4 went out and we were optimistic.  They had to be getting full, right?  Right?   Jay and I went into town for the late showing of Furious 7 and when we got home after midnight those fools were still standing there eating.  Jay may or may not have told them that they were going to pop like zits if they kept it up.

Tuesday morning there was still most of the bale left.  Success!

64 hours and almost four bales to get to their "full" point.  In fact, when I looked out the window on Tuesday morning Copper was sprawled out on the ground looking like me after Thanksgiving dinner.  If he had pants on, he would have unzipped them to find more room.

They grudgingly ate breakfast when we took it out to them, but their hearts weren't really in it.

Finally!  We were getting somewhere.

Tuesday night (last night), we got home and the horses were starving.  Like, pacing and pawing the fence (Skeeter!) starving.  In went bale #5 (heavy sigh).

This morning, there was about half of bale #5 left.  Instead of letting it run out, I just added another bale to it and sent up a quick prayer that they wouldn't kill it in one day.

I swore I'd give this hay bag thing a solid week, and I will, but damn it's getting expensive pretty quickly.  If I get home from work tonight and that damn bag is empty I might lose it.  (Which Mom would like, because I told her if this bag didn't work out, she could have it.)


Allenspark Lodge said...

My concept is that these horses don't know HOW to graze. They were both dry-lotted for the three years previous to being adopted. All they have known is grabbing huge mouthfuls of hay at a time; not just a few stems like true grazing. It's going to take them awhile to 'remember' the grazing routine they knew as youngsters and there will always be hay available. My crew grazes on their own for 5 months of the year, so they took to the routine very rapidly. It took about 5 days for me to be able to reduce the amount I feed. Now we just change the bag every morning - and it is picked clean, but they just look on while we do the bag change; they are not frantic at all. In fact, just the opposite. It helps that I have a feeder to put it in so they can't paw at it, but ... this morning the bag WAS on the outside of the feeder. I am sure it was just Jesse rearranging the furniture as the fence was also moved. She is getting bored with being in the pen because I have been too busy or sick to ride.

Anyway, I will gladly take the bag at any time .... hint.
Bionic Cowgirl

GunDiva said...

They didn't kill bale #5 during the day yesterday, they still had some left at bedtime. Their net is now empty, but they're not starving to death. Whew. Maybe bale #6 will be the magic bale and will last them the 24 hours it should.

Dreaming said...

It will be very interesting to see if they relearn how to graze, knowing that food will always be available. If so, it will be so much healthier for them.
We always joked that one of our guys must have been starving as a youngster, as he would never stop eating when out on pasture. It was all about getting as much as he could. The other one would often stop and snooze contentedly in the sun.
I can't wait to read more about the experiment.

Linda said...

Ha! This is the first negative review I've read for slow feeding. I'm curious to see how this progresses because I've considered doing the same with a round bale.

GunDiva said...

Linda, I certainly don't mean this as a negative review. The net is well made, out of quality materials. It's not a Hay Chix product issue, it's a stupid horses issue.

We have made progress - one bale a day now, though the net is empty in the morning and they're hungry, they are not *starving*.