Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Small Mesh Hay Nets

Small mesh hay nets are supposed to make horses eat more slowly, chew more thoroughly, and hence get more nutrition out of their hay. The continual supply of food is said to make them less defensive of their food, and generally be more natural for them.

The horses mostly readily took to the nets, and almost immediately spent less time chasing each other away. 

The alpaca also figured out how to eat through the small mesh, and hovered around the netted bale.

I need to figure out how to keep the hay near the ground, but off the ground. Once the rains start it won't work to have it just sitting on the ground.

I'm testing using an old trough as a container. These two horses are less interested in taking the time to pull hay through the netting. They first tipped the trough over and pulled the netted bale out to find the larger holes at the bottom so they could get huge mouthfuls of hay. I put the trough next to a tree to make it harder to tip, and so far they are ignoring the netted hay. 

Part of introducing the nets is also providing loose hay while they transition over, so everyone has plenty of food they'll eat. Hopefully these two will condescend to eating more slowly sometime soon.

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