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My friend bought one in the very early spring and she loves it.
 

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i think it would work great for not wasting, but i am so leary of horses burying their noses in hay that we hand fork off a round bale instead. we just put down our 3rd horse due to heaves, 2 of which got it by doing just that. we water hay down too to help with the dust. i'd be tempted to use this for the goats tho. the milkers wouldn't jump in there but kids would.
 

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Or less of very expensive hay...................

It looks like a keyhole feeder for horses. Keyhole feeders are great for reducing waste for goats but it has a problem in that it is easy for a goat not to see another goat with territorial intentions coming when your head is down in it. So a poor goat can take quite a licking before she gets her head out and her body out of the way.
I wonder if that might be an issue with more than one or two horses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. I have to buy something since these are my first 2 horses. I have been feeding square bales and 2 aday is getting to expensive. If I have to buy something, a ring feeder is $350 here. So I won't have to save the entire amount. Plus with the small pasture, any waste must be cleaned up and my labor is worth something with everything that must be done.

This is my line of thinking anyway.
 

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Thanks for the replies. I have to buy something since these are my first 2 horses. I have been feeding square bales and 2 aday is getting to expensive. If I have to buy something, a ring feeder is $350 here. So I won't have to save the entire amount. Plus with the small pasture, any waste must be cleaned up and my labor is worth something with everything that must be done.

This is my line of thinking anyway.
Wow! 2 bales a day for 2 horses? I feed less than that in the dead of winter when it's 20 below for 2 horses, 2 mini donks and 4 goats.
 

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I feed a bale and a half to two bales for two horses in the winter.

My friend has two young horses they'd get bored and tear the round bale apart. Most of it was ground into the mud (her winter pasture is small and wet) and ruined so the Hay Hut has helped a lot.
 
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I think maybe your new horses are getting spoiled and they're either getting awful fat or they're wasting a lot of feed.

If you're trying to decide between a standard ring feeder and the hay hut, I think you'll be much happier with the hay hut. I use ring feeders mainly because of the cattle and because when I'm using them, they tend to be out on winter pasture and not in a confined area and while I've had good luck with them, I think they're an accident looking for a place to happen.

The basic design is a modified cattle concept so at best, your horses rub off chunks of mane, once in a while I've had a horse find it's way into the ring and they have to be rescued, over time, the bolts and rivets loosen up and while cattle hide is tough, horse hide isn't and horses tend to drag hay out of the ring which can result in a fair amount of waste.
 

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What kind of horses are you feeding? Breed, ages, what kind of work are they doing? What kind of hay is in the square bales? NC is not a State that gets intense cold, like the Dakotas, Midwestern area, New England, so a horse in those areas needs more hay to stay warm in the wind.

While it would be nice to feed my horses so they can nibble hay all the time, it isn't good for their HEALTH. Mine are very easy keepers, would be hugely obese with that kind of feeding management. So ours get their allotted quantity of hay daily, which can vary by how cold it is, quality of that hay, how long they will be outside, how much they are wasting! Ours get stalled half the day, so the other part of their hay is fed inside. We don't feed round bales, only the small square bales, so I KNOW how much they are actually consuming.

When they get done eating, they can go wander the fields or paddock they are turned out in. MIGHT find a blade of grass missed before. Sorry about their luck, they just don't get to eat hay around the clock. They manage, play with each other, don't have digestive problems or ulcers with our program.

They are large horses, but are easy keepers, get little grain. Hay is better for them, creates more heat in the gut to keep them warm outside in the wind or snow. So on days with temps down from zero to 20F, they get half a bale each feeding, as long as they are cleaning it up. Temps go up, hay fed gets reduced a little, they don't need the extra hay, usually are not cleaning the extra up well. We feed grass hays mostly, mixed grass and alfalfa sometimes which is pretty rich eating. I am talking of feeding my horses 17H, weighing in about 1400-1500 pounds, not your 900-1100 pound smaller breeds. Mine look good in Spring, at a nice weight, BECAUSE I continue to check weekly thru the winter with "hands on" body checks for TRUE fat checking. I NEED to be finding a rib with the weekly finger poking down thru the DEEP hair layers. No ribs means horses are too fat, hay gets reduced in daily feeding. Too many folks get surprised when winter hair comes off to find horse is NOT any thinner, or the horse was hiding his ribs under all that hair and he is THIN come Spring.

You sure can't tell just by looking, how fat they really are with winter hair on. There is a HUGE epidemic this year of SKINNY Mini horses, because the hair covered the ribby backs and sides. Quite a number of colics at the Vet, bloat issues with the grass coming on, among these kind of Minis.
 

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As I said, I am new to horses. I am dependent on two friends that have had horses their whole lives and the vet. She, the vet, was here the week before last for shots and said they look great. That is all I have to go by. I was just wondering if anyone had first hand knowledge of the hay hut. I bought one yesterday, we will see how it works. Thanks again for the replies.
 

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I'd like to know how you like the hay hut once you use it. My neighbors bought one a couple of years ago and the love it. I feed round bales to my horses in the winter and they waste so much of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So far I love it. But I have not had it long enough to determine if it will in fact pay for itself. I will give a more detailed report as time passes but waste so far is minimal as advertised.
 

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I'll stay on topic first, and stray off of it lower down... As far as the Hay Hut goes, I might consider it, if you live in an area of heavy snowfall. At my volunteer job, we use rubber mats on the ground in paddocks to keep the hay off the ground at. This in the rainy Seattle area. With any feeding method, there is some waste, but it depends very much on a horse's appetite, and how much you feed, too. If a horse consistently leaves hay and tramples it into mud, you might want to feed them less hay more frequently, even if it's a little more work, to eliminate waste.

On my own property (which I'm still shopping for), if I felt I want a Hay Hut, I'd probably put half a hut up against a barn or shed wall in the turn out paddock, if there's a convenient place for it, and if my intent isn't to expand the herd beyond 3-4 horses (which it isn't). For more horses, I'd like to make sure there are always a couple more openings for a horse to feed from, than there are horses, to keep the peace. :)

Horses can be territorial around food, so whatever method you use for feeding, you always want to make sure there are at least enough hay piles for each horse, and that they're spread out, unless you're feeding them in individual paddocks or stalls. If the horses have grouped up into smaller sub-herds of their own, and sorted their pecking order out, they may eat from one pile at a time and move to the other.

In general, I like the concept of the Hay Hut a lot, especially if I ever have a ranch type of environment, with a larger herd. For a small barn, I'd consider the investment sum of $725 + S/H too high for just 2 horses, as there are more economical solutions, like rubber mats, on the ground bin feeders, or hay nets, for keeping hay off the ground. I'd rather spend that money on improving the facilities, better tack, or paying for a horse clinic especially, when starting out. With the hay net hung on the wall of a loafing shed or stall, it's even protected from the elements. I hope that helps.

Then, off to the somewhat off topic part on how to calculate hay rations...

nchobbyfarm, Roughly what size are your bales? They can vary greatly in size, and weight. Generally paying for hay by the bale is the least affordable way to buy it. Regardless, it still sounds like a lot of hay for two horses. A small 40lb bale should be enough for two horses' daily ration, unless your horses are under a heavy workload, racing, pulling ploughs all day, or spending all day on cattle. Even then, you may want to rather tweak the protein and grain rations, than go straight for more hay.

As part of my horse feeding duties at work, I go through about 1 & 1/3 of the 2x2x4-foot bales of orchard hay, and a couple of flakes of Alfalfa per meal, but I feed 21 horses (one barn aisle of 2) in a shift. They average about 20lbs of hay in a day, plus grain and supplements, with 5lbs each for AM/Lunch, and the remaining 10 in the evening to tide them over through the night. As always, there are exceptions.

I have been taught to feed hay by weight (of hay) as a percentage of the horse's weight, plus adjustments for a horse's age, gender, physical condition (heavy/light work, pregnancy, all affect this), general workload, time of year and supplements/pellets according to dietary needs. Hay bales, and flakes of hay vary in size greatly. The most recent shipment I've had to deal with, has flakes varying between 3 and 8 pounds, when we're feeding 5 pounds, so I always repeat to myself "by weight, not by volume", and do my best to keep the weight the same. When in doubt, I still just plop the hay on a scale to make sure. In general, the estimate for a horse on full hay feed (versus full time or part time pasture fed) is around 20lbs of hay per day.

I'll quote a little from Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac (Currently available on Amazon starting at around 6 dollars). I always recommend the book to new and seasoned horseowners alike, as I can always go back to it for simple solutions, if I have questions.

To maintain my horses' optimal weight, and to minimize my feed costs, I feed hay at the rate of 1.5 to 1.75 pounds of hay per 100 pounds of body weight. That way, the horses get filled up, but not filled out. Using my rule of thumb, Zipper, my 1,100lb gelding, eats between 16.5 and 19.25 pounds of hay per day.
Another rule of thumb for feeding, also put to layman's terms in Hill's book, is for cold weather. increase the hay portion by 10% for each 10脗潞F below freezing. So at 0脗潞F, you'd be feeding 30% more hay per day. The horse produces more body heat when it's breaking down the roughage provided by hay.
 

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I know someone who has a hay hut. She has 5 horses-including 2 minis and a Belgian. I don't really see where it's saving her any hay. Plus, the Belgian knocks it all around. It's also supposed to be easy for one person to move-it isn't. I've tried.

I have 3 horses, and can't just put hay down on the ground. I have one that will walk in every pile and pee. So, I put hay in a RB feeder. And, I feed RBs. I just don't put out a whole one. I stand the RB up on end, then peel the hay off. I use a (clean) muck bucket for carrying the hay. I put out more in the winter than I do at this time of year.

It would be easier for me to use squares, but I get the RBs for $30. I'd have to get the squares for no more than $2 to make it worth while. And, it's almost unheard of for hay to go that cheaply around here-unless it's junk.
 

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Thanks for the replies. I have to buy something since these are my first 2 horses. I have been feeding square bales and 2 aday is getting to expensive. If I have to buy something, a ring feeder is $350 here. So I won't have to save the entire amount. Plus with the small pasture, any waste must be cleaned up and my labor is worth something with everything that must be done.
Why do you feed them so much? We don't feed oir two boys in the summer (except during drought). Most of the time we feed 1/3 bale twice daily. When it gets really, really cold we feed one bale a day. Last winter we fed a bit more because our hay was cruddy.

I don't like round bales. They are too difficult to move around so it makes it difficult to Mage the boys around in the winter. I am also a bit afraid of the dust. Our trainer used to feed round bales anymore because he found there was just too much waste. His horses stuck their heads into the center of the bales to get the good stuff in the center. Horses always seem to think the grass is always greener on the other side. Our trainer also had problems with horses getting their eyes scratched.

Are you sure your horses need so much food?
 

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My friend that bought a Hay Hut in the spring has no problem moving it and is losing a lot less hay to the mud- especially this year with the constant rain we've been having.

Joshie- some people don't have enough pasture to do without hay. Limiting hay is risking an impaction colic especially in the winter when horses drink less water. I feed free choice hay (up to a 40 lb bale per horse) in the winter. It's much better to give them too much than too little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Irish Pixie is correct, I don't have enough grass to do without hay at the moment. I am clearing more land to increase the pasture size.

I have been very pleased with my purchase. I was scared of the cost but after feeding 2 round bales, I hauled off the waste in my grand-daughter's red wagon.

The vet likes the size of my horses. I have to depend on her advice about their weight.
 
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