Monday, August 27, 2012

slow feeder, round 2

My Freedom Feeder lasted about a year. In the last month I had to patch it multiple times, it was simply falling apart. I was sad that I installed it last August and it only lasted a year.

And I'm cheap. I didn't want to really buy another $50 feeder, since I know it won't last. So I figured to experiment. I looked into different netting and found good info on the Paddock Paradise site. Hockey net, who would think! Tough, strong, and other people had been successful, so I figured I was game for the experiment. (oh, bad pun, sorry!)

I ordered 4 feet of 60-inch wide hockey goal netting from Arizona Sports Equipment. They quickly shipped it out and I had it in a couple days. The price was $38 including shipping, and I can make two nets. The nets would be 2' feet by 5', which fold to make an envelope of 2' x 2.5', which holds about 3 flakes maximum. The stable still just feeds him his rations (not keeping it full like true slow-feeding does), but it has been working just fine.

old net and new net

just cuts with scissors

Easy to make. The hardest part was keeping my "helper" Major out of the way, So I stayed in his pasture and he got to play in the aisleway between paddocks.

temporary holding by hay string

fancy use of neon cord (no orange sadly) instead of hay string

feeder in place
It didn't take much time, lace top and bottom to the rails, lace the sides like an envelope. Still easy for the barn staff to fill. I think I'd like to make it even bigger next time, but I'll see how this holds up. After Major had his aisle-time revoked (antagonizing another horse) he tried it out, and it seemed acceptable (though he'd rather have a big pile to spread around a make a mess of!)

I can bite you, no, you bite me! All fun and games till someone gets annoyed.

acceptable, alfalfa would be better...

Major also got a new fly mask. I like that the mesh is more see through. I tried an Absorbine mask with similar mesh, but it was enormous on him (arab was too small, horse too big). It now lives on his big-headed neighbor Dune. This is a Cashel Quiet Ride mask, horse size. Major doesn't seem too hard on masks, so I'll see how it holds up, because the material is more delicate. He wears the mask 24-7, so I like that he can see better. Of course I'm completely anthropomorphizing about the seeing aspect, because he has never had any issues with his standard mask!

Soon fly season will be over with, just in time for blanket season to start!


  1. Perfect timing on the hay feeder post! I'm about to move Dixie to a paddock, and I know she'll enjoy having a slow feeder. Thanks!

    1. Good! Though I don't think "enjoy" is the right word. Major would still rather I throw lots of hay on the floor so he could pick through and only eat the good stuff...

    2. Well, in Reno I experimented with small-mesh hay bags versus just flinging it over the fence, and she actually LIKED the hay bag better. So I'm pretty sure she'll be happier "grazing" out of a fence bag than just eating loose hay. I hope so!

    3. Maybe Dixie likes having a project to work on, paddock entertainment! It does keep them busy for much longer. I've been pretty happy with the cheap Tough-1 2" hole slow feed hay nets from Chicks Saddlery too, $7.99, I use those in the trailer and on rides, they're sturdy.

  2. Irish Horse,

    I see your post is from 2012. Can you tell me how long your Hockey Net feeder held up compared to the commercial one your purchased? thank you

    1. Hi Jill. The hockey net only lasted about 6 months. He didn't eat through it or tear, it just kept shrinking! It was weird! Maybe the type of net I had needs to be stretched consistently. I ended up going back to the Freedom Feeder setup. My horse chewed a small hole in the middle, but still eats from the net part. Either way it slows him down.

      His favorite nets are actually the small hole haynet from Chicks Saddlery. But I couldn't figure and easy way to set them up on the fence. But if I just fill one and hang it that's what he chooses. Horses! Good luck.