Thursday, 12 June 2014

Thank God for the Hay Net

The Texas HAYNET

I have three easy keepers who are outside 24/7. This is Canada and I would hate to be a horse and live outside. That's my perspective. I am a wimp. I love layers of clothing,wool socks and all my favourite Back On Track stuff.

I try to imagine what it would be like from the horse's point of view. I learned from my trusted vet that a free choice shelter is the healthy answer for our horses. Hence our run-in-shed. My horses seem to be happy and they are healthy. They have a choice of the run-in-shed, a copse of cedars, or the field. Often in the worst weather I see all of them in the field.

Feeding outside in the winter is a problem, especially with heavy snow. We use 4x4 round bales in our sheep operation and that's what's available for the horses. There is a lot of waste feeding rounds bales outside and the horses would hoover through a bale very quickly. This was not the best solution for easy keepers.

Four years ago we became aware of the slow feeder haynet. A new way for us to conserve and feed hay in a controlled way. In my research I found the Texas HAYNET. Equus magazine gave it rave reviews and after more research I ordered it from the US. Leslie Davis is the inventor of the Texas HAYNET. She created it originally for insulin resistant horses. 

We were very pleased with the Texas HAYNET and it really did make an impact on the conservation of hay. The horses took to it right away. Two nets would make management a little easier, so we looked for a Canadian manufacturer because of custom duty costs. 

Over the next two years we ordered nets from two different Canadian hay net companies. The first company produced a white cotton net that had holes within the first use. The second hay net, the Natural Alternative Grazer slow feeder - N.A.G net was a much better product. The N.A.G slow feeder is soft to the touch, but stands up well. We alternate the Texas hay net with the N.A.G slow feeder net. The N.A.G slow feeder net is produced in British Columbia by Many Blaise. 

Recently we added Leslie Davis's newest net (green) to our collection. We use the nets from September to May, so they get quite the work out. With our harsh winters we like to have a 4x4 bale in use, and two ready with the nets on in the barn. 

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