Feeding: Choosing the Right Equipment For the Job
The good news is that there are several options available to make feeding less of a chore and more of something that you look forward to every day.
When choosing a feeder, consider your horse's needs.
Does your horse throw his hay on the ground? Does he require special supplements or medications? Do you feed him extra hay between feedings? Do you need a combination hay and grain feeder, or do you need separate feeders for hay and grain? These questions will help you to determine the right feeder for your horse.
There are many types of feeders available, from corner swing-out feeders, to feeders that mount flat on the wall.
Corner swing-out feeders are a great tool to use because they don't require entry into the stall. They simply swing out into the aisle way, allowing you to put hay and grain in without the worry of your horse trying to steal a few bites before you get the feed into the stall. This also alleviates trying to open and close doors with scoops and flakes of hay in your hands. These feeders are also beneficial if you may be going out of town or having somebody else feed who may not be familiar with your horses. This keeps barn help out of the stall and out of any situation that may arise.
Wall mount feeders are also a nice item to use. Some are a combination feeder, and others can just be a hayrack. The hayrack helps keep the hay off the ground for horses that have problems walking or urinating on their hay. When using a wall-mounted feeder, entry into the stall is necessary to get the feed in. However, if you have a feed door installed in the front of your stall, a wall-mounted feeder can be used and no entry is required. Grain feeders are also available as a corner or wall mount. They can be galvanized or made of a tough poly material that is rugged and durable. Feeder buckets with heavy-duty hooks on the back of the bucket can also be used for grain and can usually be hung from any stall system.
Stalls also come with many options that make feeding easier.
Feed doors are available that swing out and allow you to easily put hay and grain into the stall. They can be installed into the grill section of the stall and come in two sizes. There is a standard size feed door and a large feed door. A hay or grain feeder can hang on the large door. Instead of the feed door, there is also a feed opening that is 9"; wide and allows you to put grain and supplements into the grain feeder without entering the stall.
Watering your horse is the most time consuming task at feeding time. Options like swing-out bucket doors that open from the aisle way can minimize the time you spend watering. A standard five-gallon bucket with a bucket holder can be attached to the door, or an insulated bucket holder with a five-gallon bucket can be attached to the door.
The insulated bucket holder is a useful tool in the wintertime to help keep buckets from freezing, and it's perfect for those who do not have electricity in their barn or opt not to use heated buckets. It also saves time by not having to chip ice out of the buckets and helps ensure that your horse will have fresh water at all times.
Automatic waterers can also be used to save time and ensure that your horse has plenty of fresh water.
However, they require more work to install and require that you enter the stall to clean them. The one drawback of some automatic watering systems is that you can’t measure the amount of water your horse consumes in a given day. So if you have a horse that has been sick or is not acting right, it is hard to determine how much water they have drank. On the upside, if you are away for long hours during the day, you do not have to worry if your horse has enough water, provided that everything is functioning properly. Most waterers have heaters that turn on and off at certain temperatures to keep the water from freezing. Heated buckets are also a wonderful time saving tool in the winter. They keep water from freezing so you will never have to break ice in the winter again!
We all know that feeding can be one of those dreadful tasks, especially when the weather is cold. By choosing the right tools to make the job quicker and easier, you will make your barn run more efficiently. Your horses will appreciate getting their hay and grain faster, and you will appreciate the extra time that you receive to spend riding and working with your equine companion. Good luck in choosing the right equipment for your feedings. As always, we are here to help you make the best choices for your horses.
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.
RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. makes every effort to provide reliable and useful information on horse health, care and products. The statements made on this website are based on years of experience with horses, however, they are based on generalized situations and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by a veterinarian or consultation by a professional. RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. does not assume any legal responsibility. Readers should always consult qualified health care providers for specific diagnosis and treatment.