Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Nets

In light of Raven's recent injury I have decided not to build feeders into the horse shelter -- I simply can't think of a design that would be safe and practical for that trouble-making mare. They will have to make do with hay nets.

Hay nets are not ideal for a couple of reasons. First, they need to be hung up high to avoid legs getting tangled in the nylon webbing. This forces the animals to eat with their heads and necks in an unnatural position, and hay in contact with the eyes can lead to irritation and infection. Tonka and Raven eat at least 75% of their forage from the feeders so I am not too concerned about these impacts. Second, traditional hay nets (see above) are made of mesh measuring about 6 inches -- lots of hay comes out of the holes, and feet can easily slip into the holes if one is pulled down. It would be just a matter of time for Raven, I'm afraid.

Fine mesh hay nets (above) are gaining popularity in the UK and the USA, but I couldn't find any at our local tack stores or from Canadian online retailers. Last week I bit the bullet (i.e. the plummeting exchange rate and ridiculous cross-border tariffs) and bought two from horseloverz.com. They arrived yesterday, and I rigged them up tonight on breakaway bindings. The horses really have to pull to get hay through the 2 inch mesh, so the darned things bounce around like punching bags. So far Tonka thinks it's fun and Raven thinks it's a pain in the ass.


LatigoLiz said...

I like those! What kind of rope is used for them? Is it the cheap plastic-type nylon or is it more like the soft cotton type nylon? Does that even make sense?

canride said...

Have you tried using Ship Happens or Package Express to ship stuff from the US? Their package pick up spots right in Sumas. I used Ship Happens when I bought some stuff from horseloverz.com $4 to pick up and I got the free shipping because my order was over $49. Just a thought.

PS, I've been lurking, reading your blog, found it very entertaining. I spotted in when you left a message on FHOTD, only to realize you live not to far from me and I often see your posts on HCBC.

Brandy said...

Hmm, that fine mesh one kinda looks like a hammock...

What kind of rope are these made from? I know Sprang weaving, which is a Nordic type of weaving for making nets, and net bags. It's easy and fun, once you have it set up, like any weaving.

I can just picture Tonka playing with his food! At least it will also slow down his eating, although your hay is really good for him!

Poor Raven! Well, if she wasn't such a spaz she could have something else, but these will keep her safe!

I wonder if you could get a feeder type thingie that had a rolled soft rubber edge, like a bucket has, and maybe put it in a corner so no edges are sticking out? And what is sticking out is soft and gives.... Your horses are far from starving! You give them so many food options, within healthy reason, I bet they think they are in heaven!

dp said...

They are the cheap plastic nylon, unfortunately. I couldn't find cotton in the US -- only in the UK (a much bigger bullet to bite).

Thanks for the tip on Ship Happens, can ride. Great to know!

We'll see how the nets work. I don't think the horses would be happy with corner feeders, as they prefer to face outwards when eating. I was impressed by some half-barrel feeders I saw a picture of recently, so maybe next year...