Horses' digestive systems never truly stop producing digestive acids. When their sensitive stomachs are empty of food they are stressed, prone to colic, ulcers, and boredom leading to destructive stall vices just to mention a few of the consequences. Horses should have access to forage at all times. Feeding two, three or even four feedings a day is unnatural for horses. We are tied to feeding them "small meals" throughout the day because we care about their sensitive digestive systems. But what are the horse's eating at night while we are sleeping? Dinner out with friends, overnight outings, a full day away from the barn, those are only memories... .
Vet recommended Freedom Feeder Extended Day Small Mesh Hay Nets allow your animals to feed naturally 24/7 through a simple "restricted free access feeding" program!
Freedom Feeders Small Mesh Hay Nets allow you to create a feeding system. Spread them out so the horses will self-exercise as they go from bag to bag. Even in a 12x24 stall, put one at either end of the stall.
These nets can be hung on fences, floats and box stalls.
- They are made of 1/8"(3mm) Nylon mesh woven into 2" squares. This material has 250 lb. per strand of tensile strength!
- Freedom feeder is made in the USA of specially woven knotless shrimp fishing nylon, soft yet extremely durable. Beware of cheaper versions made from twisted knotted polypropylene, which is coarse, and can be brittle, causing fraying from the constant nipping, and possible ingestion of this material by the horse, or damage to teeth and gums. THINK VET BILLS $$$$
- Freedom Feeder mesh is made on the square, makes for an easy to fill opening because it stays open. Others are made on the diagonal which sags like an empty balloon, and are harder to fill, even if you tie biscuits of hay together before you put them into the bag.
You can use any kind of hay in the nets The broader the leaf, the slower it goes through the net. Although we do not recommend free feeding alfalfa, it too can be fed through the net but the leaves will fall through. If you use a mat or tub underneath the net it will catch any small pieces and leave zero waste.
Trailer/Mini net holds 1-2 biscuits of hay.
Day net holds half a bale
Extended day net holds a full bale
You can make a box, use a tub, or if your horses are barefoot, just stand it in the corner and attach it at the top. This will last an average 500kg horse 5-7 days.
In a paddock, just hang the net so the feeding staff can just slide your horse's hay into the back of the net like a mail slot.
Why Restricted Free Access Feeding?
Restricted free access feeding is based on the idea that horses are grazing animals. When given the opportunity, they opt to eat through a 2" mesh opening because it is more instinctive for them to use that grazing motion. It slows down their eating habits causing them to salivate more while chewing and aiding their digestion. With the improved digestion and increased low calorie/high fiber feed, you can and should change your horse's diet from an alfalfa based "milk cow" diet, to a grass based grazing "horse" diet, adding only as much protein as your horse needs to keep their weight up.
Horses can maintain their weight on twice a day alfalfa meals but it only takes 2 hours for their stomach to empty... 4 hours for their digestive acids to fully ramp up. After each meal, acid is pouring into an empty stomach burning the sensitive lining... no wonder they bolt at their next meal. They are trying to stop the pain.
With each meal comes an insulin spike. Have you heard an increase in the number of articles or cases of Insulin Resistence (IR)? It similar to type 2 Diabetes in humans. Meal feeding is playing a large part in this problem. Let's get the horses back to grazing.
Once your horses are transitioned onto Restricted Free Access, you will notice a change in their entire demeanour. They will be more settled, content, have a new glow in their coats and eyes. They will be ready to go to work and be more focused.
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