Have you ever been annoyed at how much hay your horses waste when you throw it out on the ground for them? After all, it is the most natural way for them to eat but some horses don’t have the best of manners and will poo and wee in it after taking their fill. Or on wet days it gets trampled into the mud and good hay is wasted.
With the cost of hay these days chasing gold, I wanted to minimize waste so I came up with a cost effective solution to providing a constant source of hay for your horse to help himself to throughout the day.
All you need is a poly chaff bag, 2 pieces of bale twine and a few minutes on the sewing machine.
The eating hole at the bottom (cut the hole just above the bottom seam) should be no larger than 25cm square (for ponies it could be 20cm) and this needs to have the edge turned over and stitched so it doesn’t fray. Then all you do is loop a piece of twine through the weave on each top corner of the bag to tie it to the fence or a tree.
This size bag holds about 5-6 sections of hay (1/3rd of a bale) so is ideal for smaller horses and ponies for a days supply.
For bigger horses or those who rely on hay totally and for those people who want to refill the bag less often, you can make a bag that holds a whole bale by buying a cheap poly tarp that measures approx. 6’ x 4’. Fold it in half, stitch the top and side closed then make a drawstring on the bottom so the bale goes in easily. You cut the feeding hole a little above the drawstring and bind the edge so it doesn’t fray. You can then attach twine to the eyelets at the top to tie it off to a fence or a tree.
Its best to tie the bags so they stand upright and that way the hay falls down to the bottom as the horse eats it. The hay is kept dry and unless your horse pulls out hay and drops it, there is very little waste and as a bonus the hay is easy and clean to transport.
The only downside is if the horse gets to a patch of not so tasty hay, they will leave it and forgo the rest as they can’t nose around to find the better stuff when the bad hay blocks the hole, so make sure you only use good quality, dry hay with no mold or weeds.
If you don’t have time to mess around with making a big hay bag, most saddlers or rug makers would be happy to oblige for $35-$40 depending on the material used.