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Busy Horse hay bags
July 31, 2009 - Busy Grande Regular Feeder Review:
The 2.5in hole works fairly well, but my determined IR and always hungry mare manages to pull a lot of hay fairly fast, even with this small an opening. About a three hour feeding cycle. Too short a time for my schedule.
I wrote to the manufacturer because of all the other great features and asked that they produce the large "Grande," feed bag with a smaller "slow feeder," opening, and discovered today that indeed they have done so. I think others likely contacted them as well or the owner did his research well.
It may seem this is an expensive bag (just under $50 U.S.) but my experience has been that it is worth twice that. It looks like it's going to last at least a couple of years, and that is a long time for any feed bag system.
The material used does NOT break down and soften, and my mare is as hard on things she eats from as is possible. I have to use a muck bucket as a feed tub for her, and shock cord it to the corner of her stall and she still can bang it hard enough to rattle the barn. She ripped holes in her last feed bag set of three, very heavy canvas with slightly larger openings.
But her Grande feeder she has not been able to hurt in the least, and we have used it since midwinter. And only ONE bag, whereas the bags she destroyed I rotated three of, one new one every feeding (two feedings a day).
The material on the Busy Grande is so heavy and stiff that the opening tends to stay open when one is stuffing that first big flake of hay in there. It can almost stand on it's own. And after all these months it still is just as stiff. The centered hanger rings work well, though in her stall (I hang it other places as well) I use a simple pin (a big eye bolt) that slips down through two aligned large eye screws with two bag openings forced over them. The vertical pin at one upper corner holds the bag from spinning. And since everything is rounded is no danger to the horse.
And I water my hay in the bag twice a day. You'd think that would break down the material but it doesn't even phase it. It holds its shape and its body wet or dry. In fact I think a bit more when wet than when dry.
I will be ordering their new "Slow feeder 1.75inch opening" bag this next week. My bet is that it will finally slow her down so that her feedings aren't three hours apart (the time it takes her to clear the bag) but closer to 7 or eight hours. We shall see.
And the price is only $5 more, though these obviously take much more material and labor to make.
I'd be interested in learning if others have experience with this bag and what they think.
I believe minis and small donkeys might still pull feed pretty fast, but not adult horses.
I use a heavy duty double ended barrel snap to hang it from a ring I've mounted on the wall, and a big eyescrew that I've driven into a big post. And the holes are all, as you might imagine with material this tough, exactly the same size as they were the day I bought the Busy hay feeder.
Don, Pacific Northwest U.S.
Equine Cushings List member since 6/08
|September 15, 2009: Busy Grande Slow Feeder Review::|
Well, the 1 and a half (really inch and five eights) opening bag is working like a charm. Altea, my Andalusian and IR mare, spends a happy 5 or six hours, sometimes more, pulling out and eating her low starch hay. It's a rather fine stem grass compared to say timothy or orchard grass.
This is unlike the prior 2" opening bag. She could strip that out in about 2 hours or so. And walk it into the stall bedding.
Her six month old daughter feeds from this bag too and Bonnie helping Altea can't strip it out in less than 4 or more hours.
As for other features - I couldn't be happier. Altea is a bag spinner and torturer. She used to rip the corners off the canvas style bags. She hasn't been able to make a dent in this one.
Overnight I put it up in a corner of her stall and pin one corner with a little arrangement of two heavy vertically aligned eye-screw, and force the corner of the bag over them then drop a long eye bolt down through them from the top. Easy as pie and works like a charm. (Hey, two trite sayings on one short sentence. Is there a prize for this? I win!) <smile>
I've never seen a tougher bag. Not a single loose thread anywhere, nor any sign of fraying, after a few months of heavy use.
I also wet the hay in the bag at both feedings and even that hasn't softened or weakened the material a bit.
Fairly easy loading, though that will matter only to folks that take hay from horse size bales, about 100 lb tight string bales.
I always glove-up because the material is so tough it's a bit hard on bare hands.
The only other place I've seen material this tough is in rigging material for some high risk applications, like kiteboarding, or the video recording industry riggers' lines (trick shot camera suspension etc.)
He's sure found the right combination of ingredients and manufacturing methods.
It would make, for those that need to soak and rinse hay, if you didn't pack it real tight, a great way to handle the chore. Turned on its side on edge the mesh provides a nice handle, like a suitcase, to carry the much heavier wet hay.
What would I change?
Instead of a centrally located pair of rings that I pin together with a double ended barrel snap I'd put a stout ring out at each corner of the top opening. That would stop the spinning without having to build my contrivance.
I can see nothing else that I'd want to change.
I don't know if anyone else contacted the owner-manufacturer but not too long after I had used the larger opening bags I suggested in an email to him, thinking of the EC folks here, that they could probably find customers for a large bag with the same small openings as the little snack bag. Voila! The big bag with small holes appeared.
On a scale of perfection from one to ten (for what I want at any rate) I'd give this bag, sans the desired corner rings, a 9.6 perfection rating.
Has anyone else here tried the Busy line? If you haven't, and the price doesn't drive you off (this particular large bag is about $50, but I think I'll have to leave it in my will) you probably will find just what I found.
Don, Pacific Northwest U.S.
Equine Cushings List member since 6/08
Snacker with 1 1/2" holes (4 cm) in NY
Stella with a Busy Horse Snacker snapped to a wooden tray.
|Busy Horse compared to NibbleNet|
September 15, 2009
I have both types of bags and I find the Busy Horse to be a superior product. The stitching is stronger, the rings are a little bit larger making it easier to hang. One of the loops on the NibbleNet ripped out of the seam within a week of starting to use it. The NibbleNet is still a big improvement over regular SMHN for loading ease.
I also agree with Don that the only thing I would change would be putting rings at each corner instead of in the center.
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