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Controlling Weight with Slow Feeding
|Slow feeders are useful tools for equine weight management. Overweight horses tend to lose weight with them, and many underweight horses actually gain weight. The key for difficult cases seems to be: Know how many pounds of low-sugar hay the horse should be eating per day, (2% of ideal body weight) and choose or adjust the slow feeder to provide that amount of hay over the course of the day. The horse relaxes, feeling that the food will never run out. Feeder speeds vary from easy to challenging. ~JoAnn Johnson|
JoanneNL's horses have trimmed down over the course of three months, since switching to slow hay feeders.
Orion - BEFORE
Gypsy (on left) - AFTER
Gypsy - BEFORE.
|I've been experimenting with slow feeders since last fall..lots of failures but they have been fed like this for quite awhile. They are getting less exercise(no time) and more hay. They've both lost a lot of weight! Orion's new girth is 4 inches shorter. And I just discovered that Gypsy needs a new one as well. I'm thrilled!!!|
They are spending more time eating plus I'm going through about 30 - 50% more hay!
More hay? I know it's hard for me to believe too. Nothing else has changed except for the slow feeders. I only deworm when the fecals tell me they have worms. Maybe now I'm feeding what everyone else feeds. I've always kept them at about 20lbs each a day. I've always tried to control their weight by watching how much hay I give them. I'd go through 1 bale of hay a day. Now I go through about a bale and a quarter or a bale and a half. I guess they are processing it differently. I've never had a problem with waste because Orion is like a hoover...every last piece....he was always ravenously hungry. Now he takes breaks...something he's never done before.
JoanneNL EC Photos List photo page
July 11, 2009
My IR horse has NEVER self regulated. He was doing well while I was constantly trying to outsmart him with different types of slow feeders but I have run out of ideas. He is now being fed 3 meals a day in his slow feeder. It slows him down but he is out of hay within a few hours. I tried free choice in slowfeeders for 3 months. Once he figured each slowfeeder out it was back to eating everything in sight.
The last slow feeder that he's figured out is a box with the exact metal grid-2in X 2in on top of the hay. The grid is held down by those big rubber tie downs. He hasn't destroyed it...just figured out how to get the hay out too fast. I've even been putting a smaller piece of vinyl lattice under the grid...figured that out too. I've even doubled the small (1 in) hole bags that I tied myself...no problem for him!!
January 10, 2010
|Regarding the issue of IR horses repeatedly destroying slow hay feeders:|
|I had the same problem with one of my mares. She did her best to destroy every slow feeder I used. She was undiagnosed IR. After her bloodwork came back severe IR, I got a batch of tested hay, with low ESC+starch. She started to slow down her eating, and use the slow feeders properly. She is now the first to walk away from the hay.|
Maggie destroyed a barrier net I put on a round bale,(many, many huge holes I kept repairing over the course of a month), and the small mesh hay nets (SB I think). That was over the summer. That hay was not tested. I gave up after a month.
In Sept, I changed to low ss hay, In Oct I balanced the diet and began light exercise, (hand walking 1/2hr per day). I weighed the hay and fed 3-4 meals a day,(loose, no feeders). I think it was late Oct/early Nov that I repaired the barrier net, hung it on the fence -she ate out of it fine. The small mesh bags - no problem now. Then I bought nets to hold a whole bale for the paddocks http://www.hoofcareunltd.com/haynet.htm and Nibblenets for the stalls. She uses all of them with no problem.
I believe, for my guys, (3 diagnosed severe IR in the fall, & 2 more I suspect are IR), lowering the insulin level is the key. That means a balanced low ss diet, and at least a little bit of exercise. That seems to keep their appetite under control, which lets me use the slow feeders, which helps keep their insulin levels stable. :) I suspect their insulin is still elevated, but I bet it is a lot lower than it was before the changes.
You are welcome to post my message, as long as you post at least the last paragraph of this post. As I think more about it, lowering the insulin is what ultimately decreased her appetite and slowed her down.
Kelly MA (from ECPhotos@yahoogroups)
January 11, 2010
Latest page update: made by tangledmanes
, Jan 11 2010, 10:39 AM EST
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|OregonKay||Exercising IR mini donkey?||2||Feb 24 2010, 2:00 PM EST by OregonKay|
Thread started: Feb 23 2010, 9:45 PM EST Watch
I'm new to this board, so forgive me if this topic's already been discussed. All four of my equids are easy-keepers, but my obese 10 year old mini donkey gelding is undiagnosed IR. He has fat pads and is always hungry. I'd like ideas of ways to increase his exercise. I can't give him much turnout on our hilly acreage because we already have too much grass, plus we have wild blackberry thickets dotted all over. Come blackberry season (which lasts nearly 2 months) he'd like nothing better than to eat berries all day long. I do take him to my round pen and do a semblence of free lunging, incorporating some natural jumps to increase his effort. I'm willing to handwalk him, but don't know if his usual slow pace (short legs :) is giving him much of a workout. A vet I consulted recently did say that a minimum of 15 minutes moderate exercise/day would help increase his insulin sensitivity. I'd like to know how other mini donkey or mini horse owners work exercise into their animals' daily routine. I don't have the equipment or terrain for driving, unfortunately, plus neither of us know how. I just put up a track paddock that winds uphill, but will have to limit his time there until the grasses get eaten down. Summer time that area will be great and I can feed hay in slow feeders. Thanks for any ideas.
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