Do you want to rebuild your horse or just freshen up the stable a little? Your horse is not getting along well with the previous feeding trough – is it biting or lapping in? We reveal how you can solve these problems and which feeding trough is the right one for your horse!
Feeding on the Floor
In nature, it is the grass from the meadow that horses prefer to eat – it fits their natural eating and movement behavior. However, if the animals are kept by humans, they have to work a lot harder than they would in the wild. Grass alone as food is not enough here. Instead, the energy balance must be kept stable through the concentrated and raw feed.
The original movement pattern is for the horses to bend their heads on the ground to nibble on the grass. Perhaps, quite intuitively, some would think that it would be most natural to distribute the supplementary feed on the floor – at least that is the right posture, right? Yes and no, because even if the posture is correct, if the horse eats from the ground, it will ingest more than the feed itself. Sand, earth, and dust pollute the stomach is too large quantities and can cause colic.
It is therefore important to bring the small concentrated feed from a feeding trough to the horse. Hay and straw, on the other hand, can be distributed on the floor – especially in the barn. However, so-called feeding troughs can also be used here.
Food From the Bucket
Not a real feeding trough for the horse, but the closest thing to floor feeding is the feeding bucket. Here the animal maintains its natural posture and can still only take in clean feed due to the limited size of the bucket. In addition, thanks to this physical limitation, little feed is lost – unless the horse knocks over the bucket. To prevent this, it helps to put the said bucket in a rubber tire that holds it in place.
If a horse is to be fed with a bucket, there are a few things to consider. On the one hand, the handle (if present) must be removed. Otherwise, the animals could get their legs caught in this. In addition, care must be taken that when feeding several horses with the bucket, sufficient distance is kept between the feeding places. So everyone can enjoy in peace and without food envy.
After each feeding, the bucket should be washed out and cleaned thoroughly to remove any leftover food. At the same time, it is also advisable to examine the bucket for damage that could cause the feed to leak out. In the best case, every horse always gets the same bucket – these are differentiated by color or lettering.
The Feeding Trough for the Horse
As an alternative to the bucket, feeding can be done from feed troughs. These are particularly suitable for the box and can be permanently installed there – the most elegant solution is a corner feed crib. In this case, they usually have a large filling volume, which can also handle large amounts of food without any problems. Also nice: If such a feeding trough is installed, the box remains a lot of space to stand.
The fixed installation also prevents playing with the trough. He cannot be knocked over out of boredom. In addition, very little feed is lost.
This is What the Ideal Feeding Trough Looks Like
Many horse and stable owners install the feeding trough or the feeding trough at the chest height of the horse. This promotes the curvature of the neck and the development of the neck muscles. Basically, however, the following applies: the lower the trough, the more natural the keeping.
The length and depth should be around 70 by 35 cm. At best, the edge is rather beaded so that horses are not tempted to push out or blow feed.
Is your horse particularly curious and always needs to know exactly what is happening in the stable? Doesn’t it want to turn to the corner trough to eat? The solution can be a door trough. These are attached in such a way that the horse can always see everything. In the case of horses that have a tendency to kick, they can also be attached to the outside of the door so that they do not even have to enter the box to eat.
Material for Feed Troughs
Plastic, clay, and stone are the most common materials for the horse’s feeding trough. You are conclusive and adamant. In addition, clay and stone cannot be chewed. Soft plastic, on the other hand, has the advantage of not leaving any sharp corners even when you bite into it. Wood, on the other hand, is not suitable as a feeding trough – firstly, it splinters, and secondly, when it is built, it leaves hollows and cracks in which the feed can get caught. If it ferments or spoils there and is later eaten, this can lead to colic.
The trough should be cleaned before each feeding. Old feed is removed and horse droppings or urine must also be removed. Unfortunately, there are always horses who mistake the trough for a toilet – so that they do not suffer from gastrointestinal diseases, they must be cleaned particularly thoroughly in these cases.
Restless Horses – These Problems Exist
When it comes to feeding, there can of course be problems with some animals. Maybe they just have a restless nature or maybe they have difficulty orienting themselves. But the fact is that there are always horses that do mischief from a human perspective.
Horse Paddles in Feeding Trough – and Now?
In order to prevent the feeding in the feeding trough, it can first be placed in a different place. Because it is quite likely that he is just right in the corner of the manure. Alternatively, it can also be hung higher – as long as the horse’s neck allows it.
Horse Throws Feed Out of the Trough – What to Do?
If the horse throws food out of the trough, it is usually not doing this on purpose. Mostly it is because the trough edges are not high enough and the food falls out while eating. If you watch this, the only thing that will help is to buy a more suitable trough.
But if you see that your horse is deliberately throwing out the feed, does this indicate dissatisfaction and stress – have you changed anything recently? Maybe changed the stable or revised the training program enormously? Most of the time, the animals only need a little time to get used to. However, if it doesn’t get better or if your horse doesn’t eat at all, it is time to call the vet.
Special case: feeding horses with respiratory diseases
If your horse has problems with breathing or lungs, it definitely makes sense to let him eat with his head down. This allows the mucus to drain out of the airways and does not seep into the lungs.