Why is it worth slow feeding animals?
In their natural habitats wild horses as well as cows, bison, European bison, sheep or goats spend entire days wandering around and searching for food. They eat small amounts but pretty often. This is what their natural rhythm of life looks like. This is also what feeding at farms should look like.
What happens when hay is portioned and administered? In the case of horses, they are often given oats and a hay portion twice a day. Have we ever asked our animals what they feel when their feeders are empty (“the horse just ate a few moments ago”)?
Well, the fact that the horse ate its hay portion a few moments ago does not mean that it will not be hungry in a few moments. The lack of satiation results in anxiety, which, in turn, affects the use of a particular horse and its general psychological condition.
Our main issue was feeding obese horses with a tendency to store excessive amounts of fat. Such tendencies are observed in horses of primitive breeds – Hucul, Konik, Fjord and others.
We have a natural farm of Fjord horses. Our horses were putting on weight literally before our eyes, out of the blue. This results from the specificity of the breed – while wandering across harsh and cold Norway, Fjord horses instinctively store fat in order to survive and generate body heat. Although they are not given oats, they eat grass during summer time and hay during wintertime, they were putting on weight too quickly.
We noticed that the horses would eat any amount of hay that was given to them. The rest is in turn meticulously mixed with bedding.
The wastage level made our heads spin.
We decided to do something about it and that is how we have come up with the idea of a hay net.