Horse refusing to eat out of hay bag??

Has anyone ever had a horse refuse to eat out of a hay bag? My TB gelding drags his hay all over his stall when he eats, then ends up standing on it and peeing/pooping all over it. I end up throwing out a ridiculous amount of hay when I do his stall.

I got him a hay bag and at first he are out of it, he would stick his head in from the top instead of using the opening in the front but at least the hay was still off the ground. In the next couple days he seemed to leave more and more hay in the bag until this morning I came in to an almost full bag.

He’s eating his grain and hay cubes so its not lack of appetite, I’m getting his teeth done today thinking that’s a possibility except for the fact that he goes into his neighbors stall and eats her hay whenever he gets the chance.

The combination of him being a TB and having EPSM he can’t afford to skipping meals but I can’t have him wasting almost a half bale of hay everyday.

Any input would be appreciated, or any other ideas as to keep the hay from being dragged around his stall. He does eat out of a regular hay net in a trailer no problem. I am reluctant to use a net or rack because he is very accident prone I’m afraid of him getting a leg caught or something.
Thanks!!

My girl destroys hay bags but is also a pig in her stall when I feed on the ground. It’s maddening to dump it all into the barrel! I think that the reason she didn’t like eating out of it was because she didn’t want to stick her nose in the hole. Diva much?

The solution for us ended up being a metal hay rack. A bit like this. She can’t tear it off the wall and into a million pieces, and she seems pretty content to eat out of it. It keeps everything off the ground fairly well, although the really fine pieces tend to get mixed into her bedding still.

I also moved the location of it. She likes to hang out by her water buckets and poop in the opposite front corner where her hay WAS. I moved the rack over by her water buckets and she tends to poop on the waste less.

Very strange that your horse will eat from a haybag in all situations other than its own stall… Even stranger that it started eating from the bag in its stall and slowly went off.

I would examine where you are hanging the bag to be sure there is nothing going on that could be freaking the horse out, ie makes a funny squeaky sound when they pull on it, or rattle sound when the hay bag bounces around, or puts the horse’s head in a position it doesn’t like, etc…

If you are soaking the hay, I would be sure its not molded or going sour by the time the bag is being hung.

I would use the very same haybag that you use in the trailer just in case its the color or smell if you’re using a new bag.

I would entice the horse with a carrot or apple or peppermints hidden inside the hay in the hay bag (I often hide goodies in my horse’s hay bags as surprises), to entice him to eat.

I might opt to do 50% hay loose and 50% in the bag so at least he’s eating something over night, though you’re not having to clean up quite so much.

check the weight of they hay bag in the morning, don’t just estimate how much or how little was eaten by fullness. I will sometimes find what appears to be an uneaten haybag (rare with my piglets but does sometimes happen), but upon inspection usually 60% of the hay has been eaten, the bag has just been used for a piñata all night and the remainder is fluffed making the bag look much fuller than it really is.

if you are using new hay, or cleaning out the hay barn (both of which many of us are doing right now) perhaps he’s just not liking the current offering very much?

finally, if you are having to do such an epic clean up of hay each morning, perhaps your over estimating your horse’s hay consumption over night?

When I find my horses are wasting hay, and the hay is clean and good, its a lightbulb that I am simply feeding too much and I cut down until there are no more scraps (reasonably of course) and they are very eager for their hay and dive right in in the morning.

how about a string bag? I hang 'em high and loop the string through the very bottom too, so it hangs sideways. since knowing horses, they will find a way to get stuck in the empty saggin bag. the string styles are kinda a pain to fill unless you use a piece of cardboard as a “funnel” but the string styles are really cheap. good bordem breakers…

[QUOTE=Superminion;7110800]My girl destroys hay bags but is also a pig in her stall when I feed on the ground. It’s maddening to dump it all into the barrel! I think that the reason she didn’t like eating out of it was because she didn’t want to stick her nose in the hole. Diva much?

The solution for us ended up being a metal hay rack. A bit like this. She can’t tear it off the wall and into a million pieces, and she seems pretty content to eat out of it. It keeps everything off the ground fairly well, although the really fine pieces tend to get mixed into her bedding still.

I also moved the location of it. She likes to hang out by her water buckets and poop in the opposite front corner where her hay WAS. I moved the rack over by her water buckets and she tends to poop on the waste less.[/QUOTE]

I have one who is an expert at pulling every bit of hay out of his rack - I have watched him pull out an entire flake at once, then he still wastes 1/2 of it.

I use hay nets when they have to be confined to their stall for more than a few hours. I hang them about 5’ up, with the bottom clipped, so they can eat at right around nose height with the bottom never falling below chest height to minimize the chance of them getting a shoe caught in the net. I’d rather feed them off the floor, but they just waste too much of it, and they actually seem to enjoy the extra work of pulling the hay out of the nets. It seems to keep them more occupied and less prone to boredom. The way that they go at them seems to simulate the same action as grazing, even though the nets are higher. I hate that they have to be up so high, but I also want them to have forage available 24x7 and its the only answer I’ve found so far that works.

The small hole hay nets also seem to reduce the possibility of choke as the bolters can’t pull out huge chunks of hay at once and try to inhale it without chewing.

My old horse will eat out of a net but doesn’t seem to be able to comprehend the bag. Depending on your stall type, if the horse can put his head over the door you can hang the net outside the stall so that at least it’s slightly less risky :slight_smile: If you use it in the stall I think the cotton type are safer than nylon.

Have you ruled out that the hay in the bag is just hay that your horse is not willing to eat? Or maybe perfectly good hay was shoved on top of hay that was not good?

I have a TB who will not eat out of a hay bag - the only time I tried, he somehow ripped it (not a string one, but one w/ just a hole in the middle) and pulled all the hay out. I have watched him regularly move his hay to different location in the stall - both at shows and home. He likes it where he likes it, and he’s a slow eater so its there quite a while. but always by am - gone. So at least he’s not wasting it…
My mare eats out of a nibble net feeder - she loves the thing - flings it around and also uses it to scratch her face when its full, lol.

Try a small hole/slow feed style. I know it sounds counterintuitive to “slow” down one who you are trying to get to eat more, but I have had good luck with it getting them to eat more…piques their interest or something.

The nibble nets are my favorite for ease of use and durability, but they are $$. I you wanted to test the concept out, try a cheaper string one. If you get one with a ring in the bottom and hang through there they don’t hang too low, plus the holes aren’t big enough to actually put a foot through. I like the Shires brand 2-colored ones best if you can find them,

I second this thought.

I had one who if you gave her more than one small flake at a time she turned it all into bedding. She would manure and urinate on it and then have a snit fit that she had no edible food. When I tried a fabric hay bag (with the hole in one side) she would eat a little better but still ended up wasting a bunch and if she turned it around so the hole was against the wall, another snit fit.

She loves eating out of a small hole hay net. She wastes much less and digs right into her meal. I think she finds it a challenge and she likes that challenge.

[QUOTE=Pally;7125157]
The nibble nets are my favorite for ease of use and durability, but they are $$. I you wanted to test the concept out, try a cheaper string one. If you get one with a ring in the bottom and hang through there they don’t hang too low, plus the holes aren’t big enough to actually put a foot through. I like the Shires brand 2-colored ones best if you can find them,[/QUOTE]
I found nibblenets hard to fill. So not worth the money. I still have one that is barely used.

I love the simply small hole hay nets. Smartpak brand has a nice soft rope that is easy to deal with. The cheaper nets sold at Chicks are great too, just a slightly stiffer rope.

I love my Nibblenet. Personally I don’t find it all that hard to fill if I stuff it while it’s still hanging in the stall; it IS trickier to stuff if I unhook it entirely and try to fill it on the floor or whatever. Anyway, there is VERY little waste with it, and few things irk me more than expensive hay going to waste.

I second others re: wondering if there’s something up with the hay you’re currently using-- good hay over bad, sour from soaking, etc. I’d dump the whole thing and start from scratch with fresh hay and see what happens.

Well, my guys won’t eat out of the small hole haynets, so that may not be the solution. I use a plastic garbage can bungied to eye hooks in the corner of their stalls. Works well. They will pull some of it out and trample it, but much less than when feeding off the floor.