1 My stable manager, Betsy Perreten, filled up the new NibbleNets® with hay. These nets are made out of durable, water-resistant nylon and can be hung anywhere. http://www.NibbleNet.com
2 Each one holds a sizable amount of hay, but because equids have to pull the hay out through the webbing, they won't eat as fast, or as much.
3 A flake of hay is a section of hay. Each bale has about 16-flakes, but can vary in weight from five to seven pounds. It's best to know the bale weight and average number of flakes per bale for each hay load to ensure a horse receives the appropriate amount of hay.
4 What's important is the size of the holes on the sides of the NibbleNets®. The square holes in this net are about one-and-a-half inches wide.
5 These holes are about two-inches wide. By extending feed times, these NibbleNets® simulate grazing, which helps in balancing stomach acids during digestion. They can also help prevent obesity, and colic.
6 The square openings in this NibbleNet® are one-and-a-quarter inches wide. NibbleNets® are made to accommodate large and small equines. This one will go into the donkey stall, while the other nets will be used for the Friesians.
7 Different shapes fit different sized stalls, hayrick racks, and even trailers.
8 Betsy soaks the hay before the nets are hung in the stalls. This cuts down on the amount of dust generated by the hay.
9 It also makes the hay more palatable for the horses. Some of my Friesians and donkeys like the wet hay, while others prefer the dry.
10 Soaking also removes some of the water soluble carbohydrates that some horses don't need. Any soaked hay should be used quickly to avoid mold.
11 And, NibbleNets® are American made - that's a good thing.
12 Here is one of the filled NibbleNets® hanging in the donkey stall - notice the small holes.
13 This net is a few inches wide, but it can hold about several flakes of hay when filled to capacity.
14 They can be hung on any stall wall using the bolt snap straps - the same type of stainless steel bolt snaps found on the dog end of a leash.
15 These cylindrical NibbleNets® close at one end with strong rope through stainless steel rings attached to the loops in the net.
16 To help the donkeys and horses figure out how to get their hay, Betsy pulls several tufts of hay through the holes.
17 This is Ramon's old NibbleNet® - repaired several times with duct tape. Although this one lasted several years, he was very ready for a new one.
18 Ramon's new net is a bit taller, and holds a few more flakes of hay than the old one.
19 He will be very excited when he comes in from the paddock and finds the new NibbleNet® in his stall.
20 Depending on the height wanted for the NibbleNet®, straps can be adjusted and wrapped around the bars of the stall. This one is hung a bit higher because my Friesians are quite tall.
21 Betsy tied this cylindrical net in the donkey pen, too - at a lower, more donkey-friendly height.
22 The three amigos will be the first to try out the new nets. Here is Sarah bringing them in after a day in their paddock.
23 Donkeys are herd animals, so they don't like being separated from other members of their pack. Rufus, Billie, and Clive are always together.
24 It didn't take Rufus too long to figure out the net.
25 Clive was also very quick to learn how to pull tufts of hay.
26 Clive went to both nets to investigate which one he preferred.
27 Billie took a little longer, but donkeys have a very keen sense of curiosity, as shown by her forward ear carriage. She was definitely interested in the new net.
28 And here she is pulling hay out just like Clive and Rufus.
29 Some hay always ends up on the floor of the stall, but these donkeys won't let any go to waste.
30 Donkeys originated as desert animals and are adapted to foraging for coarse plants and grasses as part of the desert diet. They do best on high fiber meals and carefully watched carbohydrate and protein levels.
31 Meanwhile, Ramon loves his NibbleNet®.
32 And, so does Sasa.
33 Betsy also put a NibbleNet® in the donkey paddock hayrick rack.
34 Betsy pulled out more tufts of hay and left it for the donkeys - this will be a little more challenging as the donkeys will have to get it out of the net and through the rails of the rack. Mental stimulation is also very good for the animals.