Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Working Well

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dscn5534eIn case you’ve been wondering lately how the old slow feeder boxes I built are holding up, I’m proud to report they are working out really well. Precisely as I had envisioned, in fact. On this cold December morning, as Delilah and I made the trek up the driveway from the mailbox, the four horses were visible under the overhang grazing peacefully, 2 per box, in the brief splash of early sunlight shining over the horizon to the east.

I expect those few minutes of sun and blue sky are all we will see today, as clouds are now prevailing and we are due to receive up to 8 inches of snow by the end of tomorrow.

Prepare the shovels.

With this morning’s temperature hovering in the single digits, the herd was very interested in fueling their internal furnaces with non-stop input of hay.

dscn5541eWhen I arrive with a new bale in the wheelbarrow, which I need to repeatedly remind them is off-limits for grazing from, they hover close for the instant of opportunity to chomp up a mouthful when the first portion lands in the box. I let them take bites while I methodically, but swiftly, arrange flakes in the box. I want to get the grate in place before they take to pulling more than bite-fulls at a time and dropping them on the ground.

It pleases me greatly that they never show any hint of displeasure over the addition of the grate. I can start sliding it in place while they are mid-bite and like a precisely choreographed performance, settle it in place as they seamlessly continue pulling up bites, now through the openings. The grates don’t appear to bother them at all.

Being famously picky about the quality of their hay, horses will ignore what they don’t want until it becomes the only option. Then they will usually eat that anyway. We have bales from several sources and we don’t always get the same hay in each box. When they like it, I will find nothing but dust left with the grate settled on the bottom of the box.

Frequently, there will be a half-eaten bale with a whole bunch of unsavory cast off grass nested on top of the grate. They pull it out and nose it aside while continuing to graze their way down to more desirable tidbits. They seem to have a brilliant ability to discern. However, when I collect the neglected leftover hay and drop it off somewhere else in the paddock, often times they will follow me over to eat it.

Maybe the new and different ambiance makes it taste better to them. Regardless, the slow feeder boxes are working out just like I hoped they would, and that makes me continually happy.

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Written by johnwhays

December 10, 2016 at 10:56 am

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