Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nose Bags / Feed Bags for horses

Feeding field boarded horses can be a challenge. I was always frustrated with most of the barns where I field boarded, because the horses would just get a set amount divided among buckets along the fence line. This meant the most dominant horse would get most of the feed, and the horse at the bottom of the pecking order hardly got any. Any you could forget about feeding any supplements!

I have been using nose bags (mesh feed bags) to feed for a while now, and I must say feed time is so much easier! The dominant horses frequently don’t even try to pester the others, since they know they can’t get any food. I first used canvas feed bags, but they can be difficult to clean, and seemed to hold mud and dirt before too long. I recently switched to the mesh feed bags, which are much easier to clean, and the horse can dunk their head in the water trough and all the water just spills freely out… no worries about a horse drowning themselves.

The only issue I have had was with one greedy horse who learned that she could nip at the corner of the bag while another horse was eating and managed to chew a hole in it. I fixed that issue by hot gluing a strip of upholstery tacks around the bottom edge, facing out.

Also, although the website below does not recommend feeding dampened feed, wet beet pulp, or powdered supplements with the mesh bags, I have no issue. I have one horse who bolts his food and has suffered from choke due to this problem. I soak his feed before feeding. Any horse that gets powdered supplements just gets some wetted feed added to the regular ration, and the powder sticks to that. These feed bags are really easy to clean… just swish upside down in a bucket of water, pull straight out, and hang to dry. Much easier than the canvas bags!

The points below were taken from

Why use a nose bag?

• Nose bags are useful at home to eliminate the waste generated by sloppy eaters.

• Nose bags pack down small and are useful for providing grain and weed-free pelleted feeds on the trail.

• Nose bags are useful at shows, particularly when using tie stalls.

• Nose bags are a convenient way to provide pelleted (not powdered) additives such as vitamins and hoof supplements.

• Nose bags eliminate hostile grain-pan takeovers by dominant horses, ensuring that even the lowest horse in the pecking order gets his share of feed.

• Nose bags are a useful tool when training a horse to lower his head for haltering or bridling and to accept handling of the head and ears.
(This is especially true… all of my nosebag-fed horses don’t mind me folding and squishing their ears to put the poll strap behind their head. One was a bit touchy at first and would jerk away when I tried to get his second ear under the strap… I would just hold onto the bag so he was left with no food if he pulled away. That cured him very quickly!)


Mary Ann said...

I like you have had the problem of trying to feed my horses equally. I like you tried the canvas bags and also had difficulties cleaning them. I will have to try these at some point, thanks for the recommendation. I think these will be particularly useful at shows.

Britanica B. said...

I have seen these before and I always wondered if the horse is ever bothered by it. I know that if you put a horse in a room filled with food, it will eat itself to death... Or maybe that is just an old wives tale? Not sure, either way, it is a handy invention for people who own multiple horses. I am not sure if my niece uses these on her horse or not. I would imagine cleaning and feeding times get cut in half though :p