Monday, June 10, 2013

Hi Folks,  I know I haven't blogged in a while, sorry.  I have been going through several trial and errors with the hay boxes and how to build a netting frame.  Long story shortened: I first made out of pvc which was very light weight.  Many people use a metal grate in a hay box but the were several reasons I didnt want to go that route.  First the holes are way too big, generally at least 2".  2ndly I have heard some issues with chipped front teeth when they get too aggressive trying to get the hay out.  I had found a great youtube video from the Money Pit Ranch on the hay net(s) they had made for their hay boxes.  I really liked their design so I worked off of it.

This is the hay box made by a carpenter about 20 miles away (found via craigslist!)  He had never made a box for minis before and we discussed a height of 15" but we had a communication difference of side height vs total height.  Once he had the feet on it it was a good 18.5" and you can see it was too tall for Badger.  He came to pick it up and get a visual and I had it back in a few days. 

This is the same box with the light weight pvc frame and too taut netting. 

Now the netting I used is a square 3/4" mesh.  I had ordered hay net bags that were 1" mesh and I thought they were pulling too much hay out at a time, too fast.  But this 3/4" seemed too small.  After pondering for a while and watching them eat out the hay net bags I started thinking my netting was pulled too taut.  Which I did do intentionally.  BTW its a real pain to put the netting on.  On the pvc I threaded the netting, having to continually pull the excess through.  Then I got the bright idea to weave the pipe through.  While easier and way faster the corners were an issue.  Having to leave a quite a bit unwoven so you can connect the corners. 

Heres a video of Badger eating out of the taut mesh.  OK I know the video is sideways.  I used my iphone and I hold just like I would to take a pic but ALL of videos play sideways.  I go to edit put it does not give me the option to rotate.  So sorry if you get a crick in your neck or you get nauseous. You can see its very difficult to get the hay out of it being so taut.  They would walk away and go scavenge off the ground.

So after watching them eat of the hay bags and then consulting with the hay bag net ladies from Cinch Chix (great nets btw) they suggested the netting be looser.  If you watch eating from a net you will notice how they push pretty far down and pull up which they couldn't do on a taut net.  So here is the metal frame with loose net......  I obviously didn't get the elbow set screws tightened down enough!  Before I discovered it like this thye ate about 2 flakes of hay!!!  You know I worked so hard for years to get the weight off Pistol and Pedro and now with this free-feeding they look like they pregnant with twins! 

Here is another sideways video of them eating out of the loose mesh.

You may remember the original hay box my son made from previous posts.  I made several net frames for it as well.  It was his first try and neither of us thought about the issue of inside corner pieces interring with a frame.  First I made with the 90 degree conduit elbows but it left too much room on the sides for them to pull hay from.  So I found these pull through elbows that have a flattened 45 degree angle, perfect for our inside corners.  Then we had to deal with a way to keep the net inside the box.  So here is the video for that box.  I had also made a too taut net and made again looser. 

So I think I finally have the net frame issue settled.  I will have to keep checking to make sure the set screws don't loosen and the frame doesn't come apart.  If all else fails I can make my own net bags out of the 3/4" mesh and attached to the floor of the box with an eye-screw. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hay box first try

My son says this is the first and last box he will make!  It did take longer than expected.  Its 2x3x15"h.  We made it out of the recycled plastic/wood composite decking material because have been known to chew wood.  I attached the hay bag in the center as I did on the mats.

There is a local guy who makes horse hay boxes and he is going to down size one for the donkeys.  Pics when I get it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Check it out


So after arriving home last Wednesday and sitting in the pasture thinking what can I do to keep the little boys grazing all day and night on hay and not alfalfa-dirt sand at the fence lines I came up with this.

Above pic you are looking from the big pasture into the middle pasture.  Before today Carb and the donkeys had access to both.  At night I close that gate to the left. 

So I decided that the plan was to keep Carb in the middle and let the little boys come and go in both.  So a 20' pvc pipe and some brackets went up.  This above pic their first approach to the barrier bar. 

Badger was the adventurer and went under first.  Being shorter than Pistol and Pedro helped! 

Now Pedro is still reluctant to go under, even days later.  I wish I had the video on the phone on because Pistol, even though he could have walked under, got on his knees and did the limbo.  I was laughing so hard I spooked Badger.

 So here are the mats, 4 of them.
 I drilled a hole in the center, put an eye bolt with big washers on either side and then a heavy duty carabiner.
 Then hook the carabiner to the middle of side of the hay bay.

I left this one bag out for a day or two so they could get used to it.  When I went out to feed last night I found it off the mat and.......
Since Emma wasn't letting Ramsey near the hay bags I sent a while back DD graciously sent them back for the boys to use.

 As a note Carb was appearing to have a problem seeing the bar so I painted it for him.
 So this morning was our first meal.  Each bag has 3 pounds of timothy hay.  This is Pistol.

We will have to see how much hay they go through>  I would like to leave out 24/7 and hear they will soon realize the bags will always have hay and not snarf it all up.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Frustrating Day

Badger had his 3 weeks recheck visit today.  They scoped him and xrayed him.

Good News is that the ulcers are gone, no more ranitidine 3 times a day!

Bad news is he has sand accumulation again.  And he has been on 8 cups of psyllium a day!  Granted he probably only ingests about 5 of those 8 cups. But still thats a lot of psyllium.

here is pic of discharge day xray, you can see just wispy amounts of sand at bottom

here is pic of todays xray and you can see all the pockets of sand

So I am at loss as to what to do.  Well there are options none of them good.  
1. he could live in a stall for the rest of life-not happening
2. Grazing Muzzle, which I already own.  got home and put on him.  he stood hovering over his water trough trying to figure out how to take a drink.  He tried to lick his Himalayan salt block (he loves his salt block).
I finally took it off.
3. grazing muzzle for Carb the horse so he can't eat their hay (remember Carb has no teeth and eats soaked hay pellets, he could choke eating hay).

After walking around the pasture for an hour measuring and thinking I may have an idea.  The boys have access to 2 pastures: the smaller middle pasture where their run-in shed is located and a bigger pasture that has no shade or shelter.  there is a gate separating the two pastures and I lock them all in the smaller one at night so they are not right up at the road.  If I give in and let the little boys out there 24-7 I could leave gate open but put up a single horizontal bar at fence top line height so Carb is blocked but the little boys can go underneath.  Then I can put 4-5 mats out there with hay nets attached so they can 'graze'.  Carb will be p#!@#d off but then no one has to wear a muzzle.  

So tell me what ya'll think or if y ou have other ideas I am all ears!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013




Monday, April 29, 2013

As promised

OK I finally installed x-ray disc from hospital, so here we go. 


These 2 are x-rays that led to Badgers admission.  OK I don't know how to do that fancy drawing on top of pic that DD does so......This is the large colon: the bright white sort of banana shape at the bottom of x-ray (bottom of large colon) is the large sand accumulation, approx 3"x7"
Different contrast on x-ray.  You can see the kind of nipple shape here at the bottom just like in above image.  There are wispy areas off to the right, that is sand in the intestines.  In the center there is a white blob just off to the right that is sand as well

This is his x-ray upon discharge 9 days later.  Large colon; look at bottom and  you can see just a small thin section on sand.

Remember the nice Doc said he would give a 2fer, x-ray Pistol and Pedro for the price of one.  
So this is Pedro's large colon x-ray.  You can see at the bottom even thinner line of sand.  I was so freaked by Badgers huge accumulation that I had run up to the Pasadena area and bought 80 pounds of the same psyllium powder they use at the Equine Hosp and immediately started Pistol, Pedro and Carb on it.  So this was 5 days on that product, who knows what it was before I started.

These are Pistols x-rays.  The 2nd one is a slightly higher contrast so you can see the thin line of sand leading up the leaf-shaped area of sand. 

In case you are interested I finally found a no sugar and actually no carb pancake syrup.  It's pretty runny and the psyllium really doesn't stick as well as it does to the banana slurry I was making but the banana slurry was high in starch/carbs.      I had found several no sugar varieties but they still had high carbs.  Now of course they all have artificial sweeteners like Splenda.  I am still researching effects of that on equine.  Because there really isn't any other circumstance I can find that a donkey or horse would be given any artificial sweetener! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Checking In

HI everyone.  I know it has been several days since I updated you.  Badger is doing OK.  Not great but hanging in there.  I was really worried about him on Friday, 2nd day out of hosptial.  He was laying down a lot.  All his vitals were good, eating and drinking and pooping.  But just down, not rolling.  DD thought maybe he was just exhausted from the hospital where the activity is 24/7.  She was very reassuring to me.  Sorry no pic.  I am too tired to find one.  His medication schedule has me up later than usual and I am plain tuckered out.

Again thanks for of your support!