With the high price of hay today, waste is an expensive problem for equine stable operators. Bill Kurtz, St. Croix Falls, WI, was tired of seeing his horses waste hay. He set to work in his shop doing something about it. It isn’t the first time his creative mind has led him to a solution to a problem. He already has many inventions and several patents to his credit.
After looking at several options, he came up with the “Waste-Less-Hay Feeder” round bales as well as large and small square bales. The hay is placed in a rectangular box with two side grill panels. The grill panels lie over the hay and can be adjusted downward with cables allowing horses to eat only as much as the operator wants them to eat. Leaves fall back on top of the bale, retaining more nutritional value.
The feeder accommodates a stack of a few small square bales. After placing the bales in the feeder, strings are cut. Large square bales are laid in end wise with the strings cut.
Horses feed from two ends. A solid panel and a roof provide some protection from weather. The feeder is well suited to hay feeding in pastures or corrals and can be moved easily from place to place. It also can be placed between corrals, allowing two different groups of horses to feed from each side. The design prevents horses from digging their noses into hay dust during feeding.
Kurtz says, “By controlling access with the grills, horses waste less hay.” The spacing between the rods on the grill can be adjusted as needed. Construction is all steel except for two 2”x6” boards as frame components.
Kirshona Martinson, Equine Extension Specialist at University of Minnesota (U of M), conducted a study comparing nine different devices for feeding horses hay. Of the nine, the study found that the “Waste-Less-Hay Feeder,” wasted the least hay. The U of M measured only a 5% hay loss for Kurtz’s feeder versus a range of 6 percent to 33 percent for the other feeders studied.
Kurtz has a manufacturer for his hay feeder and already has several satisfied customers. His company is called JSI Innovations LLC. The manufacturer is Dal-Kor Corporation, Mora, MN (320-679-6991). The approximate selling price is $1,550. The feeder can be ordered either from Dal-Kor or directly from Bill Kurtz at JSI Innovation LLC.