Friday, July 26, 2013

Ranger danger

Rev is a little bit too thin.
I know it's healthier to be thin than fat, but I'd really like to see more padding over those ribs and hip bones.
For several months, I've pondered the reasons for his skinny-ness.  This is a stable full of fat horses, so I know it's not a hay quantity or quality issue.  Rev is up to date on his vaccinations and worming so it's not that either.  For a while I thought it might be his teeth, mostly because I couldn't think of anything else.  Recently, however, I've identified another culprit.  His name is Ranger.
Ranger is Rev's neighbor. 
Rev loves Ranger and Ranger loves Rev's food. 
I often arrive at the barn shortly after feeding time, and it's not unusual to find Ranger with his neck through the fence and his head in Rev's feeder.  Rev doesn't seem to mind this at all.  In fact, he seems happy to share a meal with his best buddy.  I am less generous.  It makes me mad every time I see fat Ranger eating skinny Rev's hay.  I've been moving the food beyond Ranger's reach, but that's an imperfect solution.  I can't be there for every meal, plus I'm mildly allergic to hay.  Touching it leaves me an itchy rash on my forearms--not fun.

Today, I decided to try something else.
Using plastic garden fence and zip ties, I erected a temporary Ranger guard above Rev's feeder.
When I was done, both boys inspected my work. 
Ranger didn't approve. 
Stink eye. 
The Ranger guard isn't pretty...
but I think it's going to work.
Here's looking forward to a less bony Rev in the very near future! 

13 comments:

  1. Good for you!!! I would have done the very same thing!

    ~Alyssa

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  2. That was a creative solution! Although, I have to ask - why not just move the tire feeder to the other side of Rev's pen? Is there a horse on the other side who would also help him/herself to Rev's meals? At any rate, it's good of you to keep such a sharp eye on Rev's condition. I hope he adds a little padding in short order!

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    1. The feeder is fixed in place, so I couldn't move it (tried that first thing). Plus knowing Rev, all that would accomplish is him sharing food with his other neighbor (who is also named Ranger!).

      By the way, I did run the idea of a Ranger guard by the trainer/barn manager before I installed it. She said it was fine, so that's all good. My only concern is that always hungry Ranger will chew on it. If I think he's ingesting parts plastic, I'll have to come up with something else.

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    2. What about a more un-chewable material? A bit of hogwire(the one with the rectangle pattern, too small to put a hoof through) and hose clamps to keep it up?

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  3. Oh funny. And good for you to see the problem and come up with a solution.

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  4. Thank you for doing that. I started to notice that he was getting thin too and always have to fix his hay when I come out there because its always all over the place. Hopefully this will work. Thanks for being so good with him and observant :)

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  5. Good thinking! Let us know if it works out!

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  6. BWAHAHA the stink eye! I've got lots of metal chicken wire over here if you need to upgrade the plastic...

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  7. For added safety and longevity I would recommend trimming the zip ties up close. We do that with our sheep and it keeps them from pulling the zip ties and leaving plastic bits around. Fantastic idea!

    -Heather L

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    1. I purposely left the zip long today because they're the re-usable sort. If I go to the barn tomorrow and discover that Ranger and/or Rev is eating the mesh, I'll just dismantle everything and re-do it with Jenn's metal chicken wire. At that point, I'll definitely clip the ends off, though. The fewer things for the boys to chew, the better!

      :D

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  8. looks good, you have many talents!

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  9. Update: The Ranger Guard has survived two feedings with minimal damage! When I arrived at the barn this morning, Rev was still working on his breakfast, and ALL of his food was on his side of the fence. Even more remarkable, Ranger's feeder was completely empty. Usually, Ranger eats with Rev and then goes and works on his own meal. I've never seen his feeder empty before today!

    I strongly suspect Ranger has been eating one quarter to one third of Rev's food. Now that I've put a stop to that, I expect Rev will gain weight quickly. So happy!

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