The physical and mental health of a horse is very sensitive to timing, in particular the timing of their feeding. They are physically evolved as grazers, and they are creatures of habit, so timing truly is everything when it comes to their feeding. In order to best promote the safety and wellbeing of our horses, it is critical to remember that HOW and WHEN we feed is as important as WHAT we feed our horses. And this is where automated feeding systems can help horse owners make the most of the timed feeding of horses.
Today’s domesticated horse is typically fed two or three times daily, to accommodate busy schedules. When asked how much feed is given to their horse at each meal, too many horse owners refer to volumes where scoops or coffee cans are a unit of measure, rather than actual weight in pounds and ounces. These larger amounts of feed provided at rough and few intervals, may be convenient and labor efficient for owners, but are not for horses’ overall health.
Horses are grazing animals that, in a natural state, would spend the majority of the day eating. Horses in the wild rarely suffer from the same physical (colic and ulcers) and emotional (stall vices and anxiety) afflictions that plague domesticated horses. With stomachs that are relatively small and digestive tracts designed to accommodate many small meals throughout the day, controlled and timed feeding of horses is crucial to keeping your horses healthy and happy
The innovative technology of iFEED was developed with your horse’s health in mind. By allowing horse owners to divide meals into multiple small (1-2 ounce) timed feedings stretched over 24 hours, you are able to provide more natural conditions for your horse. The iFEED system consists of a low voltage (24V) power supply with a built-in timer and the patented iFEED hopper. The power supply/timer can operate from 1 to 80 hoppers and determines how often you feed your horse. The hopper is installed on the inside or outside (recommended) of each individual stall. Depending on your horses’ age and activity level you can now customize how much each individual horse is fed by setting the portion control inside the hopper. We recommend 10-12 feedings in a 24-hour period. Made from safe and durable polypropylene and stainless steel with smooth edges, the iFEED system is the perfect addition to and compliments any barn.
A good example for timed feeding of horses could look similar to this:
Jane feeds her horse 10 lbs. of concentrate each day. Her horse’s feeding schedule is set to 10 times during a 24-hour period. She sets the portion control inside the hopper to 8.
• The first feeding for the 24 hour period is at 3am, then again at 5am and 7am.
• From 8am to 11:30am Jane works with her horse.
• Her horse is then fed again by the iFEED system at 12pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm.
• They work again from 3pm to 5:30pm.
• Her horse is back in the stall for the rest of the night, and the remaining feedings are dispensed at 6pm, 8pm, 10pm and midnight.
During each feeding time, iFEED dispenses 8 portions of approx. 1-2 ounces (with 30 second intervals) for a total of one pound of feed in the 24 hours period. Feedings happen every day at the regular interval and allow the horse to properly digest their feed, feedings are not delayed reducing anxiety and rapid consumption, and the horse is kept engaged throughout the day to avoid stall vices and boredom.
Timed feeding of horses doesn’t have to be wasteful or interfere with an owner’s activity with their horses. iFEED is designed to ensure that your horses are receiving their feedings in a manner that best simulates natural conditions, and ensure that horse owners minimize wasted feed, timing issues and unnecessary stress. Contact us today to learn more about how iFEED can help you and your horses specifically.