Introducing new feeding equipment to your horse gradually is important so they are given time to understand and fully adapt to changes in their feeding routine or set up.

With proper habituation, your horse will quickly adapt to the innovative Shake & Graze Chaff Net and so be able to fully benefit from its many advantages. These benefits include enhanced foraging behaviours, slower and more controlled feeding of nutritionally analysed widely available short-chopped forage, improved digestion, and increased mental stimulation. By ensuring a smooth transition, you can help your horse embrace the Shake & Graze Chaff Net and enjoy a healthier, more engaging feeding experience.

This post will guide you through the process of introducing the Shake & Graze to horses that are new to it, ensuring a smooth transition and encouraging positive interaction with the new feeder.

 

What is the Shake & Graze Chaff Net?

The Shake & Graze Chaff Net is a novel feeding device that allows nutritionally analysed, widely available short-chopped forage to be fed as a larger proportion of your horse’s diet in a slow and controlled manner, helping to prevent weight gain and digestive issues.

A huge advantage of chaff is that it is bagged and you know exactly what is in that bag! The same is not usually true of the hay or haylage we feed, which can vary significantly in its nutritional content and quality. Unfortunately, when fed from a bucket, these chaffs can be consumed far too rapidly, leading to over consumption, weight gain, or your horse standing for too long without forage. But we have the answer with the Shake & Graze Chaff Net.

Designed to slow consumption while also make feeding time more engaging and stimulating for horses the Shake & Graze Chaff Net encourages natural foraging behaviours and allows you to increase your horse’s chaff intake, without over feeding. The net features a stronger outer layer and two internal filter layers. During the initial introduction, the inner layers may be removed to make the adaptation process easier for your horse. (You may find this is unnecessary. Each horse is different in how they engage.) 

 

Preparation for Introduction of the Shake & Graze Chaff Net

Before starting the habituation process, ensure that your horse is familiar with chaff in their diet and accustomed to being fed chaff from a conventional bucket. The Shake & Graze is incredibly versatile - it has 2 integral filter layers which are interchangeable - enabling variation in the level of challenge for the horse. One filter is ideal for horses who are learning to use the net, or those needing a less-restricted 'trickle' of chaff. Using both filters is the level which releases less chaff but still rewards the horse with a 'trickle'.

 Filling the Shake & Graze Chaff Net

Step-by-Step Habituation Process

'We recommend removing one internal filter layer when introducing the Shake & Graze Chaff Net, though very lightweight chaff may require an introduction without any internal layers.

Firstly, remove one or both inner layers of the Shake & Graze Chaff Net as advised above, leaving only the outer layer (which also doubles up as a Trickle Net Softee) or the outer layer plus one internal filter layer. Then add your horse’s usual chaff to it. The net should be safely secured and hung above a clean rubber mat or concrete floor. As your horse tries to access the chaff, it will be quickly released from the net and fall to the floor for easy grazing.

Continue with this set up for the first few days until your horse fully understands the net’s grazing process. 

When your horse is fully comfortable and grazing the chaff happily once released from the Shake & Graze Chaff Net, add in the second inner filter layer and repeat the process. With both filter layers, the net will require more engagement from your horse to release the chaff and the rate of consumption will be reduced (and entertainment increased!). With both filters inserted, the chaff will be dispensed at the slowest possible rate, allowing your horse to benefit from a far longer ‘grazing’ time from their chaff.

Shake & Graze Chaff Net

Tips & Tricks

Patience: Every horse is different. Some may take longer to adapt than others. Be patient and give your horse the time they need to get used to the new feeder.

Consistency: Stick to the habituation schedule and ensure regular feeding sessions with the Shake & Graze Chaff Net.

The Shake & Graze can be used with any dry short chop chaff however we don't recommend using heavily molassed chaff. Wetted chaff will stick and not flow through the layers. Pelleted chaff is ideal, especially when introducing the net. 

When full the 'Shake & Graze' holds approx 4kg of chaff.

 

Conclusion

Introducing the Shake & Graze Chaff Net to your horse may require a little time and patience. By following the step-by-step habituation process outlined above, you can ensure a smooth transition and help your horse enjoy the benefits of this innovative feeder. Remember to observe your horse’s behaviour closely and make any necessary adjustments to facilitate their adaptation. And if you have any questions at all at any stage, feel free to reach out to us – we’re here to help.

Happy feeding!