While most savvy farmers know that ground feeding is an outdated method, some still hold onto this old tradition—and that’s a bad thing. Some classic farming traditions have unfortunately stuck around.
Still common among both cow farmers and equine enthusiasts, ground feeding is actually counterproductive, as it wastes hay (and money) and exposes both types of animals to entirely preventable parasites.
At Farmco, we build the world’s best cow and horse feeders, so we know the difference a sturdy feeder can make for your herd. It’s one of our missions to educate all types of farmers about the waste and the danger caused by ground feeding hay to your animals.
Why Do Some Farmers Still Ground Feed?
There isn’t just one answer for this question. From what we’ve heard talking to real farmers, it comes down to four things:
How Ground Feeding Wastes Hay
Some farmers say that ground feeding is the most natural way to feed animals. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best way.
Here are the most common ways we see ground feeding waste hay:
As a 21st century farmer — whether it’s your job or hobby — you need to find ways to save money wherever possible. Hay and other feed isn’t cheap. This is no place to let superstitions and old habits undercut your bottom line.
How Much Can Ground Feeding Waste Cost You?
Numerous agricultural studies show that ground feeding wastes approximately 50% of feed placed on the ground. That 50% holds true for both horses and cattle.
Essentially, you need to buy 2 bales for every 1 bale you feed to your herd or your horses. That wasted hay (and money) adds up.
Need some good news? Our top-of-the-line feeders are specifically designed to prevent feed waste.
Parasites from Ground Feeding
One other way that ground feeding nickels and dimes the average farmer is through the added exposure to parasites. Ground feeding increases the risk of internal parasites for both horses and cows.
When animals eat directly off the ground, they are at risk to consume parasite larva or eggs along with their feed. Young calves, in particular, are susceptible to parasites.
Consistently having to deworm your horses or your herd is an added expense — the more animals you have, the more expensive it becomes.
Find the Feeder That’s Right for Your Farm
Ground feeding is an outdated practice that will waste your money every year until you make an upgrade.
Plus, horses will often pee on hay that is left on the ground in their stall. If you want to learn more about why horses pee on their hay, click here.
While nearly ANY slow feeder on the market is an improvement over ground feeding, you want to make a good investment and get your money’s worth. Besides assessing whether a feeder will save hay, it’s important to also consider whether your preferred slow feeder will protect your horse’s teeth. Not only does Farmco build the sturdiest feeders on the market, but we also build the smartest feeders specifically designed to prevent feed waste and protect your animals from colic or symptoms of laminitis in horses.
Start the conversation and find the perfect feeder for your farm.