Grazing is not just a source of entertainment for a bored horse, but it is also extremely important to keep their digestive systems healthy. Providing this activity in a barn without pastures is quite difficult. This is why we’ve come together with a list of the best slow-feed hay nets that help replicate the experience of grazing in an otherwise unsuitable environment.
Today, we’ll help you find the best slow feeders for horses so that you can offer the best products with the most benefits to your animals!
Before moving on with the detailed discussion, let’s quickly go over the top three picks from today’s list of best slow feed hay nets.
The overall best product we believe is available in the market right now is the Hampton Rose Co. – 2-Pack Horse Feeding Bags. It can be used on the ground as well as hung at a height. The quality is great too.
Weaver Leather Slow Feed Hay Net is the best budget-friendly option out there. Despite the lower price tag, its quality isn’t compromised. It fulfills its purpose well.
The runner-up position goes to Derby Originals Easy-Feed Horse Hay Bag. Its patented design, material quality, and manufacturing techniques make it a one-time investment product. Despite the mess you might end up with, this product is worth it.
Best Slow Feeders For Horses
Here is a review of the 7 best slow feed hay nets. These reviews will help you decide on the perfect product for your needs.
The Texas Haynet is specially designed for round hay bales. You can add one 3-string bale or two 2-string bales on this net. It has been manufactured in a way that no hay is wasted. Moreover, the mesh used in this hay net is UV resistant. The mesh holes are 1.5-inch apart. You can easily add the hay bales inside this net using the wide opening.
The biggest pro of this product is that it keeps the hay fresh for longer than if it is put outside the net. Your horse can enjoy fresh hay for twice as long. The mesh has been designed to allow an eating pace that minimizes anxiety, colic issues, and ulcers.
One downside of this hay net is that it doesn’t have the option to tighten the mesh. As the hay shrinks inside the net, the excess mesh hangs loose.
The Hampton Rose Co. slow feeders are more like a bucket. They have stitched alloy rings on the top as well as the base to prevent the product from collapsing. The dimensions of the product are 10 x 10 x 1 and weigh less than a pound. As for the mesh, it is breathable and lets water pass through, but it is pretty tight overall.
If you’ve been looking for the best horse slow feeder bucket, this product might be the one for you. The bucket can be used to feed the horse not only from the ground but can also be hung at a height. Moreover, the size and weight of the product make it an ideal travel essential. The tight mesh prevents mess and wastage since the hay doesn’t fall out.
Double-check the space where you plan on putting this hay net. Some horse owners found this hay feeder bucket to be a bit too big for their liking.
With a double-layered 1200D nylon material, the hay bag by Derby Originals has a patented design. The holes are 3 x 3.5-inch rectangles.
The sturdy material along with the high-quality stitching will last you a long time. One unique feature that you’ll find useful in this product is that the horses can eat out of it from all sides. So, a lot of horses can share this product, even the shorter ones.
Since the gaps in this hay bag are comparatively larger, hay will fall out and cause wastage. You will also have to deal with the mess this causes.
This product is a leather hay net. It is 36-inches in size. The dimensions are 4 x 4 x 14 inches. This particular one is purple in color but you can switch between multiple color options.
Weaver Leather products don’t need any guarantees of quality. It is a pocket-friendly product that can be used on any wall mount. You can fill it up with ¾ bale of hay at once. If you’re just starting with a greedy feeder hay net, this product is a good option, to begin with.
Unfortunately, the low price comes with a catch. There is a high chance your horse will pull and damage the mesh within a few months. However, since it is so pocket-friendly, it won’t be hard to get a new one every once in a while.
The Kensington feeder is 65 x 1 x 48 inches. It weighs 3 pounds. The nylon mesh is soft on the horse’s teeth yet strong enough to not easily break. It comes with 2 carabineers and 2 black cords to help you attach the net wherever you want.
Its big size allows you to fill it with a week’s worth of hay at once so you can spend the rest of the week without worrying about your horse’s grazing needs. A minimal amount of hay is wasted from the tiny holes of the mesh. There are three options of hole sizes that allow you to choose what eating pace you want to offer to your horse.
It is an expensive product. Ensure that the size is suitable for your barn. Also, opt for the hole size keeping in mind your horse’s nature.
This zero-waste square hay net prevents any hay from going to waste. It has been entirely manufactured in America. The open-top allows you to fill the net with a rectangular hay bale sized 36 x 18 x 18 inches. It has 1.5-inch holes that keep the horse grazing and the hay fresh.
It is a high-quality and user-friendly product. Frequent refills are not required. It is economical without a compromise on quality. The drawstring allows you to tighten the hay net so that the horse doesn’t trip over the loose mesh.
If you are looking for something to hold a three-string bale, this product will be too small. The maximum that it can hold is a two-string rectangular bale.
This insignia-colored Weaver Leather hay bag is 2 x 10 x 25 inches in size. It weighs around 2.55 pounds. Two of the sides are made of 600D polyester. One side has holes whereas the backside is entirely covered. The bottom is covered with mesh to prevent the hay from falling while also allowing enough ventilation.
The straps are easily adjustable so you can hang the hay net wherever your horse feels the most comfortable. It is designed to keep the hay as fresh as possible.
Due to the smaller size of the bag, you’ll have to refill the hay every few days. Also, only one horse can use this hay net at one time.
Things To Look For In A Slow Feeder
With so many options, it gets confusing to decide on one that will be ideal for your needs. To make this decision, you have to consider the following factors.
Start by analyzing the space that you have. Is there one specific corner assigned for food buckets or is the place too congested to put any new product on the ground?
If there is plenty of space and you also believe that feeding horses from the ground is the best, you should get a slow feeder bucket or box. However, for a smaller space, there is a risk that the horse may end up getting stuck in the net. In such a case, a hanging hay net is the best option.
The size of the hay net should be big enough to carry enough hay for at least 2 to 3 days. Your horse’s appetite also plays a major role in determining this part.
Now, if more than one horse is eating out of the same net, you will need a much bigger product. For such a case, a slow feeder net that has holes on all sides works the best so that horses can eat from any side.
Slow feeder nets come in various shapes. There are ones that can fit an entire bale of hay. Now, some can fit circular bales whereas others are designed for rectangular bales only. Smaller hay nets work well for loose hay.
When finalizing the shape, also keep in mind the size of the holes in the net. Smaller gaps provide a slower eating pace and minimal waste. Bigger holes will cause more hay to fall out as your horse pulls out bigger bites.
Benefits Of A Slow Hay Feeder For Horses
In their natural habitat, horses graze around all day long. They eat in small amounts frequently and so, their digestive systems are naturally used to these eating habits. Inside a barn or other domesticated environments, most owners only feed their horses two big meals. The quantities and long hours in between have adverse effects on the horse’s health.
There are many benefits of slow feeders for horses because they are the best way to replicate the natural eating habits of a horse. This pace of eating not only keeps the horse satisfied throughout the day but also regulates its weight. Since slow feeders boost metabolism, it takes care of both, underweight and overweight horses.
Moreover, these hay nets encourage the horse’s body to control insulin production. They also promote emotional health along with intestinal strength.
FAQs Related To Slow Feeders For Horses
Here are some of the FAQs regarding slow feeders that will help clarify the concept of the product.
Slow feeders and hey nets are great for horses. They imitate the concept of grazing in places where there are no pastures. Moreover, products like hay nets and trickle slow feeders regulate the food intake of your horses.
It is ideal for underweight horses because the slow eating pace boosts metabolism and hence, appetite. For overweight horses who cannot seem to stop eating, the quantities are controlled, and once again, the boost in metabolism quickly digests the food.
Products by Weaver, Texas Haynet, and Derby Originals are good places to start your search.
However, the best horse feeder is the one that fulfills your requirements. To get your hands on the best product in the market, you need to keep in mind the following factors:
– The available space so that you can choose the size of the slow feeder accordingly
– Whether you’ll be hanging the hay net or putting it on the ground
– Your horse’s intake and how often you will have to refill a certain sized hay net
– If you can easily access rectangular bales or round ones and then get a hay net in the same shape
A slow feeder should not be cruel to a horse. The right product that is manufactured with safe materials should only be helpful. Of course, if the feeder has parts of metal or steel, the horse’s teeth are likely to get damaged.
Such hard and sharp materials also increase the risk of the horse getting its tongue cut. The best way to ensure a safe experience is to purchase a slow feeder for your horse after thorough research.
Feeding a horse on the ground has its benefits. It minimizes the risk of choking. The chances of colic and respiratory diseases are minimal when the horse bends down for every bite.
Some people believe that a horse should be able to reach the hay in its natural neck position. So, the haystack shouldn’t be any lower or higher than 4-5 feet above the ground. However, in the end, how you choose to feed your horse is your and your horse’s personal preference.
To make a DIY slow feeder for horses at home, you’ll have to start with a base box. You can build it yourself or get one from the market. PVC is the ideal choice of material for this part because the horses won’t be able to damage it. Fix this box on the ground.
Now, make a frame out of PVC pipes that fit into the aforementioned box. Attach a hay net that is safe and sturdy, on this frame. Add hay to your box and securely cover it with the frame of hay net.
With all factors in mind, it is safe to conclude that trickle hay nets or slow feeder boxes for horses are a must-have if you own a horse. The tremendous benefits make these products worth the investment. So, keeping in mind all the qualities of a slow feeder, order the best product for your horse right now!