Horse Slow Feeder

"What is a horse slow feeder?" you may well ask! Well it is a device that is designed to slow your horse or pony down so that his hay lasts for a longer periods of time.

Many owners can only feed their horses once or maybe twice a day which means there are often times when the horse has no food in front of it. We know that the horse's digestive system works best when the horse is continually eating but many horses pig out when given free choice hay.

The slow hay feeder gives us the best of both worlds by restricting the amount of hay the horse gets by making the horse work harder to get it whilst also lengthening the time it takes to consume the hay.

We have tried a few different options but have found that hockey nets converted into haynets is our best solution to date.

View from above

Our barn is a bank barn where the hay is stored up above the horse's run in area. So we cut some holes in the floor of the hay area and attached our hockey net haynets from there.

This works incredibly well as we use large round bales so filling up the haynets is now extremely easy.

The hockey nets are made of nylon and can be bought at Canadian Tire (the $25 ones) and I simply folded them in half length-ways and stitched them up the long side. The holes are about 1.5" which means that the horses have to really work at getting the hay and generally only get a couple of strands at a time.

It used to take the horses about 2-3 hours to eat each serving of hay. Since installing the horse slow feeder it now takes them around 5 hours and there is absolutely no hay wasted.

I thought the horses may be frustrated by the nets but in fact they are all much calmer and much less hungry at the next feeding session.

If I were to do them again I might try using a solid material at the top and just using the nets for the bottom two feet. This would encourage a lower, more natural head position.

We also tried one hay net outside hung on the overhang but it did not hold up very well - see inset photo below.

Because this net is quite flat the horses were able to bite through it. The other slow hay feeders inside are round when full which makes them much more durable.

Another option to using hanging nets is to use Hay Pillows®. They are smaller bags that are designed to be thrown outside on the ground which helps encourage the horses to move more.

Return from Horse Slow Feeder to Natural Boarding

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Paddock Paradise

"the key to having physically and mentally healthier horses"

Jaime Jackson

Equine Fusion Jogging Shoe