Plastic hay ball feeders

Hi… I need to know more about these as they may be the thing to slow down my mare eating her night check hay. I’ve read a lot of reviews and only found two horror stories (mini got a hoof stuck in it; horse broke it and got his jaw stuck in it.)

So… have you used these, how much do they hold, are they easy to fill, etc.

She is shod, so hay pillows are out. Hay nets do. not. work. She yanks on them and hurts her neck. I need something super easy for the night check guy to use. If using hay balls, they would be prefilled and he could just put them in the stall.

Mare is now IR and needs to have her hay cut back a bit. The barn is generous with hay during the day, but they feed 2 flakes off a 2 string bale at night check (8 p.m., and no more hay until 6:30 a.m.) When we cut it to 1 flake a few years ago, mare ended up with ulcers.

Kinda like the green one that Mitch has that he won in the Riding Warehouse contest? I’ve gotten a good 5 lbs of hay into them if I really try, but they get really hard to stuff after a while, and you basically have to tear the flake apart to put hay into them.

I also don’t think they’re really gonna slow a horse down that much. Granted, you know what my Haflinger is like (See Food Diet and he lacks the little inner voice that says “psst, dude, you’re full, stop the mouth moving”) but he can clean the hay out of one of those balls in a flash depending how much is in it. The holes are like 3" or something, so not really super slow feed. It just makes for a fun toy because he’s got a big paddock to kick it around.

I think they run around $65 each. I didn’t buy mine because yay, contest winner winner chicken dinner, but they seem a bit cost prohibitive for more than one.

Can you get one of those ultra slow feed nets, and hang it from the center of her stall so she can’t pin it on the wall? That’s what I do for my old man, and it slows him down considerably.

My friend got one of those balls, and it was so hard to fill that it wasn’t worth it.

1 Like

I have one that we’ve used for my IR guy to keep him occupied in his dry lot when the others go out on pasture. I was only putting <3 lbs. in it and while there was room for more if you really pack it in, I don’t think it would hold more than 5 or 6 lbs. max. I don’t like using the rolly food toy things in stalls much as they tend to make a mess of things chasing it around the stall. But it worked well out in his dry lot which is flat and has boards down low bordering it to keep it confined. I can’t say it slowed him down a lot but it did keep him occupied following it around, and he quickly learned to use his legs to hold it and kind of roll it up one front leg to eat.

I have one of the hay balls…they don’t hold that much. I can stuff maybe one medium flake of hay off a 2 string bale into it (4-5 lbs). Horse seems to enjoy fetching her hay out of it. I quit using it this summer due to the thick dust (she is in a dry lot pen). I didn’t want her hoovering up the small pieces out of the dirt. I have gone back to my Hay Chix slow feed net for in her shed on mats the summer but my mare is BF.

What about a Portagrazer?

Susan

I agree with the Portagrazer, or even maybe a Savvy Feeder. If hay nets aren’t an option, these are the only two things that are likely to hold a meaningful amount of hay (especially the portagrazer). If you need to slow them down even more you can put the hay in a hay net and then put it in the Portagrazer :slight_smile:

Have you ever tried that? The nets in the portagrazer? I switched over to using ultra slow feed hay nets in a tub for my gelding because I didn’t think the portagrazer slowed him down enough (and because I got into a habit of weighing and pre-filling for the whole week)

I think I might need to try this. Maybe with his one Hay Chix Original net this weekend (he’s got a couple of SFX ones too and some cheapies and even a couple of 1/2” ones from Canada … I am The Hay Net Queen at our ranch :joy:)

1 Like

I have tried it with the Savvy Feeder. Can’t hurt to try - though I would certainly watch at first to see how your horse reacts as some can get really frustrated at first! (understandably)

This is the best technique for slowing a horse down that I have encountered.

I am not sure how it would work with a horse that gets sore pulling on a net though. But generally speaking… this is a great way to slow them down.

I’ll give it a shot. He’s not the type of horse that gets frustrated, per se. I watched him when he got the 1/2” nets and he wasn’t thrilled about them (hey, human, why are these holes getting smaller? :sweat_smile:) but he doesn’t get mad. He just keeps trying and trying. Haflingers, bless ‘em.

Mine gets MAD. I watch other horses nibbling at their hay in the net, while she goes yank yank yank. The only times she’s been calm about her hay have been when she had a tummyache, and during Snowmageddon 2015, when she was living outside and the barn just kept giving her hay. Because it never went away, she calmed down and nibbled, rather than hoovering. She spent months standing outside on a pile of snow and hay, had her toilet about 10 feet away and a water bucket and pee spot in her shed.

I have an Equi-Essential hay ball and it works okay but is a pain to fill, you have to shove small hand fulls of hay in the opening. Mine doesn’t work very well with teff hay because the hay is so fine it falls out too easily but was better with timothy. I never ever use mine with my mini.

The best thing I’ve come up with is to hang 1" hole nets in the middle of the stall. I use a highline tie swivel hanging on a chain from the ceiling with a lead rope, snap side down, attached. I removed the tie string from the nets and use a heavy duty metal clip so it’s really easy to hang the nets, they just clip on.

I use a savvy feeder. it is basically indestructible and has different size holes depending on your needs.

Its also really easy to fill

I tried hay / treat balls. My horse didn’t care for it (except the carrot one he loves that). The ball would get kicked around in stall, roll over manure and then he wouldn’t touch it.

I love my Porta Grazer, but I don’t think it slows my horse down a ton. Some yes, but not as much as a slow feed hay net.

My older horse also attacks slow feed nets. I can understand not putting the horse through that obvious anxiety.

Another option might be to source lower sugar / calorie hay. Teff and Bermuda hays might be an option to lower her sugar/calorie intake without limiting volume. But obviously that can be a hassle and may not be feasible.

How low are you hanging it? My gelding is currently using 1" hole nets that i tie into his feed tub (I cut a hole in it, feed the rope and the rubber hoggle through that and do the half hitch knot and daisy chain and then use the oval snap on a ring on the other end.) I like that he’s eating head down and he does take a good amount of time to eat, but winter is coming and his shelter is only 8x8 so I move the tubs out to my trailer in the winter to give him as much space as he needs. I’d probably like to hang the net.

My horse is barefoot and naked so I hang my hang bags at chest/wither height.
This might not work for everyone.
I also use a cheap double ended snap to hang it. Those suckers are quite breakable so if there is some problem the snap will break.

This is my setup. The bottom of the nets are about 22" off the floor. My horses are barefoot and don’t wear blankets.

Thanks @trubandloki and @Garythesquirrel.

My gelding is barefoot and usually naked (planning to trace clip this winter but it’s SoCal so he’ll probably be juuuuuuuust fine except when it rains).

How about these?
We bought two, but don’t have the horses they were for when they came, so are still new, so can’t say how they would work for what you need:

https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Kiwi_Helix_Adjustable_Hole_Collapsible_Slow_Feeder/descpage-KMPF.html