What are the best slow feeders for hay ?
To add, for a barefoot horse, in the stall, but maybe in turnout
What are the best slow feeders for hay ?
In a barn or turnout situation?
And is your horse shod or barefoot? And do you want slow feeders as in not a net? Or are net feeders ok?
Just to get started, you’ve got Nibble Nets (and their ilk) and hay pillows for barefoot horses that you just throw on the ground. For non-net types, you’ve got Saavy Feeders and PortaGrazers (like, many, many styles). I’m sure there are many, many options. Personally, I use a PortaGrazer in the stall + a nibble net at night (pony likes the nibble net but the portagrazer is better posturally, and she has spine/neck issues).
You’ll have to share more details of what you’re looking for to narrow down what the “best” option is for your situation
For the stall we installed the tough 1 collapsible hay hoops (similar to the hay chicks collapsible feeder) I our 26 stall barn. We installed them so the net that was provided hangs about 6 inches off the ground (about 56" at the top) and have yet to have an issue with all of our horses that have shoes pawing at them.
they are easy to load and latch once you figure out the trick
The original nets hold about 12 to 16 lb of hay
The holes are big enough to not frustrate most horses but small enough that it definitely slows them down
We have definitely seen a significant reduction in hay waste, labor due to stall cleaning and the hay dunking has been immensely reduced.
the nets are easy to replace and the hoops are also easy to install.
our facility is a boarding facility and the vast majority of owners have been very receptive in a positive way plus the skeptical owners really enjoy the nets after a couple of weeks
The one owner who opted not to use the hay hoop (due to a horse medically needing an even lower hay solution) and switch over to hay pillows removed her net and the hoop is still installed in the stall. It’s flat to the wall and has yet to cause any issues.
Best of all the horses happily munch on the hay through about a 12-hour period.
The welds on the latch mechanism suck. However unless you have a very aggressive eater, we haven’t had issues with them popping open with my eye hook stopper.
The replacement net absolutely suck. They are thin and wear out way too quickly.
New pro because I hated the replacement nets:
because I absolutely hate the replacement nets I went on a Google search to see if there is anything else as an option and found a much heavier nylon ribbon net that works with the hay hoops that we purchased. They are freaking amazing! A horse would have to be very creative to get their shoe caught in it, It holds more than the original nets, It’s easier to load and if I need to make the holes smaller I can put another net inside.
The only semi-con this style net is the original rope used to attach it to the hoop was too sturdy. The solution was using bailing twine.
I would avoid the ones with the metal grate, having had a horse damage his gums and wear a groove in a tooth pressing on it. YMMV, some horses do fine with them.
I like the Nibble Nets. I think they are the only things that have improved in quality over the years. But hanging on the wall does mean the horse might twist their head/neck to get to the hay, and that can cause issues for some.
Haychix nets have also held up well. I tried their frame that flips down but it got bent and then would never close properly again. Hanging the nets is more work but does not have any issues.
I’ve been a HayChix customer for years and won’t buy any other nets. Super tough, varied hole sizes and they pay for themselves within a short time.
I’ve got 2 of the wall feeder assemblies for my big run in but only use those for the occasional orchard/alfalfa flake my Perch-X and donkey get. Main hay is fescue-mix round bales in the 1" HayChix Round Bale net, in a cradle, under a big shed. Zero waste!
Barefoot. While in the stall.
I have and love porta grazers. I tried alllll the slow feed nets and spent tons of money and they just don’t last. The porta grazers have lasted years looking good as new and no waste!! Love it.
A friend set up a slow feed net to attach into a small water trough. This allowed the net to be on the ground, but clean. Hanging nets can make some horses have neck problems as they have to twist their head to eat.
Next year, we are planning to build feeders with a net cover: the idea that we can put a few flakes in the feeder, and then pull the net over and latch it down. We will probably still feed some hay on the ground, but keep them busy with the feeders between feedtimes.
I got this thing from Schneider’s and I love it!
It’s not a true slow feeder, but one could easily drop a filled slowfeed net into it or, just buy the slowfeed version: https://www.sstack.com/easy-up-slow-feed-corner-floor-hay-rack/p/42409/
I thought about the Porta grazers but my pony didn’t do well with the Helix feeder.
You could probably get a local welder to make something similar, but I wanted it fast and it shipped for free.
(I did add a bit of pool noodle at the joint in the center bc I felt like it wasn’t finished as nicely as I’d like it to be, but once I did that, I’m very pleased with it.)
I also use a Tough One collapsible hay hoop, but I replaced the original net with a small hole one. It has moved around from barn to barn with us and is still holding up fine after 7 years. I mount it so that bottom of net is about 2 feet from the floor, and clip the bottom to an eye bolt in the wall. This prevents mare from pulling and jerking it around, must be bad for the neck!
It is easy to install, quick and easy to fill the net. BO liked it enough to buy them for other stalls.