Would you like to create a cost-effective, healthy, and a more natural grazing solution for your horse? Fine! The use of slow feeders for horses is your best solution. Slow feeders help to control the eating rate of your horse, which is the natural way of feeding for equines. They also enhance better feeding position and healthier digestive system.
The six best slow feeders for horses
If you are wondering what is the best slow feeders for horses, here are six best slow feeders for horses you can find in the market.
1. Freedom Feeder Full Bale
This is a large slow feeder for horses, measuring 11.7 by 9.4 by 4.7 inches. It has opening of 1″ and weighs approximately 1.81Ibs.
Its features include,
When filled to the top with hay, it is capable of lasting 5-7 days, making it convenient if you don’t have time to keep filling your feeder every day.
It eliminates meal time routing for your horse. Since you don’t need to refill it with hay every day, it makes food to be always available for your horse, thus eliminating stress and anxiety for your horse around mealtime.
It comes with three mesh net openings of 1″ to effectively tame your horse to be a slow feeder.
It is easy to use, as you only need to fill it once a week, and with its two breakaway carabiners, you can easily hang it or tie it down.
Pros & Cons:
- Large hay capacity of 125Ibs.
- Easy to fill it up.
- Holes are of small size.
- Can last for seven days.
- Due to its large capacity, it is heavy to hang it up.
- Large horses might find these holes being too small for them.
2. Derby Originals Super Tough 4
This feeder from Derby Originals is among the best slow feeders for horses in the market. It is designed to hold 2-3 flakes of hay, and it is a big size measuring 22″ by 25″ by 8″ with 190 openings of 2″.
It has an exclusive patented design that allows your horse to feed on any side as well as allowing debris and dust to exist the hay to avoid creating excess waste.
It is made with a high-quality plastic material that is capable of withstanding any amount of force exerted by your horse on it. Thus, it doesn’t rip or tear easily, like many other models you find in the market.
It has two top traps for easy hanging and a bottom one to make sure it hangs more securely.
It is ideal for stall, barn, pasture, and traveling trailer.
Pros & Cons:
- Made of high-quality material.
- Has three adjustable traps.
- Easy to fill it up and hang.
- It has Velcro tabs which are not the best for closing.
- Large horses might find these holes to be too small for them.
3. Freedom Feeder Extended
This is another fantastic equine slow feeder from Freedom Feeder, which is a small size feeder measuring nine by 8 by 2 inches with the ability to hold up to 50Ibs.
The features of this feeder are,
- It is capable of feeding your horse for up to three days.
- Free from mealtime routine since it provides forage throughout three full days.
- It comes with three opening sizes, 1″, 1.5″ and 2″ for slow feeder, average feeder, and aggressive eaters, respectively.
- It comes with two breakaway carabiners, which make it easy to hang or tie-down.
- Compared with other feeder brands in the market, this feeder’s netting is of poor quality and can easily rip and tear, mainly when used by large and aggressive horses.
Pros & Cons:
- Easy to fill it up
- Small-sized holes to enhance slow feeding.
- Simple to use and hang.
- Poor netting and carabiners quality.
4. Kensington Slow Feed Hay Bag
This is a small-sized slow feeder for horses from Kensington, with the ability to hold two flakes of hay and the large one four flakes.
The features of this slow feeder include,
- It is designed in a manner that it gives your horse better digestion by allowing it to feed naturally as it imitates their natural feeding process.
- It allows your horse to feed freely without spoiling the hay, thus eliminating the endless stall sweeping and tidying.
- Its hanging strap is made of high-quality poly-nylon material to avoid easy wearing and tearing.
- Fits up to four flakes of hay, thus ensuring you provide your horse with enough hay flake they need to satisfy their appetite.
Pros & Cons:
- Pocket-friendly price.
- Easy to fill up and attach.
- Made of high-quality material.
- Large holes which might not slow feeding for small horses.
- Has only one strap, making it less secure when hung up.
5. Derby Original Supreme 4
This is another incredible equine feeder form American manufacturer Derby Originals, which comes with a total of 116 feeding openings measuring 1.75 by 3.5 inches. The bag size measures 24 by 24 by 12 inches.
Its great features include,
- It is made of high-quality nylon, reinforced with at least 174 cross stitches, making it tough, hence hard to rip or tear.
- Its patented four-sided design enables your horse to feed on any side of this bag and allow free airflow and easy exit of dust and debris from this hay bag.
- It imitates the natural and healthy feeding pattern of your horse, thus supporting healthful digestion.
- It has a heavy-duty construction consisting of a durable double-layered 1200D nylon to enhance durability.
- This equine feeder comes with sturdy hanging straps, which can be adjusted easily, hence making it ideal for use in a trailer, pasture fence, or a barn.
Pros & Cons:
- Can be used on the road and at home.
- Made of durable material.
- Good price.
- Easy to fill it up and attach.
- Its Velcro quality is not the best.
- Hoofs can easily get stuck.
6. Freedom Feeder Round Bale Hay Net
This slow feeder for horses is made of DuPont nylon and designed to fit over entire round bales of hay, thus providing your horse with an opportunity to feed with his pasture mates.
- It set you and your horse free from mealtime routine, hence providing free-choice feeding that helps to eliminate feeding vices like cribbing as well as anxiety and food aggression-related with feed times.
- Durable and easy to use since its DuPont nylon can cover 4′ round bale or 4′ by 8′ square bale.
- It helps to reduce wastage as there is minimal spillage of hay inside the net.
- It has drawcord cinches at the bottom to enhance the safety of your horse.
- This slow feeder enables you to mix different feeding pastures to ensure you provide your horse with a balanced diet.
Pros & Cons:
- It is made of heat resistant and durable material.
- Small-sized holes to encourage slow feeding.
- Easy to fill.
- Doesn’t reduce soiling of hay.
- Horses feed with their heads up.
Considerations before buying a slow feeder
The size of the holes
This is determined by how fast your horse can eat the hay and how slow you really want it to eat. If you have an aggressive, big-sized horse you will need a net with larger holes than if your horse is small-sized and less aggressive.
Another essential consideration is how long you can use your feeder. Remember, your horse is going to chew on the feeder constantly. Thus, you need a feeder strong enough to withstand the aggressiveness of your horse and resist wear and tear.
How many flakes of hay or Ibs do you want your feeder to hold? Depending on the number of the horse you have and how long you want them to feed, it is vital to consider the capacity of each slow feeder before buying. This helps you to select a bag that will hold enough food for your horses.
Easy to fill it up
You will definitely need to fill up your feeder regularly. Thus, when choosing your feeder, you should choose one that is easy to open, fill it, and close it securely.
How to make a slow feeders for horses
Here are some simple steps that you can follow to make a slow feeder for your horses.
Ensure you have a tire or wooden box plus hockey netting and net lacing.
Cut the right size of netting that will match the size of your box or tire.
Use lace to lace the netting ends together to make a loop that matches the opening of the tire or box.
Drill holes on the top of the box or tire, few inches apart all around.
Using laces, tie the netting to the tire or box through the drilled holes.
Create a draw-string opening and closing at the top opening of the net for smooth opening and closing and use a knot to tie it whenever there is hay inside.
Homemade slow feeder
The most common homemade slow feeders are plastic and wooden slow feeders. The reason for this is that the material required to make these slow feeders are readily available locally. It is also easy to make slow feeders of these materials compared to other materials like metal.
Plastic feeders are more durable than the wooden ones since they are not destroyed by soil. They are also lightweight, making them convenient when you need to move it from one place to another.
On the other hand, wooden feeders are more resistant to the aggressiveness of your horses compared to plastic feeders. Hence, they cannot be destroyed easily by your horses. It is also cheap compared to the plastic feeder.
Best Slow Feeders For Horses: FAQs
Q: Why use a slow feeder for horses?
They help to slow down the consumption rate by providing hay through small openings. They also avoid wastage of hay and help to improve digestion.
Q: What is a slow feeder for horses?
It is a basket or a net filled with hay from where horses feed. The net has small openings that allow your horse to access the hay inside. It can be hanged or sit on the ground.
Q: What is the best slow hay feeder?
The best slow feeder needs to be of high-quality material and durable. Other factors like the size of net openings and the size of the bag vary from one horse owner to another.
Q: Which hay feeder will not damage my horse’s mouth?
Feeders with too small openings force your horse in too much contact with the material as it tries to get more hay from the bag. Due to this contact, the horse is more likely to develop abrasions in the horse’s mouth. Avoiding such feeders will help to keep your horse’s mouth safe.
Q: How high should I hang the net?
As much as possible, horses should feed on the ground to mimic their grazing nature. But if there is need to hang your bag, ensure that you hang it at a position where your horse can easily access the hay inside.
Q: How often should I refill the bag?
This depends on the size and the type of the feeder you are using. Some feeders can serve your horse for up to seven days, whereas others will serve it for a day or two. Just refill your feeder once it is empty.
In conclusion, there are more slow feeders for horses in the market apart from the ones discussed in this article. It is prudent to buy horse feeds that best suits the needs of your animal.
The health of your animal should be your utmost priority and feeding them the right foods help achieve this goal. Ensure that you check the best that suits your horse in the market. Either way, ensure the feeder that you pick is safe and efficient for your horse.