Slow Feeder Options
If you’ve followed this blog for long, you probably know just how important I believe good-quality forage is (and I’m not the only one!). It should always be the cornerstone of every horse’s diet. But just as important as providing quality forage is how you feed it. To support digestive and overall health, horses should have forage available nearly round the clock. This is where slow feeders come into play–they help to mimic a horse’s natural foraging behavior by slowing down hay consumption and stretching it out over a longer period of time.
Another great thing about slow feeders is that they can also save you time and money. If you’re throwing out hay three or four times a day, or if your horses tend to waste quite a bit of the hay you put out, using a slow feeder can definitely help.
With that said, I thought I’d share some of the slow feeder options available these days. The good news is there’s one for every budget, situation, and horse–so there’s no excuse not to have one!
Handy Hay Nets
This is a Canadian-based company who also ships to the U.S. Their hay nets look similar to traditional hay nets, only with much smaller openings. Handy Hay Nets has hanging nets of all sizes, square bale nets, and even a round bale net.
The Hay Pillow®
The Hay Pillow, Inc. is know for its pillow-like slow feeders, but they also carry several more traditional-looking nets. The Hay Pillows can be placed on the ground, and they carry hanging and trailer versions as well.
This company is based in Ireland, and their feeders are available in most European countries. The Pacefeeder is a triangular tub made to fit in the corner of a stall or barn. The lid contains holes for access to the hay and moves down as the hay amount inside the container decreases.
Orange Slow Feeder
This is another slow feeder hay net which comes in a variety of sizes, including whole square bale, as well as small and large round bale sizes. As the name in implies, the bags are all orange!
This company offers a variety of hanging and bale-sized nets and also sells one style with a hoop-style frame which attaches to a barn or stall wall for easy hay-loading.
This slow feeder is made from a wooden box which comes in a few different sizes. The lid contains a metal grate which moves down as the amount of hay decreases. The Slow Grazer is available ready-made or as a DIY kit.
This company sells several different-sized hanging nets as well as a square bale and round bale net. Like Hay Chix, they also sell a hoop-shaped frame which can attach to stall or barn walls for easier hay-loading.
Derby Slow Feed Hay Bags
Derby has several styles of slow feeder hay bags, some made with wider nylon netting (like the one below). One style looks like a giant handbag which you, of course, you fill with hay and hang on the wall. They have a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors as well.
Most of your horse-centric catalogues (such as Jeffers, Valley Vet, etc.) will also contain slow feeders of some sort. I chose to feature mainly small businesses here. Of course you can also make your own slow feeder if you’re the crafty sort. There are a variety of plans and ideas online.
Feel free to share your favorite slow feeder in the comments section below!