Hay may not seem expensive at first glance, but horse owners know how expensive hay can actually be. With the price of hay these days, we want to make the most of every bale. Hay nets help make sure every last piece of your hay investment lasts by reducing the amount of hay wasted while also ensuring your horse has hay in front of them for longer periods of time. By feeding with slow feeders such as slow feed hay nets or bags, your horse can benefit from better digestive health, reducing the risk of gastric ulcers, and helping with boredom by having extended access to forage.

Are slow feeders good for horses?

Slow feeders and slow feed hay nets are good for horses as they reduce wasted hay and help keep hay in front of your horse for a longer period of time than compared to feeding loose hay on the ground. Horses are designed to graze on forage 24/7. If hay is left on the ground or even in round bales, horses can consume large amounts of hay quickly, leaving sometimes many hours before their next meal. Slow feeders for horses help support better digestion, a healthier digestive tract, can reduce the risk of gastric ulcers and colic, and even help reduce or prevent vices such as cribbing, weaving, or stall walking when they have forage in front of them.

If a horse has trouble losing weight, or has metabolic conditions, using a show feed hay net or hay bag can slow a horse from scarfing down their hay too quickly, extending those calories over a longer time period, and even help regulate spikes in sugar or insulin. Hay nets and bags make it easier to soak hay if you are trying to reduce the sugar content in your forage for a horse with insulin sensitivity.

The other benefit to using a slow feeder for horses is to reduce waste from hay that can become stepped on or tracked through the stall or mud in a paddock, and speed up the amount of time it takes to clean a stall while reducing wasted bedding when your hay stays neat and tidy in one area.

What kind of slow feeder should you use?

The type of slow feeder for horses that you should use depends on the type or amount of hay you are feeding, if you will be feeding the hay in a stall, horse trailer, or pasture, and how much you wish to restrict hay intake.

  • Regular Hay Nets and Bags have regular sized holes that can keep your hay up off the ground while still allowing a horse to easily pull out a steady flow of hay.

  • Small-hole or slow-feed hay feeders come with varying sized holes or netting for a wider range of forage restriction making your horse or pony have to work harder to get pieces of hay out; extending the amount of time that the hay inside will last them.

  • Hay racks for the stall to contain your hay to an area so your horse can’t paw through it or drag it around the stall, if you prefer a more permanent mounted set-up versus a hay bag or net.

  • Interactive slow feeders like ball feeders that you can stuff hay inside allow the horse to move the ball around the stall to get hay out, or hang it from the stall so they have to work harder pulling pieces from the moving toy. These are great options for horses that get bored easily or are on stall rest or restricted turnout.

Top 10 Slow Hay Feeders for Horses

    Slow Feed Corner Floor Hay Rack

  1. Slow Feed Corner Floor Hay Rack - This handy corner slow feeder is meant to be mounted in a stall to promote healthy, slow eating in a natural position from the ground, while containing the hay in one area. With a slow-feed top lid that moves down as the horse eats the hay, you can easily fit 6-8 flakes of hay in this slow feeder at a time, ensuring your horse has plenty of hay without trashing it around their stall.
  2. 2” Extra Slow Feed Nylon Hay Net

  3. 2” Extra Slow Feed Nylon Hay Net - This hay net is easy to fill and use anywhere from in the horse trailer to the stall. As an extra-slow feeding hay net, it is designed to hold 3 flakes of hay with 2” x 2” holes to really extend your horse’s hay consumption; improving digestion with a steady flow of roughage.
  4. Double Sided Slow Feed Hay Bag

  5. Double Sided Slow Feed Hay Bag - If your horse gets frustrated easily from slow feeders, using a double sided slow feed hay bag is a great way to keep hay up off the ground and prolong how quickly they can eat it, while allowing them to eat from both sides if the bag spins around. The large open top makes it easy to load 2-3 flakes of hay.
  6. XX-Large Slow Feed Hay Bag

  7. XX-Large Slow Feed Hay Bag - The perfect slow feeding hay bag to last for those long periods of time between feedings. Holding up to 5 flakes of hay with 2” holes, you can hang this in the trailer or a stall, making it easy for you or barn staff to open the top and drop your hay right in.
  8. 3” Slow Feed Poly Hay Net

  9. 3” Slow Feed Poly Hay Net - A great budget-friendly slow feeder hay net that is tough, durable, and will slow down even the most aggressive eaters. With 3” holes, this hay bag will fit 3-4 flakes of hay keeping hay in front of your horse in the trailer or a stall, so they can nibble on forage all day for a happier horse and healthier digestion.
  10. Tough Tote Hay Bag

  11. Tough Tote Hay Bag - These are both economical and functional anywhere you need a hay bag. Just drop in a flake or two of hay and watch your hay spillage reduced with the 5” center hole. This hay bag can even be personalized with embroidery making it a great choice for clubor horse show awards as a prize everyone will use!
  12. Reinforced Top Hay Saver Bag

  13. Reinforced Top Hay Saver Bag - If your horse is tough on their hay bags, this reinforced top hay bag is easy to fill and hang while also being welcoming to your horse with larger slow feed holes for all-day munching without the frustration of more restrictive hay nets, for a happier and healthier horse. It holds up to 4 flakes of hay and features a mesh bottom that allows dust to fall through.
  14. Grazer Hay Bag for the Ground

  15. Grazer Hay Bag for the Ground - Some horse owners worry about hanging hay nets in a horse’s stall. This ground hay bag feeder gives you the same slow feeder benefits for prolonged foraging and a healthier digestive system, while allowing a horse to graze in a natural position from the ground without the waste. Your horse can still only get small amounts of hay with each bite due to the 1.5” holes, but with a 3-4 flake capacity you can keep hay in front of your horse longer than if it was just loose on the ground for them to nibble right up.
  16. Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder Toy

  17. Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder Toy - If your horse is stalled for long periods of time, on stall-rest, tends to be anxious in a stall, or has any stable vices like weaving or cribbing, a slow feed hay ball is a fun way for them to forage for some bites of hay as they push the durable ball around their stall or pasture, without the need for a hay net or hay bag hanging in their stall. This can also add mental enrichment by keeping them busy and entertained. Holding one flake of hay, this functional hay feeder toy can keep them occupied and happy!
  18. Hanging Slow Feed Hay Ball Toy

  19. Hanging Slow Feed Hay Ball Toy - This hay ball is a fun way to entertain your horse or pony with an interactive option to snacking on their hay. You can fill the smaller holes with carrots or treats if you would like, this slow feeder hay ball is designed to hang from the stall and get stuffed with handfuls of their favorite hay, making them have to work a bit harder and slowing down how quickly they eat.

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