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 ensure 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. Feeding with slow feeders, such as slow-feed hay nets or bags, also helps your horse benefit from better digestive health, which reduces the risk of gastric ulcers and relieves boredom from 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 longer than 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. Additionally, slow feeders for horses help support better digestion and a healthier digestive tract, which reduces the risk of gastric ulcers and colic while preventing vices like cribbing, weaving, or stall walking.

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

The other benefit of using a slow feeder for horses is reducing hay waste that can be stepped on or tracked through the stall or mud in a paddock. As a result, it speeds up the time it takes to clean a stall while reducing wasted bedding since your horse’s hay will stay neat and tidy in one area.

What kind of slow feeder should you use?

The type of slow feeder you should use depends on the type or amount of hay you are feeding, whether 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 off the ground while 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 restrictions, making your horse or pony work harder to get pieces of hay out, extending the amount of time the hay inside will last them.

  • Hay racks are permanent attachments to the stall that contain your hay in an area, so your horse cannot paw through it or drag it around the stall.

  • Interactive slow feeders including ball feeders, that you can stuff hay inside, allow your horse to move the ball around the stall to get hay out. Feeders that hang from the stall cause your horse to work harder as they pull pieces from the moving toy. These options are great for horses that grow bored easily or are on stall rest or restricted turnout.

Top 10 BEST Hay Nets, Racks, and Feeders for Horses

    Slow Feed Corner Hay Rack

  1. Slow Feed Corner Floor Hay Rack
  2. The Slow Feed Corner Floor Hay Rack is perfect for tidying your horse’s stall while promoting healthy, slow eating. By mounting this hay rack on the floor in a corner of your horse’s stall, your horse can eat more naturally from the slow-feed top without spreading their hay everywhere. Plus, it is easy to assemble, allowing you to add flakes of hay whenever your horse needs a refill.

    Extra Slow Feed Nylon Hay Net

  3. Dura-Tech® 2" Extra Slow Feed Nylon Hay Net
  4. As a staple in every barn, this nylon hay net is easy to use and has exceptional rope strength. It can be used everywhere, from your horse’s stall to the trailer, and will decrease hay loss. The 2" x 2" flexible diamond feeder holes also ensure your horse eats slowly to meet their natural need to graze, which helps reduce stomach acids and improve digestion.

    Double Sided Slow Feed Hay Bag

  5. Dura-Tech® Double Sided Slow Feed Hay Bag
  6. Try this double-sided hay bag for horses who grow frustrated with slow feeders that do not allow them to eat from multiple sides. Its hanging strap with a swivel snap lets your horse safely move the bag around to access both sides in their stall or at the trailer. At the same time, the 2.5" x 2.5" web feeder holes still slow down hay consumption to aid digestive health while minimizing the mess of wasted hay.

    Schneiders Dura-Tech Load-Flat Easy Fill Hay Net

  7. Schneiders® Dura-Tech® Load-Flat Easy Fill Hay Net
  8. The innovative Load-Flat Easy Fill Hay Net opens flat to make loading hay quick and easy. Simply open the hay net completely flat on the ground, insert stacked flakes of hay, pull the top drawstring tightly over the hay to close the bag, and hang it in your horse’s stall. This durable yet handy hay net features 1.5" diamond holes to maintain a steady flow of roughage, aiding in your horse's digestion.

    Easy Open Slow Feed Knotless Hay Net

  9. Dura-Tech® Easy Open 1.25" Slow Feed Knotless Hay Net
  10. Featuring even smaller feeder holes, this easy-open 1.25" knotless hay net is a great option for horses who scarf their hay too quickly. The top rim of the hay net stays open, so you can easily fill it with hay. To close the net, just push the sides together, and you can hang it in your horse’s stall. The netting is also made of a soft poly that will withstand everyday use yet remain soft against your horse’s teeth as they pull hay out.

    Easy-Up Safety First Hay Racks

  11. Easy-Up® Safety First Hay Racks
  12. Keep hay off the floor with a sturdy hay rack. After mounting it to the wall of your horse’s stall, the narrow bar spacing slows consumption while reducing hay waste. Likewise, by preventing hay from reaching the floor, you can prevent ingesting dust and shavings that could cause colic. Don’t forget to add a lid so your horse will be less likely to steal hay from the top!

    Large Round Bale Hay Net

  13. Dura-Tech® Large Round Bale Hay Net
  14. This Large Round Bale Hay Net is a must-have if you feed round bales. By wrapping your round bale in a slow feed net, your hay will last longer, which saves money and cuts down on mess. The 2" x 2" feeder holes slow down hay intake, too, promoting proper digestion while preventing ulcers and colic.

    Easy Fill Slow Feed Hay Bag Can

  15. Dura-Tech® Easy Fill Slow Feed Hay Bag Can
  16. If you are searching for an easy-to-use slow feeder that saves space, look no further than this handy Easy Fill Slow Feed Hay Bag Can. This feeder can stand on its own as you fill it with hay, and it can also collapse for easy storage in your trailer or barn when not in use. Plus, you can hang it in your horse’s stall, where they can eat from nine 4" feeding holes placed around the hay so that your horse can still access their hay, even if it spins around, decreasing frustration.

    Grazer Hay Bag

  17. Dura-Tech® Grazer Hay Bag
  18. Mimic natural grazing inside your horse’s stall or out in the pasture and help discourage ulcers with this Grazer Hay Bag. By placing this heavy-duty bag on the ground, your horse can safely access their food from 1.5" holes without worrying about consuming sawdust, urine, or manure since the hay is protected. Plus, six grommets on the bag’s backside allow water to quickly drain away when washed or left outside in the elements.

    Schneiders Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder

  19. Schneiders® Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder
  20. Eliminate boredom and moderate hay consumption with our Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder. The slow feed holes make it a chore for your horse to pull hay out, which reduces boredom and acts as mental enrichment. As a result, this ball is perfect for horses who are stalled for long periods, turned out in a dry lot, feel anxious when stalled or possess stable vices, such as weaving or cribbing.

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