making a slow feeder

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making a slow feeder

This is a discussion on making a slow feeder within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    08-02-2012, 06:23 PM
making a slow feeder

Has anybody made their own slow feeder for hay? With the hay shortage I would like to waste as little as possible as well as slow down the eating so it lasts longer. Looking for something that would work for 2 horses.
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    08-02-2012, 06:37 PM
I would like to know too, I tried small hole hay nets but my mare can eat through 1.5" holes without any problems and eats just as fast as if I threw it on the ground.
    08-02-2012, 06:38 PM
I need something for out in the pasture, some sort of a hay box..........
    08-02-2012, 06:39 PM
Originally Posted by ozarkmama    
Has anybody made their own slow feeder for hay? With the hay shortage I would like to waste as little as possible as well as slow down the eating so it lasts longer. Looking for something that would work for 2 horses.
I have lots of friends who slow feed, one uses a hay net on a round bale works great. There are also lots of ideas here!
Slow Feeders - Paddock Paradise Wiki
    08-02-2012, 06:45 PM
Fleet farm has this The Grazer By Double L Group - Mills Fleet Farm

The whole are bigger. But If you did somework to it and made the holes smaller, that might work?
    08-02-2012, 06:54 PM
Thats a sweet site annanole
Annanoel likes this.
    08-02-2012, 07:17 PM
Don't mean to hijack your thread, ozarkmama.

Just wondering if a slow feeder would save my hay from wastage with my gelding who is a hard keeper? Would he get enough to keep him on the fat side? Or is he going to starve?

I'm getting sick of pitch forking his hay back into his bucket feeder, when he's just going to throw it back on the ground and trample it and not eat it. Ugh! That's my dollars your walking on buddy!
    08-02-2012, 07:54 PM
Slow feeders are not meant to restrict the amount of hay that a horse gets, it is meant to make them spend more time eating the hay, if he eats a meal of hay is 1 hour it may change to four to six hours instead. I need a design that doesn't need netting.
    08-02-2012, 10:30 PM
I am looking at making something like one of these:

Slow Grazer - Slow Hay Feeder

Patti's hay feeder - Paddock Paradise Wiki
    08-02-2012, 10:36 PM
Super Moderator
Here is what I made... the novel is below.

First attempt for a quick fix


Typical round bale destruction after just 5 days

hay2 sm.jpg

Learning on a real slowfeeder haynet

new hat.jpg

Original round holder with no top


Completed round holder with top after 5 days

roundbale day 5.jpg

Close up of top and how loose it is


The original smooth seam I made


Where I attached the slowfeeder haynets


Ok, novel time...
A while back I searched about making my own slow feeders too. The Paddock Paradise site gave me quite a few ideas, but as of yet I haven’t had the time to build something made of wood, Maybe this fall I will, but I really don’t like corners of any kind around horses. Somehow corners and horse side seem to connect in really ugly ways.

Anyway, so I was left to check out the various net options. When I first stared looking, the small haynets were pretty spendy, never mind the cost of larger and whole bale or round bale ones. So I tried a couple of things before splurging on one.

I searched online for hockey nets and whatnot and found those spendy too, so I went to my local box home improvement store and bought a 50’ x 4’ roll of heavy duty plastic snow fence. Plastic so if they tore it up no one would get hurt or cut.

I first made a “pillowcase” type of bag by cutting about an 8‘ piece and “sewing” the edges together with twine. I made twine loops and clipped it to a gate. It held 4 flakes easily and slowed them down considerably. Unfortunately my donkeys decided to shred them pretty quick, but the horse was pretty good with them.

Next, I made round bale “rounds.” I stretched two layers of the snow fence into circle loops and sewed them together down the sides. Then I folded over the top to make a smooth seam and sewed it together too.
I had run out of material to make a top… so back to the store, but they were out of the quality snow fence. Besides, it wouldn’t have the give I wanted so it was ok.

By this time the real hanging haynets had come down in price and I bought 2 for $8 each and had been using them for my small square bales. They were learning well how to use them and I was seeing a big difference in consumption time and no wastage.

I decided to order more of the small nets (hard to find the larger ones in stock at good prices) because I liked them so much and used the original two to sew together a top for the round bale.

Mine are made out of nylon, so I cut them along the bottom and up one side (Like taking apart a pillowcase) and burned any cut ends to stop fray and unraveling.

So far it is working really well. Normally five days out from putting out an 800lb round bale and it is beyond recognition. There is still plenty left, but good luck trying to keep it together so I would usually fork the loose stuff up to save for when the bale was gone.

Since I started using the orange part of the round bale holder (before the top) it made the hay stretch for about another 4 to 5 more days.

But now that there is a real top on it… Amazing!

The last bale has been out for 5 days now and it is still a round bale and it still looks like one too. The critters already know how it works and pick at when they want it.

The top is loosely sewn on so there is slack and they can eat down the hay slowly. When it gets about half gone I will probably have to re-sew/attach the top a little lower to accommodate the hay level, but it was very easy to do.

Disclaimer: My horse and donkeys are barefoot and don’t wear halters. They had time to learn how to use the small haynets first and I check their mouths to make sure there are no rub spots or damage to the gums. I also used short sections of twine so if one gets worked loose or comes apart there are no long strings to get hung around a leg.

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