Healthy horses in the wild have forage available to them 24/7 and will get their heads down to munch as much as they want. Here is our pick of some of the best hay-feeders that aim to emulate this even if your horse is on starvation, on box rest or turned out on limited grass.
Horses are grazing animals so their digestive systems and well-being has evolved around having their heads down and grazing as much as possible. If horses are regularly left without food, problems such as cribbing, colic and ulcers can occur, therefore the steady feeding of forage is a great way to create the environment in which they have evolved to live.
Hay-feeders aim to simulate natural grazing patterns, minimise wastage due to trampling or fouling and can protect the nutrient levels of hay from decreasing due to weather conditions. The smaller the area/holes available to your horse to get to the hay, the less he can eat in a set time and so the longer the time the hay will be available to him. Feeders that encourage your horses to get their heads down will help keep their airways clearer and be closer to their natural feeding habits.
These feeders are particularly useful where grass cover is low, for horses with laminitis, for horses without 24/7 access to grazing (mostly stabled) or during winter turn-out. We suggest you look out for feeders made of strong plastic with no metal components, which are easy to move and are frost proof.
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Freedom Feeder slow-feed hay-net
This day-sized hay-net is designed to provide an average horse with around 12-15 hours of forage and avoids horses not getting any food for long periods. This hay-net is easy to fill and has a built-in carabineer clip for attachment which is designed to break under major strain.
Buy now from amazon.co.uk
A new and innovative hay and haylage feeder has hit the market, which is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. It is designed to simulate natural grazing patterns, eliminate long periods without food and remove stress. It allows your horse to eat, little and often from a low head position, slowing down consumption rate, promoting correct spinal alignment while eating and eliminating waste.
If your horse cannot have access to 24/7 grazing in the field, then slow feeding hay at a natural low level is a good way to ensure your horse stays healthy. The eazigrazer is slow feeding, simple and easy to use saving you time, effort and money.
RRP: from £165
JFC Haybell feeder
Designed to fit over a standard round bale, this product protects hay in all weather conditions and minimizes wastage. It is manufactured from robust polyethylene with no metal components, making it safe for use with animals. The easy to manoeuvre hay feeder will protect your hay or haylage from all weather conditions and can be flexible in its positioning.
Hay-Graze horse feeder
This feeder aims to reduce hay waste, keep your field tidy and alleviate boredom with slower feeding. It is easy to move around and therefore minimizes the risk of poaching of certain areas of the field. It is made of strong frost-resistant plastic with a big capacity and can also be used in the stable. It is also great for horses that are prone to laminitis or on restricted diets.
Buy now on amazon.co.uk
The HayBar encourages stabled horses to eat from close to the floor and as a result helps to keep their airways clear and mimics how they naturally graze in the wild. Forage is taken in slowly saving waste and reducing the chance of hay mixing with the bedding. They are available in horse and pony size and are made of high density polyethylene with a reinforced top edge making it rust proof, rot proof, durable and easy to clean.
Buy now at amazon.co.uk
This is a challenging and entertaining way to feed your horse its daily forage intake. The Hay Play simulates a natural grazing position and is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Its spherical shape allows the Hay Play to be freely pushed around, but it will not run away down a slope. The Hay play can also be used as boredom buster, for horses on box rest, laminitis suffers and those in starvation paddocks. It is made from tough thick plastic and is available in a choice of colours.
Buy now on amazon.co.uk
Derby Originals hay bag
This sturdy hay bag will fit all forage required for a stabled horse. It is to easy load up and features a large area from which a horse can graze its forage, making it convenient for both you and your horse. It also allows for any dirt and debris, which could foul the hay, to fall out.
Buy now from amazon.co.uk
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