Best Slow Feeders for Horses | 2019 Reviews
Slow feeders are the perfect feeding solution for horses if you want to create a healthy, cost-effective, and more natural grazing solution for them. Slow feeders control the rate at which the horse can consume the hay provided, which is more natural for equines and promotes a healthier digestive system and a better feeding position.
You can look at them as a set and forget feeding system, simply top it up with hay every so often and let the horses consume at their own leisure, as opposed to letting the horses consume hay freely without controlling it and costing you a lot of money.
Check out my personal 5 best slow feeders for horses that I have chosen and reviewed, to see which one is right for feeding your equine.
Top 5 Rated Comparison Table
The Best Slow Feeders for Horses Reviewed
My favorite pick overall comes from the USA based manufacturer Derby Originals, who have been in the equestrian game for over 20 years now and have a large range of equine products to choose from. This 4 sided bag has a total of 116 feeding openings that measure 1.75" X 3.5" each, is designed to hold 2-3 flakes of hay (depending on type), the bag measures in at 24 x 24 x 12, you also get the choice of 5 colors and a 1 year warranty.
What makes this the best overall slow feeder is simply the quality of the bag. It’s designed with heavy-duty 1200D nylon and is reinforced with 174 cross stitches, this makes it a tough bag that’s designed not to rip or be torn apart easily by your horse. You can tell that Derby Originals have produced a quality bag that’s designed to last and that they believe in, this is why you get a 1-year warranty with it. The bag comes with some nice hanging straps that are easily adjustable and make it ideal for use in a barn, on a pasture fence, or even in a trailer.
One thing that you have to watch out for with this bag is your horse getting their hoof caught in the holes, or if you use it for a goat, then watch out for their horns getting stuck. The holes may be a little on the big side, so for safety reasons, make sure you hang the feeder higher up. Another thing that I would point out is that the velcro could maybe be improved, as sometimes it can be challenging to close the bag at the top with it.
Verdict: Best Overall
- Strong, long-lasting bag
- Excellent quality backed by a 1-year warranty
- Fairly priced
- Easy to fill and hang
- Can be used at home or even on the road
- Watch out for hoofs getting stuck
- Velcro quality could be improved
This Kensington model is not too dissimilar to our number 1 choice and has a lot going for it as well. The bag can hold 2 large flakes of hay, sports a Textilene mesh, measures in at 171/2" x 261/2" x 8", has 1 adjustable strap, and is only available in one color. Kensington also offers a bigger 4 flake bag, however, this review is based on the 2 flake model.
The quality is there with this slow feeder, and the material is made to withstand tears and rips, this is backed up by the fact that Kensington has a quality control assurance and put the bag through rigorous tests to ensure it stands up to the challenge. It’s a decent-sized horse slow feeder that can hold 2 large flakes of hay quite comfortably. It’s another pick that’s easy to fill and hang up, relieving some of the stress and anxiety that comes along with feeding your horse. Another great pick that’s perfect for using in the stables, on your fence, or even in a trailer.
I have a few minor gripes with this pick, but nothing major. The first is the adjustable 1 strap would be better if there was a second one to go along with it, just to make sure that it is as secure as possible when hung up. The other is the size of the holes. Although they’re not massive, like our top pick, there is a concern of your animals getting stuck if you’re not careful with its placement.
Verdict: Great Runner-Up
- Quality control assured - each bag put through extensive testing
- Good price
- Can hold 2 large flakes of hay
- Easy to attach and fill up
- Another strap to make it more secure would help
- Holes are on the larger side
Freedom Feeder FF is dedicated to designing equine slow feeders, and this is their extended net model that I have picked. Freedom Feeders come in 3 different mesh net sizes, this review covers their 1” netting model, which is specifically designed for slow feeding horses. It measures in at 9 x 8 x 2 inches, can hold up to 50lbs worth of hay which is designed to last up to 2 days and has 2 break-away carabiners for hanging it up.
This is a great pick if you want a slow feeder that has a larger hay capacity and is very easy to fill up. It can easily hold up to 50lbs of hay, which should be enough to last 2-3 days for your horses depending on how many are using it. It’s also one of the easiest feeders to fill up and doesn’t require much getting used to. Attaching it to a fence or post is fairly simple thanks to the carabiners provided, also ensuring that it is quite secure when attached. The holes are also small enough so that they do not cause any safety issues, such as the horse getting a hoof stuck.
The biggest negative with this horse slow feeder is the quality of the netting. The material itself isn't the best and is very prone to ripping or tearing, especially if bigger, more powerful horses are using it. More durable and better quality netting and carabiners would definitely be a major improvement for this pick. This is one of the most expensive models on my review list, you will also have the small additional cost of buying some ties for the netting.
Verdict: Simple and Good Hay Capacity
- Good hay capacity
- Easy to fill
- Simple to use and attach
- Smaller sized holes
- Not great quality netting and carabiners
- Need to buy some ties separately for hanging
Another pick from Derby Originals makes the 4th spot on my list. It’s pretty similar to my number 1 pick - The Supreme 4, but with a few things that are different. They’re both designed to hold 2-3 flakes of hay, but there is a difference in size slightly with the Super Tough 4 measuring in at 22x25x8” and has 190 2” openings. It also has 211 stitches across it, comes in 3 colors and is covered by a 1 year warranty.
Like the top horse slow feeder pick on the list, the quality of the Super Tough 4 is fantastic and doesn’t tear or rip as easy as other models you can buy on the market. The bag hole size is small enough so that there’s less chance of the horse getting a hoof stuck, but at the same time, large enough for most horses to get at the hay properly. This slow feeding bag has an extra strap on the bottom of it, meaning that it has a total of 3 adjustable straps. It’s ideal for a pasture, barn, stall, or even traveling trailer.
Although It has an extra strap on the bottom of the bag to ensure it hangs more securely, the strap really isn’t that useful in most cases, with the 2 top straps being enough to secure it. Although I mentioned above that the opening holes were slightly smaller and potentially a little safer, the holes may be a little too small for larger horses and equine to get at the hay properly. The velcro straps are also another negative that I have to note, the velcro is not the best of ideas and it sometimes makes shutting the bag a little tricky.
Verdict: Great for the Money
- Fantastic quality material
- Designed to last, backed by a 1 year warranty
- Great value for money
- Adjustable straps
- Easy to fill up and hang
- Extra strap not that useful
- Holes may be too small for larger horses
- Velcro tabs not that good at closing
Last on the list is my second pick from Freedom Feeder FF - The Full Bale net. This is the largest pick on the list, being able to hold up to 125 lbs of hay. It measures in at 11.7 x 9.4 x 4.7 inches, has 1” openings and weighs 1.81 lbs. There are also 2 breakaway carabiners for hanging or tying it to something.
The feeder is pretty much identical to the earlier Freedom Feeder model I reviewed, with the difference being that this is obviously much larger.
It is big for sure, and is designed to last 5-7 days when filled up to the top with hay. This is a great option if you want a set and forget slow feeder for your horses and don’t want to be continually filling it up every day, creating unnecessary feeding times that can cause more anxiety and stress for the animal. It’s also an excellent pick if you have a lot of horses that use the feeder and need more hay than normal to suffice. The holes are really small and shouldn’t cause any safety issues for your animals.
Like the other model on this review, the biggest problem with these feeding nets is the quality of the material. The material used really isn’t the most durable and is quite prone to ripping or tearing a few months down the line, especially if bigger horses use it. Although it has 2 carabiners for hanging it up, it is a really large net that might be quite heavy when filled up fully with hay, and is probably best placed down rather than hanging. It’s also the most expensive choice on my list, but that’s simply because it’s the biggest and is designed for someone looking for a large hay capacity slow feeder.
Verdict: Best hay capacity
- Big hay capacity - 125 lbs
- Designed to last 5-7 days
- Smaller sized holes
- Easy to fill up
- Material quality could be better
- Quite heavy to be hanging up
- Holes might be too smaller for larger horses
Things to Consider when Buying a Good Horse Slow Feeder
Hay Capacity - Flakes or lbs
How many flakes or lbs of hay can your equestrian feeder hold? Depending on how many animals you have to feed and how long you want the hay to last, you should consider the flake or lbs capacity of each bag. Each pick on our reviews list has the flakes or lbs of hay that it can hold clearly stated. You want to make sure that you don’t have to top up the bag every few hours, but at the same time, can hold enough feeding for all your animals.
Your feeder needs to be able to stand up to the challenge of horses feeding from the bag or net day in, day out. Therefore, you’ll want a material that’s not prone to ripping or tearing easily, though this also depends on the sizes and number of horses that will regularly use it.
Filling It Up
Filling it up should not be a chore or hard to do. Because slow feeders regularly need filling up with hay, it should be as easy as possible to open it, fill it up fully with hay, and close it securely.
Safety & Hanging Secure
Safety concerns surface when the holes are too large, which potentially creates the hazard of horses getting their hoofs stuck, or goats getting their horns stuck in the bag or net. You want to get the balance right of getting the right sized hole openings for your equine to feed from, as well as ensuring that it does not present any safety issues. If you choose a bag or net that you hang, you’ll want to ensure that it’s safe and secure when the horse is feeding from it, and will not fall off whatever it’s attached to.
Whether you want to use a slow feeder for your pasture, barn, stall, trailer, farm, or ranch, there’s a perfect option out there for your horse. I did my research and picked out what I believe are the best 5 horse slow feeders out there to buy, however, not every pick on my list is suitable for everyone’s animals, so be sure to check out other bags or nets out there that may be better suited to your setup. Either way, make sure it’s safe and efficient for your horse, and have them feeding naturally with a slow feeder.