It is normal for horses in the wild environment to graze intermittently for up to 18 hours per day. This keeping their digestive tracts filled with high fiber forage. It is not unusual for feeding to be restricted to large meals. This may hurt the gastrointestinal tract, which may lead to problems such as gastric ulcer syndrome. This is due to the loss of stomach acid during intermittent fasting. Horses usually do not have constant access to hay or pasture tend to develop what is known as pica I.e, eating of non-food materials and they might develop repetitive behaviors such as weaving and stalk walking. That is why there are slow feeders for horses because some horses are incapable of controlling their feed intake while other horses tend to become obese if allowed to eat to their fill.
Best slow feeders for horses were designed specifically to improve horses positive interactions with humans. So the hay bag feeder hung at the head height on the wall resulted in frustration for the horse which will lead it to more stereotype behaviors such as crib-biting. Frustration is often observed as the horses pull on the hay bag with teeth or push it with the head. The slow feeders also lengthen out the time of their eating, which is much better for both the intestinal and psychological health of the horse.
Types of Slow Feeders for Horses
They often come in a variety of configurations:
- They can come in form of diamond-shaped openings in hay nets. Webbed hay nets.
- Can come in form of buckets that holds about 15-20 bale of hay.
- It can also come in form of trough-shaped configurations that can hold a bale of hay.
Normally, hay nets generally have large openings that do not slow down the intake, and horses may pull too much hay in the process with some of the hay landing on the ground where it is often consumed almost immediately or if it is often stepped on, urinated on and then it gets spoiled. The idea is that, when you are trying to open the home for a hay net, you should make it to be, 1½ – 1¼ inches for an adult horse. Because the holes are too small, the horse might become too frustrated to eat and that might cause weight loss. Just ensure that you find the right size of the hole for your horse.
Nets are often useful because of their ability to be attached to just any surface of the wall, a tree, or even a post. They are often available in several different sizes. But the negative effect of this is that a horse may pull too much hay out of the net thus, putting a risk on their health which may result in a head or leg enlargement.
There is a feeder which is made from hard plastic. Which seem to hold up to some extreme temperature for horse’s antics. It is better to avoid wooden hay containers because they tend to splinter from wear and tear. And they are more easily knocked over if it’s too lightweight. Finally, slow feeders or hay bags are commercially made; some are homemade designs, some can be purchased from the store or on the internet. Just ensure that the feeder is durable, and made with heavy-duty fabric and mater is that can stand up to horse abuse and also safe enough for horse use. Also, ensure that the hay nets are hunger in a place the horses can reach.