best outdoor hay feeder for horses

Discovering The Best Outdoor Hay Feeder For Horses

Fun Fact! Did you know horses naturally graze for up to 15 hours every day? I know right, lucky them.

Unfortunately, not all of our ponies and horses are lucky enough to get all the nutrients they need from pastures. It’s up to us as horse owners to provide them with the best hay to keep them (and their guts) healthy.

Your choice of hay feeder is almost as important as the hay itself. Of course, you need to choose the best feed for your horse, but horses also all have different eating patterns. This can be based on their schedules, their training or just how much energy they use every day. You need to keep a number of things in mind while you’re on the hunt for the best horse feeder.

Although horse’s diets may vary, for now, we’re going to look into how you can choose the right feeder for hay specifically.

Best Outdoor Horse Feeders For Slow Feeding

Horses with weight issues, metabolic disorders or just limited access to pastures will benefit from slow feeders. Or maybe your horse can just get a bit too excited and needs help controlling the pace as it devours its hay.

Besides, you don’t want the horse to start choking on the hay; it can be quite a scary experience. But in case it does happen, you might want to read up on what to do if your horse is choking.

1. Best slow feed hay nets – Hay Net Hay Feeder

About the feeder: You will get two mesh nets (80 x 90 cm each) that are easy to open and fill with all the hay your horse needs. The woven rope used for this net is soft and safe for your horse’s gums. The diameters of the holes in the hay nets are about 3 cm (but this can change depending on how much you fill them). These hay nets are durable slow feeders and good value for money.

Ideal for: A great slow hay feeder for horses who require constant access to their hay, but also tend to eat a little fast so require some extra help taking smaller bites. They can be hung anywhere, from a fence post to a wall on the outside of your stables. The best part is you no longer need to worry about following the feeding schedule.

2. Best slow-feed hay bags –Trickle Net

About the feeder: These slow-feed hay bags are guaranteed to keep your horse fed and happy. It’s waterproof, and super durable – I’ve had mine for over 10 years! The holes are about 25 mm and the net can hold up to 8.5 kg (18.7 lbs) of hay. These hay net bags are light and portable so they can basically be taken and hung anywhere. It’s also a great way to avoid wasting hay.

Ideal for: The perfect slow hay feeder for a horse that’s prone to colic or on box rest. It might take your horse a while to get used to the small holes that he needs to eat the hay through, but once he’s figured it out you’ll never want to use another slow feeder again.

Best Outdoor Horse Feeders For Free Feeding

If your horse struggles to maintain weight, has dental issues that might cause him to chew even slower or maybe its access to pastures is limited, free feeding might be the way to go. It will ensure your horse always has access to the hay it needs.

1. Best Tub feeder – Freedom Feeder

About the feeder: It’s perfect for ground feeding and can take 50 kg (110 lbs) of hay. It’s designed to make your life easier as you don’t have to feed your horse on a schedule and it can graze as nature intended. It’s the perfect outdoor freedom feeder and helps reduce hay wastage by keeping the hay protected. This feeder can also be hung up if your horse is a bit on the playful side. It includes all the safety hanging clips and cords you need.

Ideal for: Single or groups of horses that require constant access to hay but some extra help eating at a slower pace.

*Bonus: they also have a hay bale net available for purchase, that you can add to the Freedom Feeder tub so you can turn it into a slow hay feeder if necessary – giving you the best of both worlds!

Best Outdoor Horse Feeders For Scheduled Feeding

If you’re raising a performance horse, whether it competes in dressage, show jumping, or racing, it’s most likely going to be following a training plan and diet. Scheduled feeding can benefit their digestive system by regulating it.

1. Best wall-mounted hay racks – Country-manufactured cornered hay rack

About the feeder: This is a heavy-duty corner hay rack that you can mount anywhere you want. It’s made of steel and designed to limit hay waste. The design allows horses to eat the hay from the bottom so you can fill it with as much hay at a time as the horse might need.

Out of all the hay feeders out there, I find this simple design the easiest to keep clean and out of my horse’s way to avoid him tripping over it.

Ideal for: Horses that requirescheduled feeding and for owners who have limited space, as this can be mounted on any available corner.

2. Best hay bale bags – Combo Choice Folding Feeder

About the feeder: Instead of wasting your time with an average small rectangular bale, you can get these portable waterproof bale bags in any size you might need. You can store it in the stables and bring it outdoors at feeding time for your horses. It’s definitely a neater and easier feeder to travel with than the usual hay nets.

Not only can you use them as hay feeders, but also as hay storage containers. With long adjustable straps it can be hung from anywhere and limits waste effectively.

Ideal for: High-maintenance professional horses in training and their owners who want something with more uses than just the average hay boxes. Perfect for superstar steeds who travel a lot and are on a strict eating schedule. It’s basically a giant lunch box for your horse’s hay.

How To Choose Your Horse Feeder For Hay

There are a lot of opinions out there about how you can feed your horses their hay.

Horses are built to eat slowly and continuously, but if you’re the proud owner of a high-profile racehorse, you know it doesn’t have the time to slowly graze and still get all the nutrients it needs during racing season. Therefore, slow feeders might not be for you. It may have more time to savour its hay during its rest period though.

On top of having various schedules, all horses are unique and have their own health issues (if any). Some horses might require slow feeders while others need to be on a strict schedule to regulate their digestive systems.

To make sure your horse doesn’t starve, over-eat, or get digestive issues such as colic, you have to pick the best hay feeder to suit its needs.

There are a few key factors that you should consider when making your decision:

  • Your horse’s nutritional needs and dental health (it might be a good idea to consult a professional)
  • Activity level
  • Weight management
  • Your own budget and resources
  • Living conditions (do they live in a field or stable?)

Finding the perfect hay feeder won’t be anything like finding a needle in a haystack, because you have loads of great hay feeders to choose from right at your fingertips.


How do you feed hay to horses in the field?

Using round or square bale feeders is probably the most common way to feed your horses outside in the field. They keep the hay clean, protect it from getting wet and minimise the wastage. Certain slow feeders are also designed to withstand being placed outside. Your final choice of feeder will depend on your horses’ unique needs and preferences.

Are hay feeders good for horses?

If you choose a hay feeder that suits your horse’s needs it can be really beneficial! Not only do they help reduce wastage and keep the hay clean, but they also have health benefits. Hay feeders can assist with your horse’s weight management and contribute to a better digestive system.

There are loads of options out there, from hay nets to ground-feeding bale bags. You need to choose one that’s best for your horse’s well-being.

What is the best hay net for greedy horses?

Slow feeders are great solutions to slowing down a greedy horse that tends to eat way too fast. Getting a net hay feeder with smaller holes can also be beneficial. The smaller the opening on the hay nets, the longer it’ll take for your horse to eat.

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