Simulating a more natural method of “grazing” the hay slow feeder can result in the horse taking hours to consume a few flakes. Not only does this help you feed less but it helps to manage boredom and boredom associated vices, like cribbing and fence or tree chewing.
Slow feeders reduce feed related anxiety in horses that are on restricted diets. Because they can take hours to eat a few flakes they do not feel like they are being starved to death.
The use of a slow feeder in your sacrifice paddock or stall reduces waste as the horse cannot paw through the hay (then drag it around to ultimately poop on it) and will eat all of it, even the little chaff at the bottom.
I have had about a year to assess the round bale hay net from Redden Net. I feed a small group of cows and horses haylage bales and find the hay net very effective. It saves a lot of hay which at last year’s hay prices is huge. The hay net probably pays for itself after feeding ten bales. The other advantage is that it spreads the consumption out over several days making things easier from a management point of view. The way I feed is by putting the bale in a large stock watering tub and then cinch the rope on the net down around the base. This effectively keeps the hay from getting tromped into the ground. As the hay gets eaten the net falls down into the tub. A smaller net may work better feeding this way, or I could move the rope to limit the size of the net. Another adjustment I made for the cows is to cut a few larger holes in the net but I’m not sure that is necessary as they don’t seem to look for the holes when eating. I’ve probably saved $2000 since I started using the net last year, not to mention the mess of wasted hay to deal with. I am very pleased and recommend it for cattle and horses.
Hermen Geertsema, DVM BScAgr - 18th Jan 2016