Poll Recap: Hay Feeder Options

Of the 1,473 voters, 684 (46%) said that they feed their horses hay on the ground or do not use a hay feeder.

Photo: Photos.com

In last week’s online poll, TheHorse.com asked readers what kind of hay feeder they used. Nearly 1,500 of you (1,473 to be exact) responded, and we’ve tallied the results

Of the 1,473 respondents, 684 (46%) said that they feed their horses on the ground or do not use a hay feeder, while 303 readers (21%) indicated that they used a hay net or a hay bag. Another 196 readers (13%) said they used a manufactured trough designed for feeding horses and/or livestock, and 139 readers (9%) indicated they used a hay rack. Meanwhile, 139 readers (9%) use a homemade or repurposed trough, such as a tire, barrel, or bathtub, and only 12 voters (1%) responded that their horses do not eat hay.

Additionally, 226 respondents provided comments about their choice of hay feeders.

Poll Results

Many readers mentioned the use of slow-feed hay nets:

  • “I absolutely swear by small-hole hay nets. Rarely use anything else, not even my hay cradle anymore.”
  • “Very small-holed net to slow feeding.”
  • “I use a slow feeder in a manger to limit hay in the sand.”
  • “I use small hole haynets to cut down waste and slow down eating”
  • “Slow feed hay net works BEST”

Others commented on their homemade or repurposed hay feeders:

  • “An inexpensive 110 gal. water tub (with drilled) drain holes.”
  • “I use round metal tank with holes in the bottom for rain to run out.”
  • “An old Rubbermaid water tub”
  • “I make my own slow feeder nets out of hockey goal netting. Each net easily holds 60 pounds of hay.”
  • “We installed a automatic waterer in the field, so now the unused water troughs are used for hay.”
  • “We use tractor tires in the pasture and hay racks in stalls.”
  • “Wooden box with wooden grid on top. Works great and is easy to load.”
  • “Large tractor tires with the under side rim cut out so it doesnt hold water. They work brilliantly.”
  • “Homemade slow feeder boxes.”
  • “I built sturdy boxes with two wheels and a handle to move them either inside the shelter or outside.”
  • “I just switched my horse from hanging feeder to 100 gallon water trough.”

Some commented about feeding horses hay on the ground:

  • “Horses are grazers. Feeding on the ground mimics that.”
  • “I prefer to feed my horse hay/grain on the ground where their heads are supposed to be. No racks/net.”
  • “Spread the hay out on the ground. Don't have to worry about sand colic here...ground is usually rock hard.”
  • “On the ground is the NATURAL way to feed!”

Others fed their horses hay on the ground, on stall mats:

  • “Custom-made feeders at ground level on rubber mats.”
  • “On the floor in their stalls (rubber mats on floor) or in a trough when outside during winter/spring.”
  • “On the floor mats inside and outside.”
  • “Their hay is put on the ground on rubber mats. It's the best position for a horse to eat.”
  • “Horse are fed on matted stall mats that are swept out daily.”

A few readers shared comments on feeding round bales:

  • “I feed round bales with a slow feed net inside a ring hay feeder. Cuts waste to almost none.”
  • “I use a large slow-feeder net on a round bale, with a homemade wooden structure around it.”
  • “Recently I have started my donkeys on round bales and these work best in a feeder.”

You can learn more about how hay feeders reduce waste, and get tips for building your own low-cost hay feeder at TheHorse.com. 

In this week's poll, we want to know if you've ever owned a draft horse or a draft cross. Vote Now

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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