Why use the slow hay feeding method?

Slow feeding is recommended by veternatians, and many health care specialists, and is noted as the best method for feeding grazing animals, kept in captivity.

Why does it work so well ? Slow feeders only allows smaller amounts of hay to be digested per mouthful, slowing down the consumption rate, and allowing the digestion to work with the grazing animals digestive system in the correct way. Slow feeding best imitates the natural grazing action for all foraging animals, and with that improves nutritional uptake.

The NAG net has holes that are smaller than tradition nets, usually ranging from 1 inch up to 3 inch openings. There are many different styles and sizes to fit all kinds of feeding needs, whether you feed by the flake or big bales.

The benefits are substantial, including health and well being for many grazing animals, but especially the feeding of the equine. Slow feeding offer's so many advantages. Horses, are grazing herbivores. They graze almost continually when left in pastured areas. The equine has a very small stomach (only 8-15 litres capacity) that is ideally designed for small, regular meals, as food passes through the stomach very quickly.

Horses salivate only when they are chewing and eating, and under normal circumstances they produce up to 30 litres a day of saliva. Saliva is an acid buffer. Saliva neutralizes the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, as well as lubricates the food. The horse constantly produces stomach acid - even if the horse is not eating! This is the biggest health proplem, and where we start to see the health issues arise when horses go hours with no fiber intake; the acid now has no buffer. And if he is not chewing to produce any saliva you will start to see the results of that acid build up in the empty stomach, presenting its self as cribbing, colic symptoms, ulcers and many behavioral problems. ie: girthy, bucking, rearing, ear pinning.

We confine horses so that they cannot have that access to grazing for many reasons, land shortage, horses in training, showing, stallions, stables, and many horses that cannot tolerate grass, causing other problems like metabolic syndrome. Just stop and think of most horse keeping methods, maybe feeding two or three times a day - the horses are going very long hours with no intake of fibre at all, this is putting a horse at risk for many health and behavioral issues.

These are the some of the benefits and advantages with using slow feeders. Slow feeders help slow down the consumption of hay, keeping your animal "grazing" longer.

The benefits for the owners, managers and breeders are large saving in health related costs, and feeding costs, - you will be able to cut your feeding time down to once a day and some bags or round bale covers are allowing feeding times to go as long as once a month! (depending on herd size). Savings from 30-50%, as no hay is wasted. Slow feeding also eliminates the clean up time of all that rotten hay which in turn is not good for hoof health and parasites. No more rushing home to feed! - Yes now you can go away for the day, and the best benefit is more riding or horse time. Horses are always ready to perform and or play.

You will be doing the best possible for your horse living in the urban life style. Most animals adjust to the slow feeders in a few days with the introduction of the slow feeders with loose hay feedings - after a few days or so, you will lay out loose hay and 98% of the horses will go to the slow feeder instead - it is amazing! they know what’s right and makes them feel good.

Just use good common horse sense when using nets and bags. No loose ropes or strings that a horse could become entangled, horses with shoes should only have bags that are in a box, hung or a mount feeder, so that a shoe can never come in contact with the net. No halter’s either! Look around and see what system works best for your situation and set up, you will never regret this change over, and your horse will thank you.

If your needing help, or not sure how to get started - give us a call, we love to help.


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