February 27, 2018

Product Review: Comparing Slow-Feed Hard Sided Haynet Alternatives

One day about a month ago, I was walking around the barn and realized Connor was the only one without a haynet.

Now, I'm not going to get him a haynet just to fit in with the crowd, but given his probable successful ulcer treatment, I would like him to have hay in front of him for longer than it currently lasts. 

But...I don't like haynets.  In fact I would say I hate them.  It's just a personal thing.  I don't like the angle horses hold their heads at to eat out of them.  I don't like that you can't hang them low enough for optimal respiratory system health.  I don't like that they're rope, since Connor's gotten himself caught in one before.  And I really don't like filling them myself or asking the barn staff to fill them.

Haynets in trailers are a necessary evil though.

So I started looking into alternatives that would slow him down but allow him to eat as naturally as possible, with the enthusiastic blessing of my trainer (anything to cut down on hay waste!).

I did a ton of research before settling on one, and thought I'd use this blog post to help guide others looking for the same type of product.

High Country Plastics Slow Feeder Saver Jr
Product: High Country Plastics Slow Feeder Saver Jr
Cost: $189
What I liked: Easy to fill, nylon webbing, cheaper than others, good reviews, seemed durable, designed to be strapped to the wall
Why I passed: Reviews were overall fantastic but there was one thorough review that completely turned me off, saying horses ended up getting their noses through the generous webbing openings and scratching their faces.  One review also said the edges of the box were sharp from the molding process.  Several reviews mentioned that it was a great hay saver but not a good slow feeder.


Product: Porta-Grazer XL
Cost: $259
What I liked: Easy to fill, plastic "lid" instead of nylon webbing, overall good reviews, you can either strap it to the wall or the horse can roll and play with it if they want (Connor would)
Why I passed: Horses have to stick their head all the way into the cylinder to get to the end of their hay, and several reviews said they noticed horses not finishing their hay because they didn't like that.  One also said the inside of the tube got hot and humid in the summer and her horses developed skin funk on their faces.


Product: HayLo Horse Feeder
Cost: £200.00
What I liked: It's similar to the Porta-Grazer but seems overall better designed and is slightly wider, hopefully eliminating some of the issues with the PG.
Why I passed: Doesn't ship to the US!

E-Z Feeder

Product: Health E-Z Hay Feeder
Cost: $37.95
What I liked: Leah loves it! You can hang it from the ceiling to really slow them down, the price can't be beat, easy to load hay in
Why I passed: Although the manufacturer says it can be mounted as high or low as you want, I didn't like the idea of it on/near the floor.  I am considering getting one for my trailer though.

And finally, the one I decided to buy:

Product:  Savvy Feeder
Cost: $299 (I paid $235.64 + shipping with a 14% off coupon and by buying a "factory 2nd w/minor scratches")
Why I bought it: I scoured the internet and could not find a single negative review for this one.  It ticked all of my boxes: won't scratch his face, won't damage his teeth, allows him to eat with his head down, slows him down, and won't make him put his face in a dark tube to eat.  It's also easy to load.  Bonus, it's light enough to travel well.

Tomorrow I'll review how the Savvy Feeder's working out for us.


  1. I'm with you on not being in love with hay nets, but some of these are so prohibitively expensive for someone who has 4 horses (first world problem, I know, haha). I'm excited about the one you ended up with though, I can't wait to hear what you think! And I think the ones I have would be great in a trailer too 🙂

    1. Totally agree. Even for a single horse owner they're expensive! The HCP one also comes in a "two horse" sized feeder designed to be shared, and some owners have reported recouping the cost of these feeders in hay that was no longer wasted, but one way or another, yeah, prohibitively expensive.

  2. I have the same feelings about hay nets! Necessary evil while in the trailer, but I avoid them otherwise.
    Over the summer, while I was a working student at my barn, several horses had that Savvy Feeder. And it definitely worked well! Easy to load, and slowed down horses just enough to keep their hay lasting all day. We did have one horse who loved to thrash it around his stall though - it made for a very loud and annoying noise, but that was the only downside I ever saw after using them for months.

    1. That's so good to hear! I didn't talk to anyone who had them, but the reviews were SO good across the board, and that's been my experience so far.

  3. OOC, what's the difference between the one you got and the tube ones, in terms of them having to put their heads in it to get the hay? Is yours spring loaded on the bottom or something?

    1. Good question. It's not springloaded, but it's wider and shorter with a larger opening so there's more airflow and they don't have to stick their whole head into the unit to get the hay out.

  4. Peggy bought the porta grazers and none of my guys had eating or skin issues. Great if you are soaking hay. I find the holes too big on most "slow" feeders net and hard. I was not a fan of nets until I found what we have now which my guys have mastered.

  5. I've been debating about how to slow my horses' hay eating down! Right now I hay 3-4x a day (morning, afternoon, late night, and maybe an early afternoon haying if I'm not at work) so I'm very interested in your review tomorrow!!! In the past I've used small hole nibble nets and just tossed it out in the field with the straps tucked and tied so no hoof can get into it and get tangled up, but my horses would roll them all over the field and I couldn't always find them. Plus it was a pain in the ass to fill them and untangle everything once the hay was eaten. Uggg what we do for our horse's stomach health and hay waste prevention :)

    1. Wow that sounds rough! I know the feeling. There's only so much we can do to keep them constantly foraging. I think this solution would work even better in the field than the stall, so definitely stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

  6. It's taken years of trial and error, but I've finally rigged a system for Val that works on all counts. Basketball hoop net feeder - easy to load - with a strap anchoring the bottom, mounted low out of hoof range, over top of a small heavy stock tank that catches leftovers and encourages head down eating.

    1. See, that's a good solution. If I had Connor at home and not stalled, I'd definitely look into something homemade like that.

  7. I'm also really curious about your review! I was using a large slow feed net for awhile but even though it was mounted low (Katai doesn't have shoes so I'm less worried about her getting caught) I didn't like that she always tilted her head the same way as she was eating. It didn't seem very ergonomic. Now she's just been eating off the floor but I'm curious about other options.

  8. I like the large openings in that design. Harley had a tough time with the Nibble Net. He has an over-bite, which made it very difficult for him to pull hay through the openings. It was also a bear to load.

  9. Hi Jen,
    Have you seen our Harmony Trickle Feeder - but before I go further, we are not in the US yet but are working hard to find distributors :) We recently completed a research study with the Royal Veterinary College in Scotland and the results are on our Facebook page.
    I work as a Vet Physio and was always concerned about the racehorses I worked on getting so little hay, being treated for ulcers and eating out of mangers up high in the corner of the stable, so came up with our Harmony Trickle Feeder design. It is the ONLY feeder that truly feeds at ground level and as shown in the research done, it does slow down eating meaning the horse has hay throughout the night also. There is also lots on information on our website http://harmonyfeeder.com/background.php and if you need more, we have a FAQ's sheet.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hey Michelle,
      Thanks for reaching out! That looks like a great product, and solves one of my problems with the Savvy Feeder, which is that my horse's teeth are being worn against the hard plastic of this and of his grazing muzzle (probably more his grazing muzzle if I had to guess, but the feeder is contributing as well).

      Wish this was in the US! I'd love to give this a shot. I'll keep my eyes out for when you get US distribution.

  10. Thanks Jen. We put a lot of thought and time into the design and materials. And exactly - we chose the rubber bars because of the damage that can be done by metal grids and haynets (https://www.facebook.com/mpevh/photos/a.635994449765800/1117395738292333/?type=3&theater). We are really looking forward to bringing our feeder to the US :)
    Thanks again,