There’s no doubting the value of high-quality hay as part of your horse’s diet — especially when viable pasture is at a premium because of extreme weather, such as prolonged drought conditions or multiple days of wind and rain. So finding the best hay bags for your stalls, pastures, or horse trailer mean less mess — and less waste — and more of the good stuff getting to your horse! That also means that you save money in the long run. A good hay bag or hay net also means that you can often control how much hay your equine eats at once, preventing him or her from gorging too quickly.
There’s no best hay bag for every situation, and horse owners may have different needs and preferences in terms of doling out hay to their beloved animals.
So what’s a good hay bag? I’m glad you asked. We’ve used several different types of hay bags over the years, and these are the ones we like, broken up into various categories:
Kensington Slow Feed Hay Bag
Designed to provide a natural way for your horses to feed, slowing down their hay intake and prevent hay waste. Slowing down consumption aids in digestion and improves overall health. Great for trailering or the stall.
- 1.5″ x 1.5″ poly nylon square holes
- Adjustable straps for ease in transport (2-Flake: one strap; 4-Flake: two straps)
- Holds two flakes of hay (a four-flake version is here)
Why-to-buy review: “These feeder bags have been the best bags with very little waste and horses take their time eating instead of rushing! Had mine for over 1.5 years and they have no rips.”
Weaver Leather Hay Bag
This Weaver Leather Hay Bag is easy to fill and features convenient snap closures. And there are lots of colors to pick from.
- Simply snap closed to minimize hay loss
- Features a round feed hole, an inner liner and a dee on the back for easy snap attachment
Why-to-buy review: “We purchased this hay bag for traveling and our horse loves it! It helps keep the hay contained without getting the trailer completely messy and keeps him entertained for us during trips. I highly recommend this bag for anyone who has had trouble finding a good, durable hay bag for your trailer. This bag works great in our horses stall as well.”
Tough-1 Mini Web Hay Feeder
The Tough1 feeder slows down your horse’s consumption and reduces wasted hay, while also being stronger than many slow-feeder nets on the market. The top plastic frame aids in loading hay, while the adjustable hanging strap has snaps at both ends to close the top of the bag. It includes a strap on the lower back to secure the bag to a stall or trailer to prevent spinning while horse is eating.
- Made from 1″ webbing with 2″ x 2″ openings to slow horse down while eating, creating less waste
- Plastic frame in webbing at top makes loading hay easy
- Adjustable hanging strap with snaps at both ends to close the top of the hay bag so horse can’t sneak hay from the top
Why-to-buy review: “Small enough to use in the trailer but large enough to hold a full flake of alfalfa hay from a 3-string bale. Wide mouth to load hay easily. Construction will last much longer than the normal hay bag.”
For Round Bales
Freedom Feeder 4-Foot Round Bale Hay Net
We didn’t always have great solutions for round bales, but this is an answer to that problem. These large five-sided cubes are generous in size and include a draw cord closure. All sizes are most often equal in measurements on all sides, but could vary slightly.
- Features 1 7/8″ mesh openings
- Also available in 5-foot and 6-foot sizes
Why-to-buy review: “Love it! Easy to pull the net over the hale and eliminates waste. Horses get to eat anytime they want but must eat daintily due to 2” holes so they do not overeat. Best feature — I don’t have to distribute hay twice daily, best time saver.”
Hay Hoops II Collapsible Wall Feeder With Net
The Collapsible Wall Hay Feeder mimics the natural feeding experience, encouraging slow feeding and helping reduce the likelihood of developing ulcers. It helps reduce such vices as cribbing, weaving, and pawing. And because it doesn’t have a frame that juts out of the wall, it takes up minimal space when only partially full or when empty.
- Very simple to use and easy to load
- Mounting low mimics natural grazing position
- Hammered finish
- Patent pending
- Includes net that easily slides onto frame
Why-to-buy review: “Always used conventional hanging hay nets. which have to taken down, filled and put back up. With the hoop you bring it down fill it up and put the hoop back up. No clips or knots to tie.”
Are hay bags good for horses?
There are a lot of reasons to use hay bags when feeding horses. Hay bags do a good job of minimizing waste, because the hay is collected in one spot and there’s usually only a minimal number of ways that a horse can access the food — thus, less spillage. That also limits how voraciously your horse can gorge on his or her food. Plus, keeping the hay lifted off the ground helps protect the hay from getting moldy as quickly, meaning less bacteria and other pathogens around that could impact the health of your animals.
The difference between hay nets and hay bags
The biggest difference is going to be the quantity of hay that the net or bag can hold. Hay nets often can hold more hay than a hay bag can — the difference being as much as a square bale to a full round bale in a net vs. only a few flakes of hay in a bag.
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