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Horse Colic Prevention: An Easy-Read

Horses are a big investment. Ranging from little ponies like the Falabella and American Miniature horse to the massive Shires and Percherons, horses can range in price from relatively affordable to extremely expensive. However, horses are more than an investment. They are our friends. In the words of Robert Smith Surtees, he quotes, “There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse.” Maybe you’ve grown up with horses that became a part of your family.

On a summer day in August of 1972, 15 horses were admitted to a university in the state of California. Of the 15 horses, 1 survived but only to die several months later of liver disease. The cause for the 14 deaths? A word all horse lovers can’t bear to hear: intestinal disease. A common intestinal condition is horse colic.

picture of colicky horse for horse colic prevention article

Photo Credit: Lodi Veterinary Care

Colic has taken the lives of hundreds of horses over the past couple of decades. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, over 4% of horses have at least one bout with colic. Out of that 4% that are diagnosed with colic, 11% will suffer and die from the condition. That’s why horse colic prevention is a popular topic that should be addressed sooner rather than later. 

With these sober statistics in mind, we’ll dive into an easy-to-read definition of what colic is, common causes, and methods for horse colic prevention. Let’s start with the basics.

What Is Horse Colic?

Horse colic is any abdominal pain that a horse may experience from possibly overeating, stress, an unhealthy diet, or a variety of other factors. To be clear, colic is a generalized term that refers to any pain within a horse’s abdomen; it is not a disease in itself. A horse may have only mild symptoms that can be treated effectively. In a worst-case scenario, your horse could suffer and die from a potential stomach rupture, for example.

According to the College of Veterinary Medicine, there are three main types of intestinal colic: gas colic, obstructive lesions, and functional obstructions. From there, horse colic branches into many different sub-categories. Again, horse colic prevention can only happen if colic is properly understood.

Intestinal Horse Colic TypesDescriptionResult
Gas ColicGas buildup in the intestine, the most common form of equine colicTypically easily treatable, usually a less dangerous form of horse colic
Obstructive LesionsThe intestine is twisted or obstructed, e.g. sand impaction, branches of obstructive lesions include strangulating & non-strangulatingDepending on whether the condition is strangulating or non-strangulating, treatment can range from mildly easy treatment to emergency surgery
Functional ObstructionsFood is not passing through the intestine, a form of functional obstruction is enteritis, Range from simple treatment to surgery

It’s best to be on top of horse colic prevention at all times; so, if your horse is experiencing symptoms of colic (which we’ll list later), talk to your veterinarian as quickly as possible. 

What Is The Most Common Cause Of Colic In Horses?

Obviously, a key to horse colic prevention is to understand what the common causes are. The most common cause of colic in horses is through impaction (obstruction) of the small intestine. Colic in horses could also result from excessive gas in the stomach or poor horse management (e.g. poor horse-feeding habits). All of these causes, and a whole host more, illustrate the fact that there are many causes for horse colic and that horse colic prevention is an extremely important topic. 

colicky horse for ways to prevent colic in horses article

Photo Credit: MAD BARN

Let’s take a deeper look at the most common cause of colic in horses: impaction of the small intestine. Here’s how this could happen:

Let’s say your horse eats an excessive amount of grain (high in sugar), which is a classic cause of horse colic. Keep this cause in mind when we think through ways to prevent colic in horses (we’ll talk about this later). Other horse issues that could cause colic include the following:

Anyway, back to our example: your horse ate too much grain. As the starch from the grain moves through the small intestine, it eventually reaches the hindgut of the horse. But, since there is too much starch to be digested and absorbed, some of the undigested starch may take up residence in the small intestine, causing a blockage within the intestinal tract. Obviously, this type of colic could have very serious consequences.

Another common cause is excessive gas, which can lead to a bloating of the horse’s stomach. In extreme cases, the stomach can even rupture, causing the horse to die. Preventing gas colic in horses is critical.

Equine colic prevention can also be furthered by recognizing mismanagement in feeding times. Sudden feed schedule changes or feeding your horse big meals, that are spaced out by several hours, are a couple of ways that mismanagement can manifest itself.

brown horse example for horse colic prevention

Photo Credit: Seriously Equestrian

Horse Colic Prevention Awareness: What Are The Symptoms?

There are many symptoms of colic in horses, that can range from mild to severe in nature. It’s important to recognize these symptoms for horse colic prevention. Here’s a table listing some of the common signs of colic divided by the severity of horse colic.

Mild Colic SymptomsExtreme Colic Symptoms
DullnessHorse rolling
Curling up the top lipDangerously throwing himself/herself
“Trying to pee” stanceSweating
Lying quietly (more than normal)Breathing rapidly
Eating habits changeInjury from out-of-control, dangerous rolling around
Kicking in an attempt to hit the abdomen
Looking back at flank
horse eating for preventing sand colic in horses article

What Foods Cause Colic In Horses?

Several foods that can cause colic in horses include large amounts of grain or other concentrated foods, low-forage diets, and low-quality hay.

So, the moral of the story is don’t feed your horse excessive amounts of grain or high-sugar/high-starch feeds.

What Are Ways To Prevent Colic In Horses?

Here’s the crux of the matter: we now know that horse colic prevention is an essential component of a horse’s health. So the question remains: how do you go about preventing horse colic, such as preventing gas colic or preventing sand colic in horses?

colicky horse for sand colic prevention article

Photo Credit: piavita

Sand colic occurs from ingesting too much sand. This could possibly result from living in a sandy area. It could also happen if your horse eats his hay from off the ground, and thereby, accidentally ingests sand while he’s eating.

Balanced Diet

starchy food for horses for horse colic prevention article

Photo Credit: Stable Management

This is probably the most crucial step in equine colic prevention. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar or starches like grain, for example, and replacing them with high fiber and high protein foods is a great step towards horse colic prevention.

Limiting Pasture Time

Grasses contain a component called nonstructural carbohydrates, which are essentially sugars, starches, or fructans. Typically, the nonstructural carbohydrate levels are much higher in grasses in the spring.

If your horse consumes a lot of grass that is high in nonstructural carbohydrates, he/she may not be able to absorb all of the sugars or starches, which could eventually lead to colic. 

Fresh Water

A constant supply of fresh water is another great method for horse colic prevention. Water aids in digestion, which is an integral ingredient in producing saliva and helps dilute or de-strengthen stomach acid. 

pony eating for preventing gas colic in horses article

Raised Horse Slow Feeders

Another extremely good method of horse colic prevention is to purchase a raised horse feeder. By keeping the hay off the ground, the chances of sand colic are greatly reduced. But a raised slow feeder could also help solve a bunch of other horse colic causes. We’ll talk more about this in the slow feeder example below.

Additionally, a horse can become stressed if meals are fed to him/her periodically. A horse may think that he needs to gorge himself with hay in the limited feeding time that you offer him. This can result in a stressed horse.

As we mentioned earlier, stress can also contribute to horse colic (also a symptom of laminitis in horses). Horse slow feeders take out the stress of periodic mealtimes since the horse has access to hay (slow-fed) 24/7.

We also mentioned that sand colic can be prevented with a raised horse slow feeder. Sand in the abdomen of a horse can result in pain, depression, diarrhea, and/or other consequences. Sand colic prevention is critical since sand can build up inside of a horse, often in the large colon. As a result, extreme discomfort and pain can afflict your horse. Preventing sand colic is important to understand, especially if you are currently ground-feeding your horses and/or live in a sandy area.

A raised slow feeder for your horses can be a great way to help prevent colic. Here’s a raised slow feeder example.

HF608SF by Farmco

A raised slow feeder, like the HF608SF raised slow feeder by Farmco, can help prevent horse colic, like sand colic. 

Plus, this feeder will keep hay waste to a minimum, which will save you a lot of money long-term. Typically, within 24 months, the HF608SF slow feeder pays for itself through hay savings.

exterior of farmco slow feeder for horse colic prevention

By keeping hay off the ground, a raised slow feeder can help a horse’s health by preventing sand colic. Here are a couple of other ways that a raised slow feeder could help prevent horse colic. Let’s review the common horse colic causes that we mentioned earlier:

The HF608SF feeder could help to reduce at least 4 of the 6 horse colic causes mentioned above. Let’s start from the top-down. 

Mold Exposure

This feeder reduces potential mold exposure by keeping the hay off the moist ground and by shielding bales of hay from the elements with a standard 29-gauge metal roof. Remember, bad-quality hay can also cause colic in horses. That’s why keeping your hay from mold exposure is critical.

Sudden Feed Schedule Changes

Secondly, the HF608SF raised slow feeder takes out sudden feed schedule changes. Slow feeding is the healthiest way to feed hay to horses. Instead of running the risk of having random mealtime schedule changes (which could potentially lead to horse colic), just let your horse simulate natural grazing habits with a raised slow feeder. To make the HF608SF feeder a “slow” feeder, net panels are placed over the hay to reduce hay consumption and promote horse health (seen in the photo below).

slow feeder net for horse colic prevention
Sand Intake

Thirdly, this feeder prevents sand colic in horses by keeping the hay off the ground. Sand colic prevention is important, and by keeping the hay off the ground and away from sandy patches of grass, the sand colic danger is greatly reduced.

Stress

Finally, a horse’s stress levels may potentially be reduced if your horses have constant access to hay via natural foraging behaviors with a raised slow feeder.

Here’s a table to summarize how an HF608SF raised slow feeder can help horse colic prevention.

Horse Colic CausesHow An HF608SF Could Help
Mold ExposureKeeps hay off ground from dew and ground moisture. Also protects hay from the elements with a metal roof over the hay.
Sudden Feed Schedule ChangesAllows horse to recreate natural grazing behaviors, 24/7 access to hay
Sand IntakeKeeps hay off ground and away from potential sandy grass patches
StressCan reduce horse stress levels by allowing your horse 24/7 access to hay via slow-feeding methods.

Other Horse Colic Prevention Methods

Here is a short list of other miscellaneous, but also important, equine colic prevention methods to be aware of:

Here’s a great article to learn more about horse colic prevention methods in the pasture. Or, check out this insightful article, which talks about other practical ways to prevent horse colic.

Do Probiotics Help Prevent Colic In Horses?

Yes, probiotics can help prevent colic in horses by improving gut health and digestion (poor gut health can result in horse colic).

horse near raised farmco slow feeder for equine colic prevention

Wrapping Everything Up

Here’s the deal: unnatural horse deaths are most often a result of colic. Consequently, horse colic prevention is an extremely important topic. That’s why we hope this article helped you to understand the topic of horse colic prevention better and give you an idea of how to prevent it.

If you’re interested in learning more about our HF608SF raised slow feeders, just click the button below! And, as always, contact us if you have any questions!

We hope your horses stay happy and well!

Horse Slow Feeders: Ultimate Guide

What is a horse slow feeder? Are slow feeders good for horses? What are the best slow feeders for horses? Are you asking these same questions? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This article is dedicated to answering these common questions and many more to give you a better understanding of horse slow feeders. We also have another article that talks about the top 10 best slow feeders for horses. Horse slow feeders are a product that has revolutionized the horse feeding industry since it takes equine technology/research and produces a product that not only simulates a horse’s natural foraging behavior but also dramatically keeps hay waste at bay. However, there are certain dangers involved with horse slow feeders, like horse dental problems or unnatural feeding positions, which we’ll all talk about later. So hang tight, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover! We’ll start at the bottom.

exterior of horse slow feeder for sale

What Is A Horse Slow Feeder?

Basically, a horse slow feeder is a device that allows your horse to eat slowly and consistently by covering the hay with a net, polyester net panels, etc. Horse slow feeders include metal crates that can hold hay, nets that can be wrapped around large round or square bales of hay, and many others. Slow feed hay feeders basically allow for a horse to consume hay, for longer periods of time while at the same time, keeping hay waste to a bare minimum. To summarize, a horse slow feeder is a way to slow down a horse’s food consumption, better simulating a horse’s constant foraging behavior. A raised slow feeder can even aid horse colic prevention as well.

Do Slow Feeders Work For Horses?

The obvious answer is yes, slow feeders do work for horses. We’ll explain this more fully as we continue. 

exterior of skid placing square bale in an equine slow feeder for sale

Are Slow Feeders Good For Horses?

This question can go both ways, but here’s a quick spoil alert: yes, slow feeders are generally good for horses; however, there are some slow feeder cautions that you should be aware of. 

Why Slow Feeders Are Good For Horses

We’ll start off with some reasons why horse slow feeders are a great idea and then give you some cautions relating to slow feed hay feeders. But, we’ll just say upfront, the benefits of horse slow feeders far outweigh the dangers or cautions. 

1. Natural Feeding Behaviour

This is a huge benefit. Horses in their natural environment will often graze huge swaths of pasture for many hours each day. However, a domesticated horse nowadays often remains trapped in a stall with periodic meals each day. Of course, this goes against feeding patterns that are natural to a horse, which can result in serious consequences, which we’ll talk about later. 

two horses feeding on hay under an equine feeder for sale

Photo Credit: When It Clicks

Horse slow feeders solve this dilemma: they allow a horse to nibble potentially 24/7 or whenever they want to, which is much more natural. This results in good digestion for your horse and an overall more-relaxed horse. 

2. Boredom Solver

Does your horse struggle with boredom? What better way to keep him occupied than to have him nibbling on hay. A bored horse can be a dangerous horse, and a hay slow feeder helps solve the boredom problem. 

3. Anxiety Reliever

Like many creatures, horses can struggle with anxiety, which can directly affect their overall health and well-being. Only allowing a horse to eat at certain times can actually cause stress and anxiety for your horse as they may feel like they have to cram in a lot of food at those mealtimes. Periodic mealtimes for your horse can result in gastric ulcer syndrome, crib biting, weaving, or stall walking.

As an alternative, a slow-feed hay feeder will allow for them to continuously eat throughout the day, whenever they want without the fear of overeating, since your horses are only nibbling on small amounts of food at a time. 

There are plenty of other ways why a slow feeder is great for your horses; if you want to read more about them, this article is another great resource. 

Some Cautions…

There are generally some cautions to all great ideas or technological advances. So, here are a couple of dangers that you should be aware of before purchasing an equine slow feeder. 

1. Metal Or Steel Grates

exterior of metal horse slow feeder

Photo Credit: Listen to Your Horse

Metal slow feeder mesh or steel grates around the hay can cause dental issues for your horse. For more information on what kinds of slow feeders are or are not beneficial to your horse’s dental wellbeing, check out this article

2. Feeding Posture

Although haynets are great hay slow feeders, they can be a detriment if placed too high or too low on the fence, post, or what have you. If the slow feed hay feeder net is placed too high, it could possibly negatively affect your horse’s posture since horses do not naturally graze with their heads reaching upwards. This posture could also negatively affect your horse’s respiratory health.

3. Safety Cautions

When it comes to horse slow feeders, haynets seem to pose most of the dangers.

One caution to consider is to keep the haynet well off the ground. If the haynet is too close to the ground, your horse may get its leg or horseshoe caught in the net, resulting in a broken leg ripped-off horseshoe.

If you want to learn more about some hay slow feeder concerns, browse this article.

We’ll sum up our scribblings about why slow feeders are good for horses here in this table:

Horse Slow Feeder BenefitsHorse Slow Feeder Cautions
Promotes Natural Feeding BehaviourDental Concerns
Boredom SolverEquine Posture
Anxiety RelieverEquine Personal Safety

It’s safe to say that the pros far outweigh the cons. What’s more is if you are concerned for your horse’s wellbeing (as you should), Farmco’s or many other heavy-duty horse slow feeders wipe out most of these concerns in the first place.

What Are The Best Horse Slow Feeders?

An excellent question! We’ll list 3 that we think are some of the best equine slow feeders on the market. For a more in-depth study on some of the top hay feeders in the equine industry, read this great resource.

HF608SF Horse Slow Feeder

Cutting hay waste to almost zero, the HF608SF horse slow feeder is one of Farmco’s most popular equine slow feeder models. The SF series can accommodate groups of up to 8-10 horses. At the same time, this model allows the feeding of entire large round or large square bales, drastically reducing labor.

exterior of large SF horse slow feeder for sale

Using an efficient net panel design, the loading-to-feeding process is really simple – once the bale is loaded, the panels lay down against it so your horses can begin their meal. The net panel comes standard with 2-½” holes.

What’s more, is that the hay is protected from the elements overhead with a 29-gauge metal roof.

Below is an overview of what sets the HF608SF horse slow feeder apart from other feeders.

Texas Haynet

The Texas Haynet is super simple to use and is also much more affordable and economical than the HF608SF. Manufactured from a knotted nylon mesh, this horse hay feeder is simply a net bag with a drawstring/cinch at one end. This allows the hay net to be used as a standalone feeder or to modify other feeders, such as bale rings or hay rack feeders.

haynet for hay slow feeders for sale
Photo Credit: TEXAS HAYNET

round bale with haynet hay slow feeder for sale
Photo Credit: TEXAS HAYNET


What’s more, is that they are available in standard and heavy-gauge configurations. Netting hole sizes can also be selected, with 1.75”, 2.5”, and 3” options to choose from.

Superior Horse Hay Slow Feeder by Derby Originals

exterior of green bag horse slow feeder for sale

Photo Credit: DERBY ORIGINALS

Derby Hay Originals came up with the 4-sided hay bag concept that is deemed to be one of the best slow feed hay bags for horses. It comes reinforced with nylon webbing and 1.75” square holes. Ideally used for 1 to 2 horses at a time, these equine feeders use flakes of hay to feed your horse.

Here’s a quick table to sum up some of the best horse slow feeders in the industry. 

FeederHF608SF by FarmcoHeavy Gauge Round Bale Hay Net by Texas HaynetSuperior Slow Feeder Horse Hay Bag by Derby Originals
TypeCovered Steel FeederHay NetHay Net Bag (Individual)
Bale SizeLarge RoundLarge Round or Large SquareFlakes
Feeding LocationOutdoorOutdoorIndoor/Outdoor
Material(s)Painted Steel, Woven PolyesterKnotted Nylon MeshReinforced Nylon Webbing
Prosslow feed functionality, simple to useSlow feed functionality, simple to useSlow feed functionality, affordable
ConsExpensiveHay is sitting on the groundRequires frequent refills, difficult to close

How Do You Make A Horse Slow Feeder?

There are a bunch of simple ways to make a slow feed hay feeder. Here’s a quick list of ideas on how to make a field slow hay feeder for your horses.

1. Plastic Container Or Wooden Box

Using a plastic or wooden container, simply place the hay in a net and secure it to the container. Here’s a video that shows how this is done. 

Another way would be to place the hay in a wooden box and lay a mesh or flexible material over the top of the hay. Then, make sure to fluff the hay and place some fresh hay on top in order to invite the horses. If you’re interested in this route, see this video.

2. Plastic Trash Can

This is another way to DIY an equine slow feeder. Simply cut out a large opening in the bottom of the side of a large trash can. Secure a mesh over the opening. Secure the trash can to the fence or a post. Fill it with hay and let your horses “chow down”! 

Are Slow Feed Haynets Good For Horses?

Since a haynet is a type of slow feeder, yes, slow feed haynets are good for horses by nature (we described the pros of slow feeders above). In sum, they cause less hay waste and are simple to use. However, here are some reasons why slow feed haynets may not be a good method of horse slow feeding:

horses ground feeding hay for field hay feeders for horses

Photo Credit: EQUUS PRIME

Should Horses Be Fed On The Ground?

Our quick answer is no, horses should not be fed on the ground due to hay waste, horse overeating, and other reasons. For more information on this question, read this article

Do Haynets Hurt Horses’ Teeth?

The quick answer is no, most haynets do not hurt a horse’s teeth. However, horse slow feeders with metal grates to cover the hay have been known to cause equine dental issues. This article is a great resource to learn more about whether horse slow feeders are bad for a horse’s teeth. 

How To Make A Horse Slow Feeder Bucket?

Making a horse slow feeder from a bucket is really simple and relatively affordable. Here’s a video on how someone took a trash can and converted it into a horse slow feeder. 

exterior of farmco hay slow feeder for sale

How Much Do Horse Slow Feeders Cost?

Since there is plenty of horse slow feeder options out there, we’ll give you a couple of general cost ideas so that you can get a rough idea of what to expect to pay for a horse slow feeder.

To start off, here’s a list of how much some horse slow feeders cost.

Horse Slow Feeder TypeCost
HF608SF by Farmco$$$$$
HF45H by Farmco$$$$
Heavy Gauge Round Bale Hay Net by Texas Haynet$$$
Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder Toy by Equi-Essentials$$
Superior Slow Feeder Horse Hay Bag by Derby Originals$

For direct pricing of the individual feeders, simply click the hyperlinked feeders above.

Although the Farmco feeders are more expensive, the HF608SF horse slow feeder, for example, is a Farmco feeder that generally pays itself off in hay savings in the first couple of years. That means that if you purchase a heavy-duty, top-quality HF608SF field hay feeder for your horses right now, 3-5 years from now, that investment will probably have paid itself off in hay savings.

On top of all that, a Farmco feeder could even help prevent symptoms of laminitis in horses as well.

All in all, we hope this section gives you a general idea of the costs involved with a horse slow feeder investment.

exterior of green horse slow feeder for sale

Wrapping Things Up…

After all of this information, we hope that you have a better idea of what a horse slow feeder can do for you. If you have any questions about any of our products, just let us know! We admit we’re biased toward our products, but, in reality, our products are actually made from top-quality materials that will allow your horse feeder to serve you for years to come! If you’re interested in purchasing a Farmco horse slow feeder, you can also request a free quote here. Well, that’s all for now, happy horse-slow-feeder hunting!

Metal Hay Feeders: The 2022 Guide

With all the different horse feeding options in the market, it’s difficult to decide on which product will best work on your farm for your livestock. There are horse hay nets, ground-feeding (and the controversy of whether this is a form of hay waste), slow feeding, hay racks, and more. The question is which method will work best for your horse?

Among the different feeding methods, there are also different materials used for the feeders such as metal, plastic, etc. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about metal hay feeders for horses, including some horse-feeder-related questions. We’ll also discuss several different types of metal hay feeders, including slow feeders, bale rings, and more. As a side note, we also compiled a list of the top 10 best horse slow feeders out there in more detail. Let’s start with a couple of questions.

608SF slow feeder metal hay feeder for sale with updated logo

How Tall Should A Horse Feeder Be?

This depends on what you mean by a horse feeder. Horse hay feeders range from a hay net or hay rack to bale rings or slow feeders.

When discussing hay nets, 4 ½’-5’ should be the range for how high to place a hay net. You don’t want the net too high or too low. If the hay net is too low, there is always the risk of your horse getting its leg caught in the hay net. This is where it can become extremely dangerous for your horse, hence the raised hay net.

However, on the other hand, it’s probably not the best idea to have the hay net drastically higher than 4 ½’-5’ because this can change your horse’s eating posture. Although this may not be very unhealthy for your horse, it is at minimum, an unnatural eating posture for your horse to be straining its head to eat grain.

When talking about how high to place a hay rack, it would probably fall under the same height category as a hay net.

Using a metal horse feeder or ground feeding is probably the best solution for your horse’s posture because horses naturally graze with their heads lowered. Having their heads lowered also helps protect your horses from respiratory illnesses.

exterior of man doing construction for metal hay feeder for sale article

Photo Credit: William Wendling on Unsplash

How Do You Make A Horse Feeder?

The answer to this question depends on what kind of horse feeder you want to create. A horse feeder can be as simple as having cutouts in a trash can and placing hay inside the trash can.

One way to make a simple, durable horse feeder is to create a wooden corner feeder. Pet Keen says that this can be done by using the corner of your horse stall. All you need to do is measure some 2x4s, which you will then screw into the walls to form a corner triangle. Then fill up that corner box with hay.

Another way to build a horse feeder, that Pet Keen suggests, is to just create a box out of scrap pieces of wood and fill it up with hay. All you would need is a couple of hours and some basic tools; soon, you’d have your own homemade wooden horse feeder.

A more durable DIY horse feeder is to construct a metal horse feeder. Of course, this would take time and require welding experience but, if you’re a guru for welding, this is a way to create a durable and quality horse feeder. If you have some basic welding experience, building a metal horse feeder probably wouldn’t be too difficult; however, if you do not have welding experience and still want to DIY a horse feeder made out of metal, check out this video to learn more!

green 606H nice metal horse feeder for sale

How Much Does A Metal Horse Feeder Cost?

A metal horse feeder can vary in cost due to size, style, shipping, and other factors. However, we’ll give a couple of price estimates for some of Farmco’s metal hay feeders for horses, which will hopefully give you an idea for how much to pay for a metal horse feeder. Our metal horse feeders starting costs start roughly between $1,000-$5,000. Here’s a quick table of some of our metal hay feeders for horses and their approximate starting costs.

StylePrice
Small Animal Feeder$900
12-Horse Covered Hay Feeder$4,000
Slow-Feed Covered Hay Feeder$4,600

If you would like to browse more of our metal horse feeders and their prices, feel free to view our Horse Feeders page.

Different Metal Hay Feeder Styles

There are plenty of different types of metal hay feeders including bale rings, slow feeders, and more. Here are a couple of different types of horse feeders that are made from metal.

Square Bale Feeder

green metal hay feeder for sale with updated logo

The square bale feeder is an affordable feeder style that allows you to efficiently feed your horse’s square bales of hay. We offer square bale feeders that also come with a bunk-style grain pan underneath. This not only allows for grain to be placed underneath the square bales of hay, but the grain pan also catches any hay that may have fallen from the metal hay rack above. This results in less wasted hay, which saves you money.

Bale Ring

exterior of horses and excellent quality metal hay feeder for sale at PA

The bale ring may well be the most common horse bale feeder design in existence. It’s difficult to think of a simpler round bale feeder for horses in the pasture. This is a classic horse feeder design that will allow for several of your horses to eat simultaneously.

12-Horse Covered Hay Feeders

As their name implies, covered metal hay feeders provide additional overhead cover so that the hay does not get wet and hay waste is kept at a minimum. Keeping large bales of hay dry is essential. If a large bale gets wet, there’s the potential for dangerous mold growth. As a horse lover, that’s not a health risk that you want to take with your horses.

green 610H metal hay feeder for sale with updated logo

For example, we offer a 12-Horse Covered Metal Hay feeder. With hay protection in mind, we build our covered metal horse feeders with a 29-gauge galvanized steel roof that includes overhangs to keep everything nice and dry.

“Slow-Feed” Covered Hay Feeder

Slow feeding is the healthiest way to feed hay to your horses. By recreating natural grazing habits, slow feeding provides a steady stream of fibrous nutrition, critical for maintaining the health of equine digestive tracts. Plus, the right metal slow hay feeder for horses can reduce feed costs drastically by cutting hay waste to almost zero.

608SF green metal hay feeder with updated logo

Farmco provides metal slow hay feeders for horses that can handle groups of up to 8-10 horses. These slow hay feeders allow the feeding of entire large round and large square bales, drastically reducing labor. Our slow hay feeders utilize a creative net panel design to make the transition from loading to feeding as simple as possible – once the bale is loaded, the panels lay down against it so your horses can begin their meal. These net panels are designed to reduce hay consumption and promote horse health. If you’re interested, you can read more about horse slow feeders in this article. Oh, and this feeder could help horse colic prevention!

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more, you can check out our horse feeder page to see our many different sizes and styles of metal hay feeders!

In Conclusion

We understand that as a farmer, you want a good return on your investment. A metal hay feeder for your horse does just that. Whether you purchase an economical square bale feeder or a covered metal hay feeder, you’re sure to receive a great return on your investment. If you have any questions or concerns, just contact us! We’d be happy to answer any of your questions! As a side note, we also have a great article on bunk feeders for cattle. We also have a dealer network all across the United States; so, if you find yourself near a Farmco dealer, feel free to stop by!

Horse Overeating: 5 Answers To 5 Q's

As you gaze out of your kitchen window, you see your horse grazing on a hay bale in the pasture. Fast forward 7 hours, and your horse is still licking his chops, ready to eat another morsel of hay. You begin to wonder if your horse is over-eating. What do you do? Can your horse eat all day? Does a horse overeat? What do I do if my horse overeats? How can I prevent my horse from overeating? Don’t worry, we’ll answer some of these questions in this write-up. Horse overeating should be taken seriously; that’s what this article is all about.

exterior of brown horse eating hay for horse overeating article

Photo Credit: Unsplash: Chris Robert

How Do You Know When A Horse Is Hungry?

In some ways, this is a rhetorical question. A horse rarely ever is filled with grub, and he’ll constantly be eating. The feeding behavior of horses usually consists of eating most of the day; basically, you know that a horse is hungry when they are alive and healthy. However, that does not give reason to feed your horse whatever, whenever. Horses should be given a healthy diet and not just gorge on grain, for example, as too much grain may cause digestion problems or even a ruptured stomach from horse colic. If you’re interested, we’ve got a whole article dedicated to horse colic prevention!

To more specifically answer this question, however, helpfulhyena has some insightful comments on horse feeding behavior when they are hungry. According to helpfulhyena, a horse’s feeding behavior when hungry will be restlessness, slowness, and fatigue, among other things.

Should Horses Have Hay All The Time?

Although there are varying opinions and concerns on both sides, it is probably acceptable for a horse to have access to hay all day. With that said, different horses have different dietary needs. So, depending on your horse, it may or may not be a good idea to give them hay availability all day. It is imperative that your horse receive a nutritionally balanced diet that suits their needs every day.

exterior of several horses eating hay for horse overeating article

Photo Credit: FeedXL

Can You Give A Horse Too Much Hay?

Yes, you can give a horse too much hay. Horse overeating is, unfortunately, a circumstance that has taken the lives of horses in the past. One factor that may cause a horse’s feeding behavior to tend toward gluttony is if your horse is bored. Sometimes a horse may just feel like being greedy and eat way more than necessary. According to Extension Horses, control over food consumption is not something that a horse can do. However, this is a question that is fairly controversial.

One thing is for certain: a horse can definitely eat too much grain. Grain is an excellent way for horses to receive the nutrients they need. However, if a horse consumes too much grain, there can be serious repercussions that can potentially be fatal. If a horse overfeeds on grain, some of the repercussions may include upset digestion, laminitis, diarrhea, and colic.

Laminitis

Laminitis basically is an infection of tissue found near the hoof of a horse. It results in extreme pain for the horse and owners may have to end up euthanizing their horse. Basically, laminitis is when the coffin bone (a bone near a horse’s hoof) has a severed connection from the hoof wall. You could read more about the symptoms of laminitis in horses here.

Colic

Colic is a fairly common disease that horses suffer from. It is a pain that occurs in the stomach of the horse. It can result from a stoppage of the blood in the intestine or a dietary change, among other things.

exterior of horse eating from feeder for horse overeating grain article

How Do I Treat A Horse Who Has Overeaten?

Although a horse overeating is not necessarily a situation you want to be in, there are things that you can do to treat the problem.

If your horse has eaten too much hay, the repercussions will probably not be too serious. As we mentioned, a typical horse’s feeding behavior is to be consuming food for a lot of the day anyway. One thing to keep in mind is to not suddenly starve your horse out of panic after you think that your horse has consumed too much hay. Withholding hay from your horse may actually result in a more serious problem for your horse. If you are still very concerned about your horse, call your local veterinarian. 

A horse overeating on grain is another story. If a horse overeats on grain, there are a couple of general steps to follow.

  1. Have water available for the horse to drink and take the horse away from the grain.
  2. Call or visit your nearest veterinarian. 
  3. For the next several days, soak your horse’s hooves in ice water, which can help prevent inflammation, which, in turn, can prevent laminitis, an inflammation of tissue found in the hoof of a horse.
  4. Assess how much grain was eaten and write down the details of what happened for your vet to assess.
exterior of horse enclosed in fence eating from feeder for horse overeating article

How Do I Prevent My Horse From Overeating?

There are a couple different ways to prevent your horse from overeating. We’ll talk about two ways.

Haynet

A haynet is a great way to keep your horse from overeating. It not only helps prevent your horse from overeating, but also helps to prevent hay waste.

exterior of horses eating hay from a haynet for horse overeating article

Photo Credit: Texas Haynet

If you would like to learn more about why a hay net is a great solution, this article is a great resource.

The Farmco “SF” Horse Feeder Series

The Farmco “Slow Feed” Covered Hay Feeder” is a high-quality slow feeder that pays for itself with hay savings, usually within 24 months.

exterior of green slow feeder for feeding behaviour of horses article

Slow feeding is the healthiest way to feed hay to horses. By recreating natural grazing habits, slow feeding provides a steady stream of fibrous nutrition, critical for maintaining the health of equine digestive tracts. Plus, the right horse slow hay feeder can reduce feed costs drastically by cutting hay waste to almost zero. If you’re interested in learning more about great slow feeders, check out our top 10 list of best slow feeders for horses.

Farmco designs hay feeders that can handle groups of up to 8-10 horses. These slow hay feeders allow the feeding of entire large round or large square bales, drastically reducing labor. 

exterior of quality farmco green slow hay feeder for horse feeding behaviour article

Each feeder is built with reinforced heavy-duty 12 gauge steel and coated with a two-part polyurethane paint in Hunter Green. If you’re interested, you can also read about Farmco’s standard slow hay feeder standard features. Speaking of metal hay feeders, this article will help you understand metal horse feeders a bit more.

If you’re interested, we also have an article on the best hay feeders for horses.

exterior of feeder and hay for horse overeating article

Conclusion

We hope this was able to answer some of your questions about horse feeding behavior, including when horses overeat on grain. Like we said, when a horse overeats, it’s no joke. So, we hope we were able to give you some ideas on how to prevent this occurrence from happening! Feel free to click the button below if you would like to request a quote on a slow-feed horse feeder.

It’s that time of year again…National Farmers Day! It’s a chance for us to collectively take a step back and specifically thank all of the farmers who work so hard each day to feed the world.

Thank you…

…for all the early mornings and late nights.

…for all those cold winter mornings feeding and milking.

…for all those hot summer days baling hay.

…for all those dusty fall harvest days.

…for all the hard work that makes it so easy for the rest of us.

FROM THE BOTTOMS OF OUR HEARTS, THANK YOU, FARMERS – The team at Farmco

Thank You Farmers! | #NationalFarmersDay

4 Livestock Feed Storage Ideas You Can Try Today

Your grain or other livestock feed is crucial to keeping your animals healthy during the winter — unfortunately, the animals in your herd aren’t the only ones who want a taste. Rodents and vermin like to turn your animal feed into a free buffet whenever they get the chance.  Plus, the wintertime water and resulting mold can play a part in ruining the livestock feed you’re storing as well.

If you want to fight back against mold and pests, you need to check out these 4 livestock feed storage ideas. Some are DIY work-arounds you can try out — and others are long-term investments. Learn 4 ways to keep your feed and grains safe!

Grain Storage Ideas & Solutions

diy storage

If you leave your feed in the plastic bags it comes in, rodents will chew right through them before you can say Mickey Mouse. Not only do vermin like to eat your feed, but they also pollute it with their feces. In fact, wasted and ruined feed is one of the biggest and most-preventable ways that farmers lose money.

Grain storage is your investment to prevent that loss. Your ideal livestock feed storage solution needs to be stronger than vermin, protected from the rain, and easy to transport and use.

Learn more about how vermin and mold destroy cattle feed.

Some large farms employ multiple 30-ton or 50-ton stationary grain bins. While that massive equipment works for them, it’s not right for most farmers since it is too large, too expensive, and not mobile. Let’s take a look at some innovative grain storage solutions instead:

Farmco Manufacturing – Building Solutions to Help Farmers

Farmco builds livestock feed storage bins with the same precise manufacturing and experienced engineering we use to build our horse and cattle feeders. No matter what Farmco product you buy, you can feel confident it was constructed to resist rust and stand up to the elements – and vermin. We build all of our products to solve real problems that farmers face every day. Learn more about how the Farmco line can help you save time today. Speaking of livestock feed, if you want to learn more about hay, feel free to read our article on square hay bales.

If you’re finished trying to make do with impromptu livestock feed storage, it’s time to upgrade to a Farmco grain bin. Contact us to get your grain bin quote today.

How To Find The Right Horse Feeder For You

If you’re a horse farmer or equestrian enthusiast, you love raising horses because you love riding. Chances are, doing the farm chores like feeding or cleaning up after the horses doesn’t top your list of favorite activities.

The right equipment exists to make your job easier, no matter what that job is. Finding the right horse feeder can help you spend less time doing chores and more time working with the horses themselves. Just like we show you how to find the right cattle feeder, we want to help you find the ideal horse feeder for your farm.

Read our latest blog and learn more about some of our popular lines of horse feeders.

3 Farmco Horse Feeders

Here are 3 horse feeders that include different features, meant to serve a different number of animals. See your options when shopping for a Farmco horse feeder.

Learn More about Farmco Horse Feeders

Are one of these horse feeders a perfect match for your farm or stable? Whether you want to get more information or place your order, we can help.  Farmco sells our feeders online and in-person through our dedicated dealer network. Of course, we hope you put actual feed in your feeder for your horse😀. If you’re interested in learning more about metal hay feeders, our “Metal Hay Feeders: A Practical Guide” is a great resource. If you’re interested in reading about hay bales, feel free to read our article on square hay bales. Speaking of feeding horses, do you think your horses can overeat?

Horse feeders also discourage horses from peeing on their hay. Feel free to learn more about how horse feeders reduce hay waste.

Contact us to learn more about our horse feeders and to get your free quote.

7 Horse Boredom Busters You Can Try Today

Whether on pasture or in their stall, preventing horse boredom is important. Horses that are bored can become depressed and even develop negative behaviors. That’s nothing a little care and a little ingenuity can’t solve.

At Farmco, we’re a resource for stables and equine enthusiasts. That’s why we’re presenting our list of horse boredom busters — some are tips to try and others are equine products to invest in.

Our Recommended Horse Boredom Breakers

If you raise or board horses, you know there will always be periods of downtime. You can’t be riding or turning out horses 24/7 — it just isn’t possible. That’s why having methods to entertain horses during these times is so crucial.

Every horse is different, and as a result, they’ll respond to these boredom busters differently. We recommend trying a few of these ideas and seeing how your horse or horses respond.

The Farmco 608SF Slow Feed Horse Feeder

At Farmco Manufacturing we build equipment that solves problems for real farmers and horse enthusiasts. We developed our 608SF Slow Feed Horse Feeder for this very reason.

Not only is the Farmco slow feed horse feeder a way to keep your horses entertained on pasture, but it provides a variety of other benefits to horse enthusiasts.

Learn more about how the Farmco 6608 Slow Feed Horse Feeder solved a problem for Farmco’s most famous fan!

Bring the Farmco Advantage to Your Horse Farm

In addition to our popular 608SF, Farmco builds a wide variety of equipment to help horse farmers and equine enthusiasts.

Farmco feeders can be found all across the country as we sell our products online and through our dealer network. If you want to learn more about the advantages of Farmco feeders or want to get your quote, contact us today!

Why Ground Feeding Is Bad For Horses, Cows & Farmers

While most savvy farmers know that ground feeding is an outdated method, some still hold onto this old tradition—and that’s a bad thing. Some classic farming traditions have unfortunately stuck around.

Still common among both cow farmers and equine enthusiasts, ground feeding is actually counterproductive, as it wastes hay (and money) and exposes both types of animals to entirely preventable parasites.

At Farmco, we build the world’s best cow and horse feeders, so we know the difference a sturdy feeder can make for your herd. It’s one of our missions to educate all types of farmers about the waste and the danger caused by ground feeding hay to your animals.

Why Do Some Farmers Still Ground Feed?

There isn’t just one answer for this question. From what we’ve heard talking to real farmers, it comes down to four things:

hay horse

How Ground Feeding Wastes Hay

Some farmers say that ground feeding is the most natural way to feed animals. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best way.

Here are the most common ways we see ground feeding waste hay:

cattle ruining hay

As a 21st century farmer — whether it’s your job or hobby — you need to find ways to save money wherever possible.  Hay and other feed isn’t cheap. This is no place to let superstitions and old habits undercut your bottom line.

How Much Can Ground Feeding Waste Cost You?

Numerous agricultural studies show that ground feeding wastes approximately 50% of feed placed on the ground. That 50% holds true for both horses and cattle.

Essentially, you need to buy 2 bales for every 1 bale you feed to your herd or your horses. That wasted hay (and money) adds up.

Need some good news? Our top-of-the-line feeders are specifically designed to prevent feed waste.

Parasites from Ground Feeding

One other way that ground feeding nickels and dimes the average farmer is through the added exposure to parasites. Ground feeding increases the risk of internal parasites for both horses and cows.

When animals eat directly off the ground, they are at risk to consume parasite larva or eggs along with their feed. Young calves, in particular, are susceptible to parasites.

Consistently having to deworm your horses or your herd is an added expense — the more animals you have, the more expensive it becomes.

Find the Feeder That’s Right for Your Farm

Ground feeding is an outdated practice that will waste your money every year until you make an upgrade.

Plus, horses will often pee on hay that is left on the ground in their stall. If you want to learn more about why horses pee on their hay, click here.

While nearly ANY slow feeder on the market is an improvement over ground feeding, you want to make a good investment and get your money’s worth. Besides assessing whether a feeder will save hay, it’s important to also consider whether your preferred slow feeder will protect your horse’s teeth. Not only does Farmco build the sturdiest feeders on the market, but we also build the smartest feeders specifically designed to prevent feed waste and protect your animals from colic or symptoms of laminitis in horses.

Start the conversation and find the perfect feeder for your farm.

6 Ways to Keep Show Horses Happy & Healthy

Your horses are your pride and joy — especially if you plan to show them. However for your horses to do well, they need to be well-trained and in good condition. Keeping your show horses happy and healthy is a major factor in ensuring your horses are in winning condition.

We’ve been building horse feeders since 1985 for — and with — equine enthusiasts. These are the best strategies we’ve learned to keep your show horses happy and healthy.

6 Strategies for Happy & Healthy Horses

1. Give Them a Satisfying Routine

horse riding routine

Like many people, horses thrive on routine and structure. Turning your horses out to pasture at the same time every day (weather permitting) keeps them feeling satisfied and helps them to trust you. Along the same lines, when hacking your horse, walk them along familiar trails and paths to keep them happy and comfortable.

2. Prevent Parasites & Don’t Overuse Deworming Medicine

Parasites are a common health problem in horses, and some equine enthusiasts combat this by administering frequent, preventative deworming. It’s true that parasites are responsible for a variety of health problems in horses such as respiratory diseases, liver damage, and even permanent paralysis.

However, some horse farmers double down on the cure, overusing deworming medicine. This can actually lead some horses to develop medicine-resistant parasites.

Instead, consider having your horse spend more time on dry lots or semi-dry lots. This prevents the horses from ground feeding and grazing, which is a major cause of parasites. Plus, if you have horses, you know that the dry lot gives them fantastic traction for running.

3. Let Them Breathe Easy — Protect Your Horse’s Respiratory Health

healthy show horse

Horses are susceptible to respiratory illnesses, like COPD, which limit their lung capacity. This can make running or hacking very laborious for your horse.

Mold exposure is one of the most common causes for horse respiratory issues. Horses are exposed to mold in two ways:

Keep your horse’s health in the forefront and inspect their stable for the obvious signs of mold.

4. Schedule a Professional Equine Massage from Time to Time

Chances are you know the basics of equine massage yourself. In fact, you likely incorporate many techniques of equine massage into your brushing and grooming care routine.

However, a professional can provide more advanced techniques to promote horse health and mobility.

5. Prepare Them for Time around Other Animals

dog with horse

Historically, horses have been prey animals and as a result have developed fear responses to many unknown stimulus, including other animals.

While not every horse is the same, most horses tend to be afraid of dogs, pigs, and goats.

As a result, many horse-only shows mandate that visitors leave pets and other animals at home. However, if you’re planning to show your horse around other animals, you need to be prepared.

One of the best methods to desensitize horses to the smells and sounds of other animals is to pasture them alongside other animals for brief periods of time.

6. Keep Horses from Becoming Overweight or Obese

Weight and diet are one of the biggest factors that undermine a horse’s health. Overweight and obese horses suffer from muscular-skeletal problems and even diabetes.

As any horse enthusiast knows, limiting a horse’s food intake is practically a full-time job. If given free access to food, any horse will eat itself into a state of obesity.

Since horse obesity is one of the biggest problems faced by horse owners and horse farmers, Farmco developed the SF Series Slow Feed Horse Feeder — designed to allow your horse to eat only what it needs.

A Hay Feeder Designed to Prevent Horse Obesity

The Farmco 608SF Slow Feed Horse Feeder is the only covered large bale slow feeder on the market designed to ensure a horse eats a healthy amount of hay.

We know what you’re thinking: Nobody can stop my horse from eating. How can your feeder do that?

slow hay feeder for horses 1

The Slow Feed Horse Feeder accomplishes this thanks to the unique slow feed net panels. The polyester net around the hay bale protects the horse’s teeth and limits the amount of hay a horse can eat in a single bite, allowing them to eat all day, without overeating.  The 2.5-inch net panel opening is designed to allow a horse to eat 1 to 1.5 pounds of hay per hour — the precise amount of hay experts recommend.

Using a covered feeder like the Farmco 608SF keeps hay dry, preventing dangerous mold from developing.

In addition, this advanced horse slow feeder also cuts your hay costs. The protective netting allows horses to eat as much as they want, yet it doesn’t allow them to pull their hay out of the feeder and ruin it. Your horses can have all the feed they need — but they can’t ruin it.

As is the case with ALL Farmco products, we make sure the feeder is safe for your animals. We ensure there are no sharp corners, only rounded edges. In addition, we design our feeders to be safe for horses by ensuring there are no places where they could become stuck.

Finally, we coat our feeders in weather-resistant polyurethane paint. The paint we use is designed not to chip, meaning paint chips won’t end up in your horses’ feed.