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The Best Hay Feeders for Horses: 2022 Guide

A horse eating from the best horse hay slow feeder

What is the best hay feeder for horses? It’s an important and popular question…and one that sparks endless debate, both in horse barns around the world and on equine forums around the internet. This article is our two cents on the topic. 

It’s important to note that this is by no means a comprehensive list of horse feeders. There are far too many feeders on the market for one article to compare them all. (One popular e-commerce website alone lists nearly 500 results for the search “horse hay feeders”.) 

We’ve tried to compile a list of horse hay feeders that spans a range of dimensions: price, bale type, materials, feeding location, and more. To compile our list of the “best” horse hay feeders, we considered user reviews, product innovation, and our own professional opinion. We hope it will provide you with a helpful starting point as you research the best hay feeder for your horses!

FeederTypeBale SizeFeeding LocationMaterial(s)ProsCons
HF608SF by FarmcoCovered Steel FeederLarge RoundOutdoorPainted Steel, Woven PolyesterSlow feed functionality, simple to useExpensive
Heavy Gauge Round Bale Hay Net by Texas HaynetHay NetLarge Round or Large SquareOutdoorKnotted Nylon MeshSlow feed functionality, simple to useHay is sitting on ground
Big Bale BuddyHay Bag/Hay WrapLarge RoundOutdoorWoven PolypropyleneAffordable, keeps scraps containedHay is sitting on ground, very specific to bale size
Superior Slow Feeder Horse Hay Bag by Derby OriginalsHay Net Bag (Individual)FlakesIndoor/OutdoorReinforced Nylon WebbingSlow feed functionality, affordableRequires frequent refills, difficult to close
36-Inch Slow Feed Hay Net by Weaver LeatherHay Net Bag (Individual)FlakesIndoorPoly RopeLow price, simple designRequires frequent refills, limited durability
6-Flake Extended Day/2-String Bale Net by Freedom FeederHay Net BagFlakes/Small SquareIndoor/OutdoorNylon NettingSimple design, fits entire small baleDurability, hanging system requires two attachment points
Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder Toy by Equi-EssentialsHay Feeder ToyFlakesIndoor/OutdoorPlasticDurable, combines feeding and entertainmentLimited capacity, time-consuming to fill
HelixFeeder by KiwiFeederCollapsibleFlakesIndoor/OutdoorPlastic/Synthetic FabricsCollapsible, adjustable hole sizeDurability
Hay Hoops Collapsible Wall Feeders by Tough-1Hay Net Bag (Wall-Mounted)FlakesIndoorMetalEasy to load, compact designDifficult to mount frame, difficult to install net
HF45H by FarmcoCovered Steel FeederSmall SquareOutdoorPainted Steel, Plastic (roof)Simple to use, keeps hay off the groundExpensive

HF608SF by Farmco

Link: https://www.farmco.ag/horse-feeders/slow-hay-feeder/ 

Type: Covered Steel Feeder

Bale Size: Large Round

Feeding Location: Outdoor

Material(s): Painted Steel, Woven Polyester

Pros: Slow feed functionality, simple to use, keeps hay off the ground, keeps hay covered, trough catches scraps, durable steel construction

Cons: Expensive, requires a pickup or loader to place bales

outside of best slow feed hay bag for horses for sale in PA

It probably goes without saying that we are biased toward our own products! We’ve worked hard to develop a range of horse feeders based on years of customer feedback and trial/error. We’re pretty happy with the results and we’d be lying to say that we don’t think ours are some of the best horse hay feeders on the market. 🙂

The HF608SF is one of our most popular models. It’s constructed with a heavy-duty steel frame, a trough for holding bales and catching scraps, and a 29-gauge steel roof to keep hay dry as it’s eaten. Slow-feed panels made of woven polyester with 2.5” holes keep horses from wasting hay; the panels are laid against the sides of the bale and move with the bale as it’s eaten down.

While the height of the trough protects bales from ground moisture, it does mean that adding hay requires a loader or pickup bed to roll the bales from.

The most frequent complaint about this horse hay feeder involves its price. The all-steel construction places the cost of the HF608SF well above the cost of the simpler feeders, such as hay nets. However, even at this price users often find that the hay savings pay for the feeder within several years, and the feeder itself is built to last decades.The HF608SF is available directly from Farmco or through our distributor network. Due to the size/weight of this feeder, we recommend requesting a quote in order to get accurate pricing that includes up-to-date freight costs.

Heavy Gauge Round Bale Hay Net by Texas Haynet

Link: https://texashaynet.com/products/heavy-gauge-round-bale-net 

Type: Hay Net

Bale Size: Large Round or Large Square

Feeding Location: Outdoor

Material(s): Knotted Nylon Mesh

Pros: Slow feed functionality, simple to use, affordable

Cons: Hay is sitting on the ground, an entanglement hazard for shod horses, requires repair as holes develop

haynet for best round bale hay feeder for horses

Photo: Texas Haynet

The beauty of the Texas Haynet is its simplicity. 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.

Texas Haynets are available in a variety of sizes, but their most popular horse hay feeders are their large bale nets, which can fit round bales up to 6’x6’ and square bales up to 3’x4’x8’. Texas Haynets 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.

On the downside, hay nets still expose feed to rain and ground moisture, which could be a concern in wetter locales. Although reviews are generally positive, some users complain about the Texas Haynets developing holes after several days or weeks of use. However, the company does include repair twine with each hay net they sell. Texas Haynets are available at retail locations across the United States, at major online e-commerce sites, and on their own website.

Big Bale Buddy

Link: https://www.bigbalebuddy.com/big-bale-buddy.html 

Type: Hay Bag/Hay Wrap

Bale Size: Large Round

Feeding Location: Outdoor

Material(s): Woven Polypropylene

Pros: Affordable, keeps scraps contained

Cons: Hay is sitting on the ground, very specific to bale size, doesn’t always stay in place as the bale is eaten down

exterior of best slow hay feeder for horses for big bale

Photo: Big Bale Buddy

The Big Bale Buddy might be the best horse hay feeder to come out of Canada. Designed for simplicity and constructed of bright green woven polypropylene, this feeder is essentially a big bag that is fitted around the bale. Horses eat hay through the opening in the top of the feeder. The bag is intended to work its way down as the bale is eaten, catching scraps and keeping them contained to prevent excessive waste.

The Big Bale Buddy is available in several sizes: small (bales up to 4’4” in diameter), large (bales up to 5’2” in diameter), and extra-large (bales up to 6’ in diameter). 

There have been some complaints from reviewers about the sizing of the Big Bale Buddy. A number of users have found the feeder to be difficult to place on their bales, while others found it wasn’t tight enough and allowed hay to spill out as the bale was eaten. However, the majority of feedback seems to be positive.Through several distributor partnerships, the Big Bale Buddy is available at retail locations around the world, at major online e-commerce sites, and on its own website. The company has also released a line of hay net feeders.

Superior Slow Feeder Horse Hay Bag by Derby Originals

Link: https://www.derbyoriginals.com/collections/hay-bags/products/71-7125

Type: Hay Net Bag (Individual)

Bale Size: Flakes

Feeding Location: Indoor/Outdoor

Material(s): Reinforced Nylon Webbing

Pros: Slow feed functionality, affordable, can be placed inside individual stalls

Cons: Requires frequent refills, difficult to close

exterior of derby original best slow feed hay bag for horses

Photo: Derby Originals

The Derby Originals brand claims to be the originator of the 4-sided hay bag concept…and they have a patent (#D742078) to back it up! Considered one of the best slow feed hay bags for horses, this product is manufactured from reinforced nylon webbing and has 1.75” square holes. The feeder is available in six colors: Black, Hunter Green, Petroleum Blue, Royal Blue, Purple, and Red.

Given its size (22”x25”x8”), this horse hay feeder is best for 1 or 2 horses at a time. It can be hung in a paddock area or in individual stalls. Depending on the size of the hay bales being fed, the feeder has the capacity for 2-3 flakes of hay at a time.

Some users have expressed frustration with the fasteners on the feeder, noting that they can be difficult and time-consuming to close. Others have mentioned their horses outsmarting the Velcro closures and gaining direct access to the hay. Overall, though, the generally positive reviews make this one of the best slow-feed hay bags for horses.

Derby Originals’ products are available at retail locations around the United States, at major online e-commerce sites, and on their own website. The Superior Slow Feeder Horse Hay Bag is one of several slow feed hay bag designs available from the company.

36-Inch Slow Feed Hay Net by Weaver Leather

Link: https://www.ridethebrand.com/catalog/item-detail/35-4043/

Type: Hay Net Bag (Individual)

Bale Size: Flakes

Feeding Location: Indoor

Material(s): Poly Rope

Pros: Low price, simple design, easily portable

Cons: Requires frequent refills, limited durability

exterior photo of best slow feed hay net

Photo: Bahr Saddlery

Weaver Leather is best known for their leather tack and riding gear, but they also have a wide range of equine accessories, including this popular hay net feeder. If you’re looking for simplicity, it’s hard to find a better slow-feed hay net for horses. The minimalistic design of this hay bag features a poly rope net with holes approximately 2” in size and a simple drawstring closure at the top.

This hay bag horse feeder has the capacity for about 1-2 flakes of hay, depending on the size of the bale. Once filled, the bag is simply hung or tied in place by the drawstrings. The feeder is available in 6 colors: Black, Blue, Lime Green, Hot Pink, Purple, and Red.

Many users mention portability as a major plus for this feeder. It can be easily taken on the road for shows and can be easily moved between the trailer and the stall. 

At the time of writing, the various colors of this product had received over 1500 combined reviews on one popular e-commerce site, with an average rating of over 4.5 stars. A few users complained about the durability of the product, but the vast majority found it to be a good value for its price. Weaver Leather’s Slow Feed Hay Nets are available at retail locations around the United States, at major online e-commerce sites, and on their equestrian-focused website under the Ride the Brand® trademark.

6-Flake Extended Day/2-String Bale Net by Freedom Feeder

Link: https://freedomfeeder.com/products/extended-day-net

Type: Hay Net Bag 

Bale Size: Flakes/Small Square

Feeding Location: Indoor/Outdoor

Material(s): Nylon Netting

Pros: Simple design, fits entire small bale

Cons: Durability,  hanging system requires two attachment points

outside photo of best two string best hay feeder for horses for sale now

Photo: Kensington Products

Freedom Feeder® is a hay net bag feeder constructed from high-quality DuPont™ nylon netting. 1”, 1.5”, and 2” net hole sizes are available. The company recommends larger hole sizes for aggressive eaters and smaller sizes for the slowest feeding action. 

The Freedom Feeder® is one of the best mid-sized slow-feed hay bags for horses. It marks a middle ground between large bale hay nets and small individual hay bags. This particular feeder has a capacity for 6-8 flakes of hay or one average-sized small square (2-string) hay bale; weight-wise, the capacity is around 50 lbs.

Some users have complained about tears in the netting, which required repair in order to continue using. According to the company, tearing is most likely with horses that are just learning to eat from a hay net or slow feeder. The feeder also requires two points of contact for proper mounting, which may be challenging with some fence or stall designs. However, the majority of reviewers found this to be one of the best slow-feed horse hay nets they’d used. The 6-Flake Extended Day/2-String Bale Net is available at major online e-commerce sites and on the Freedom Feeder® website.

Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder Toy by Equi-Essentials

Link: https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Equi-Essential_Slow_Feed_Hay_Ball_Feeder_Toy-Large/descpage-ESFH.html

Type: Hay Feeder Toy 

Bale Size: Flakes

Feeding Location: Indoor/Outdoor

Material(s): Plastic

Pros: Durable, combines feeding and entertainment

Cons: Limited capacity, time-consuming to fill

exterior of equi essential best round bale hay feeder for horses

Photo: Riding Warehouse

Besides keeping horses fed, many owners also need to think about keeping them entertained. This slow feeder toy serves both purposes, giving horses a source of nutrition while keeping them occupied for several hours at a time. Available in 4 colors (Blue, Red, Green, and Purple), the Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder Toy from Equi-Essentials is one of the best horse hay slow feeder toys on the market.

The design of this feeder toy is a roughly spherical plastic ball with a diameter of 16”. Hay is loaded into the feeder through a single hole with a 4-¾” diameter, which is capped after filling. Horses access the hay through 12 holes with diameters of 2-¾”.

The company claims that the feeder holds up to 7 lbs of hay, although various reviewers have found the real-world capacity closer to 2-3 lbs. Either way, this product is not designed to be a primary feed source, but rather to serve as a horse boredom buster.

The Slow Feed Hay Ball Feeder Toy is available through several equine-specific online retailers, as well as major e-commerce sites.

HelixFeeder by KiwiFeeder

Link: https://kiwifeeder.com/products/collapsible-slow-feeder-for-horses

Type: Collapsible

Bale Size: Flakes

Feeding Location: Indoor/Outdoor

Material(s): Plastic/Synthetic Fabrics

Pros: Collapsable, adjustable hole size, portable, slow-feed functionality

Cons: Durability, relatively new product with limited real-world feedback

helix feeder for best slow feed hay net for horses 3 png

Photo: Kiwi Feeder

The HelixFeeder might be the newest design on this list. Developed in Canada during the mid-2010s, this is one of the most innovative small horse feeders in recent memory. 

A collapsable body and adjustable feeding holes are two standout design features of the HelixFeeder.  

The body of the feeder is made from corrosion-proof, UV-rated synthetic material. It is designed to collapse as the hay is eaten, meaning the feeder is always about the same size as the amount of remaining feed. The feeder can hold up to 50 lbs of hay, according to the manufacturer. However, the collapsible design means it functions equally well with only 10 lbs of hay.

Horses eat hay from the HelixFeeder through a plastic slow-feed plate at the top. This slow-feed plate can be adjusted to find the optimal feeding speed for any individual horse. If an animal is eating too quickly, the holes can be made smaller; if it’s too hard for the horse to get the hay out, the holes can be made larger.

Since the HelixFeeder is a relatively new product, it has less real-world feedback than some other feeder options. Some users have complained about durability issues, although the majority of reviewers seemed quite satisfied with the feeder’s performance. Assuming it holds up to regular wear and tear, this could be one of the best slow hay horse feeders for small bales!The HelixFeeder is available through several equine-specific online retailers, as well as on the KiwiFeeder website.

Hay Hoops Collapsible Wall Feeders by Tough-1

Link: https://www.statelinetack.com/item/hay-hoops-ii-collapsible-wall-feeder-with-net/E015992/

Type: Hay Net Bag (Wall-Mounted) 

Bale Size: Flakes

Feeding Location: Indoor

Material(s): Metal

Pros: Easy to load, compact design

Cons: Difficult to mount frame, difficult to install net

exterior of best round bale hay feeder for horses to buy now

Photo: Schneiders

Tough-1’s series of Hay Hoops seeks to solve one of the few remaining pain points of slow feed hay nets: their difficulty to load. While there are several variations of the Hay Hoop, they all work on the same basic principle. A metal frame is attached to the wall of the horse stall and the mouth of the hay net is stretched around it. The Hay Hoop is folded out while loading, then latched flat to the wall during feeding.

There are several variations of the Hay Hoop, including a Hay Hoop II. While the product variations are a bit unclear in many online listings, it seems that one of the key variations is how the net is fastened to the frame. One version of the Hay Hoop features a frame where the net is fed directly onto the frame. Some reviewers claimed the frame needed to be dismounted in order to replace the net on this model. Another version includes loops (similar to those on a basketball hoop) for quickly attaching/detaching the net. Some reviewers claimed that it was too easy for the net to come loose with this design.

Hay Hoops are most commonly sold without the net, allowing you to choose the ideal netting size and material for your use. It’s important to mount the frame high enough and choose a net that is small enough to not pose an entanglement hazard to pawing horses.

Some Hay Hoops users have complained that the initial installation is quite difficult, with one reviewer writing that it took three hours to install four of the feeders. However, other users have found them to be a huge timesaver. We’ve included them in this list thanks to their ingenious design, which has a patent pending at the time of writing.

The various models of Tough-1 Hay Hoops are available through several equine-specific online retailers, as well as major e-commerce sites.

HF45H by Farmco

Link: https://www.farmco.ag/horse-feeders/outdoor-horse-hay-feeder/ 

Type: Covered Steel Feeder

Bale Size: Small Square

Feeding Location: Outdoor

Material(s): Painted Steel, Plastic (roof)

Pros: Simple to use, keeps hay off the ground, keeps hay covered, trough catches scraps, durable steel construction

Cons: Expensive

exterior photo of hf45h best round bale hay feeder for horses

We couldn’t help but include one more of our own designs as we feel it’s one of the best covered horse hay feeders for small bales. The HF45H is one of our newer models, designed specifically for horse farms that use small square bales. 

With the HF45H, we sought to build a feeder that would drastically reduce waste when supplementing feed to horses on pasture. The design aims to accomplish several things: keep bales off the ground, keep hay dry during precipitation, and catch scraps that fall during feeding so they can be eaten later.

The HF45H has a steel basket that can hold up to 4 small square hay bales at a time. The basket is covered with a heavy-duty plastic roof (optional) with rounded corners to prevent horse injuries. A steel trough beneath the basket helps to catch scraps that fall from the basket during feeding, giving them a second chance to be eaten.

As with the HF608SF, the main complaint we hear about the HF45H is the price. With its all-steel construction, it’s not a budget horse feeder. Nevertheless, the HF45H is one of our best-selling models, indicating that farms with pastured horses find it to be one of the top hay feeders for their needs.

The HF45H is available directly from Farmco or through our distributor network. We recommend requesting a quote in order to get accurate freight pricing; we may also be able to direct you to an in-stock unit at a farm equipment supplier near you. 


We hope this list was a helpful resource! Best wishes as you search for the best horse hay feeder for your farm! If you would like to learn about the best cattle hay feeders, our “The Best Hay Feeders For Cattle: 2022 Guide” is a helpful resource. If you want to better understand why a horse feeder is helpful, here’s another article that may be useful.