Every horse breeder or owner knows how important it is to provide their horses with the best possible nutrition. That is why they take the time to sit down with an expert veterinarian to carefully select a diet that suits their horse's needs.
However, simply finding the best feed for your horses will not cut it if you do not have an efficient system through which you can deliver the feed.
It is not all about convenience; it is also about the horse's overall health. Any horse with an inadequate feeder is more likely to waste precious nutrients and/or ingesting unwanted fecal matter or even soil and sand.
That is why you need to choose the perfect feeders for grain as well as hay and water. The problem comes in when you actually take a look at the sheer number of available hay racks, feed bins, and mangerson the market today.
Finding the best one for your horses can be near impossible if you do not have some criteria by which to make your selection.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Horse Feeder
It is of the utmost importance to first think of what it is you need in a horse feeder. There is a wide variety of horse feeders that have an array of features that you may or may not need on your ranch. These include special features such as:
The designs vary greatly depending on the kind of conditions in which you will feed your horses. However, the best horse feeders have the following characteristics:
If you are going to try and choose a new type of horse feeder, then there are other things you need to consider such as pricing, ratings and overall reviews. However, if you already have a particular type of horse feeder in mind then here are some characteristics that you should pay close attention to when choosing the best one for your horses.
What Makes the Best Horse Feeder?
The best horse feeder is one that suits the type of horse you have but does not cost you an arm and a leg to get or maintain. Ask yourself these questions before you settle for any horse feeder:
You also need to decide whether you need a combination grain and hay feeder or whether having them placed separately would work best for your horse's feeding needs.
The Different Types of Horse Feeders You Can Choose
The following types of feeders all have their purpose and advantages, but they are not all suitable for every kind of horse. Consider these different types of horse feeders and then compare how they work to the type of horse you have, and you will be able to select the type of feeder that would be ideal for your horse:
Hay racks: This is one of the simple types of horse feeders on the market today. Hay racks such as StableKit Straight Wall Hay Rack or the Wall Mount Hay Rack are good options for people who do not want their horses to mix their hay with fecal matter or sand. When choosing a hay rack, make sure that it is one that can be placed at a height that is convenient for the horse to feed and for you to add the horse more hay as the need arises.
Ground level feeders or fixed mangers: If you want to feed your horse at a more natural feeding level without risking all that sand and fecal matter then you might want to get a ground level feeder or fixed manger. Fixed mangersare typically placed at chest height, so the horse does not trample the hay.
Hay bags or nets: Hay nets and bags such as the Slow Feed Hay Net are perfect for those who want a simple yet practical way to feed their horses. Hay nets and bags are preferred by many horse breeders because they are easy to transport, and you can quickly dampen the hay without ruining the net. The only concern is that your horse might get tangled up in the net once he's/she's done feeding. That is why hay nets and bags need to be hung at a height higher than the horse’s withers.
Combination feeders: The best combination hay and grain feeders have a grill that holds the hay and a tray for the grain just below the grill. Not only is this type of feeder convenient to clean but they also work well to keep the horses from wasting the most nutritious parts of the hay as these leafy parts fall into the tray below where they will be eaten as the horse moves on to the concentrate.
Feed bags: If you are going to be feeding grain outside then you will need to use feed bags. This way the more dominant horses do not chase the submissive ones and keep them from getting enough food as they would if you choose to use any of the other methods. The only problem is that feed bags are a little more labor-intensive, but the effort is well worth it to keep your horses from getting malnourished or overfed.
You could also always decide to feed your horse on the ground as this allows him/her to adopt a more natural feeding position. The only problem with this is that the horses face a higher risk of ingesting fecal matter and sand and that may lead to intestinal parasites.
Whichever direction you decide to take when it comes to choosing the best horse feeder; you definitely need to find something that works the best for your horse and your individual situation.