Slow Feeding For Horses
Slowing feed intake can be beneficial in various different ways, including improved digestion ability, supporting restrictive diets, and improving overall health. Here’s some different ways to explore slow feeding for your horse.
Grazing muzzles are devices that are designed to cover the horse’s muzzle while they graze, preventing them from ripping up grass and eating quickly. The muzzle has a plastic plate at the bottom of the device which features a small hole. This small hole provides the horse with a few blades of grass, preventing them from over-eating.
Grazing muzzles have proven to result in up to 83% decrease in feed intake.
Slow-Feed Hay Nets
Slow-feed hay nets discourage the horse from quickly eating all of their hay as soon as it is given to them. The small openings in the mesh of the slow-feed hay net ensures that the horse can only take small amounts of hay at one time, giving them more time to chew and swallow before taking another mouthful.
This not only helps improve your horse’s overall health; it also helps prevent your horse from wasting hay by stringing it into their waste or water bucket. This ultimately helps save you money spent on hay, as well.
Special Grain Feeders
Specialized grain feeders split the grain into small, separate sections within the feeder. This prevents the horse from quickly gulping down their grain at one time, keeps the grain from being wasted, and forces the horse to slow down and take their time while eating.
The feeder also encourages horses to eat with their heads down, as they do in nature. This can make a massive difference in your horse’s digestive abilities, as well.
Specialized grain feeders have proven to increase feeding time by anywhere from 21 to 60 minutes, which can be considerably beneficial for the horse’s digestive system.
Hay Before Grain
Choosing to feed your horse hay before you feed them your grain can help reduce feed intake, as well.
This can sort of be compared to the idea of eating an appetizer before you eat your main course for your meal; slow-feeding your horse hay before they have their grain can help them ease into eating and soothe their hunger a bit so that they don’t scarf down their food as soon as it is put in front of them.
Feeding hay before grain has proven to be successful in reducing horses’ grain intake in one setting; in a study done by Purina, grain consumption was 0.3 pounds per minute compared to 0.4 pounds per minute when hay and grain were fed together.
With the information you’ve learned here, you’ll have a solid understanding of how important it is to enforce slow feeding, as well as how to do so in your stable. You’ll soon be on your way to helping your horse stay happy and healthy with slow-feeding techniques.
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