Slow feeding 0.1 – 0.9
Between 1997 and 2007 I was doing it too. I don’t know how many rigid constructions with metal eating grids I have made over those years. All but one didn’t even deliver the hay in an ordinary fashion (but that one was to expensive to produce) and none of them even came close to a simple SMHN (that I will cut to pieces a couple of lines down).
Save your self the trouble and don’t even go near a rigid slow feeding construction.
Slow Feeding 1.0
SMHN (Small Mesh Hay Net) with only one mesh size. Most often flat, with a max capacity of approximately 10kg, hanging on a wall of between two poles.
The filling is usually considered hard work and time consuming. The horse’s eating angle is usually not natural.
Slow feeding 1.0 was created to reduce the horses wasting of hay, and that is what it does, and not much more. Scientific studies have shown that a hanging slow feeding 1.0 net extends the eating time with just over 30%. 30% might sound like quite a lot but if we look at the real numbers we will see that it is “nothing”, not even close to reach the goal. The objective with slow feeding should be to let the horse have continuous access to his hay without over eating (not just reducing waste).
Please read this article by Juliet Getty Ph.D.
Most domestic horses eat no more than some 6 hours per day (and starve most of the night). Increase this with the 35% and it will still not be much more than 8+ hours which is very far away from the 18 hours or so that the horse needs to stay healthy.
This means that all small SMHNs and all slow feed bags doesn’t really deserve to be called “slow feeding” at all, but should instead be call “waste reduction bags”.
Slow Feeding 2.0
This was a serious attempt to extend the eating time enough through the use of smaller mesh and/or combinations of net layers to reach continuous feeding without overeating. There is a slight possibility that it might work but filling those nets are very time-consuming.
Now we are talking REAL SLOW FEEDING.
- We are talking healing power over EGUS.
- We are talking natural eating angles.
- We are talking capabilities for continuous feeding without overeating.
- We are talking quick and easy filling.
- We are talking fewer servings per day with better feeding result.
- We are talking perfect contamination free feeding hygiene.