By Monique Warren
If your horse attacks their hay or herd mates for food, this is not "normal". They may be Insulin Resistant - a voracious appetite is one of the many signs of IR. Or they are stressed due to waiting for and receiving meals - instead of always having forage available.
If your current "slow feeder" is not slow enough, it will take time and experimentation to supply your equine with a limited amount of hay AND have it available 24/7.
The Hay Pillowslow feeder was designed to allow horse owners (willing to take the time) to accomplish two seemingly opposite goals:
Accomplishing both goals will likely require having more than one slow feeder choice - which can include your current “slow feeder” just put less hay in it - along with multiple slow feed bags like the Standard Hay Pillow or the Hanging Hay Pillow placed in various locations between feeding times and possibly a variety of mesh sizes. Simply using a slow feeder that extends a meal from one to three or four hours will still leave your equine ravenous. They are still eating regulated meals - this is not the goal! Mentally, they know they will eventually be without forage.
By using more than 1 bag your horse will willingly take "breaks" as they move from one to the other thus encouraging movement. This is far more natural. Horses enjoy purpose to anything they do. Even eating and moving. It is not realistic to expect any one feeder/bag to be stuffed full and automatically last the entire duration between feeding times.
I designed and prototyped numerous feeders. Either the feeders fed too fast or they could not eat at all. None of the bags or nets on the market were slow enough to allow for limited hay 24/7.
The only solution is netting, this allows a smaller size opening and enables them to eat from it. Unfortunately, there is no indestructible netting available which can be a challenge for voracious eaters. A voracious eater will naturally use their teeth to "attack" food.
Recommended Approach for Fast Eaters
In the long run you will have a healthier equine that is no longer voracious. Always consider nutrition when dealing with any health or mental issues. Feeding a balanced low nonstructural carbohydrate diet and forage available 24/7 is healthiest for all horses. Equines were not meant to thrive on a high calorie, nutrient deficient diet.
There is a wealth of information on the internet available for testing hay and balancing a custom supplement to it. In my experience, this is far more economical.
Helpful How-to Slow Feeding Resources
Additional Diet Resources
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Monique Warren invented the Hay Pillow® slow feeder and is the owner of Hay Pillow Inc.