When choosing a mesh size it is prudent to err on the side of caution. Smaller mesh sizes do not necessarily equate to your equine eating slower, they may not be able to eat at all or get frustrated. Frustration defeats the purpose and elevates stress/cortisol levels.
Please consider that horses fed meals are typically anxious when fed and tend to be far less patient with slow feeders. If possible, consider free-choice forage. Free choice straight grass hay is optimum for slow feeding.
We don't recommend ordering smaller mesh sizes (1", 3/4" and 1/2") unless the individual has used a larger mesh size and exhibits no signs of frustration. At that point, choose the next size smaller. Just a 1/4" makes a significant difference. We are dedicated to offering a variety of mesh sizes for very adept expert individuals!
Suggestions for Making the Best Choice
The following information is derived from our own - and customers' experience and feedback - results can vary!
The Hay Pillow Slow Feeder Hay Bags are available in 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/4" and 1 3/4" mesh sizes. The Slow Feed Hay and Bale Nets are available in 1", 1 1/4" and 1 3/4".
The 1 3/4" is our most popular mesh size (60% of our sales). It will feed slower than loose hay and slows some down significantly. It is a great choice for introducing a slow feeder, minimizing wasted hay or for an anxious meal fed horse.
The 1 1/4" is our 2nd most popular mesh size (30% of our sales). It slows most down considerably but can be too challenging for some. Great choice to introduce miniature horses to slow feeding or offer in addition to the 1 3/4" as a possible always have hay source.
The 1" is our 3rd most popular mesh size (8% of our sales) and requires a patient, adept individual. A great choice to offer in addition to the 1 1/4" if there are no signs of frustration.
The 3/4" mesh size is our 4th most popular mesh size (1% of our sales) and requires an extremely adept and patient individual.
The 1/2" is our least popular mesh size (.2% of our sales) and requires an absolute expert with incredible patience.
Frequently Asked Questions on Mesh Size
What mesh size should I order for the Standard or Hanging Hay Pillow®?
The 1 ¼” and 1 ¾” are the most popular mesh sizes; ¼” makes a significant difference in rate of consumption. If you have never used a slow feeder we suggest the 1 ¾”. Smaller mesh sizes do not necessarily equate to your equine eating slower; they may not be able to eat at all. Depending on your equine's personality and experience with slow feeders, there is no “one size fits all equines” mesh size. Horses fed meals are typically anxious when fed and tend to be far less patient with slow feeders.
What mesh size should I order for the Mini Hay Pillow®?
The 1 ¼” is the most popular mesh size and a great choice to introduce the Hay Pillow®. Smaller mesh sizes do not necessarily equate to your equine eating slower; they may not be able to eat at all.
Why do you offer so many mesh sizes?
¼” makes a significant difference in rate of consumption and can also determine whether your horse can or can't extract hay! Hay Pillow Inc. offers mesh sizes to accommodate very adept equines and those not so adept or patient. The most anxious eaters tend to be meal fed and/or metabolically challenged horses.
Can I use more than one mesh size?
Absolutely! To ensure your horse always has hay available you may want to feed some hay in a larger mesh and some in a smaller mesh size as an always have hay source. Using multiple bags encourages movement.
What variables should I consider?
- Type of hay; palatability, coarseness and length of stem
- Patience level
- Technique - ability
- Meals or free-choice
- Metabolic challenges
- Experience with slow feeders
What if I have two or more horses in the same enclosure?
When offering slow fed forage to 2 or more individuals in the same enclosure, please choose a mesh size to accommodate the least adept or patient individual and supply at least one bag or net per individual. Ideally, it is best to offer one additional bag (if two horses, offer three bags for them to move among).
Is it possible to order a mesh size too small?
Yes. Smaller mesh sizes do not necessarily equate to your equine eating slower, they may not be able to eat at all or get frustrated and destructive. Depending on your equine's personality and experience with slow feeders, there is no “one size fits all equines” mesh size.
Should shod livestock use any netting device on the ground?
No. Due to the dangers involved in using any mesh material that can potentially get caught on a horseshoe it is not safe or recommended.
What are my options to feed my shod horse at ground level?
Secure a Day or Bale net at both ends in a tub tall enough to prevent a hoof being placed in. You may load the net with limited flakes or an entire bale. See our mounting and hanging page for photos and more details. We strongly recommend providing free choice forage with multiple locations.
To learn more about happier healthier horses, see our how-to resources:
- How to Introduce & Incorporate Free-Choice Forage: An Action Plan
- Slow Feed Solutions for Any Environment
Contact an expert by email or call 888-489-0022.