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Hay Pillow® + Day & Bale Net - FAQs/Advisories

Note: FAQs/Advisories for the following products are included on the product page:

Choosing a Mesh Size

Please see our Choosing a Mesh Size page for tips, recommendations, mesh size photos and frequently asked questions.

Durability of Your Hay Pillows® 

How do I ensure the longest life possible of my Hay Pillows?

Do not fill your Hay Pillows too full; it will force your equine to use only their teeth to extract hay from the netting. You should be able to easily manipulate the hay by shaking the bag.   Ensure there are no sharp objects adjacent to or near the bags. Provide hay at all times - 24/7

Which Hay Pillow® is the best choice for voracious eaters?

The Standard Hay Pillow slow feed hay bag or Mini Hay Pillow because they are loose on the ground they cannot pull or tug on it (not appropriate for shod livestock). Why does my horse paw at the Hay Pillow®?

  1. The mesh size may be too challenging resulting in frustration.
  2. They have not mastered the technique of extracting and manipulating the hay with their teeth and lips. Be sure to pull some hay through the netting to help them learn.
  3. Your Hay Pillow is empty and they want more hay.
  4. The bag is stuffed too full/tight preventing your horse from manipulating the hay with their lips and teeth. 

How high should I hang the Hanging Hay Pillow?

  • For shod livestock, they must be hung high enough to prevent a shoe from becoming snared in the netting. 
  • The Hanging Hay Pillow was designed to be hung approximately 4” from the ground (for barefoot individuals.)This allows your barefoot equine to eat in a more natural position and enables them to utilize the entire netting area. 

When using the Hanging Hay Pillow bag, what method is best for voracious eaters?

Suspend it. Hang from a tree limb (away from the trunk) or rafters in the stall. Slide a piece of PVC pipe over the entire length of the rope to avoid entanglement and attach a swivel clip at the bottom. If there is nothing solid behind the bag, they can't push on it to grate their teeth across the netting. This also makes it more challenging. See our Mounting and Hanging Tips for photos and more details.

​Use, Tips & Maintenance

Hay Pillow Slow Feeder product line.

How should I introduce my horse or other farm/zoo animals to the Hay Pillow and/or Day/Bale Net for the first time?

Don't pack your pillow or Day Net too tight. Break up your hay and insert:

  • 3-4 pounds (Standard Hay Pillow)
  • 8-12 pounds (Day Net)
  • 1 pound (Mini Hay Pillow)

Pull some hay through the netting to encourage them to use it and place loose hay on the top. Observe your horse to ensure they can eat. Provide current amount of hay normally fed (loose or slow feeder) in addition to your new Hay Pillow® or Day/Bale Net.

How much hay can I put in my Standard and Hanging Hay Pillow®?

The Standard Hay Pillow slow feed hay bag and Hanging Hay Pillow® holds up to 8 lbs. of hay in flake form.

How much hay does the Mini Hay Pillow® ground slow feeder hold?

Maximum capacity is approximately 2 pounds depending on the coarseness of the cutting. 

How much hay do the day and bale nets hold?

  • The Day Net capacity is up to 30 lbs. in flake form.
  • The Small Bale Net accommodates 2 strand square bales - up to 65 pounds.
  • The West Coast Bale Net is designed for use with larger 100 lb. 3-string bales or 2- two-string small bales of hay. 

What is the most economical way to provide free choice hay with multiple barefoot horses living as a herd?

Use bale nets under cover as an always have hay source and add Standard Hay Pillows to encourage movement. To learn more, see our how-to resources:

What slow feed solutions do you recommend for shod livestock?

Hang Hanging Hay Pillows or Day Nets inside stalls, shelters and/or outside on fences or trees in multiple locations to encourage movement. You may also attach  Bale Nets in troughs secured to a post or wall (tall enough to prevent a hoof being placed inside it) under cover as an always have hay source. See our Mounting and Hanging Tips page for photos and instructions.

Why are Standard and Mini Hay Pillows recommended for barefoot individuals only?

Barefoot (unshod) horses can eat from Standard or Mini Hay Pillows on the ground without risk of the netting getting caught on a horseshoe. Shod livestock should not use any netting device on the ground. The Hanging Hay Pillow, Day Net and Manger Hay Pillow are appropriate for shod horses. Please see our Slow Feed Solutions for Any Environment chart to find more slow feed options for shod horses.

Are Hay Pillows and Day/Bale Nets appropriate for other farm and zoo animals?

Absolutely! Slow fed free choice forage is beneficial for all herbivores including zebras, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas and camels. See our Slow Feed Solutions for Farm Animals - Goats, Sheep, Alpacas & More for more information. We do not recommend using netting or mesh devices with horned animals.

Does the horse have access to the hay other than the netting?

Nope! All of our closures do not allow ANY access to hay other than the netting.

Can alfalfa be slow fed successfully?

Yes (to some degree) and no! Grass hay is optimum for slow feeding because of the much longer stem/leave length. Alfalfa can be challenging to slow feed due to tightly packed flakes, short stems and small leaves. Horses tend to be far more anxious to eat it as quickly as possible due to its high palatability, which can easily result in frustration.

If you are feeding limited amounts of alfalfa in addition to grass hay, it’s not worth the hassle. We recommend feeding it loose in a tub or trough.

How do I clean? Can I wash my Hay Pillow® and Bale Net?

Yes, hay pillows and nets are easy to clean. Use cold water, wash on the hand wash cycle, mild detergent, no bleach or fabric softener, line dry.

Where should I attach the clip on a Hanging Hay Pillow®?

Attach the clip to the center of the drawstring on the front and back of the Hanging Hay Pillow bag. See our Mounting & Hanging Tips page for photos.

What is the best slow feed option if it rains or snows?

Review our ​Slow Feed Solutions By Enclosure Type & Weather Condition​ page.

What should I do with my Standard and Mini Hay Pillow® in windy weather?

Insert a round smooth rock with the hay (smaller than your fist). We experience 50-60 mph winds and have not had a Hay Pillow® blow away. Remember, your Hay Pillow® weighs less than 2 lbs. This is not necessary under "normal" breezy conditions, only higher winds/gusts.

What should I do if I use my Standard or Mini Hay Pillow on the ground and they flip it over (solid back upright)?

The vast majority quickly learn to flip it back over. If yours does not, continue to feed as you normally would prior to the Hay Pillow and leave it – your equine will figure it out eventually.

What variations can I use to slow down or speed up rate of consumption?

You can "fluff"/break up your hay (tends to be a bit faster) or place a flake or two intact in a bag (usually more challenging); allowing more hay without filling it too tight. Always observe your horse when making a change in methods to ensure they can extract hay without frustration.

Why are tabs included on the Standard and Mini Hay Pillow®?

The tabs are intended to be used to hang the bags on a hook to dry or for storage. We do not recommend attaching them while in use. The solid back prevents most from being able to manipulate the hay properly resulting in frustration. The Mini and Standard slow feed hay bags are designed to be used loose on the ground. If you prefer to anchor or attach a slow feed product, purchase the Hanging Hay Pillow (to hang) or Day or Bale Nets, which can be used loose on the ground, or attached at ground level (for barefoot individuals), hung or secured in a tub/trough (for shod or barefoot horses). For photos and instructions see our Mounting and Hanging page for further details. 

How do I repair netting?

Use some parachute cord to crisscross over the hole recreating a restricted opening (not closing it completely). Tie a knot and seal it with a lighter. Parachute cord can be found at hardware/Home Depot type stores for a few dollars.

What do I do if after use the zipper won't open?

On occasion, the horse might step on the zipper and pop 2 or 3 of the teeth in or out. Use a pair of channel lock pliers and push them flush again, one at a time. Your zipper will work like new. Refrain from using force to open or close the zipper. If you are not loading the bag yourself, be sure to inform the person that is!

Version II 

Why was Version II created?

They were created to economically enable customers to experiment with different mesh sizes without having to purchase additional bags. A netting panel is less expensive than a bag with the netting sewn in.

How do I install the netting panel in the Standard Hay Pillow® Version II?

  1. Turn the bag inside out and lay flat. 
  2. Align panel.
  3. Evenly disperse Velcro® on all four sides and compress entire Velcro surface area with your palm and fingertips between the net meshes.
​If you are replacing/changing a netting panel, clean the Velcro® to ensure optimum contact:

What is the best way to clean Velcro® after use enabling optimum connection?

Use a medium stiff brush to gently remove hay and dirt.  Shake vigorously to dislodge the smaller pieces.

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