The elusive hay feeder (Slow Feeder Saver Junior Review) and other hay feeders

This post may be a year plus in the making, but also is a testament to my one track mind. Keep reading, I will review the product which is more or less out of stock at ALMOST every retailer in country. Except for one.

Background: When I got Nay Nay, I tried to introduce him to a small hole hay net. He didn’t exactly understand the concept. And proceeded to not eat much (if any) hay in his stall the first night or two he was home. He did eat the flake I put on the ground. But the weekend, I purchased a hay bag with a large opening which worked better except he destroyed it immediately. I then tried a large hole net which worked, sort of, in the beginning. Then Nay’s hay consumption started dwindling. At this point, I didn’t realize that this dwindling was tied to ulcers AND soy allergies. Once he started to feel a little better, he seemed to associate the hay net with his stomach hurting and I could NOT get him to eat from any net in his stall (he did learn to eat from a small net outside — not efficiently — and would eat from other nets/bags outside as well). I tried loose hay but Nay is a hay waster. Put hay out (loose in a pile or even in a muck tub and… his stall looks like the scene of a frat party.

So, last April I scoured the internet for ideas. Non DIY ideas since we were in the middle of quarantine. I was also hoping to allow him to eat with his head down.

Best hay feeder ever

I found the Slow Feeder Saver Junior, the Savvy Feeder, the HelixFeeder, and the PortaGrazer. For the most part, people seemed happy with all of the different feeders. I wasn’t sure how Nay would react to putting his head IN a hay feeder so I ruled out the PortaGrazer. The HelixFeeder was relatively new and I couldn’t find many reviews. I wasn’t sure how much Nay, with his frat boy party style, would trash it. And, considering how much he struggled with the small hole net, I worried that the round circles would be too much. Nay gets orchard/alfalfa AND straight alfalfa (western alfalfa is his preference) in his nets/stall/feeders/what have you and I wanted equal access to the hay.

In the end, I went with the Slow Feeder Saver Junior. The grid was made of nylon vs plastic and I worried about the plastic on his teeth and/or being more difficult to get at the hay. The openings ARE large so maybe it’s not a true slow feeder, but with a thoroughbred, do I need a slow feeder? I need a “Don’t toss your hay around and have frat party” feeder. A review mentioned that the box was sharp, but this has not been the case in my experience. Another few indicated that horses can get their noses through the nylon and scape up their faces. I’d risk a nylon rub to tooth damage from plastic (but I haven’t experienced this in a year of using it).

Nay IMMEDIATELY took to the box. It’s easy to fill, easy to eat from, and hard to toss hay everywhere (but easy to grab mouthfuls to dunk in water). Super flakey western alfalfa does leave a lot of dust that makes the box gross, but this would be an issue with any box, especially if you water bucket is close by and your horse manages to dump water in the box occasionally — clean and empty regularly! But, I loved the think enough that Subi got his own 3 week later and loved it just as much.

Last April/May I bought from SmartPak for $196 plus tax (free shipping). SmartPak no longer carries it.

Jiminy has been using a small hole net because I’m cheap. Except my allergies and asthma have been getting worse. These boxes are SO EASY to fill.

A couple months ago I found a super cheap PortaGrazer locally that I bought for Jiminy. I tried, he tried, but we both HATE IT. HATE IT. HATE IT. He is now using it without the lid. Anyone locally interested in a PortaGrazer? They are great if your horse will use it. I’m willing to try it in the run in as a backup feeder, but I don’t need it.

Hay Hay everywhere

What I found is that not filling hay nets is so much better for my health. So last week I set off on a mission to purchase Jiminy a feeder just like his brothers….only to find that it is out of stock everywhere.

I considered other options but… Obviously the HelixFeeder isn’t one because it is too similar to the PortaGrazer. And I looked at the Savvy Feeder, but I question if what he hates about it is the shape or plastic hay opening (if that makes any sense) and I just couldn’t pull the trigger on buying one.

High Country Plastics (who makes the Slow Feeder Saver Junior) said the grates are out of stock and backlog has led to a 3 month delay (they said August, most distributors have listed a 9/1 ship date). After briefly considering making my own or ordering a box from Germany, I spent a good portion of Friday contacting (or perusing websites) every High Country Plastics in 19 states to see if they had any in stock.

And finally, in Delaware, Ohio. I found hope. Cashman’s had one (well, several) in stock. And the price, even with shipping, wasn’t much more than I paid last year. It’ll be here tomorrow.

While I may find, over time, the grate is too large for Jiminy, it’s easy enough to modify the grates on the feeders. I’m just THRILLED to finally have another.

9 thoughts on “The elusive hay feeder (Slow Feeder Saver Junior Review) and other hay feeders

  1. I bought a portagrazer maybe month and a half ago and have been happy with it. The tray/lid annoys me and I wish I could get a little more hay in it but overall I like it. It keeps Lex busy and he always has access to hay in his stall now where before he would have a party and waste so much. I bring it with me to shows as well and minus being bulky it’s pretty easy to manage. 🙂

    Glad you found something that works for you. How does the capacity compare to the portagrazer in your opinion?

    • So I haven’t quite figured out the capacity of the portagrazer but I can fit about 20lbs of hay in my feeder if I want. Basically half a bale. Neither of my boys ever finish their hay so it’s not a capacity issue. Next time I empty it out, I should weigh my hay. Subi doesn’t like his full (he also only a flake of hay overnight at this point plus his cubes and grain) and Nay usually gets 1 alfalfa (5-10lbs) and 2 orchard/alfalfa(10ish lbs) but I could easily fit 2-3 more flakes?

      The lid is what bothers me with the portagrazer. And Jiminy just isn’t motivated enough to figure it out. It is a little large for him, but without the lid he can reach the bottom so it’s the design that just isn’t working. He’s also a touch heave-y so putting his head in an enclosed space isn’t ideal.

      • That all makes sense. Lex is stupid with his feels I was very apprehensive to try something with net or nylon that he could get a shoe caught on. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Ponyproblems.

  2. Love the design of this grazer! Luckily my two piggies are not too picky about where they get their hay from. Montego actually needs a smaller hole net to slow him down LOL

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