DIY Square Bale Slow-Feeder

The Problem

We have three horses. Two are what they call easy-keepers. They pretty much get fat on air. Not really, but it doesn’t take much to keep them at a healthy body weight and condition. Our other horse is constantly struggling with weight. He’s 18-years-old and considered a senior now, so this struggle is only going to continue. ( He doesn’t have worms or anything like that. ) So, we had a dilemma in regards to how we fed hay. Pendleton needed to free feed all day, and Willow & Rowdy needed to be forced to slow down or they would inhale their day’s worth of hay within an hour.

DIY Hay Slow Feeders by The Homestead Kings

Why DIY?

We searched and searched for slow feeder solutions. We tried hay nets for awhile. They were great until clever Rowdy figured out he could rip them open and gorge himself. We looked at other options, and they just seemed too expensive for our budget. So, we of course decided to build slow feeders ourself. Now I don’t have a tutorial or building material list because I’m not the builder. Husband is. But, I’m sharing with you detailed pictures of each so that you can recreate them if you’re handy and in need of a slow-feeder solution.

The Project

DIY Hay Slow Feeders by The Homestead Kings
We built about a 3.5 x 2 ft box. We used what scraps we had leftover from other projects, but the cedar fence posts we used held up the best. Then Husband ripped down wood into tiny strips and made a grid for each box. The grid hole openings are about 4×4 inches each.
DIY Hay Slow Feeders by The Homestead Kings
We used carabiners and a chain in each corner. They latch onto eye hooks that are thread on the bottom of the box and at the top of the box. This kept the wooden grid from being pulled out from the top by the horses while also allowing it to go down with the hay as they ate it.
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This box is half hardi board and half cedar fence planks. Like I said, we used our leftover scraps to build these, but the hardi board broke at some point while the cedar is still going strong.

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We put the slow-feeders on four cinder blocks to keep them off of the ground and make them last longer. You can see how little waste of hay there is around their boxes.
DIY Hay Slow Feeders by The Homestead Kings
The wooden grid allows them access to the hay but doesn’t wear down the front of their teeth like a metal grid would.

The Result

Please excuse how worn the feeders look. I didn’t think to take pictures of them until about a year after we have been using them. You can see how they’ve held up. There is very little hay waste so therefore less wasted money. The horses are able to eat forage steadily throughout the day and not all in one sitting. Our Rowdy is so clever that he has broken a couple of the grids, but it hasn’t been a big deal. We just pull them out and staple or nail the pieces back together. Each slow-feeder box cost about $50 to make. Ours were cheaper since we used our scrap leftovers. Either way, it’s way better than paying over $300 for one!

1 thought on “DIY Square Bale Slow-Feeder

  1. I don’t own horse but I have friends that do and this is a great idea. I will have to share it with them later. Thanks.

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