Haynet Design and Forage Consumption Rates Studied
It’s no secret that horses in modern management situations can benefit from slowed forage intake, which mimics feral horses' natural foraging tendencies. But do these slow feeders really work? A group of University of Minnesota researchers recently put two slow-feed haynets—one with medium-sized and one with small-sized openings—to the test to find out.
“The small and medium haynets offer two different size options in the ‘slow-feed’ haynet market,” said Krishona Martinson, PhD, associate professor and Equine Extension Specialist at the University of Minnesota. "We wanted to see if there was a difference between these haynets."
The researchers also wanted to see how the two slow-feed nets compared to a standard haynet or no haynet at all. The researchers employed eight healthy adult horses in their two-part study, using four treatments:
A standard net with 6-inch openings;
A "medium" net with 1.75-inch openings;
A "small" net with 1.25-inch openings; and
No net with hay fed on the stall floor.
The researchers offered the horses hay at 1% body weight twice daily in individual stalls and allowed the animals four hours to eat their mixed-grass hay from one of the treatment protocols. At the end of each four-hour period, the researchers removed the haynets and weighed the remaining hay from the net and the floor. Each horse received each treatment twice during the eight-week
Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.
Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with