How to make a Basket Feeder even better

How to make a Basket Feeder even better

For this week’s blog, I figured we would talk about the horse hay feeders, specifically the hay basket feeders.  We purchased ours about 2 yrs ago

from a local farm store.  It’s a 6-foot diameter Tarter brand.  The reason we ventured into making a hay nettop for the basket feeder was driven by multiple requests for custom nets to turn them into true slow feeders.  While some folks out there market round bale hay nets to use on these I personally found them cumbersome and it made the basket difficult to clean having to anchor the slow feed netting to the bottom of the basket.

Being in a four-season climate, hay can get nasty quick which means emptying and cleaning the basket of unconsumed hay.   I designed our slow feed hay net topper to be lifted easily with one strap clip and marine grade elastic.  Undo the clip and pull the elastic back.  One can flip the extra netting up over the top.  Toss in the hay bales, remove the strings from the bales and pull the slow feed topper back over the lip of the basket.  Attach the strap and your slow feeder is ready to use.   To clean, just untie the leg straps and pull the net off, or if you’re like me, you’ll pull the net back and use a garden hose to wash it out.

The biggest issue I have with the basket is during heavier snow, the horses can’t get to the hay. I guess you could call that the ultimate slow feeder, but I think the horses would like some food!   Outcomes our snow shovel and you’re now trying to get all the snow off the top.  No fun.  So when I know snow is in the air (or a lot of rain), I go back to our standard bale slow feed nets that I hang off the run in shed and the half-eaten tree nearby and leave the basket empty.  Horses are much happier and so am I as I am not cleaning up wet rotting hay.

One question I get asked all the time when using the baskets is what do you do about the side slots and the horses eating from those.  My answer, “Nothing”.  They really can’t get much hay from the side slots, horses can only get what sticks out or is tight up again the slot.  The plastic is hard so they cannot push it in to get to hay.

All in all, I do like using the basket, they work great with our slow feeder hay nets on them (we stock the hay basket toppers in 1-1/2″, 1-3/4″ and 2-1/4″ meshes).