Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does it work?
A: Basically, your hay is confined inside the wooden box with a metal grate on top. The weight of the metal grate keeps it pressed against the hay, and horses use their lips to grab wisps of hay through the grate and eat it. They go from square to square pulling out hay .. it's kind of like Sudoku for your horse!
Q: How do you load it?
A: It couldn't be simpler. The lid is opened, metal grate is lifted, hay is placed in the box, and the metal grate placed on top. We do recommend 'fluffing' to break up flakes to make it easier for your horse to pull out bites of hay.
One helpful hint: if you have a lid, you don't need to remove the grate all the way or open the lid all the way. Lift the lid just enough so you can lift the grate so it's vertical against the side of the feeder, then let the lid rest on top of the grate to hold it in place. Then toss the hay in through the lid opening.
Q: How do I teach my horses how to use it?
A: This is the easiest part .. put hay in the feeder, and walk away. Even the most timid horses will quickly learn that there is nothing to fear from the box and that it is a source of food. In addition, the way the box is made will allow your horse to take a bite of hay, then lift his head slightly to look around just as he would when grazing.
Q: Do I need a lid for my SLOW GRAZER?
A: For 99% of horses, we recommend the lid for your SLOW GRAZER, as it prevents your horse from removing the grate. If you have a horse that likes to play with things, we absolutely recommend the lid! Without the lid, you shouldn't fill your feeder more than half way full as the grate being near the top opening increases the chances that your horse might remove it. And if your horse learns to remove the grate, you will absolutely need a lid from that point forward.
Q: Will kind of hay can I use in my SLOW GRAZER?
A: We have tested the SLOW GRAZER on our farm with local grass hay, premium grass hay, grass alfalfa mix and straight alfalfa. We found that top quality, softer-stemmed grass hay (e.g. 2nd cutting orchard hay) worked best with the smaller grate size, and coarse hay (e.g. first cuttings, alfalfa) worked better with the larger grate size.
Q: Are horses able to get all the hay out of the box?
A: Absolutely. The only thing you will have left over is 'hay dust'. Another benefit to the SLOW GRAZER - the leaves on your alfalfa hay get eaten rather than wasted!
Q: Will the metal grate cause wear on my horses' teeth?
A: We haven't seen any unusual teeth wear from the use of the feeders on our farm over the last 10 years feeding about 30 different horses. Of course, as with anything you use with your horses, you are the best judge of how well it works in your situation. If you had a horse that chewed on the grate, we expect it could cause the same kind of wear you'd see on a horse that chewed on anything metal, such as a bit or chew rail on a stall. However, what we've seen is that our horses use their lips to pull the hay through the grate, then grab it with their teeth (see the video on our home page for a close-up view of how it works).
Important: If you notice your horse struggling or using their teeth to try and grab bites of hay, you may need to move up to a larger grate size or less coarse/stemmy hay.
Q: How much hay can you fit in the SLOW GRAZER?
A: This depends on a lot of things, such as how densely your hay is baled, the weight of the hay itself, whether or not you shake out the hay when loading the feeder, etc. When using the optional lid, you can fit up to 100 pounds of hay in the 2'x4' box (essentially one big rectangular bale), and up to 200 pounds in the 4'x4' box. Without the lid you can fit about half that amount, as without the lid horses are more likely to remove the grate if the feeder is filled to the top. Also, with some types of hay, loading an entire bale then removing the strings works, and with other types of hay the flakes need to be shaken out (fluffed) for the feeder to work well, so it varies a lot of your individual situation.
Q: Will my hay get waterlogged / will the box fill with water?
A: Each SLOW GRAZER has several drainage holes in the bottom so it can not fill with water. Your hay will get wet if you're feeding outdoors, but certainly no wetter than compared to hay put in any other type of feeder or on the ground.
Q: What are the dimensions of the box, and how much does it weigh?
A: The '4x4' box is 4'4" x 4'4" by 26" tall. It weighs approximately 150 pounds. The '2x4' box is 4'4" x 2'4" by 26" tall and weighs approximately 100 pounds. The lid adds 2" of height to either box.
Q: Can my horse tip the box over?
A: Due to it's dimensions, the 4x4 box is impossible to tip. This makes it ideal as a pasture feeder. The 2x4 box is hard to tip but a determined horse might manage it. (ours have been using a 2x4 box out in the field unsecured for the last several years with no tipping incidences yet!)
Q: What kind of maintenance is needed?
A: We recommend you routinely completely empty your SLOW GRAZER, remove any leftover hay bits, and rinse it well with clean water. In addition, as with anything in your horse's environment, you should regularly check that the feeder is in good working order.
Q: What if my horse climbs inside the box?
A: If you know horses, you know that sooner or later they will do something silly. We've had a couple curious horses that climbed into the box when first introduced to it to 'check it out'. The 'floor' of the box is extremely heavy duty and easily withstood being climbed on by a 1200 pound horse. That said, if you have very heavy draft horses that you think are going to be tap-dancing in the box on a regular basis, we'd recommend ordering a Super Duty box, which has a double thickness floor and 50% thicker walls.
Q: Do you offer a SLOW GRAZER for stall or shed use?
A: Our 2x4 model works well in stalls or run-in sheds; it can be ordered in dimensions ranging from 4' to 8' long. We also offer a 2'x2' model for use where space is limited or for feeding horses individually.
Q: Is the box painted or treated in any way?
A: The floor framing that comes in contact with the ground is made of pressure treated wood, rated for direct soil contact. This part does NOT come in contact with the hay at all. The metal grate is black powder coated steel. The remainder of the box is not treated in any way. You can paint or treat it as you see fit, or for an additional fee we can treat it with a wood preservative.
Q: Do you offer different size grates in the SLOW GRAZER?
A: We offer two grate types: one that is powder coated steel with a 2.75" square opening, and a galvanized model with a 3.75" square opening. An additional charge applies for the 3.75" grate size.
Q: What grate size should I choose?
A: This depends very much on your individual situation. If you are feeding coarse hay or if you don't want to actually slow consumption (just prevent waste), the larger grate opening might work better. You might also need the larger grate opening if your horse seems to be struggling to get the hay out with the smaller grate. A good way to determine if you're using the optimal grate size is to observe your horses using the feeder in a quiet environment. If you can hear a 'clanging' of your horse's teeth hitting the metal grate as they pull out bites of hay, you may need to move up to a larger grate size.
Q: Are there any situations were you do NOT recommend use of the SLOW GRAZER?
A: Yes! Please DO NOT use the SLOW GRAZER to feed moldy hay or hay of questionable quality. Also, DO NOT use the SLOW GRAZER if you feel your horses' feet could fit through the grate openings, as it could present an entrapment risk. Lastly, please DO NOT use the SLOW GRAZER to avoid daily monitoring and care of your horses.
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