Recently, I was asked what was one of my favorite horse products that I use in my barn. The first thing that came to mind was The NibbleNet slow feeder hay bag.
Seven years ago, my paint horse was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance. He was overweight, and I needed to slow down his feed intake. My gelding really was a “labrador retriever” in a horse’s body – always hungry, so I needed to find a way to feed him less and still keep his cheerful and fun personality while satisfying his appetite.
I started trying out different slow feed hay bags and nets available at the store. After a few failures – the nets were too flimsy, too difficult to eat from, and too hard to handle with my arthritic hands – I tried the NibbleNet. It was an instant success.
The bag is extremely durable; I am still using my first one from seven years ago. It is made from a heavy-duty vinyl and thick webbing for the grid that does not stretch, twist or harden. The bag is easy to fill, because you can leave it clipped to the wall and just drop in the flakes of hay, and then close it back up. There are choices of webbing hole sizes of 1.5” and 2″ openings. I was very happy with the larger size for my horse. If you have a smaller pony or a very greedy horse, the smaller size may be more appropriate for your needs.The nets are made in the United States which is a bonus.
I use my NibbleNets year-round. They stay supple in the winter, no matter how cold it gets. NibbleNets also make it easy to soak the hay – place the flakes in the bag, soak the bag, and then hang it. As time went on, I realized that my horse could not risk his health by grazing on grass any more and would need to be fed hay year-round. I then purchased two additional bags and hung them in other spots in the barn, in the run-in, and outside on the fence in the pasture. This keeps him busy visiting and checking each bag day and night.
There are many choices of sizes and colors available from the store, and even more from the manufacturer that can be special ordered. I purchased a 2″ Standard NibbleNet that was 9″ in depth, and it fits two flakes in the bag easily. It was one of my most successful purchases that I have made to date. It allows me to manage my barn more easily and has helped my horse stay healthier and happily “grazing” all day from the bag. Consistent grazing also reduces the chance of ulcers; learn more our blog post, Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS).
While the cost of this bag is higher than many others on the market, I have found it to be worth every penny and then some. I highly recommend it to all horse owners, especially those with insulin resistant horses or horses that are easy keepers and you would like to slow down their hay consumption.