What Are Hay Bags?
Hay bags are nylon or canvas sacks with holes, webbing, or side netting for easy hay access. Horse owners use the best hay bags for horses to slow down how horses consume hay, which is helpful for overweight equines and makes the hay last longer. But your unique needs will determine the hay bag you should choose.
Keep reading to discover more.
Are Hay Bags Good for Horses?
Yes, hay bags are great for horses in different situations, including:
- Reducing wastage: Slow-feed hay bags help slow down horse hay consumption and help eliminate wastage.
- Ideal for traveling: Horse owners use hay bags to ensure their horses can access hay on the road.
- Slowing down horse eating: You can use hay bags to slow down how fast your horse(s) eat their hay. This is very helpful for overweight horses.
- Stable management: Hay bags also make stable management more efficient. For instance, you don’t have to refill frequently, and the bag holds the hay neatly as the horse eats.
- Preventing contamination: Hay bags prevent hay from spilling out and getting contaminated by dirt or other substances. They also keep the hay dry, preventing the growth of mold.
Our Favorite Equine Hay Bag
We’ve been testing horse hay bags for several years, and the Weaver Leather Hay Bag is our favorite equine hay bag. We love this hay bag because it is durable, easy to use, and allows your horse to feed effortlessly.
Furthermore, the bag has convenient snap closures that make filling effortless. We also love the bag’s mesh sides and bottom, which promote breathability. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about dampness and molding. The bag is reasonably priced, meaning you’ll get value for your money!
Other Hay Bags We Picked for Review
- Weaver Leather Hay Bag – Best overall
- Kensington – Best slow-feed hay bag
- Harrison Howard Premium Durable Horse Hay Bag – Best for durability
- Tough 1 Slow Feed Hay Bag – Best travel hay bag
- 2 Pieces Horse Hay Bag – Best budget horse hay bag
HG’s Horse Hay Bags Unpacked
Weaver Leather Hay Bag – Best Overall
This Weaver Leather hay bag is undoubtedly the best overall hay bag. You’ll not struggle to fill it, and its convenient snap closure helps minimize hay loss. Furthermore, the bag’s round feed hole makes it suitable for your horse to feed.
The bag has mesh sides and bottoms, which enhance breathability and eliminate dampness. It is also available in multiple colors, so you can pick the one that best suits your taste.
Brand: Weaver Leather
Colors: Blue, black, hot pink, hurricane blue, lime green, red
Material: Nylon, leather
Weight: 0.84 pounds (0.38 kilograms)
Dimensions: 12.01 x 12.01 x 0.98 inches (30.51 x 30.51 x 2.49 centimeters)
- Top quality material (600D polyester) ideal for attaching to a pasture fence
- The bag reduces waste by preventing horses from soiling the hay
- It promotes better digestive health in the horse by slowing down consumption, which reduces the risk of colic
- The round feed hole’s size is ideal for slow-feeding
- Its V-shaped top flap can open easily when the horse pushes on the corners, allowing top feeding.
Kensington – Best Slow Feed Hay Bag
Look no further if you’ve been looking for a hay bag to help slow your horse’s feeding. The Kensington hay bag has a unique design to help your horse feed more naturally and prevent hay waste. It is also available in two different sizes- two flakes and four flakes. The two-flake bag holds two large flakes, ideal for events or in a trailer.
Furthermore, the bag’s design is well-thought-out and robust. For example, the 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches (3.81 x 3.81 centimeters) aperture is ideal for slow feeding. If you’re very specific about your colors, don’t fret – you can choose from eight different colors.
Finally, it comes with a one-inch (2.54-centimeter) adjustable nylon strap with a swivel snap that allows you to hang the bag in different ways.
Brand: Kensington Protective Products
Colors: Atlantis, black ice, black ice plaid, deluxe black, deluxe red plaid, desert sand, Kentucky blue, lavender mint
Material: Heavy-duty nylon webbing, textilene mesh
Weight: 2 pounds (0.91 kilograms)
- 2-Flake: 17.5 x 26.5 x 8 inches (44.45 x 67.31 x 20.32 centimeters)
- 4-Flake: 24 x 32 x 8 inches (60.96 x 81.28 x 20.32 centimeters)
- It is available in two sizes, making it perfect for use at the stable overnight and during shows
- The hanging strap is horse-proof, meaning the horse cannot pull it down or damage it
- Its large openings make it effortless to load
- It slows your horse’s eating, thereby improving its health. The slow feeding process promotes saliva production, which helps protect the horse from colic, ulcers, and other stomach issues.
- It may require frequent refills, especially if you have multiple horses
Harrison Howard Premium Durable Horse Hay Bag – Best for Durability
If you prefer slow-feed hay bags for horses that are durable and of a good size, this is it!
Harrison Howard designed this reinforced horse hay bag with heavy-duty material that lasts long. The bag’s large capacity and extra large opening at the top make it effortless. Moreover, since it can hold up to two average-size flakes of hay, it’ll save you the time and effort to refill many times over.
The round opening on the side makes hay effortless to access, and the slow feed design ensures no wastage. You can also rest assured that this bag will last long thanks to its heavy-duty coat that offers good tenacity.
Brand: Harrison Howard
Colors: Champion blue, regal purple, scarlet red
Material: 1680D Oxford cloth
Weight: 1.12 pounds (0.51 kilograms)
Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 25 inches (46 x 28 x 64 centimeters)
- The round opening makes hay accessible effortlessly
- Excellent design for stable management
- It comes with strong d-rings to facilitate solid handling
- It keeps hay neat and averts waste and contamination
- You must unhook the bag completely to fill it.
Tough 1 Slow Feed Hay Bag –Best Travel Hay Bag
The Tough 1 Slow Feed Hay Bag is popular among horse owners who want to slow down their horse’s eating and reduce waste. Its construction comprises 1-inch (2.54-centimeter) webbing in small two-inch-square openings that effectively minimize wastage.
Moreover, the large size (40 inches – 101.6 centimeters) holds plenty of hay to keep your horse busy on the trailer, at the show, or the campground.
Is your horse an aggressive feeder? No worries! Tough 1 made this hay bag with a strong Challenger poly hay cord to ensure the longest wear.
Brand: Tough 1
Colors: Hunter green, black, purple, red, and royal blue
Material: Poly hay cord
Weight: 0.53 pounds (0.24 kilograms)
Dimensions: 40 inches long (101.6 centimeters)
- Slows down horses’ eating, thereby preventing digestive issues and waste
- It can keep your horse occupied for longer periods
- Its webbing material is durable
- It is available in multiple sizes and designs for different needs
- It’s small holes might not be ideal for all types of hay
2 Pieces Horse Hay Bag – Best Budget Hay Bag
This package comes with two horse hay bags, enough to handle your horse’s animal feeding needs. It does not become dirty easily; when it becomes dirty, it is effortless to clean. Moreover, its top-quality nylon material is sturdy, and the stitching is excellent, so your horse will not rip it apart.
The hay bag feeder has two metal rings at the top that you can effortlessly attach to the stall, wall, or trailer. If you were thinking about a perfect gift for your friend who loves horses, you have your answer!
Material: 600D Nylon
Weight: 1.41 pounds
Dimensions: 19.8 x 5.9 x 27.5 inches (50.29 x 14.99 x 69.85 centimeters)
- Its design allows you to use it for multiple applications (storing and feeding)
- The two pieces are convenient for horse owners who need to feed their horses in different locations
- The manufacturer used durable material to ensure it lasts long
- The bag’s large size holds enough hay for your horse’s feeding needs
- Its small holes may not be suitable for all hay types
How to Pick The Hay Bag That’s Right for Your Horse
Before purchasing a new hay bag, you should be cautious because there are many dubious products in the market. Such bags won’t last and can harm your horse – for example; some have plastic that breaks easily, leaving sharp points and sides that can injure your horse. You must use a specific criterion to select the right horse hay bags to get value for your money.
Don’t let the bag’s cute design deceive you! Please ensure its top-quality fabric and fittings – poorly stitched fittings easily tear apart. Nylon and canvas are the most common materials manufacturers use. But you can also consider hay bags with materials like mesh and webbing.
No matter how beautiful a horse hay bag looks, if its hanging mechanism is not practical, it is useless! You need a hay bag that you can hang on a sturdy hook or trailer bar. Suppose the hanging mechanism fails. In that case, the hay bag will fall off, and the hay will become contaminated. For example, the horse might pee or even poop in it.
Grazing Aperture Size
The hay bag feeder aperture size determines whether your horse enjoys gnawing or becomes frustrated. If the apertures are too small, the frustrated horse can become destructive because it can’t access enough hay through the opening. Additionally, if you’re getting the hay bag to regulate your horse’s eating, ensure it can do that effectively.
Everyone wants to get the best value for their dough. Therefore, don’t assume that expensive means top quality and vice versa when selecting a hay bag. Instead, consider the cost alongside other features such as material quality and hardware type. Fortunately, hay bags are not very expensive, and you can easily repair them.
Hay Bag Size
How much hay does your horse consume? You can get a cute hay bag, but it cannot see your horse through its night’s hay supply. In this regard, ensure you consider the bag’s size before buying. A general rule of thumb says -bigger is better.
The hay bag must hold enough hay to keep your horse occupied for the amount of time you need to keep them busy. Also, consider getting two bags if you need your hay bag to support more feed time.
FAQ on Equine Hay Bags
What’s the Difference Between a Hay Bag and a Hay Net?
A hay net comprises rope tied together in a netting. The netting’s opening is quite large, allowing the horse to pull hay through. A hay net with larger openings enables the horse to feed easier and faster. However, the large openings also mean that more hay will drop on the ground.
In this sense, we refer to hay nets with smaller openings as “slow-feeder” hay nets. This is because they limit the rate at which a horse can pull out the hay.
On the other hand, a hay bag is a bag (duh!) with a single hole cut into it through which a horse pulls the hay out. You can also find bags with a mesh in the front. Many horse owners love hay bags because they reduce waste. But they might not hold as much hay as the nets do.
Hay bags and hay nets are available in various sizes. A typical hay net can hold a half or one average-sized hay bale [14 x 18 x 35 inches/ 50 pounds (35.56 x 45.75 x 88.9 centimeters/22.68 kilograms)]. Conversely, a hay bag can only hold a few flakes.
Each has its merits and demerits, but each fits in some situations. For instance, in our years of testing, we discovered that hay nets are ideal for stalls with angled corners. You can also use nets in your run-in sheds if you feed hay outside but want it off the ground to avoid muddying.
Conversely, bags are ideal for your horse trailer, especially if you are not hauling long distances. The bags can hold enough hay for the ride, are easy to hang, and don’t make a mess.
Why Should I Use a Hay Bag for My Horse?
Using a hay bag for your horse has multiple benefits, including:
- It reduces wastage: Hay bags will enable you to prevent your horse from scattering and soiling hay, which reduces wastage.
- It slows down fast eaters: Does your horse eat too quickly? A hay bag having smaller openings can allow you to slow down its intake rate. This also helps to prevent other unwanted digestive challenges.
- It keeps hay clean: Hay bags also help to keep hay off the ground and clean. This is particularly important when you’re traveling with your horse.
- It prevents entanglement: Hay bags are less likely to cause entanglement, which can be hazardous for your horse.
It is also important to note that some horses may not like eating from hay bags or prefer another type of slow feeder. In addition, not all slow feeders allow your horse to feed from a natural grazing position. This can be a concern for horses with cervical arthritis or back issues.
The bottom line is that using a hay bag is essential to managing your horse’s hay intake and reducing wastage. But, it would help to consider your horse’s unique needs and preferences.
Why Should You Use a Hay Bag Over a Hay Net?
Hay Bag Pros
- They mimic natural grazing behavior: You can use hay bags to extend your horse’s feeding times to mimic natural grazing behavior. This can be helpful for your horse’s digestive health.
- They help reduce stress: Suppose your horse is on a restricted diet. In that case, you can use hay bags to decrease overall stress and achieve weight loss simultaneously.
- May not be suitable for all horses: Some horses may not like feeding from the hay bags.
Hay Net Pros
- Slows feed intake: A hay net allows your horse to feed for longer than when you spread the forage on the ground. This also mimics the time horses spend on pasture.
- Reduces the risk of developing equine squamous gastric diseases (ESGD): Feeding for extended periods means your horse’s stomach will not stay empty for long. This helps reduce the chances of developing ESGD.
- Promote saliva production: When you extend your horse’s eating time, you promote saliva production, which protects your horse from colic, ulcers, and other stomach issues.
- Keeps the hay clean: Like hay bags, the hay nets also keep the hay clean, free of any contamination.
- Risk of neck or back injury: According to a hay net study, using hay nets may increase a horse’s risk of neck or back injury (Pros and cons of using hay nets: New information, 2023).
- Risk of entanglement: A hay net may be dangerous for your pony if it ingests the netting material or it becomes entangled.
Wrapping Things Up
Here is the bottom line: using a hay bag for horses offers many benefits for horses and horse owners. Luckily, there are many hay bags available to choose from. You can use the criteria we’ve shared in this piece to help you choose the right hay bag for your horse. Remember, we’ve established that each horse’s needs are unique.
Nonetheless, the Weaver Leather Hay Bag would be an excellent place to start! This top-rated hay bag can withstand tear and wear, is easy to use, and allows your horse to feed effortlessly.
Pick your favorite color today and elevate your horse’s feeding experience!
Pros and cons of using haynets: New information. (2023, January 5). Kentucky Equine Research. https://ker.com/equinews/pros-and-cons-of-using-hay-nets-new-information/