Horses love to eat. They eat around the clock and I’m sure that you don’t want to spend all your waking moment making sure that your animal is being fed. So what’s the solution? In this article we will look at the best automatic horse feeder one should get.
An automatic horse feeder will allow your horse to each as much or as little as it wants without you having to constantly go out and feed it. Yet, when getting an automatic horse feeder you need to think about the material it’s made from and if it is overfeeding or underfeeding your horse, which can lead to health issues with your animal.
Here will show you what to look for when getting an automatic horse feeder, the types that are available, why you should think about getting an automatic horse feeder (aside from the point we have already mentioned…convenience!) and issues around such feeders.
Let’s giddy-up and ride off into the world of automatic horse feeders…
Why should I get an automatic horse feeder?
As we have mentioned, you don’t want to be trotting off (no pun intended) to feed your horses. You’re busy, so an automatic horse feeder takes some of the feeding burden off your shoulders. You can go about your daily work confidently knowing that your equestrian friends are being looked after.
The reason horses constantly eat is because their stomachs are small. So the eat small portions each time. Big portions of food can cause digestive issues. By controlling the amount and the time of when your horses can eat means that they are getting the right portions at the right time. Which means no concerns with your horse’s digestive system.
No too empty or too full stomach
Because horses are natural grazers they are always nibbling away. Because of the size of their stomachs, horses can have issues if they have eaten too much or not eaten enough.
If your horse each a large meal, it’s stomach has a hard time processing the quantity of food and pushes it into the intestines before the food has been properly digested. This leads to colic which in its most basic description is abdominal pain.
The other extreme on the feeding scale is when your animal doesn’t get enough food. The digestive acids can upset the stomach lining of your horse when the acids have little food to break down. This irritation can lead to your horse having stomach ulcers.
Automatic horse feeders will ensure that your horse is getting the fed when needed rather than swinging from one extreme to another.
No more trampled food
Unless you hand-feed your horse you will see that when they do eat, it isn’t a tidy process. Hay falls to the ground which ends up under hooves. Depending on the price of hay and the size of your horse, feeding them can be costly. You want to make sure you get the best bang for your buck and that’s where an automatic horse feeder comes in. Your horse can eat at its leisure and you know that the food isn’t going to end up on the ground where it will be inevitably stomped on.
Which type of automatic horse feeder should I get?
Now you have some idea as to why you should get an automatic horse feeder, you need to think about which type to get: a metal one or a plastic one.
Metal automatic horse feeders are great for both outdoor and indoor use. You can be confident that you are going to get a feeder that will stand up to the harshest weather. If you’re concerned about rodents getting at the feed, this style of feeder keeps them out.
The plastic-type of feeder is better suited for indoor use as it won’t do so well in the weather as it’s metallic equivalent. Also, if you have a rodent issue, the plastic feeder will let you down. It’s better suited for indoor feeding.
Also, think about your power supply. If you are using the feeder indoors, such as in a stable, you can get a model that you can plug into a power socket. That’s not so easy when you have a unit outdoors. In that case, look for a model that has its own battery. You can also get models that operate via solar panels. It all depends on where you want to install your automatic horse feeder.
A couple of more things you should bear in mind is the capacity of the feeder and how many feeding times you can set on it. Remember, the whole point of an automatic feeder is ensuring that your animals are getting fed at the right time, so you want to make sure that your feeder is going. To be big enough to take care of your equine friends while you are away or too busy.
Best horse feeders
Armed with the information you need to choose an automatic horse feeder, you wonder which feeder is the best. The best one is the one that suits you and your horse’s needs. Here we will show you some of the respected brands in automatic horse feeders and what they have to offer.
Whether you’re raising racehorses, horses for equestrian events or just for the pleasure of having a horse on your property that you can ride, the Profeeder will meet the needs of the most demanding horse keeper.
Made from double stainless steel and rounded edges, you get a feeder that is weather-proof and safe for your horses. The side-mounted timer is fully programmable and allows you to set up to 12 feedings per day. With a 50lb capacity, you don’t need to fear that your horses will be underfed, nor overfed as the chute dispense the preset quantity of food into the stable.
For power, the Profeeder comes in a 120 VAC model (or 12 VDC) with power provided via the 5-foot power cord. Customers outside of the US are catered for with a 230 VAC powered feeder available. There is also a solar-powered unit provided with the 15-watt panels which charge the battery and have a regulator that stops overcharging
It can accommodate pellets and dry food. Be aware that molasses can cause the feeder to clog up and stop working.
If you have a large number of horses to feed you can get additional units that will meet your feeding needs.
You have the option of two different feeders from Stable Grazer: the Kit Automatic Feeder and the Gen II Automatic Feeder.
The Kit Automatic Feeder is made to fit into a cabinet or existing space and comes with Stable Grazer’s patented drop-down technology. There is some assembly required before you can use the unit, so if you aren’t the DIY type then this feeder may not be the one for you.
The aluminium and zinc coating of the unit keeps rust at bay, so you have a feeder that is going to last. The shelves are made from ABS plastic. Being battery power eliminates the need and concern of having to run an electrical cord across the stable to feed your horses. You can keep an eye on the battery level by watching the timer which alternates every 7 seconds between the time and battery level. When the battery level reaches 25% consider recharging the battery.
You can feed your animals up to six times a day and there are additional accessories available that modifies the feeder to dispense pellets, chopped hay, grain and even medication. There is little cleaning required for this feeder, but it pays to do regular cleaning to remove the debris left from eating.
The Gen II Automatic Feeder also lets you feed your horses up to 6 times per day. It’s a fully enclosed unit that is ideal for outside feeding, unlike the Kit Automatic Feeder which seems more suited for inside use due to the cabinetry requirement. The Gen II feeder is powered the same way as the Kit Automatic Feeder, that is, by a battery.
This feeder is the more expensive of the two models and functions the same way as it’s cheaper counterpart in that it uses a shelving system in which the feed is stored.
Though these feeders are marketed as “deer feeders” they can still be utilised as a horse feeder. With several different models available, you will surely find one that meets your needs. Also, the storage capacity of these feeders is one of the highest on the market with either a 100lb or 300lb option.
Made from galvalume steel makes these feeders strong and weather-proof. The introductory Scatter Feeder model comes with a sight gauges so you can keep an eye on the feed level and a pre-wired solar panel port.
Sweeney Enterprises also provides three models with tripod capability to raise your feeder of the ground and, therefore, makes the feeder varmint proof. The premium model has the solar charger included and a winch system that makes it easier to adjust the height of the feeder.
All of Sweeney’s feeders scatter the food in a 60-foot diameter circle and come with a 3-year unconditional guarantee.
Quick Feed feeders are made for a range of animals including horses. You have the option of single or double feeders which are able to dispense oats, mixed grains and pellets.
With both types of feeders you have a variety of choices for power: electrical, battery or solar-powered. All the feeders can hold up to 50lb of grain or oats and can be set to feed up to 12 times a day.with 1 to 5 cups of feed dispensed each time.
Being made from plastic makes these feeders more suited for indoor use. If you do want to use them outside make sure that they are covered well to protect the electrics. Also, if rodents are an issue where you live, then this feeder is going to let you down.
The range of feeders from EEZKeeper are the more expensive ones in this list, but they are sturdy being made from steel. Being a “slow feeder” means that your horse is eating at a slower rate than usual as it has to eat the dispensed food at one bite size at a time, which aids in digestion.
All the feeders from EEZKeeper are battery operated (8 D size cell batteries) with the batteries lasting up to a year (based on a daily feeding of 2 – 3 times a day). The generously sized shelves can hold a decent amount of feed. You can set the timer to feed up to 8 times per day or week with you being able to customise which day you want your horse to be fed.
If you don’t like the style of the feeders that EEZKeeper offers, you can contact them to have one custom made to suit your requirements. How’s that for customer-friendly! Also, if you have a horse show and don’t want to travel all the time to feed your animal, the feeders from EEZKeeper are portable.
With the warranty, you have a one-year limited warranty on any automatic feeder from EEZKeeper.
The Simple Feeder takes advantage of your horse’s natural feeding habit by allowing your animal to eat frequently, but each portion is smaller than other feeders. You can set the feeder to provide food for your horse up to eight times a day (in the stand-alone model). With a feeding capacity ranging from 33lbs to 105lbs allows you to feed you horse up to 16 times a day (with the centrally-controlled model).
You can use nuts, dry grain, pellets, moist or wet feed in the feeder. When it comes to positioning your feeder, you can place it inside or outside. Once you set up your feeder, you just need to top up at least every 2 days.
The feeders from Simple Feeder use a 12V power supply.and can be fixed to the cavity wall or stable bars of your stable.
Don’t make these mistakes with your feeder
Now you have an idea of the more popular automatic horse feeders on the market, there are some precautions you need to take when using the feeder. It’s so easy just to set up the unit and let it feed your horse. But then, in feeding, you can cause health issues for your animal. Here are some things to be aware of when supplying your horses food from an automatic feeder.
We have already discussed the issues of overfeeding or underfeeding your horse. It’s so easy just to place food into the feeder, set the time and say “Bye-bye” to your horse as you head off to take care of other things.
Ideally, you should make sure that your horse is fed at least twice a day and that the portions in the feeder are enough to cover any time that you are away. The amount of feed you should be supplying depends on how many horses you have to feed as well as the size of the horse. A mature horse needs between 15 to 20 pounds of feed a day.
There are so many parts in an automatic horse feeder so make sure that you schedule a regular maintenance check. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully on how to clean the unit. The last thing you want to come home to are horses that haven’t been fed due to the feeder breaking down.
Maintenance goes beyond the hardware. Make sure that the chutes and feeding mechanisms are clear from any debris build-up
Poor quality feed
You wouldn’t think of feeding your family rubbish food, so why should you also skimp on your horses (especially if they are your livelihood). If the hay you are providing your animals is lacking in vitamins and nutrients it will ultimately lead to health and performance issues such as reduced production of red blood cells, a poor ability to produce proteins for muscles and a reduced ability to produce enzymes and antibodies.
One of the best hays that you can provide your horse through your automatic feeder is Timothy Hay. It’s one of the more easily digestible hays and is ideal for horses that have protein sensitivities.
With half of your horse’s diet being made up of hay, it pays to ensure that you are giving them the best feed possible.
Set but don’t forget
Automatic horse feeders make your life simpler by taking care of the feeding work for you. However, don’t treat them as a substitute for checking on your horse and making sure that it’s being properly fed (which means no underfeeding or overfeeding).
How much feed you need to supply your animals via automatic feeders is determined by the size of your horses and how many you have to feed. By thinking carefully of your horses’ feeding requirements will help you make an informed decision on the capacity size of the automatic feeder as well as how many feeders you need.
Also, consideration needs to be made as to where you will place your feeder. Inside or outside. With a variety of power options, you will be covered whichever option you choose.
Set the automatic feeder but don’t forget to check up on your horses to ensure that they are happy.