What's your best method of keeping hay "in front" of a horse 24/7. They're in stalls during the evening and in pasture during the day.
A round bale isn't an option because we need the hay for one horse and not the others but they normally get a few flakes in the morning and are left with grass for the remainder of the day.
Do you think it would be a good idea to put a hay net or multiple hay nets in their stall so that they can slowly eat during the night? Any other techniques?
Hay nets is what you'll hear, I think. I personally am a fan of the Nibble Net products. They are pricey, but built to last, and easy to fill. The 1.5 or 1.25 inch size holes will slow even a very eager horse down.
Mine don't need hay 24/7, or they'd all be fat even with slow-feeding. Even feral horses don't eat literally every moment of their lives. Going a few hours without eating is usually not that big a deal unless the horse is incredibly fragile medically or something.
I'm also a fan of Nibble Nets and Cinch Chix nets, which really are the simplest option for a horse who needs to eat slowly. There are many variations on this theme but the basic idea is the same: slow down the consumption to mimic grazing.
Agree with dw. Free choice hay, 24/7 is not ideal for every horse.
I use Nibble Nets or other types of slow feeders to slow my little hoovers down and to keep my hay wasters from wasting. My kids that don't waste and don't need to be limited get it on the floor, as much as is appropriate for their weight. The system seems to work. We do night check before bed, usually giving those who need it a wee bit more hay. By morning, all but the piggiest of piggies have a few scraps that they are nibbling on when I come in. The ones who don't? They'll live.
If you want to make it last longer I have liked the nibble net as others mentioned.
Another idea someone mentioned on a similar thread was removing the long tie rope from a net and putting a carabeaner through the rings instead, then just leave it on the ground. I don't see this being great in a stall as I think it might get gross, but in a paddock it might be pretty useful. Haven't tried it yet, just thought it sounded like a possibility, but maybe best for barefoot horses...
My one angry gelding I'm boarding this winter has an unbelievable talent for taking down my Cinch Chix nets from the VERY sturdy hook/eye from which they are hung with VERY STURDY carabiners. Trust me, fishing them out of the mud and muck does not make for very pleasant haybag stuffing. I've gotta find a way to foil this mysterious skill of his in tearing them down without any sign of a struggle.
I've found that hanging a small mesh hay net from the ceiling instead of a wall dramatically slows down consumption.
Instead of being able to "pin" the net against something solid and then pull hay out of it, the horse spends a lot more time trying to get hay out of an object that swings away as soon as he tries to grab hold of it.
I've tried hanging the Nibble Nets from the ceiling -- the one with a two inch opening doesn't seem to slow the horse down. The one with a 1 1/2 inch opening makes it REAL hard -- as in the horse gives up and walks away.