Your Experience with Round Bale Hay Nets
I am considering getting a slow feed hay net for round bales. Whether they were specifically made for round bales or you made your own, I would like to hear your experience with them, good and bad.
Do they hold up?
How long did yours last?
Did they really slow your horse down?
How easy are they to use?
What did you do with the excess netting as the bale was eaten down?
Do you recommend them?
What did you like the best about the net?
What did you like the least?
If they are a hassle to use, was it worth it for the money saved?
Any and all information would be helpful. I don't have money to burn and these nets are not cheap. Great if they save money, but too much to just take a chance on.
Made one myself. It is outlined with pics in this thread-
I made it in spring this year and it is still holding up quite well. The top is attached loosely so that as the horses eat down the hay, the top collapses down on the remaining hay.
It was well worth the $30 in materials that I used and the hour or two it took to make it. I'm getting anywhere from 3 to 5 more days per bale, and with the scarcity of hay in my area this year, that is a big deal.
While the pre-made ones are expensive, now that I know how well a hay net will work, when mine gives out I'll either make another one or buy an expensive one.
Lockwood - Thank you for your feedback. I was considering making my own but had concerns over finding netting that was strong enough. I had not considered the plastic netting. I will have to look into that. I was hoping to get a few more replies so that I could tell whether it was worth the investment. I also would like to know if any of the soccer or hockey netting could be toxic to horses. While most horses would learn to eat through the holes and leave when done, I could see mine just hanging out chewing on the netting for fun.
They were used at my old barn. They were obnoxious to get on the bales. It took two of us on the ground and a third in the tractor. They dramatically slowed consumption and worked well. I recommend that you use a strong hay feeder because in some fields (there were over a dozen fields), the horses would lean on the sides of the feeder, causing them to break and the net would sometimes slip through to the ground. Shod horses would get their shoes tangled in the nets and torn off. One barefoot horse somehow got his whole hoof stuck in the net and dragged it around (there was about 200 pounds of hay left in the net and there were drag marks of hay on the ground) for who knows how long (it was after the last night check) before he got freed.
So, short version: I liked what they did for slowing down eating but I didn't care for the added hazards.
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The safety aspect does concern me. I am just getting desperate to stop the waste. We have a round bale feeder but that does not stop the horses from tossing the hay over the sides where they then muck it all up. Where I live hay is not cheap or plentiful.
I bought both a round and square one this fall. I love them! None of my horses are shod so that doesn't bug me, and the holes being so small I don't worry about them catching themselves. (square is 1 inch round is 1.25 inch and I have half square feeders that are 2" holes. ) because the grapple on our new tractor has yet to be fixed I am only using squares all around right now. I have noticed that instead of thinking they are starving 2 hours after I feed them, they are good till I feed them again at 430. What does fall out of the feeders gets cleaned up quickly by my crew. I have 7 horses on these right now and I will probably buy another couple square bale feeders next year so that my other ones can have these too rather then being out with the cattle. Depending on the temperature I am feeding 3 to 4 squares per 7 head depending how cold it is, whereas I would probably need to feed 6 to keep them happy otherwise. Mine are by Lead On NUtrition, bit cheaper then your NAG bags or econets, but work the same and made out of similar material.
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I don't feed round bales, but I do use small mesh hay nets.
Do they hold up? I have used my Freedom Feeder on and off for a couple years (on trips and occasional stalling) and I recently got a small mesh hay net from Smartpak and have been using those only for my two horses for the past 4 months and no damage.
Did they really slow your horse down? Yes they do.
How easy are they to use? Not the best to fill up.. you have to open up the drawstring (or with my Freedom feeder, unclip the top), stuff hay, then hang up.
Do you recommend them? Absolutely.
What did you like the best about the net?Very minimal hay falling on ground and extending eating time.
What did you like the least? Filling them up.
As for round bales, I would get a big round net the width of a round bale with 1x1 inch holes (a big hockey net spread out flat maybe?) for the top of the bale, and then build a "pen" for the round bale that goes up at least a couple feet (I would recommend sinking 4x4's into the ground in a semi circle shape and put a little concrete in with them, and then nail planks along the sides, 2x8's would be great). Then, put hooks (the twist-in screw eyes would work) along the outside of the bale pen, put the round bale in the pen, put the net over the top of the bale, clip clips to the net and clip those to the outside hooks. If you dont have a way to lift the bale up over the "pen fence" you could put a wooden door along the side. I think that would help the problem with getting the bale in the hay net- just make sure the bale pen doesn't go up too high otherwise the horse won't be able to eat the bottom part of the bale.
I bought two of the large round bale feeders from CinchChix - haven't tried them out yet as they are still finishing the bales we put in earlier, but next time we but a new round bale in we'll put on the net. Ours are also barefoot
I have a question as I never used a hay net before. Do the horses chew on them? I'm considering them but I'm afraid I'll end up with a horse with a belly full of hay net.
Yes they can chew thru them. We have the Cinch Chix ones and 1 out of 4 is holding up. No horses have shoes but some groups are more agressive. If you have agressive eaters I say no to them. But they do help with waste. We never had the waste they claimed you have without them so it only cut down by about 5% for us.
I more have an issue with how the company handled the situation more than they were being chewed thru.
They are also a pain to put on once the cold hits. They freeze and then your fingers are frozen and ugh takes at least two people.
But for a few horses they would be great. As long as they don't have the inclination to chew thru them.
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