Slowfeed Haysaver Nets
Q: What is the difference between your nets and other cheaper nets?
A: The difference between the cheaper nets and ours is that most cheap nets are made from nylon which is not always UV resistent so they don't last as long, and they are made in China where the labour is much cheaper.
Our nets are made in Australia from UV stabilised marine grade polyethelene so they are made to last longer in the sun and the water.
They are also made in a square/rectangular shape with square hole netting (rather than diamond netting which closes up as the hay is eaten) so the horses can access the hay better as it reduces.
Put simply, the quality is better and our nets will last longer.
Q: Can they be used on the ground?
A: Yes! we highly recommend using these nets at ground level so the horses can push against something to get the last bits of hay out, and its also a much more natural and healthy position to feed from.
You may want to tie the net (at one end only so they can flip it around to access all the hay) to a tyre, a tree, or a fence (where it can't be pushed under) so it doesn't get tossed around and 'lost' or dragged through manure.
Q: Is the marine netting safe for horses to play with and chew on?
A: Unless your horse has gaps between their teeth (as some very old horses may), the netting is very safe. If they chew on it too much they can make holes, but so long as these are repaired as soon as you see them, (with baling twine is fine but we do supply mending twine) the horse won't learn to benefit from this activity!
Always ensure that you have tied up the drawstring so there isn't a 'hoof sized' loop to get caught in, and only secure one end of the net so it can be moved around, rather than form a hazard when empty (if at ground level). Horses will find it easier and less frustrating to use the net if it is tied at ground level so they can get the last bits of hay by pushing against the ground.
Q: How long will the net last?
A: It depends on how much you are using it and can vary under different conditions – but we have experienced the nets lasting 3-4 years and longer provided any small holes are repaired as soon as they are seen. The material they are made from is marine grade UV stabilised netting used in the fishing industry so will withstand a lot of weathering. Be sure to store your net in a safe place away from mice and rats when you’re not using it.
Q: Why are there 4cm and 6cm size netting holes?
A: The 4cm size is designed to slow the horses hay consumption down, while the 6cm is designed to keep the hay from spreading about and is more suitable for stalky/cereal type hay such as oaten hay.
I would recommend the 6cm net for round bales in general unless you need to slow down the intake of your equines, or have mini horses or foals accessing the bale (their smaller hooves may get caught in the larger holes).
Q: Can I use these nets for foals or minis?
A: We don’t recommend using the round bale nets for young foals under weaning age, especially mini foals, as they may be able to get a foot through the netting (especially the 6cm netting). If you need to feed mares and foals a round bale, contain it inside something like a large wooden apple/potato bin (they fit the small round bales) or a safe enclosed feeder designed for horses. Please don’t use the hay rings made for cattle as they have spaces that can trap a young foal’s legs or head.
When foals are weaned, the safest way to feed them from a round bale in a net is to suspend the net from a shed roof, or a strong tree branch so there is always tension in the netting. This discourages them from climbing on it and pawing at it.
Q: What do I do if my horse wears shoes?
You will need to contain the net in something, preferably with solid sides so their hooves can’t come into contact with it. This can be as simple as tying some pallets together around the bale (works fine if you have bigger horses) or making a fence from wooden rails. There are a few more ideas you can see on our Pinterest page of Hay Feeder Ideas. If you want something to last and that is more portable, consider a manufactured poly feeder.
Q: As the round-bale gets smaller, what an I supposed to do? Does it have drawstrings to tighten?
A: Yes there is a drawstring you will need to check and tighten, although I put my round bale on a solid pallet (that has no nails or loose bits) and fasten the drawstring around the base of the pallet so it stops the net from being dragged into the manure.
The horses will push the loose netting aside to get to the parts that are still filled with hay so its not generally a problem.
You can also suspend the net by the drawstring if you have a large shed or a big strong tree to hang it from. Then the hay falls to the bottom of the net as it’s eaten down, and you may only need to adjust the drawstring once or twice if it looks a bit loose.
If you have a net too big for your bale, its easy to tighten the netting by bunching the net on one side and tying some twine around it. This keeps the rest of the net tight so the horses can easily access the holes which is important when they first start using the net.