Different Ways to Hang and Load Hay Nets

When you want to give your confined (non-pastured) horse a more natural experience of eating, or, you want to continue their natural grazing during the winter months, or, when they’ve eaten down their pastures – slow feeding is the solution.

There are many different methods of slow feeding – covered in my post, Slow Feeder Design Comparison.

This post is just going to feature hay nets and give you some ideas for the different ways you can use them and hang them, to suit your horse’s environment.

From a Paddock Paradise walking track in Amsterdam
Yes, you can throw them right on the ground! (c) handyhaynets.com
Tie it to any fence – the lower the better to mimic head-down natural grazing (c) econets.ca
Round bale hay net inside a feeder – so you don’t have to stuff nets every day! (c) econets.ca
Round bales can also go right on the ground – or put some rubber mats underneath (c) econets.ca
With some hardware, you can hang a hay net against any wall – remember, put it low to the ground! (c) handyhaynets.com

The easy way to load hay nets

For those of you who have a hay net big enough to fit a bale, here is the super easy way to do it. Do not cut the twine on the bale until you have loaded and tied your net!


 
If you have smaller nets, here are two great ideas for making things easier and faster. This first method uses hay hooks (or anything similar):

Leave the short side of the open hay net near the back (c) Hobby Hills Video
It’s now easy to hold the front of the net open while you load it (c) Hobby Hills Video

This next video uses a large bucket (bring your hay net to the store when you’re bucket shopping, to size it right):


 

p.s. If you’ve come up with a different way to hang or position your hay nets, either upload your photo in the Comments section below, or email me a pic – then I can add more ideas to the post here πŸ™‚

Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Freedomite. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.

Different Ways to Hang and Load Hay Nets

19 thoughts on “Different Ways to Hang and Load Hay Nets

  • April 22, 2018 at 6:25 pm
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    I am always looking for ways to use metal horse shoes. ( especially since I don’t think they belong on hooves) My neighbor is a traditional farrier and gives me buckets of them. Anyway here are pics of how we have used them to help with hay bags. They are such great hooks. My husband makes all kinds of hooks and names and 3ven our street sign since the city one fell down Here are some pics✌🏼❀️🐴

    Reply
    • April 23, 2018 at 6:42 am
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      That is a great idea! But no pics… I’m guessing the upload function isn’t working, or you’re having that iPad interface problem again? I’m going to test the pic upload here now and see if it works…

      here it is:

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      • April 23, 2018 at 1:56 pm
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        I sent the pics to you via email….figured you could add them…thanks ✌🏼❀️🐴

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        • April 23, 2018 at 5:51 pm
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          Got it! Here they are and GREAT ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing – they also look nicer than regular hooks πŸ™‚

          here it is:

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          • April 23, 2018 at 5:52 pm
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            #3 And btw I think I figured out why you can’t post – the pics you sent me where saved as: jpeg files.

            But the upload format needs to be as: jpg files

            So I just removed the extra “e” from the filename and Voila!

            here it is:

            Reply
      • April 25, 2018 at 10:58 pm
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        Jini…are your grates metal? If so….are you not worried about there teeth having negative impact? I actually worry about it just with the net hay bags because I know they are not natural. I have read a lot about metal ones causing damage to horses teeth. Just curious? ✌🏼❀️🐴

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        • April 25, 2018 at 11:46 pm
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          Yes my grates are metal and no there have been zero issues in 3 years across 8 horses. BUT I think it’s because my grates are BIG enough they can pull the hay through without grinding on their teeth. My smallest grate hole is 2×2″. My others are 4×2″ and 4×4″. I change the size grate, depending on the hay. And I always make sure one of the largest feeders has a 4×4 or 2×4″ grate on it – so if Aude gets frustrated, she can eat where it’s easier πŸ™‚

          Reply
  • April 24, 2018 at 2:45 pm
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    I thought I had commented on this post but I must have missed something and it didn’t go. Anyway, this is what I have found with hay nets.
    The horses snip the cords on a daily basis. They make big holes and shove their noses in and then it is no longer a “slow” feeder hay net and still end up with huge waste just like when I throw the hay straight on the ground.
    I bought an expensive hay net that I was told they wouldn’t bite through. True enough. It is also not one they want to eat from because the holes are too small. As the hay is eaten in the hay net the openings of the holes relax and therefore become smaller like slits and they quit trying to take hay from them. I actually cut some of the string to make bigger holes and that has helped somewhat. Not a great solution.
    I tried using a hay hut for round bales and the two big horses wouldn’t let the small arab eat from it. I also tried a round bale net that was $200.00 and they wouldn’t even try to eat from it. The holes were too small.
    I use large hay nets in their stalls at night. My eating machine mare has one made out of a hockey net and she seems to be able to manage it ok and all the hay is eaten over night. The other two have nylon hay nets that they have managed to snip holes in and I mend them every night with binder twine and more recently nylon rope strands. If I leave loose hay in their stalls (especially the mare) they will eat some, toss it all around the stall, pee on it and poo on it and waste a lot of it.
    I am just in the planning stages of having three slow grazer feed boxes made for outside. It will be with puck board as we have severely cold winters and the steel grates are not an option. Hoping this will suffice.

    Reply
  • April 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm
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    Sending photos of my hay nets repaired (daily or more often), each horse eating from one ( 3 horses) and a picture of a leaf bag holder that I load the big night hay nets with.

    here it is:

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    • April 25, 2018 at 6:54 pm
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      I see the first pic here Jocelyn – for the other ones, you just need to type some text, even just “#2” will work and then the pic will post.

      Reply
  • April 25, 2018 at 7:47 pm
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    Ok trying to send the rest of the pics.

    here it is:

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  • April 25, 2018 at 7:49 pm
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    Next one is how I load them with a stand for leaf bags.

    here it is:

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  • April 25, 2018 at 7:51 pm
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    constantly mending the nets.

    here it is:

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    • April 25, 2018 at 8:30 pm
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      I hear you Jocelyn! Hay nets are a pain in the butt if you ask me. I LOVE my slow feeder boxes – now that I’ve learned to change the grate size depending on the type of hay, so Aude doesn’t get frustrated and beat up the grates – they’re awesome!

      Still if I move to round bale feeding, then I’m back to hay nets. I like the ones from HandyHayNets.com best – and again I use a mix of 1.5″ and 2″ openings so the frustrated ones don’t tear them so much. They know they can eat from the 2″ one if they’re getting pissed off!

      Reply
  • April 26, 2018 at 12:50 am
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    I’m going to be using puck board in my box feeders. I was planning to have all of them with 3 inch holes. I find anything smaller and they won’t even try in hay nets so hopefully 3″ will be just right. I’m getting 3 boxes made that are one horse feeders in hopes they will all go to their own like the hay nets except sometimes the two big horses eat at one hay net together for a while then one will move on to their own. I would love to be able to use round bales but had so much misfortune with bad hay and the two big horses kept scaring off my little arab from the round bale. He had to be fed to the side and then when they finally stopped eating for a while he would move in and have some. I hate domestication and containment. It is so unhealthy. Once they are back on the pasture and moving from field to field and through the woods they will get along just fine. sigh

    The round bale hay net is 2 inch openings I think. They wouldn’t even try.

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    • April 26, 2018 at 5:52 am
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      3 inches sounds great. You MUST post some pics when they’re done! And let us know how they’re working…

      And yes, I would have to find a good round bale supplier and I would put out at least 2 of them. My herd needs lots of feeding stations in order not to feel rushed or anxious – good old domestication with it’s limited resources. Gah.

      Reply

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