There are some common questions that we get asked by our customers, so I thought I would wrap all these up together as a quickly accessible resource.
#1. What size hay net do I need?
As we are now selling around the globe, there are a multitude of different ways that people feed their horses and livestock, but there are many common questions as well.
Some people wish to feed their horses by biscuits/flakes, others want to feed them with a small bale of hay, and other customers use round bales or large square 8x3x4 / 8x4x4 bales. Other people make 'purpose-built' structures to help them solve a problem specific to their needs, such as shelter for a large square or round bale.
This is a quick summary of our sizes and what hay quantity they hold:
Extra Small: 1 biscuit/flake of hay only.
Small: Up to 3 generous sized biscuits/flakes of hay.
Medium: 4 to 7 biscuits/flakes of hay or half a small bale.
Large: 1 x full small bale of hay (2 stringer).
Extra Large: 2 x full small bales of hay (2 x 2 stringer, or 1 x 3 stringer). Although only available in knotted at the moment, we will soon be stocking these in knotless.
Round bale Net sizes:
3x4, 4x4, 5x4 and 6x4 are all self-explanatory as these measurements are in feet. Therefore if you only ever use 4x4 round bales, then you only need to purchase a 4x4 round bale hay net.
If however, you have concerns in a drought situation that you might be only able to get 5x4's when you would normally only purchase 4x4's, then purchasing the next size up is a good idea. It doesn't matter if you put a 5x4 net on a 4x4 bale of hay. Yes, there is a little extra netting, but this can easily be taken care of if you click on this link and look at page 2 on how to take up the slack.
We personally have used 6x4 nets on 4x4 round bales of hay without a problem. Our horses are barefoot, so no issues of excess netting getting caught in shoes. However, as mentioned in the above link, you can take up the slack of the netting easily, or another way is to fit the net to the bale, then have the drawstring edge on top of the bale so you can then tie it to an overhead structure such as a tree or rafter.
Large Square Bales (8x4x3 & 8x4x4 & 8x3x3):
This one size will fit ALL of the large square bales. If you are using the net on an 8x3x3 bale, yes you will have some extra netting, but the slack can easily be taken up following these instructions on page 2.
If you use BOTH round bales and large square bales, then this is the hay net for you!! It will give you the flexibility of a hay net that fits 6x4 round bales and smaller as well as all sizes of large square bales.
For a full explanation of our sizes, measurements, and illustrations to help you better understand your personal requirements, please click here.
#2. What hay net hole size will best suit my animals?
This is definitely one of our most commonly asked questions! There are just sooooo many things to take into consideration.
The most important factors to consider are:
- Hay type (stalky V's soft)
- Palatability of the hay
- Has the horse eaten from a slow feeder before?
- How voracious the horse or pony eats
Hay type, weight and health status of the animals (overweight, underweight, just right), time of year, weather, stalkiness of the hay etc. To get an in-depth understanding of all the factors to take into consideration, please read our page on what size hole size suits best.
#3. What happens when the hay is eaten down in a round bale hay net?
Many people worry about what happens with the extra netting. The truth is, it doesn't cause any problems at all, as the hay can only spread as far as the netting allows. As the hay net keeps the hay together, the horses can still eat the hay without wasting it, even as it gets right down to the ground. We do suggest putting the bale on a tarpaulin, crate, pallet, or something to get it off the ground as moisture leaches up through the ground and this could potentially ruin the bottom 10cm of the bale.
If your horses are shod, then you would already have a hay ring feeder or some sort of physical barrier between the hooves and the netting anyway. So in this case, it would be important to make sure there isn't any excess netting to come out of the hay feeder. Therefore you might have to keep pulling in the netting to keep it secure within the feeder. This can also be done if you tie the net up overhead to a rafter beam or tree and keep readjusting as the hay gets eaten?
However, if your horses aren't shod, and they aren't horses that paw a lot, then there is no problem in just letting them eat the netting/hay down as they wish with hoof access. We have some photos above of what happens when the hay is eaten down with barefoot horses.
We have more information and photos on this topic here.
#4. What is the life expectancy the knotted and knotless nets?
When GutzBusta first started as a business, back in 2011, for the first 9 years of our business we only had knotted nets. These served us very well, and we made adjustments to the sizing over the years based on customer feedback, using them ourselves 24/7 and slowly upgraded the thickness of the netting. Starting at 36ply, then to 48ply, and finally we ended at 60ply as we feel these are more than adequate for most horses.
Personally, I get anywhere from 2 1/2 years to 6 years out of the knotted hay nets. By that time, they are of course needing some repairs, which can easily be done by purchasing our repair kits.
Then in Winter of 2020, we started to stock the knotless hay nets in our same great sizes. The knotless nets are proving very popular due to their softness. As far as how long they last in comparison to the knotted nets, well the jury is still out on that one. I can personally say that I only have one knotless net that has gained a hole (one square larger) and our knotless nets are now ranging from 1 to 3 years old. So at this stage, they are looking on par with the knotted, possibly starting to look like they might outlast the knotless.
We don’t have a high breakage rate, but with the odd time that a horse damages a net, if it is with a knotted net then we tell the customer to trial a knotless net, or if it is with a knotless net, we tell the customer to go with a knotted net next time. This seems to work well, for whatever reason (individual animal) that one material will suit some horses more than the other.
We have a Blog comparing these 2 materials here.