Hay Nets for Horses: How to Reduce Hay Wastage

Hay nets for horses are great in slowing down the rate of hay consumption. A horses stomach empties within 25-30 minutes, leaving them to require constant grazing/foraging for 18-20 hours per day. By using slow feeding tools like hay nets, you’ll be able to keep your horses in their best shape. Hay nets will allow them to graze hay naturally and reduce the risk of having colic, gastric ulcers, stress, and other vices.

Hay nets however do more than just keeping your horses healthy and happy. They also help you save money by limiting wasted hay.


GutzBusta 4cm Large Square Bale Hay Net

Lessen hay wastage with hay nets for horses

A lot of owners often find themselves with a lot of wasted hay due to improper horse feeding. Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that the amount of wasted hay is reduced up to 46% when using slow feeders. Hay nets for horses prove to save more than other feeders like slats or racks, lessening waste, and reducing the overall cost of providing hay.

So how can hay nets help you reduce hay wastage and save money?

Hay is considered to be one of the most expensive elements when keeping horses, especially in a drought. It’s normal to expect hay loss, but you should keep in mind that the main goal is to minimize hay feeding losses.

Hay loss is affected by your feeding method, weather conditions, number of animals being fed, the interval between feedings, overall hay quality, and your storage method. By using hay nets, you can already avoid losing your hay from trampling, fecal contamination, livestock refusal, being blown away, and chemical and physical deterioration.

One of our customers has shared that by using our Round Bale Hay Nets, the rate of their hay consumption has taken up to two or three times longer.

“By using a 3cm Round Bale hay net with our goats, alpaca, and sheep, we have gone from using one round bale per week, to our round bale now lasting 5 to 6 weeks!' These nets are fantastic!”
- Tegan

Here are some general rules to get you started with minimizing hay waste:

  1. Put hay in well-drained areas

Don’t feed your hay in a single location if possible. We suggest to regularly move your hay-feeding areas in different parts of the pasture so one single part does not get dug up. If you don’t have much space and have no choice but to feed hay in the same location, think about putting some kind of footings, such as crushed gravel, rubber or even old carpet to reduce mud.

Hay soaked in mud will be soiled, and soiled hay can be a serious hazard for your horses. Wet hay can become moldy and cause colic and respiratory issues for your horses, so always check before feeding it to your horses.

  1. Feed your horses continuously

This is where hay nets for horses come in. Feeding your horses hay in a net will not only help the animals’ overall health, but will also limit horses from trampling over or soiling hay. Hay nets also help horses consume fibre at a slower pace thanks to the nets physical barrier.

If your horse is shod or has untrimmed hooves (large splits and cracks), remember to tie the hay net high and tight enough where horses cannot easily yank it down. If the hay net reaches their hooves, it may pose an issue where your horse’s foot might get caught in the net or injure itself or damage the net so a hay ring or physical barrier of some sort is recommended if using a round bale or large square bale with shod horses.

You can choose from varying net hole sizes depending on how fast the horses consume hay. Studies also show that horses consume hay longer from hay nets with small holes than with medium holes and large holes. Our range consists of a choice of 3cm, 4cm and 6cm holes to suit your individual needs and requirements.

  1. Choose a hay type suited for your horse’s needs

Another mistake most owners make is buying hay that’s not meant for their horses. Take into consideration what your horse is currently doing. Is it work, being spelled, a metabolic/laminitis risk, a young horse or a broodmare? If you buy a product that’s not suitable for your equines, it can be wasted. Buying high sugar hay for a laminitic prone horse or pony could be disastrous. In this case, it is important to ask for high quality, low sugar hay.

Always ask your hay supplier for great hay quality to suit your horse’s individual needs and even take into consideration weather/temperature conditions. For example, a horse may eat a more stalky low sugar hay in summer when little feed is in the paddock, however, it may flat out refuse to eat this same hay in winter. Changing net hole size can also help with this. We have observed with our own horses that they may eat a certain type of hay in summer in 3cm, but will only eat it in 4cm or even 6cm in winter.

Also, do not forget to check your hay for any mould, dust, or weeds.

  1. Properly store your hay

Remember that outside storage of hay results in an increase in your losses as it’s more prone to weather-related spoilage than hay stored inside. If you don’t have sufficient indoor storage, make sure to properly cover your hay with the use of tarps on a well-drained surface if possible.

  1. Buy durable hay nets for horses

At GutzBusta®, we offer tough and durable hay nets which are UV Stabilized and heat-treated in 60ply polyethylene netting. We developed these products over eight years ago to supply the horse industry, especially for those animals locked up in small stables or yards. We are also the only stockist of 60ply 3cm nets here in Australia.

GutzBusta 4cm Medium Hay Net

Since starting our business, we have produced only the best and most effective hay nets to help you improve your horses’ lifestyles. Over the years, we continue to improve our products’ size and strength to make sure our range of hay nets stay superior when it comes to product longevity.

Our hay net products have a thick ply which has good longevity in which we have had some nets of our own last 4 to 6 years. The nets entertain horses and also help horse owners save money.


Follow these simple guidelines to get you started in keeping your horses healthy and happy, and at the same time, reduce hay wastage!