One thing that never ceases to amaze me when using our GutzBusta Hay Nets is just how versatile they are and how many different ways and situations they can be used to assist when managing horses, ponies, donkeys and livestock.
When I first started making these nets over 10 years ago in the inception of GutzBusta, I have used them pretty much 24/7 during that whole period of time, and I STILL find new ways to use them to suit particular things that are going on with my horses at the time due to various reasons, some of which are discussed here.
We currently have a 25 year old mare that has an ongoing medical condition and was slowly losing weight. We purchased some Lucerne hay for her to help with weight gain and appetite in addition to the oaten and pasture hay she also has 24/7. The lucerne has lots of little short stalky bits in it, so in order to help her gain access to it and since she doesn't require restricted feeding, I simply put the entire small bale into a 4cm Large hay net, however when I did it up to secure the hay within the net, I left an opening of approximately 20cm to enable her to stick her nose into the net and eat freely, BUT we still save on wastage as the hay is contained within the net.
She is by no means a gutzy horse, quite the opposite as I am having trouble getting her to eat sufficient amounts despite having 24/7 access to grazing, a Large 8x4x3 bale of oaten hay, small bales of Lucerne hay, pasture hay and 2 x hard feeds a day (yes, her teeth are done).
As you can see from the photos above and below, this has resulted in her being able to access the bale of hay at her own rate and also save on hay wastage. Being in a hay net, she can still access the entire bale to eat whichever section she wants, plus she can also choose to eat through the large gap if she wants.
The result is that there has been very minimal wastage and my mare has been able to eat the entire bale at the rate she wishes, while still saving on hay. Obviously this is specific to this horse only, you certainly wouldn't do it with an overweight pony that inhales it's food however, for people with older horses, or sick horses, it gives you the best of both worlds where there is little hay wastage and 24/7 access to hay.
We had a 5x4 round bale that the bale netting holding it together started to become loose, thanks to our dog 'fossicking' in it. As we purchased this bale in the drought, we paid a ridiculous amount of money for it and so we didn't want to see it wasted. By the time we needed to move it, the netting was significantly reduced further than what is in this photo, so that the bale was literally beginning to fall apart.
Using a 3cm 6x4 hay net (I needed a net larger than the bale to give me more 'play' room). I put the net over the bale as best as possible where it was positioned in the hay shed. My husband then carefully picked up the bale with forks on the tractor to give me better access to the whole bale. I was then able to pull the rest of the netting around the bale and pull up the drawstring to totally encapsulate and secure the hay bale within the net. This was all a bit tricky as the bale was literally falling apart.
The reason behind needing to move this bale was that we had to clean and sort out the hay shed as in January, we baled an unexpected 38 bales (4x4's) of hay off 3 acres, so we had to make room to fit them.
The bale was successfully moved out of the way with hay secured inside the net.
We were then able to pick the bale up again and shift it back to the shed. By now it was becoming looser and looser, so had it not been for the hay net holding it together, it would have been an expensive and messy disaster.
However, this worked really well and allowed us to save most of the bale. The round bale was placed back into the shed undercover to be used at another date. Without using a hay net, we would have wasted over 80% of this bale as it was just falling apart.
This is part 1 of our 3 part Blog on just how versatile a GutzBusta Hay Net is and can offer so many ideas and solutions for managing your horses and livestock.