These Large Square bales are fantastic for putting out a lot of hay at once, feeding a lot of horses or livestock at once or a few mouths for a long time. They can also be broken down as a ‘biscuit’ and fed per large biscuit too. Using slow feed hay nets is one of the most effective ways to reduce hay wastage. It’s also linked to a lot of benefits, including improvements in horses’ physical and mental health. Net types of slow feeders are safe, durable, easy to fill, and can be used anywhere.
I have created a YouTube video to show this process, however please read below to see an explanation with photos.
GutzBusta Hay Nets over these Large Square Bales and also Round bales of hay prolong the longevity as well as decrease your labour due to not having to put hay out as frequently. It ensures that your equine companions and other livestock always have something to eat. Studies have shown up to a 46% reduction in hay wastage when using slow feed hay nets.
The Large Square export bale (8x4x3 & 8x3x3) hay nets are wonderful at keeping these huge and considerably heavy bales of hay together. We do advise leaving either the bottom or a second bottom string in place to take the pressure off the net and hold the bale together better.
Although we have never had an issue with this, some of these bales can weigh over 600kg, so by leaving a string in place until around half the bale is eaten will assist in keeping the bale together and looking after your hay net.
Putting your GutzBusta hay net on a bale
- Position your bale where you would like it to be. Please note that we have designed the nets to fit on from the top edge down on their side so that strings are easily accessible for cutting and removing. We have NOT designed the nets to fit with the bale flat side down and attempts to do so will mean the net won’t fit as well as expected, especially with the 8x3x4 bales.
2. Pull netting out of packaging and place over top of bale and open up.
- Continue to pull out and spread the netting over the top of the bale and then down the sides of the bale.
- Pull the netting down around all sides of the bale until the netting is evenly placed around the entire bale and touching the ground.
Photo of bulk netting at base of bale.
- The next step you have two Choices:
- a) You can leave the bale like this, find the drawstring and tie the net off,
- b) You can totally encapsulate the bale.
5a) Not encapsulating the bale. To discuss 5A a little more in depth:
- Once you have symmetrically manipulated the netting to cover the entire vertical sides and top of the large square 8x3x3 / 8x4x3 bale, at ground level find the knot of the drawstring pull it up firm to take up the slack and tie it off with a simple knot at the base of the net and then undo the simple knot at the end of the drawstring so there is no loops in the drawstring for feet or legs to get caught in.
- This extra netting isn’t a problem if your horses aren’t shod, and as long as the hoof size is greater than the netting hole size. You may be able to rock or manipulate the bale with the tray of a ute or bullbar to gently tip up one long side a little to then be able to stuff some of the excess netting underneath the bale. Of course, do this with caution!
- NB: If horses are shod or you have smaller hooved animals such as foals or young stock on larger holed nets then you must have a hay ring or physical barrier of some sort.
- When tying off your drawstring, simply find the drawstrings knot, pull it up firmly, tie a new simple knot at the base of the net to secure the drawstring in its firm position and then undo the simple knot at the end of the drawstring. The loose ends of the drawstring can then be left loose so there is nothing for the horses legs to get caught in or tied back up into the net or shoved underneath the bale if possible.
We do advise leaving either the bottom or a second bottom string in place to take the pressure off the net and hold the bale together better.
5b) Encapsulating the bale with the net.
- To encapsulate one of these bales, you ideally need a tractor with front end loader and hay spikes.
- You can do to step 4 above so that the netting is all the way to ground level over the bale.
- Next, and this part must be done exceptionally carefully, you get the tractor with front end loader spikes on it and gently aim the spikes into a net hole and not the netting itself.
- Then pick up the bale carefully with the tractor and take it a few feet off the ground.
- VERY carefully find the end of the drawstring and pull this up firmly (without going underneath the bale) and take up the slack as much as possible while remaining safe and not being under the bale (and having an experienced, safe tractor/front end loader operator).
- Tie this off with a simple knot at the base of the net, and then undo the simple knot at the end of the drawstring so there is no loop in the drawstring and only 2 x free ends of drawstring.
- Next, carefully lower the bale back to the ground ensuring the drawstring is underneath the bale on the ground (or it can be tied up into the bale).
- Your bale is then ready to go and be eaten from once you cut all but the bottom or the second bottom string. Be very careful when cutting the string that you don’t cut the net itself.
Remember, if your horses are shod, their feet aren’t trimmed regularly so they have large chips or splits, or their hooves are smaller than the net, then you MUST have a hay ring or physical barrier of some sort between the net and the horses hooves.
Any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0418 282 097 to speak to Nikki!