FAQ - Round Bales

The number 1 question asked about round bale hay nets: What happens to the netting as the bale is eaten down?

This is our number one most common question asked in relation to using a round bale hay net. What happens is simple... nothing! There isn't any huge amount of netting laying around in the road, the excess netting doesn't cause any issues, it doesn't become harder to eat out of, it doesn't create problems for the horses or livestock using it. The is no issue with excess netting as the hay spreads own within the confines of the net so that the net is still firm until there is barely any hay left in it.

This is best illustrated with the following photos showing start, mid use and towards the end of the round bale.

Two horses consuming GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay NetGutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net ready for consumption
Half eaten Round Bale with GutzBusta® Hay Net
Half eaten Round Bale with GutzBusta® Hay Net
Two-thirds eaten GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net with a horse eating

Two-thirds eaten GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net

GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net almost fully consumed

Hay nearly consumed

Horse near almost eaten GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net

Final few days of hay left

GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net fully consumed

No more hay left – No Wastage!

What to consider when buying round bale hay net feeders!

We have a great Blog article on this topic, please click here to offer more ideas on this topic.

Are the hay consumption rates much different when using a GutzBusta® Hay Net?

Yes, using our hay net will significantly reduce the rate at which your horses and livestock go through a round bale of hay. There is no hard and fast rule for how slowly or quickly your horse or livestock will go through a bale. It depends on many factors such as palatability of the hay (sweet hay or lucerne will be eaten quicker than pasture hay), amount of horses/livestock on the bale, stalkiness or fineness of the hay, etc. Time of year and also the weather will give varying consumption rates as during cold weather horses and livestock will consume much more fibre to warm themselves up from the inside out. As the old timers say, 'A feed is as good as a rug'.

Our customers come back very happy with the slowed consumption rates. One lady said she went from using a round bale hay net every 5 days, to using one every 2 and 1/2 weeks. This quickly adds up to savings with both wastage and money.

Which size do I get?

As mentioned, we stock 4x4, 5x4 and 6x4 sizes to accommodate all sizes of common sizes of round bales. We completed a product overhaul in late 2016 in which we made all of our round bale hay nets a little bit bigger, so they are all true to size. This ensures a good fit to your round bale and your hay net will still fit your bales in years to come.

However, any extra netting is not a problem anyway as it will simply collapse down with the hay as it is eaten. They hay can only spread as far as the net allows it in any case. Always ask your hay supplier what size round bales he makes and is likely to make in the future and then if in doubt, order the next size up. For example; if your hay maker usually makes 5 x 4 size round bales but mentions he may go bigger next year, then order a 6 x 4.

  • Any extra netting can simply be rolled up along one edge and you can tie this off in a couple of sections with rope or bailing twine. The hay can only ever spread as far as the net allows, so the size of the round bale net isn't critical if it is too big. We now send instructions on what to do with the excess netting for example if you put a 6x4 net on a 4x4 bale.
  • If in doubt, then order the 6x4 as it is a 'one size fits all hay net' and will fit all sizes of round bales listed above. The excess netting can simply be rolled up along one edge and tied off in a couple of sections to take up the slack.
  • The 6x4 size will also fit the large export size square bales (8x4x3 and 8x3x3).
  • Go to 'Round Bales - Installation' to see further information on how to measure your round bale hay net to determine what size it is. This link will also show you how to put the hay net on your round bale.

How strong and durable are these hay nets?

Originally, back in 2011 when we first started making GutzBusta® Hay Nets, they were made from 36ply. We then upgraded to the 48ply after a few years and since 2017 we changed to the more tough and durable 60ply polyethylene netting which has been UV treated and the knots have also been heat treated so they are truly strong and durable. Even with the 48ply material in the smaller sized hay nets we were commonly getting over 2 to 5 years of life from them with 24-7 use.

We recommend checking the hay net daily to make sure there are no holes. That way you can then quickly repair, otherwise the horses' will bury their nose into the hole and stretch it open to make an even bigger hole. Horses can 'learn' this behaviour, so quickly fixing stops them learning to do this.

Our 60ply nets have only been available from winter 2017, so we do not know how much longer they will last than the 48ply. I have only had to make 2 repairs to only one of my own 60ply nets in 4 years. Due to the extra ply thickness, they will outlast the 48ply nets. From July 2019 we started rolling over the 3cm nets into 60ply in Smalls, and Mediums and then finalised this rollover in December 2019 with adding Larges and 4x4 & 6x4 round bales in 3cm 60ply as well.

Occasionally a net may sustain a tear or a horse may chew through the net. At the end of the day, if 500kg wants to kill something, it will! Thankfully this is pretty rare, but it can happen. As soon as you see a hole develop, repair it with the repair string provided (knotted nets) or baling twine and the hole will not go any further, leaving your hay net to last for a long time. There is no danger to the horse from chewing the net itself as it is merely a thread that gets broken, and once a slightly bigger hole appears, those 'clever' horses push their noses into this hole, stretching the netting and making the hole bigger, therefore they do not ingest the net. It is advisable to check your hay net daily for any holes while you are checking your stock.

Other things to remember when using slow feed hay nets

Mentioned in this Blog article are the top 10 things to consider when using hay nets.

Wet weather ideas

Below are just a few suggestions for keeping your round bale dry with rain forecast.

GutzBusta® Slow Feed Hay Net with blue tarp on top
GutzBusta® Hay Net on 5X4 Round Bale with blue tarp

Simply place a tarp between the net and the hay

Horses eating GutzBusta® hay covered with blue tarp
GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net under roof cover
GutzBusta® Slow Feed Hay Net under shelter
Two horses eating GutzBusta® Slow Feed Hay Net under shelter
GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net covered with white tarp

External tarp on a round bale also works

GutzBusta® Slow Feed Hay Net inside a hay hut

Hay Huts work great with GutzBusta® Slow Feed Hay Nets for both weather protection and keeping hooves away from nets.

GutzBusta® Round Bale in gated shelter for shod horses

GutzBusta Round Bale in Shelter with gates as barrier for shod horses

Horse eating GutzBusta® Slow Feed Hay Net inside an advantage feeder

One client showed us their hay net in an Advantage Feeder. This not only keeps feet away from the bale and netting, but also protects the bale against rain.