What are GutzBusta Hay Nets made from?
Our 3cm, 4cm and 6cm hay nets are made from Heavy Duty 60ply Polyethylene Netting that has been UV treated. We have now added 60ply netting to our entire range of 3cm, 4cm and 6cm hay nets which is a thicker and more durable material for horses that are quite rough on things.
We are phasing out 48ply in both the 4cm and 3cm hay nets due to the increased strength and to streamline our products.
The knots have also been heat strengthened. This netting will not absorb water, therefore the properties of the netting are not changed during inclement weather or if used to soak hay. It therefore doesn't get heavy when soaked, as some hay nets do. For this reason too, when the nets are dry you simply shake them and the dirt comes off.
What ply netting do we use? What ply netting thickness is best?
Originally we started using 36ply netting with both our 3cm and 4cm hay nets. This ply served us well, and I am still using a few nets in this ply to this day. Approximately 4 years ago we upgraded to 48ply in both 3cm and 4cm nets as this ply was a bit stronger and more resilient. Occasionally we would have someone contact us and ask us to go a little stronger, so we did.
Approximately 2 years ago we added 60ply to our 4cm range and added 6cm hay nets too. As the 48ply was still more than adequate for the vast majority of horses, we kept this range in the round bale nets, but will now be phasing this out. So we offer both 48ply as a cheaper option and 60 ply in 4cm hay net range for those horses that are rough on things or you want to get that little extra strength.
There are some nets now on the Australian market that are offering 78ply or greater. We don't wish to follow this path at the moment as we are more than satisfied with our current products and their longevity. We have a few concerns relating to these thicker plys as well.
- Any thicker than 60ply means that the netting itself is getting quite think and therefore more course and abrasive. This has potential to be harsh on horses and livestock teeth, gums and lips.
- The knots within the netting will be also be bigger, the bigger they are the easier for a horse to grab the knot in their teeth and chew at it and once they learn to do this, then they can quickly put holes in their nets. This quickly negates the benefit of a thicker ply.
- Sometimes it can be a good thing for things to break and allow horses to get free. If a horse managed to get itself caught in a net somehow, then personally I would want my horse to be able to break free. If the horse can't break the net then it could possibly hurt itself?
- We have noticed that these 78ply nets are coming from a totally new company in Asia from the rest of the nets that are sold as slow feeders in Australia. Therefore what they are calling 78ply, it could quite likely be equivalent to our 60ply or even our 48ply.
- Our nets have no metal joins holding them together, so nothing nasty to chew.
- Finally, if a horse really needs to have these extra thick ply's, then maybe they just aren't suited to slow feeders or perhaps the horse has stomach ulcers and is merely trying to relieve the burning feeling in it's stomach. So this is a good thing to check out too.
- Our Australian distributor of this polyethylene netting uses this netting for a VAST array of jobs in Australia and has NEVER seen a requirement to go more than 60ply, so we trust their 40+ years judgement on this as they have sourced our netting from the most reputable companies around the world. All hay net businesses on the East Coast of Australia use this same supplier.
Knotted vs Knotless
We experimented with knotless netting and found that we just weren't happy with it. The quality and strength just wasn't there and therefore it didn't last as long as the knotted. We also found that contrary to popular belief, the knotted wasn't softer or better for the horses noses and mouths once it became used or weathered. The knotless material actually became hard and stiff once it was dirty and wet.
The other thing we didn't like is that the knotless ABSORBED and held onto water. Therefore if you are using your hay nets to soak hay, it added more weight. The knotless netting is made for water, so it doesn't soak water into it and doesn't hold dirt etc anywhere near what the knotless do.
For our customers we chose to stay with the knotted for increased strength and durability, lack of water holding and they don't hold onto dirt. A quick shake and dirt and water is gone.
Where are GutzBusta® Hay Nets designed and operated?
We have individually designed each and every one of our products at our property near Cowra in Central West NSW. We are a 100% Australian owned Small Business. The side seams are now being over-lock stitched along their edges to ensure a safe, tight and secure join. The draw strings are also hand woven through the net and made from a light weight but strong polyethylene rope.
How long do GutzBusta® Hay Nets last for?
Conservative estimates on the 48ply netting are over 2 years with 24/7 use. As long as you quickly repair any holes that may develop such as being caught on a fence etc, your hay net will enjoy a long and lasting life.
Some of our own 48ply nets are now over 6 years old and are used 24/7, but of course have had some repairs by this age.
The 60ply hay nets we have only had since mid 2017, so we do not know how long these will last, but they will certainly last longer than the 48ply. I have not had to make any repairs on our own 60ply hay nets as yet at the end of 2019.
Your GutzBusta hay net comes with a repair string just like any good jumper comes with a piece of thread, but if you can't find this or run out, the nets can be easily repaired with a piece of baling twine. Do not use cable ties to repair your hay net as they are sharp and could cut your horses tongue.
We can't over estimate the importance of quickly fixing any holes that develop. As soon as a hole is spotted, either fix it, or take that net out of use until fixed. This is the situation that some horses seem to take advantage of and will bury their nose into the hole and make the hole bigger, thereby giving you an even bigger hole to fix. Some horses can 'learn' to put holes in nets too, that is why constant observation of your hay net is important so you can quickly fix any holes, thereby stopping your horses to learn to put holes in them.
Are our hay nets indestructible?
No, of course they aren't. If 500kg+ wants to kill something then it will do so. We do however have an exceptional database with many, many repeat customers and happy people that LOVE their GutzBusta's! Do hay nets work for ALL horses. No, they don't. Does any horse product work for ALL horses? Some horses (thankfully not too many) will not accept a hay net, some can 'learn' to destroy nets, or you may have to play around with hole sizes until your horse is happy to eat from the net.
Can my horse really eat from such small holes?
The whole idea of GutzBusta® Slow Feed hay nets is to do just that.... slow down your horses rate of consumption. We all know what happens when we throw a biscuit of hay out on the ground - it is gobbled up within half and hour and that's it. If you are only feeding once or twice a day, then what does your horse do with the rest of the time if he is locked up without anything else to eat??
Most horses can cope perfectly well with the 4cm Moderator holes. They may get angry and frustrated at first and will try and bite at the nets, but they soon realise that this isn't successful in getting a meal and then they start to nibble at the nets, pulling strands and not huge mouthfuls of hay through at a time.
Never introduce your GutzBusta® hay net to a hungry horse without having loose hay available too. That way there is something in your horses stomach, so his behaviour will not be so ravenous and aggressive.
The 3cm Decelerator holes are made for those extra gutzy horses that aren't slowed down enough by the 4cm hole nets. If you do start with too small of a hole net (3cm), some horses may give up. Other horses and particularly ponies, have no problems negotiating a 3cm hay net. I use these for my own horses when the hay is palatable and through summer when they need something to eat, but not as quickly as they do in winter where they use food energy to keep warm. I also use the 3cm to slow down the consumption rate for my metabolic type horses.
As an experiment with my own horses, I actually made some 2cm square holed hay nets and my Arabians and Stockhorse were still able to eat through these. I did need to have palatable hay inside these nets for them to bother with though. Point being, yes, your horses is perfectly capable of eating through the 4cm hay nets as they are able to eat through smaller holed hay nets than 4cm and even 3cm.
Can GutzBusta® Hay Nets be used with shod horses?
Yes, your GutzBusta® hay net can be used with shod horses as long as precautions are taken to keep the feet away from the hay net. Just like you would do with any hay net from any supplier, you need to tie the hay net up higher (small, medium and larges), or put the hay net into a box or some structure that keeps the feet out of the net.
For round bales - unless your horse has it's feet regularly trimmed and are therefore free from chips and splits, then it is recommended you must place a hay ring over the net. If your horse is shod, then you need a barrier between the horses feet and the netting. See photo below for an idea to put your net in if your horse is shod. Also with horses known to be very investigative with their feet and paw a lot, it would be recommended to put a hay ring around these round bales.
How long does it take my horse to eat each sized GutzBusta® Hay Net?
This isn't an easy question to answer simply because it comes down to so many individual factors.
If your hay is very palatable, high in sugar, and your horse is an enthusiastic eater etc, then it will eat the hay faster. If it is cold, then horses will eat hay faster. For example when feeding out round bales to 4 of my horses that was quite palatable it would take them 10-14 days to eat through the round bale in Summer, but in cold weather in winter, then it would only take them 5-7 days. This is because fiber in the horses stomach warms them up, so they eat more and quicker.
Most customers tell us that their rate of consumption with round bales usually halves plus there is less wastage. So not only are you making your hay last longer, you are not having the wastage issues as well. So it doesn't take long for your hay net to pay for itself.
A recent testimonial from a very happy customer stated: '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'
I have had a 3cm holed Large (full small bale) last 2 horses 4 days, but they were getting 2 other hay nets a day as well. All that is for certain is that by using a GutzBusta hay net, your horses and livestocks rate of consumption will certainly be a lot less as will the amount of hay wastage. Plus don't forget the many other health benefits.
Troubleshooting - what if my horse refuses to use the hay net?
- Firstly, NEVER introduce your GutzBusta® to a hungry horse without having some loose hay around first then allow your horse to wander over and check out his new hay net. This will put him in a more exploratory mood instead of a ravenous / destructive one.
- Put palatable hay inside your hay net so that your horse will be keen to try and eat through the net. If you use boring and low palatable hay for first time use then your horse may lose inspiration and not want to try to eat the hay through the net, particularly the 3cm size netting.
- Did you go to small to quick?? If you start with the 3cm holed hay nets first up and your horse hasn't eaten from slow feeders before, then you may have over faced your horse and he has simply given up. Try purchasing a 4cm to train your horse to eat from a slow feed hay net, or put more palatable hay in the 3cm to give your horse some inspiration to try.
- EVERY horse is different and how they respond to a hay net is very much individual. Some take a little longer to 'learn' how to eat from a net, most take to it instantly.
- Palatability of the hay has a big factor. If your hay is low in sugar and the horses are barely interested in eating from it, then do NOT buy the 3cm. In this case, the 4cm or even 6cm would be the better option.
- Time of year can also have a factor. For example, we made some low sugar and quite course hay in 2016. It therefore wasn't that wonderfully palatable. To get them to eat it, I had to start with 6cm, then as they got used to it, they would then eat it in 4cm nets, then when it was summer, some of them would even eat it from 3cm. Now it's winter again, they will only just eat it from 4cm and eat it well from a 6cm.
- Also, if your horse is a REALLY piggy eater, then you should investigate whether your horse has stomach ulcers or not? As 70-80% of horses are reported to have ulcers, it is quite likely. The only way to ease the burning in their stomach is to keep eating. Otherwise when they finish eating the horses stomach only takes 20-30 mins to empty at which time HCl is produced which begins to burn the ulcers again.
Round Bale Hay Nets FAQ
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.
GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net ready for consumption
Half eaten Round Bale with GutzBusta® Hay Net
Two-thirds eaten GutzBusta® Round Bale Hay Net
Hay nearly consumed
Final few days of hay left
No more hay left – No Wastage!
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 weather also 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 every 5 days, to using one every 2 1/2 weeks. This quickly adds up to savings with both wastage and money.
Which size do I get?
As mentioned, we stock 4 x 4, 5 x 4 and 6 x 4 sizes to accommodate all sizes of common sizes of round bales. We completed a product over-hall 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).
- Got to 'Round Bales - Installation to see further information on how to measure your round bale hay net to determine what size it is.
How strong and durable are these hay nets?
GutzBusta® Hay Nets are made from tough and durable 48ply and now 60ply polyethylene netting which has been UV treated and the knots have also been heat treated so they are truly strong and durable. In this 48ply material in the smaller sized hay nets we are 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.
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 not had to make any repairs yet to my own 60ply nets. 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 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. As soon as you see a hole develop, repair it with the repair string provided 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 through the net as it is merely a thread that gets broken, so nothing for the horse to ingest. It is advisable to check your hay net daily for any holes while you are checking your stock.
Wet weather ideas
Below are just a few suggestions for keeping your round bale dry with rain forecast.
Simply place a tarp between the net and the hay
External tarp on a round bale also works
Hay Huts work great with GutzBusta® Slow Feed Hay Nets for both weather protection and keeping hooves away from nets.
GutzBusta Round Bale in Shelter with gates as barrier for shod horses
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.