When choosing whether to purchase Knotted or Knotless it really comes down to personal preference. The knotted we have had for the last 10 years and have served our customers well with many people getting 4 to 6 years from them (repairs needed by then of course). The knotless, we have only had for the last year (Winter 2020), so we don’t have a longevity estimate for them yet.
They are made of 2 entirely different materials. The knotted is a fishing net material that is great if you are soaking hay or the net will get wet as it doesn’t take on the weight of water. The knotless is a softer material that will take on a little bit of water, therefore weigh more if used to soak with. That being said, we have customers who are using them to soak with without issue.
In Winter of 2020, we launched our new new knotless net range. Starting with just the 4cm sizing, we soon realised with the popularity of these nets that we needed to move to the entire range.
We then added 3cm and 6cm nets in basic sizes, slowly building to where we are now, from September 2021, where we now stock the entire range of hay nets in knotless and knotted.
The knotless nets are made from a new super soft netting which is 5mm thick and made from high strength PP (polypropylene).
The knotted and the knotless are made of 2 entirely different materials. The knotted is a fishing net material that is great if you are soaking hay or if the net will get wet as it doesn’t take on the weight of water. The knotless is a softer material that will take on a little bit of water and therefore weigh a bit more.
Our knotless nets are made from a super strong 240ply. Please note that you cannot compare the ply of knotless to knotted as they are made from VERY different materials and it is literally like comparing an apple to an orange, they are both fruit, but that's it in similarity.
The knotless, we have only had since July 2020, so we don’t have a timeline yet for their longevity. What we can say however is that we are very please with their performance thus far. They are proving to be tough, durable and long lasting. Personally, I haven't had a break or any issue with the knotless range to date with my own horses.
The knotless are more for people if anything, because they are soft, it makes them feel nicer that the horses are eating from softer nets (despite the fact horses chew on bark, wood, etc). So they are more a warm/fuzzy feeling hay net for humans! 😉
They are the same size and dimensions as our original GutzBusta knotted nets, meaning our nets are generous in size, easy to use and fill. Obviously the extra small has smaller mouth due to it's extra small size! The Mediums at this point are the only nets that are different from our knotted nets in that they are a little smaller, but will still hold a generous 4 biscuits of hay/half a small bale.
The honest reality is that we haven't had anyone complain about teeth or gums that has been backed up by a Vet or Equine Dentist. We have Vets and Equine Dentists as customers. I recently spoke with someone who works a lot with an equine dentist and she said damage happens to the front incisors (especially in IR Horses and Ponies) is from them walking around chewing at the gritty dirt grabbing every last morsel of possible food and that the slow feeders are more likely to have saved your horses teeth, not harmed them. This makes sense, otherwise we would be hearing negative stories about this all the time of damage to teeth, which we don't.
Another thing to note too is that Pony teeth have softer teeth than horse teeth. IR horses and ponies are definitely the type of horse that would do this type of grazing at dirt level to get every last piece of possible grass or forage. Having had 3 myself, I personally know this drive that these horses have to scavenge for any possible food (hence why I started making hay nets in the first place).
There really aren't any disadvantages to these nets that we have found so far.
Two things that do need mentioning for consideration are that these are heavier nets due to the material used. This isn't a concern in the smaller nets such as extra small up to large, but in the round bales, these nets are much heavier. They are still manageable, but it is a consideration. For example, a knotted 4cm 6x4 round bale net is 4.5kg, whereas a knotless in the same size is around 8.1kg.
The other thing to consider is that the knotless are more of a 'material' type of netting, therefore if used for soaking hay in they will take on some weight of the water. If you are arthritic or have a condition where you don't want any extra weight when soaking, then going knotted nets might be a better option for you if you are using the nets to soak hay with.
Another thing to consider is that if the hay is full of small seed heads, then some of these may get stuck in the knotless nets. We have native pasture hay and this did happen, but eventually the seed heads come out or deteriorate so wasn't really isn't a huge problem. The nets just don't look as 'pretty'.
If your horses are shod, then we recommend that you must use a hay ring/feeder or barrier of some sort around your square bale and GutzBusta® Round Bale Net or you use some other construction that keeps your horses feet from getting involved with the hay net.
Not recommended for horned livestock. Remove all halters/headstalls from horses so there is nothing to get caught on if your horse loves rubbing its head and body on the bale (like one of ours does).