It’s a minefield! And a wet, windy & muddy one too…

What a very wet & windy winter most of us have experienced so far… And with all the wet and mud there is the added stress of keeping our horses well supplied with forage (hay or haylage) without wasting that expensive commodity 🤔

As many of you will know, we have been using and selling the Big Bale Buddy for many years now and found it to be an excellent way of keeping a round bale of hay dry and tidy for feeding ad lib in the field or on the track. However with the very strong winds we are finding some of the hay is blowing away as the horses are trying to eat it!  So we have been investigating nets and ways of using them with a Big Bale Buddy or Haybell.  We are currently using a Trickle Net Round bale net over a round bale inside our Haybell and are extremely pleased with how little wastage there is, and how content the horses seem to be with what to the human eye may be perceived to be restricted eating; however please bear in mind that a trickle net or slow feeder net is designed to mimic grazing and it does that very well, which is so beneficial to the horses’ digestion and helps to keep weight in check too; using trickle nets or slow feeder nets has proven to be helpful when feeding those prone to laminitis as well.  Lots of positives then to using one of these types of small hole nets; the only possible negative is there are some claims that using knotted nets can cause muzzle and gum damage, so we are keeping a close eye on our horses.

Trickle Net + Big Bale Buddy (courtesy of Horsey Life Hax)

We are very grateful to Horsey Life Hax (a great Facebook group for all sorts of tips and hacks to help us save money) who are currently trialling a combination of Big Bale Buddy with Trickle Net round bale net; NB the net must be placed over the Big Bale Buddy, not inside; here is a video showing the net being put over the BBB (with many thanks to Horsey Life Hax 😍 for sharing.

Nets with knots or without?

For us at Bitless Equestrian so far the jury is out, we have used knotless nets for many years with no issues and found the ones we import from Germany to be extremely hard wearing and long lasting, with no visible damage to horses’ gums, muzzles or teeth.

ground parallel hay net from bitless natural equestrian

We have only recently begun to use knotted nets, which are the ones from Trickle Net and so far very pleased to say they are excellent in use in our haybell,  keep their shape well, don’t ‘bag out’ of the haybell as the hay is eaten and there is virtually zero waste. We are aware of the possibility of damage to muzzles, gums and teeth and are keeping a close eye on this.

horses eating from slow bale buddy, knotless nylon round bale feeder hay netWe shall shortly be trialling the Slow Bale Buddy a knotless, nylon, round bale slow feeder net with one year guarantee – from the makers of Big Bale Buddy – and we know how good those are.  If we are happy when trialling it, we shall be importing them too.  They can be used on their own, or over a Big Bale Buddy, depending on your needs and circumstances.

 

knotless round bale net for feeding horses

We are also planning to import a round bale net from the same German company who have supplied us with their excellent ‘ground-feeding’ hay nets for many years – another knotless design, but this is basically a rectangular net that accommodates a round bale – again we will trial it ourselves and let you know our findings.

 

Hopefully we will soon have an even better range of slow hay & haylage feeding options than we have now, including different mesh size options – and two of those products with a one  year warranty (Big Bale Buddy and Slow Bale Buddy).

 

And finally – please note that none of the above net products is suitable for use with shod horses, unless enclosed in a way that prevents the horses hooves making contact with the net.

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