One of the main issues that the animal owners are consistently dealing with is the pace at which hay gets eaten, and trying to regulate the amount of hay actually needed to have available over time. Hay is expensive, and from a financial standpoint it is very beneficial for horse owners to avoid waste and unnecessary overhead. And from a health standpoint, horses will simply continue to eat and graze from their available hay pile even if they aren't really hungry anymore. Apparently if the available hay is there, no matter what it will simply be eaten up as fast as possible due to the nature of horses and their typical behavior. So not so great for the weight and health of the animal, nor for the weight and health of the wallet!
So a solution that has been gaining popularity over the years is the concept of a "slow feeder" - which entails encapsulating the hay within netting. The idea is that the netting covers the hay, and restricts the amount of hay that can be picked out of the pile or bale at a single sitting. So rather than unrestricted mouthfuls of hay, the mesh of the netting only allows for a smaller amount of food to be pulled through the material at a time. This means that the horses slow down their feeding, while still getting the amount of hay required to sate their hunger. From what we've heard on the phone from dozens of horse owners is that the horses will eat out of boredom or "just because it's there" rather than out of necessity. So the result accomplishes two very important goals:
- To efficiently and effectively combat overeating of hay, resulting in better weight and health management of the animals - while still allowing for regular and dependable food availability.
- To regulate and manage the overall amount of hay needed in the first place, helping the budgeting and bottom-line of food costs over time.
There are a few different mesh sizes and twine thicknesses that are selected for this sort of netting use - and the most popular for horses is a 1-3/4" knotted nylon netting, diamond mesh pattern. Generally in a #36 or #21 twine thickness
However, we have customers that use 1" and 2" netting for this type of hay application as well - because some customers are throttling the amount of hay access to a larger or smaller degree based on their own personal preferences. On average, the most typical and preferred netting option selected is the #36 X 1-3/4" DuPont twisted-knotted nylon netting, diamond mesh pattern. At Gourock.com we supply this netting according to any particular dimensions needed, and you can take a look at the netting at this page of the Gourock site and store.
Here are some recent photos and feedback from a customer that is using the #36 X 1-3/4" knotted nylon netting for slow-feeder hay use. Her feedback and photos are very helpful for context and results from using Gourock netting for hay nets.
Thank you very much Sherri!
"I love your netting it has lasted a year straight of everyday use by my horses and donkey. I have finally gotten around to sending you these pics. I have recommended your nets to friends."