Hay Net Recommendations

Anyone have any recommendations for hay nets?

My guy makes a mess and wastes most of his hay if he eats off the ground, so he needs a hay net. He also gets frustrated and gives up when he can’t get his hay out.

He’s a hard keeper, so I’d like to make sure he has access to hay all day (even when I am at work) so I’d like one you could fit a good few flakes in (or I could buy 2)

I’m thinking I may look into installing a hay rack as well. He used to do okay with that, but it didn’t really solve the waste problem.

Less important, but I would also prefer it be easy to load full of hay. TIA!

I have had lots of years of good luck with the standard small hole hay nets that you can buy just about anywhere. Once you teach them how to get the hay out they seem to not have any problem with it. (Some clearly do not require teaching.) They are easy to fill using a simple much bucket or a couple of hooks on the wall.

The nice thing about the smaller holes is it encourages them to not waste the stuff they drop on the floor, because it is easier to eat than what is in the net.

Lots of people love Nibble Nets. I am not lots of people. I found it hard to work with and annoying to fill. I am very much in the minority with this problem so those might be worth looking at. Maybe try one of the cheaper models to see if you like it and then buy the real thing because they hold up better.

SHIRES! Love them! I go with the 50" net that has 2" holes. I don’t find it slows my horses down, and I can fit an entire bale of hay in there. I buy on Amazon for less than $15 :slight_smile:

If you want something a little smaller, they also make a 40" version.


Trick to fill nets with few flakes, Walmart and such places have a smaller version of regular muck buckets.
You can put an open hay net in there, they fit well and it makes filling them with fluffed up hay a snap.

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I don’t think my horses eat a whole lot less hay from their nets, but they do make MUCH less of a mess. Even my harder keepers eat out of hay nets, although they do get a flake or 2 of alfalfa on the ground, which I know they’ll clean up and not trash.

ETA that I use the basic $10 small hole nets. I also have a PortaGrazer, which was a waste of money.

I have a extra water trough I put hay in for my horses. Hays off the ground and not much waste. I find hay nets a real PITA to fill. Easy enough to put hay in a trough…hassle free.

Horse can eat in natural position head down. No hanging up hay nets. No frustrated horses either trying to pull hay from a net.

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Try mounting a metal hay rack. You just throw the hay up into them and the horses don’t have to struggle to get the hay out.

Unless they have changed quite a bit since the last time I used one, they will not save the OP the mess of the horse wasting hay on the ground. A few tugs into eating and there will be plenty of hay on the ground and not much long after that it will all be on the ground.

At least that is how it was with my horse when I tried metal hay rack.

@Brian How do you mount your inside neck frame to the wall?


I use the same snap clamps that are used on the outdoor crates. I make the clamps out of PVC fittings. The clamps are mounted to the wall with lag screws.

I use the full-bale bag from http://www.slowfeeder.com/ in my mare’s paddock and love it, and use something very similar to a nibble net (http://www.thinaircanvas.com/nibblenet/nibblenetframe.htm) in her stall.

We use the 2 inch hole, Shire brand hay nets and love them. I find much less waste, and like that it takes horse a long time to finish the serving. He stays busy eating at the trailer, not goofing around or needing refills.

Something no one mentioned here is the importance of an anchor at both ends of the hay net to firmly hold in place. My horses push on net to get hay, then pull hay out. A swinging net is VERY frustrating to the horse and some get angry. They will start ripping on the net for hay. Nets don’t last long treated like that!

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On the other side of this coin, if you are trying to slow down the easy keeper type, hanging the hay net somewhere that there is nothing preventing it from swinging/moving helps in the slowing process.

I absolutely love the Nibble Nets, and if you’re using small square bales the flakes fit inside easily. My favorite hay net is from Freedom Feeder. They take a little more wrangling to fill but not much. I used one in CA and it held a ton of hay.

Your horses don’t throw it out of the trough? I feed mine that way too because filling the hay nets was a pain since I feed off round bales. Small squares would be really simple to fill a hay net with.

I used a standard hole hay net and could fill it pretty full and they seemed happy with getting the hay out. The one problem was when a string would be chewed or come untied. Things never went back to what they were and it made filling harder and they could pull it out too fast.

My guys prefer to eat off the ground and that is where the trough hay goes pretty quickly :mad: They don’t waste it though.

No mine leave it in trough and eat it but it’s also straight alfalfa that’s real leafy,so no slinging it around. Grass hay big rounds we put out in corrals. With that they are the hay wasting kings,hay 10 feet in all directions,poop in it sleep in it and pee in it. Have a mountain of wasted hay that’s been pooped & peed in it’s many layers of snow hay poop and more hay. Every spring probably close to several bales of wasted hay that’s scooped up and put in manure pile. :lol:

I use the cheap nylon small-hole nets from http://www.chicksaddlery.com/page/CDS/PROD/SF1802. I choose a hay approriate for the horses I’m feeding and use a carabiner instead of the standard nylon rope to close the hay net. This allows me to feed free-choice forage below chest height without any risk of my barefoot horse getting tangled in his hay net or of him overeating from his net.

I prefer the SmartPak hay nets over the Shires and other as they are bigger and square-shaped when stretched rather than round. The square shape helps fit flakes better - I can fit 20+ lbs of hay easily and stuff in probably around 30 with a bit of effort.

I did the muck bucket method of filling for a year or so. Then I made a “hay hoop” out of threaded pipe and connectors and attached it to the stall wall. The edges of the pipe connectors do wear out the strings of the hay net and I have to replace them a bit more often (like every 6 months). If your horse doesn’t need 20+ lbs of hay at a time and is easy on nets, the Tough-1 hay hoops seem to work ok.

What Shire’s net have you used? Mine are definitely rectangular, with corners at the bottom. I can put ~50 lbs of hay in each net, and often load with an entire hay bale, cutting the strings after the bale is in the net. Super convenient!

i have found that the holes need to be at least 2inches… anything smaller and easy keepers get very impatient. My big fatty mare will just chew holes in the nets if they holes are any smaller. we use the Hay Hoops to feed with 2inch polycord type hay nets. They make loading easy and all my horses have figured out how to use the nets. We have used them outside attached to the outside of run ins as well, But one herd we have isn’t good at sharing so its easier to just deal with some waste and let them eat off piles in the grassier (or this time fear least muddy) areas of the pasture. Those horses who are in their turnouts alone get the hay hoops and nets. I get bigger/longer bags and can get anywhere from 4-6 flakes in them. I get extra nets and take those to shows, since they are use to them at home, keeps them happier at shows, and less wasting.
I do think it is important to secure the bottom of the hay nets. if they swing too much its does annoy some horses.
lastly I would stay away from anything that is a braided/cord that is really plastic like, or hard, I think they are uncomfortable for the horses and mine will intentionally chew thru them to make a bigger hole for easier access…

Think this hay feeder made by the above poster here far out does any hay net. Would be way easier then messing around loading a net. But to each their own.

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