Hay net mesh size

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Abby P

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Right now I have Haychix nets with the 1" mesh size. After Kelly posted in the Thyro-L thread about the Hayburners nets with 3/4" mesh, I took a look at those and I like how they have no knots. What size mesh does everyone use, and do you ever double up the nets to slow them down even more? Would you rather double or have separate nets with different mesh sizes (I wouldn't want to restrict that much when it's cold out, the 1" nets are good for winter, but right now I need more restriction)?

My pony needs a track, which he will get very soon, and once that happens I will probably also need to slow down his hay-eating a bit (right now it's pointless to do so because he's barely touching the hay).

Sometimes I can only get to the barn once a week so I have to leave him with access to hay all the time - so smaller daily feedings are not an option at this point, I'd have to move to a different barn, so hopefully I can make something work in my current situation.
 

Maryann at MiniV

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To be honest, Abby, I've never liked hay NETS. I've seen too many horses (all sizes) who got their feet caught in them. One horse - when we were showing at the state fair - got his foot caught, panicked and ended breaking his leg.
We have preferred the Hay BAG, instead, and usually only used them in the horse trailer. Otherwise, if a horse is stalled, it's on a rubber mat and we put the hay on that.
I see your situation is a bit different, so perhaps one thing you could try is using a big rubbermaid trough to hold the hay? He could dip into it and if for some silly reason he stuck his foot or feet in there, he'd be able to get out.
 

MerMaeve

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I think ours is 2" but they aren't specialized for minis, just a "travel sized" big horse one. I want to get smaller holed ones eventually though. Please update with whatever you get!
 

Abby P

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There is no way he could get hung up in this net - the holes are only 1"! So unless he managed to rip a larger hole somehow...it's pretty safe. If I fed him with 2" holes he'd explode! 🤣 I think the main concern with hangups is for horses with shoes, unless the holes in the net are bigger than the animal's feet. And, the net either needs to be hung high, or with only one attachment point, to prevent hanging up on the connection points. He was standing on top of his net today (it's a whole-bale net) and it was none the worse for wear. I hang his by attaching the O-ring at the bottom end to the hook of a bucket hook or to a carabiner attached to an eye bolt, then the net mostly lies on the ground so he can eat in a more natural position. So there is nowhere to hang up. Or shouldn't be. Of course horses can always do things...

He got his track today - well, a 3/4 track anyway. Pipe panels in a C shape around the worst of the grass, he can still get to all 4 corners of his paddock and all his favorite spots. His crest came down noticeably since Friday because we've been having a cold rain and he's been inside eating his hay instead of out grazing.

So he is fat, and I need to restrict his intake, but I can't be there to facilitate smaller weighed-out meals. So I need the nets not only to contain the hay but also to keep him from taking in way too much each day. The 1" nets slowed him down at first but now he's very good at getting the hay out! They're good for cold weather. I'll give it a couple of weeks with the grass fenced off and see how he does, if he loses weight right away again then I won't worry about it, but wanted to hear opinions on even SMALLER holes in case I need to restrict him more for the warmer months. I know people do double up the 1" hole nets, but I'm a little afraid to try that!

If the even smaller holes don't do the trick then I might have to go to something like the Triple Crown bagged low-starch forage, that the barn owner can feed for me (he'll do anything that I can pre-distribute in buckets, but not hay). But hopefully one of these other options will work. Fingers crossed that just getting him off that grass will be enough!
 

Taz

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What about using a 1 inch net inside a plastic garbage can? Don't attach it to anything so it will fall over and roll around? Might slow him down some and make him work for it a bit more.
 

Abby P

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Right, I had also thought of hanging it so it can swing - have heard some people do that too to slow them down. It's all complicated by the fact that I need it to stay inside his shed so it doesn't get rained on! Lots of moving parts! What I need is a gizmo that I can install in the top of his shed that will lower a hay net with 2.5lbs of hay in it every 12 hours.
 

Kelly

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I’m a big believer in the smaller the holes of the hay net the better! I’ve been through and have tested out so many hay nets trying to find the right ones.

I just sold my little piggy, a 13.3 riding mare who had the BIGGEST lips ever known to man!! At first I started her on 1/2 inch holes. She figured that out pretty quick and if she didn’t have food in front of her at ALL times when stalled, she would just simply start eating her wood stall, yikes! I didn’t want my beautiful barn eaten up, not to mention what that could have done to her health, so I doubled up the hay net with another 1/2 inch hole hay net. She figured that out rather quickly too, but those were full size hay nets so I could put enough hay in there to almost last all night. She couldn’t get the hay out with her BIG ole lips or her teeth, but she would toss the hay net in the air then whatever fell out she would gobble up. That really slowed her down!! LOL!

Last fall is when I put my 4 little boys on a diet. I got them using the 1/2 inch hole hay nets. At first I would measure the hay out, but soon realized that using the 1/2 hole hay net I didn’t need to measure anymore. They would eat the exact amount of measured hay until the next feeding, and when it was time to refill, there was only a tiny bit left, so that was perfect. Then I worried about my little Thunder who has a SEVERE underbite! So I am always watching him to make sure he is getting hay. He figured it out rather quickly. The only issue I have had with the 1/2 inch hay nets are that sometimes the hay is packed together too tightly when baled, but that was an easy fix and I would simply break the hay up before I put it in the hay nets. I can no longer find 1/2 inch nets, so if anyone knows where to buy those, please let me know.

I have had to repair one of the 1/2 inch hay nets and it got so bad that I finally throw it out. Then the smallest I could find was 1 inch holes and I doubled those up. It didn’t matter, they would have wasted hay everywhere. So now I have found those 3/4 inch hole hay nets that are working out pretty good, it doesn’t slow them down as much as the 1/2 inch, but it is all I can find for now. I still put my last remaining 1/2 inch hay net in their dry lot, just because I don’t like when they run out of hay. I like having hay out for them at all times.

I have found that if I use several different size holes, they would always eat out of the biggest/easiest ones first. So if I were you, I’d just get one size holes and stick with that. I like using as many hay nets as I can to keep them moving all around. I currently have 4 hay nets in their dry lot, but am planing to add 3 or 4 more.

If you could invent that gizmo that drops hay every 12 hours, I’ll buy it from you!! 😂
 

Kelly

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Oh, I’ve tried the trash can thingy with a larger hole hay net, I can’t remember the size, with my piggy mare, she got hay everywhere. I have even tried hay in laundry baskets, that didn’t slow her down either. I have tried hay bags with the circle openings, 2 inch hay bags…. You name it, I’ve probably tried it LOL LOL Be careful if using the 2 inch hay nets, I’ve had 2 of my little boys get there feet hung up in those. The tiny hole hay nets, no problem with them getting hung up.

Why are you afraid to double up the 1 inch hole hay nets?
 
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Abby P

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Thanks, Kelly! I did order the 3/4" nets. Pony already busted into his grass area, fellow boarders chucked him out and secured the panels so it shouldn't happen again. At which point he apparently had a pony tantrum. 🤣

I'm afraid to double up the 1" nets I have because they are the knotted type and have already worn off all his whiskers so I'm a bit worried it will be too hard on his lips/teeth with all those knots. What I'm thinking now is that I'll use the 1" holes in winter and the 3/4" holes in warmer times when he needs to be slowed down more. The 3/4" ones are also of a size that I can hang them either so that they lie on the mats, or so that they can swing, which might slow him down a little bit more still if needed.
 

Abby P

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Just wanted to report back - I got the 3/4" hole Hayburners nets about two weeks ago and they seem to be working out really well. He doesn't seem too frustrated by them (he was used to 1" nets with the knots). After some back and forth with the fencing (he figured out that if he put his head through the pipe panels, he could then pick it up and walk the whole fence forward! So he got an illicit smorgasbord at the end of last week before I figured out how to brace the fence adequately), now that things are staying where they should be, he does seem to be losing some weight and his crest went down right away once he was mostly off the grass.
 

Willow Flats

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Just wanted to report back - I got the 3/4" hole Hayburners nets about two weeks ago and they seem to be working out really well. He doesn't seem too frustrated by them (he was used to 1" nets with the knots). After some back and forth with the fencing (he figured out that if he put his head through the pipe panels, he could then pick it up and walk the whole fence forward! So he got an illicit smorgasbord at the end of last week before I figured out how to brace the fence adequately), now that things are staying where they should be, he does seem to be losing some weight and his crest went down right away once he was mostly off the grass.
Abby - I had a horse that would do that same thing! I had panels that made up a 50" round pen and she could drag sections! We made stakes out of rebar and pounded them through the loops where the panels were connected. That solved it. Glad he is doing better!
 

Abby P

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Ha, yeah, that was my next step - to block the whole thing by sinking metal T-posts behind it! But luckily rearranging it to take out most of the play, and digging the feet of the bracing panels into the dirt, was enough. He purposefully showed me how he could move it - on two separate occasions! Checked to make sure I was watching him and then did it. The barn owner couldn't believe he moved it by himself, he thought I had changed it. I do have to say, it never would have occurred to any of my big horses that they might be able to pick up the fence and walk it over to where they would rather it was... 🤣
 
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