I've been using the nets and
I highly recommend them. The small holes make them safer (less likely to snare a hoof, except with shod horses whose
nets should remain high enough to avoid hoof contact) and you can hang them lower, in a more natural postition for your barefoot
horse, without so many seeds and dust getting in his eyes (if you do hang them lower). This would benefit horses with respratory
issues such as heaves. Also, if you have the kind of horses that like to urinate or poop in hay on the ground after they trample
it, these nets with smaller holes allow less to drop to the ground.
I've been using them in a dry lot group situation. I am feeding 5 head,
and hang 6 nets in various locations. I put out part of the hay ration in the usual piles on the ground, and half in
the nets. I've noticed it takes them almost 4 times as long to eat the same amount of hay.
They are a bit more troublesome to get hay into until you get the hang
of it. I just double mine back on itself, like rolling back a sleeve, then get a flake in, and can fold it back normal as
I fill it. I don't like the bag type as much as the nets, though easier to use; the horses just stick their head in the top
and get the big mouthfuls, or I have to hang too high to be comfortable. If I were clever, I would sew something on them to
close them so the horses couldn't cheat. I have been hanging them quite low (I have a pony and mini in the mix, so high nets
would mean keeping them separate and missing out on the herd situation). So far, the nets are durable and have no metal parts.
Even though the nets slow comsumption, don't forget
your horses still need 1.5% to 2% of their healthy bodyweight in hay each day. The nets cut down on wasted hay and avoid having
to give extra hay to keep them busy, but you don't want to cheat them out of their daily ration, either.
Overall, yes, they are worth the money! They pay for themselves in many ways.
Hay consumption may be lessened, barn and fence repairs from wood chewing, and potential vet bills. Plus, peace of mind. I
like knowing they didn't eat all the hay in half an hour and have to wait 8 hours until I get out of bed. I previously would
just put out extra hay to account for that gobbling up or trampling. With the round bale covers, that could be
wonderful to eliminate wasting and over-eating. Finally, the entertainment factor. Horses were meant to nibble. This promotes
nibbling so horses are entertained longer and get the "destressing" from chewing, and the constant tummy fill promotes