Feeding horses is expensive. Unless you have unlimited pasture or unlimited funds, you must at least consider the option of feeding round bales.
One of the most widely read posts on this site shares how much money we saved when we started using a bale net. Let me share our experience by comparing the Texas Hay Net and the Cinch Net.
Using a hay net our hay bales last far longer, the horses “graze” more naturally, and we have almost zero waste.
There are two basic hay nets to choose from, the Texas Hay Net and the Cinch Net. Since I wrote that article we switched from the Texas Hay Net to the Cinch Net. Our first net came unlabeled so we didn’t know at the time where it came from. There are pros and cons to each brand.
The Texas Hay Net is made of heavier material that does not give as easily as the finer material used in the Cinch Net. Because the poly strands are less pliable in the Texas Hay Net it takes the horses a bit longer to pull out the same amount of hay. The Texas Hay Nets come from Viet Nam and are not always in stock. When I called to order a Texas Hay Net I couldn’t get a firm date on delivery and discovered in the course of the conversation that the one I was already using was, indeed, a Texas Hay Net.
Why did I call to order a Texas Hay Net when I already had a hay net that was working well? Because my husband HATED putting it on the bale and I like to maintain peace in the house, pasture, and barn. The Texas Hay Net is a 25 foot diameter circle when properly stretched. And be aware, it does not come properly stretched.
Think about the shape of a round bale. How would you put a circular net around what is basically a rectangular object? It’s not easy and you never quite get the entire bale covered unless you keep rolling the bale around. Every time you move the bale you will lose hay while adding to your frustration.
The Cinch Net is made of a finer material but is easy to put on the bale. One person can toss it over the bale and zip up the purse string end in no time. No hay escapes and therefore you have little waste and little irritation (unlike the Texas Hay Net.)
Comparison Summary – Texas Hay Net vs Cinch Net
Price – The Texas Hay Net is a bit more expensive
Material – the Texas Hay net is heavier and may last longer (?).
Ease of Use – the Cinch Net wins in a landslide.
Grazing Rate – horses feed a bit more slowly using the Texas Hay Net.
Amount of Waste – Cinch Net wins because it adjusts to the shape of the hay pile better than the heavier Texas Hay Net and there is less lost when putting it on.
The winner here at our barn? The Cinch Net.
Do’s and Don’t's when Using Round Bale Hay Nets
Always use a hay ring. Horses will lay on the pile, piddle on the pile, and get could get caught in the net if they can walk on it.
Be sure your horses can’t paw or stomp the net with any cracks or chips in their hoofs. When the net is almost empty remove the bale ring and the net. Let your horses clean up what’s left but don’t give them access to the net itself.
Rinse the net if it gets muddy or covered in manure dust to keep the poly from deteriorating more quickly.
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