What Is A Hay Net? What Are They Used For?


Hay nets are pieces of equipment seen around barns, stables, and most other equine facilities. You might wonder, what is the point of a hay net? Or how does a hay net work? Because they were never used at my old barns, I wondered the same things too.

What Is A Hay Net & What Is It Used For?

A hay net is a piece of equipment used to feed horses. It is a net consisting of large wide holes and gaps so horses can easily pull the hay out of it while the hay is still being contained. Hay nets are used to keep the horse’s hay off the ground as well as force them to eat their food slower. Hay nets are also great to use in a horse trailer so horses aren’t bored and don’t stress themselves out in the trailer.

Can Hay Nets Only Hold Hay?

Yes, because hay nets have such large gaps, holes, and spaces, pellets and grain would never be able to be held in a hay net. Though obviously the net could hold other things besides hay, the only feed that it can hold is hay.

Are There Different Colors Of Hay Nets?

Yes absolutely! Hay nets can come in almost any color under the sun though the most popular colors are red and black. If you are buying hay nets, there most likely will be a variety of colors for you to choose from.

Are There Different Kinds Of Hay Nets?

Yes there are. The most common hay net is just the standard sized one that holds about one flake of hay. There are other hay nets that are designed to hold much more hay than just this. The different types of hay nets include:

Large Bale Hay Nets

Hay nets that are made for large hay bales aren’t meant for the typical rectangular hay bales that you can get at your local feed store, they are intended instead for the large cylinder-shaped bales that are often seen in the countryside on hay farms. These hay nets are used so horses or other livestock can eat the hay in them without breaking the bale up and spreading the hay everywhere wasting it.

Small Bale Hay Nets

These hay nets contain the typical rectangular bales that you might find at your local feed store. These nets help to contain the hay that is in them to prevent it being spread out and wasted, while also allowing horses to still eat the hay.

Slow Feed Hay Net

Some horses pretty much inhale their food and rush to try to eat as much and as fast as possible. Because of this, these horses are more prone to issues such as choking which can be life threatening. Slow feed hay nets can help to solve this issue by forcing the horse to eat their hay slower. The gaps in these hay nets are much smaller than those of other nay nets which makes it more difficult for a horse to get the hay out of it thus slowing the speed of their eating.

Loose Netting Hay Net

A loose netting hay net is a hay net that has very wide holes, gaps, and openings. These hay nets don’t restrict the horse’s eating in any way, but instead are mainly used to just keep the horse’s feed off the ground. These are commonly used in horse trailers, at horse shows, or even in stalls.

Nylon Hay Net

Nylon hay nets are a newer type of hay net that is becoming increasingly popular. Nylon hay nets are pretty much a bag that has an opening slightly covered in strips of nylon leaving little square openings where horses have access to hay.

Where Are They Most Frequently Used?

Hay nets are most frequently used in horse trailers, stalls, and turnouts to help keep the horse’s hay off of the ground. They can however be seen almost everywhere. The different places that hay nets are used in include:

  • Stalls
  • Turnouts
  • Pastures
  • Paddocks
  • Horse Trailers
  • Horse Shows

Is It Better For A Horse To Eat Out Of A Hay Net Than Off The Ground?

Yes and no. Feeding a horse out of a hay net might be better than feeding the horse off of the ground to limit the amount of sand that the horse ingests. It is also better in the sense that is is cleaner.

Eating off the ground is much more natural for horses making that a naturally better option. The way that a hay net would be better is if the horse is on a sand base as feeding the horse off the ground would limit their sand intake.

Basically, feed your horse off the ground over a hay net if possible.

What’s The Difference Between A Hay Net & A Hay Bag?

A hay bag is different than a hay net as it looks more like a bay with square holes than a net that holds hay. Hay bags are mainly made out of nylon and retain the same shape no matter the amount of hay in it. Hay nets are mainly made from plastic cords and will shrink and become loose the more hay is taken out of it. Hay bags are also more expensive than hay nets and come in less sizes.

How Much Do Hay Nets Cost?

Hay nets are actually pretty cheap. For a standard hay net meant to carry one flake of hay, the price can range between $8 and $15 (USD). Larger hay nets can cost up to $40 (USD) and nylon ones can cost up to $50 (USD).

How Do You Fill A Hay Net

Most hay nets have a drawstring type open/close method. You basically open up the drawstring, put hay into the net, and pull the drawstring thus closing the net.

What Are Hay Nets Made Out Of?

Most hay nets are made of a simple plastic based cord material similar to baling twine. They are made of this because plastic is a readily available material and this material is also really durable.

Even nylon hay nets are made of plastic based materials.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

Recent Posts