Nifty Tips to Prevent Damage to Horse Feeder Nets: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the Uncommon Yet Important Issue of Net Damage

You know the drill – you set up your horse’s feeder net, and it’s all smooth sailing until one day, you notice some wear and tear. It's not as common as some might think, but when it does happen, figuring out the "whys" and "hows" is crucial. Let’s start by addressing some overlooked reasons for this damage.

1. Choosing the Right Net Hole Size

Nag Bag Netting Size

The Key to Matching Needs with Hay Types Picking the right net hole size for your Poly Ring Feeder isn't just a matter of preference—it's about understanding the specific needs of your horse. Factors like their age, lifestyle, and the type of hay you use play a critical role in this decision. Let's explore how our net guide can help you find the perfect fit. Hay Net Sizing Guild.

2. Navigating Hay Changes

Easing Your Horses into New Hay Types Introducing new hay to your horses requires a delicate touch. Offering loose hay for a day allows for a smooth transition, helping your horses adjust both digestively and mentally. This gradual shift is key in reducing stress and preventing net damage. 

3. Adjusting to New Pens

The Role of Loose Hay in New Environments Moving horses to a new pen can be stressful for them. To ease this transition, providing loose hay is essential. It helps your horses get comfortable in their new surroundings, especially when herd dynamics are in flux.

4. Welcoming New Herd Members

Smooth Transitions with Loose Hay Introducing new horses to an existing herd is a sensitive process. Offering loose hay for a day can help reduce competition and stress, fostering a peaceful integration and protecting your feeder.

5. Seasonal Change - Transitioning Back to Hay

Navigating the Switch from Pasture to Hay As seasons change, so do our horses' diets. When it's time to switch from pasture grazing back to hay, treat it like a fresh start with the net feeders.

Seasonal ChangeGive your horses a comfortable 3-5 days of free access to loose hay. This gradual approach helps them adapt without the stress of thinking food is scarce. It's a gentle reminder that there's plenty of hay to go around, making the transition smooth and keeping your Poly Ring Feeder safe from stress-induced damage.

6. Ensuring a Constant Hay Supply

The Risks of an Empty Feeder A common mistake leading to feeder damage is letting it go empty. Horses can get pretty stressed and even a bit pushy with the feeder when they see it running low. To keep things smooth, aim to refill your Round Bale or Large Square Bale Slow Feeder before it dips below 15% capacity. This steady supply prevents the sense of scarcity that can lead to stress and feeder damage. It's all about keeping the hay flowing to maintain a calm and happy herd.

7. Managing Horses Inside at Night

Overnight Care for Your Horses  Consistent Feeding Routine For horses that are stabled overnight, provide your horses hay before being put out in the morning, especially if they've gone a period without hay. This practice helps in maintaining a consistent feeding routine, which is essential for the physical and mental well-being of the horses.

8. Preparing the Bale Correctly

Avoiding Feeding Frustrations Remove the side of the bale that was laying on the ground during storage can lead to difficulties in feeding. This side is often harder, and once horses eat from the softer side, the harder side can collapse. This can trap hay underneath and restrict access, causing frustration and potential damage to the feeder.

9. Removing the Outer Layer of the Bale

A Stress-Free Feeding Strategy Remove the thin outer layer of the bale before feeding. This simple step can significantly reduce stress for your horses and minimize the chance of feeder damage. This provides a stress-free period where horses can eat both loose hay and from the Slow Feeder. This practice significantly reduces the potential for damage and stress in horses.

10. Combating Freezing Temperatures

Preventing Net Stiffness and Damage Cold weather can stiffen the feeder net, making feeding challenging and potentially damaging the net. To prevent this, wash the net in the fall to remove acidity from hay, soil, dirt, and saliva. Additionally, if temperatures plummet, it is wise to supplement with additional loose feed if possible, to ensure easy access to forage.

Cold Weather and Slow Feeding

11. Blanket Buckles and Safety Concerns

Proactive Prevention Blanket buckles can catch on the net, posing a risk of injury to the horse and damage to the feeder. Regular checks and maintenance is the best way to prevent this from occurring. Use either duct tape, electrical tape, or a buckle protector to cover blanket buckles. This simple precaution can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents and damage.

Maximizing Feeder Longevity and Horse Well-being

And there you have it – the 11 top tips for keeping your Poly Ring Feeder Net in great shape. Armed with this knowledge, you're all set to ensure a happy, stress-free feeding experience for your horses, and a longer life for your feeder. Got any more questions, or is there something else on your mind? Let's chat!