Hay Chix Hay Nets: Why we love them and why your horse needs one!

By Susan Kauffmann

Years ago, I wrote an article for EQUUS magazine on the benefits of slow feeding for horses. At the time, I tested a number of the options available, from rigid feeders to various types of nets. Since then, as more and more people have realized the benefits of slowing down our horses’ hay consumption, the market has seen a massive increase in the number of products offered for this purpose. That plethora of choices can be a bit overwhelming when you are trying to decide what to buy for your horse, so I try to keep up on what is out there and let my horse peeps know when I find something that works really well. And what I mean by “works really well” in regards to a slow feeder is that the product is safe, easy to use, actually slows down hay consumption significantly, and will last a good long while.

Because Hay Chix hay nets check all of those boxes and more, I absolutely love this line of products and am now using them myself for my mini, Peanut, who needs a tightly controlled diet. Peanut’s nets allow him to consume his tiny portions much more slowly than if the hay were loose, and they also make it harder for my Fell Pony yearling to stick his shnoz in and steal from Peanut’s little stash.

Peanut enjoying a meal in his Hay Chix slow feeder net. It looks like a lot, as I fluff the hay up in the net to make it easier for him to nibble, but it is actually only one and a half pounds. I am happy to report that since I’ve been controlling his diet more precisely thanks to these nets, that beachball belly is looking better than it was in this early photo.

I also used Hay Chix full bale nets when I had my big horses, not because the horses needed to be slowed down, but because the nets kept the hay together, which prevented my big, messy monsters from gleefully spreading hay from here to Albania and then peeing and pooping on it for fun. Those full bale nets not only saved me money, but also work and time. There was so much less wastage and mess, and I spent far less time on feeding. In addition, the horses were more relaxed and were clearly happy to have hay available whenever they wanted it, which is actually ideal for the equine digestive system and lowers the risk of colic. I even saw fewer nicks and scrapes on them, as there was no more jostling and competition around feeding time since hay was available 24/7. A friend of mine also recently started using Hay Chix’s full bale nets for her horses, and she has seen similar benefits. Her husband, who does much of the feeding, is particularly thrilled with the results, as he now only has to put hay out every few days, rather than several times a day.

Whatever size or style of net you need for your horses, from mini size to full bale or even round bale, choosing a Hay Chix net will ensure that you are getting an extremely high-quality product that is hand made right here in the USA by a small, woman-owned Texas business. The nets are constructed with non-toxic, UV-treated DuPont nylon that was chosen for both safety and durability. And given my mini’s propensity to paw at his floor-level net to get the hay out, I can personally attest to the durability, as the nets still look great after quite a bit of abuse. Also important is the fact that the holes in the Hay Chix nets never stretch out — a problem I’ve seen with many cheaper nets — so there is no danger of Peanut getting one of his wee footies caught in a hole or getting great gobs of hay out of a stretched (and therefore pointless, when it comes to slow feeding) net.

Hay Chix makes nets in a great variety of sizes, from ones that will feed a couple of pounds to a mini to whole bale and even round bale nets.

Of course, if your horse is shod, you would not want to set up your nets in any way that would allow the horse to paw at it, as a shoe can easily catch on a net and cause a problem. Fortunately, you can use these nets in many different ways, including hanging them on a wall or fence, attaching them inside a container, feeder or basket, or clipping them so that they sit on a mat on the ground, as I do. So, if your horse is shod, you still have plenty of options.

Another nice feature of the Hay Chix nets is that you have a choice of what size holes you want in the net, ranging from 1″ to 1 3/4″. The smaller the holes, the more the net will slow your horse’s hay consumption. I also love the closure system on these nets, which I have found to be superior to any others I’ve ever tried. It consists of a rubber toggle that slides down to cinch the net tight, and a soft, grippy, super tough rope that you secure with a half-hitch around the toggle, then do a couple of daisy-chain loops to take up the extra rope and you’re done.

This is the closure system on Peanut’s hay net. If you don’t know how to tie a half hitch or daisy chain, Hay Chix has videos on their website to show you! I swear, it is easier than it looks.

Finally, I have to say that the customer service and genuine care you get from the gals at Hay Chix is really outstanding. They have great information on their website to help you choose and use the right net for your horse’s needs, but if you ever have a question or any kind of issue with their products, they are wonderful to work with and will always do whatever they can to help you out. Truly good people who make a great product that they stand behind 100%. Is it any wonder they are quickly becoming the “must have” hay net in the horse world?


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