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Choosing the Right Net for Your Herd

There is no denying that Hay Chix nets save you cleanup time and money on wasted hay, but with so many choices on net and hole sizes, how does a person select the type that is right for their herd? Below is a short explanation on each TYPE of net. In another blog, I help you choose what hole size to use with your herd.


Net Types

Half Bale Net

This is the holy grail of nets. Or maybe the Dr. Seuss of nets? You can use it in the trailer, in a stall, or on a wall. Hang it on a fence, a highline, or a tree. Regardless, it will keep your hay out of the pee. Okay, I am definitely not great at rhymes. As cringy as that was, the half bale net Is seriously the perfect for at home or on the go. This net holds about half of a small square bale (4-6 flakes).

Micro-Mini Net

Being half the size of the Half Bale net (fits 1-2 flakes), many people use the micro-mini in their trailers for hauling. They also work great for those smaller critters such as goats or sheep. Do take extreme caution when using them with horned animals or very small hooved animals (goat kids or lambs) though as they also make enticing scratching posts, and it is possible for a horn or small hooves to get caught in the holes. Paired best with a feeder or something to keep them from rubbing themselves on the net.

 Hay Rack

Meant for in the corner of a stall or lean to, this feeder is extremely easy to fill from the top. Comes in either a half bale or full bale size. If you have an extra half bale, small bale, or west coast net laying around, they will fit on this hay rack. If you have a horse with shoes, I recommend hanging it high enough they can’t paw at it or pair it with your favorite corner feeder.


Free-Up Feeder

Comes in two different frame sizes: 12”x 24” and 24”x 24”. Both are super easy to fill as they hold themselves open (as long as you put the brackets at the correct angle – which the instructions do specify). It comes with their Quick Latch 2.0 which features safe rounded corners to prevent anything from catching or scraping. Perfect for in a stall or lean-to. If you are handy, I have even see some feeders built using this feeder and latch system. These feeders do come with half bale nets. Pro Tip: The half bale nets will fit the 12”x 24” frame, however will not fit the 24”x 24”. They have their own wider mouthed half bale net.

 Panel Feeder

Basically this is the 12” x 24” feeder without the hardware and latch, but instead comes with heavy duty zip ties. Hang on a wood fence of panel and have the luxury of not having to go inside the pen to feed.


2-Strand Bale Net (Small Bale Net)

This net fits the 2-string square bales that generally weigh up to 70#. Use it on the ground, hang it from a tree, highline, or stall, or use it with a feeder. I have seen people use old water tanks as a feeder with this net. Again, if you have something with shoes – be smart about how you hang it.

3-Strand Bale Net (West Coast Net)

This net fits those bigger 3 string square bales that can weigh up to 100# or it can generally fit two of the 2-string bales. This one is also a lot of times paired with an old water tank as a feeder.


 Large Bale Net (4’, 5’, and 6’)

These are absolute life/hay/money savers. They come in bale sizes of 4’x4’, 5’x5’, and 6’x6’, depending on what size large square/round bales you have. Personally I recommend everyone to get the 6’ size, especially if you buy your hay from a couple different suppliers. It doesn’t hurt anything if the net is too big when you have smaller bales, and you won’t have to buy another sized net if you end up with larger bales. If you want to make your life really easy, attach these nets to either a standard round bale feeder, a century livestock poly feeder, or AGI feeder. Then all you have to do is flip the feeder up, set the bale down, remove the strings/wrap, and lower the feeder with the net down over the bale. You can also pair them with any other type of round/large square feeder or hay hut.


Hopefully this gives you some insight on what different types of nets may or may not work for your herd. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions. You can reach us on the contact page on our website, email, or find us on any of our socials; Instagram - @mccracken_equine or Facebook – McCracken Equine – Authorized Hay Chix Dealer. ~ Michaela

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