With as many horses as we have, I’m always looking at ways to save money. It’s expensive to keep nine head and a donkey, especially when you have to feed hay during the winter.
We have a regular cradle hay feeder for the horses that are in our back pasture. Although the cradle feeder does a great job at keeping the hay up off the ground, just like any other regular hay feeder, there’s a lot of hay that goes to waste. A regular five foot round bale usually lasts around 4-5 days at best. That’s with 3-4 horses turned out full-time.
While I love the many different types of hay savers out there, and I’m sure they pay for themselves over time, the cheapest one I could find was $175-$200 by the time I paid for shipping. There’s been times I couldn’t afford that! Did I mention years of living hard have made me cheap?
I decided there’s got to be a cheaper way that’s comparable. Well, here’s what I came up with – total cost is $30 – a lot cheaper!
This is plastic barrier netting that you can find at any Home Depot or Lowes. The netting comes in different thicknesses and lengths. I chose a little heavier thickness, and the shortest roll they had as I only needed enough to cover the top of a round bale. One short roll was enough to cover 3 bales.
IMPORTANT – When you cut the length that you need, make sure you fold the end into itself, as the edges are a little sharp. By folding the end, you’ll have a rounded edge.
I round the edge and then tie it on to the edge of the cradle with hay string. I leave it on the first 3-4 days and then take it off as they work their way down the hay bale.
While it might not save as much hay as the $200 versions, it definitely helps. This is the second year we’ve used this and on average, hay bale lasts 3-4 days longer.
This is a great option for anyone that feeds round bales and can’t afford the more expensive hay savers.