Save Some Hay!

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!

Our hay saver
Our hay saver

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.

 

Round the edges
Round the edges

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.