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Best Hay Nets for Horses in 2023: Smart Feeding Solutions

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My son noticed that I use a hay net when feeding some of our horses but not others. He asked me why the difference in treatment. The reason that we treat our horses differently depends is because of their individual needs, which include how we feed them hay.

Hay nets are an essential tool for any horse owner. They help slow down the eating process and allow horses to eat correctly. Using a hay net has many benefits, including improved digestion and reduced waste. In addition, using a hay net helps keep hay clean.

When it comes to hay nets, there are various options available to you. So much so that you may find it challenging to decide on the best one for your horse. From my personal experience and by talking to fellow horse owners, we came up with a list of seven of our top picks.

What Are Hay Nets for Horses?

Hay nets are a feeding accessory for horses designed to make it easier for horses to access hay while also preventing waste and mess. These nets are typically made of durable and woven material, such as nylon, and are designed to be hung up in a horse’s stall, trailer, or paddock.

The primary benefit of using a hay net is that it helps prevent waste and mess caused by ground feeding. When hay is placed on the ground, horses can easily trample and waste the hay, or the hay can become contaminated with dirt and debris.

Picture of a horse eating hay from a net.
Hay nets in our barn.

Hay nets hold hay securely, preventing it from scattering across the ground and reducing the risk of contamination. Horses can easily reach the hay by pulling it through the small openings in the net, which helps promote a natural eating posture and can also help reduce boredom and stress.

Using a hay net can also help promote slower eating and reduce the risk of digestive issues such as colic. Horses that eat too quickly or consume too much hay at once are at risk of developing digestive problems, and using a hay net can help slow down their eating and make it easier to monitor their hay intake.

Overall, hay nets can be a useful and practical accessory for horse owners and trainers, particularly for horses that spend a lot of time in their stalls or paddocks. When choosing a hay net, it’s important to select one that is the appropriate size for your horse and one that is made from a durable and safe material.

Here are my top 7 picks in hay nets for horses.

Check Out: Best Hay for Horses – Complete Guide

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#1. Winner – Weaver Leather Slow Feeder 36-Inch Black Hay Net

We first bought a few of the Weaver hay nets because it was highly recommended by some trainers we knew. It considerably slowed down our horse’s eating and is made of durable material. 

The holes of the Weaver Leather hay net are small, and this helps in two ways: 

  1. Our horses can only get a small amount of hay out of the net with each bite. This not only slows his eating and helps digestion but also reduces boredom.
  2. It also greatly reduced hay wastage. I’m sure I saved quite a lot of money on hay thanks to this slow feeder net.

 I could also easily fit the net over large bundles of hay, so it was super easy to use.

Here are its features:

Physical features

  • 36-inch rope net
  • The squares or holes are 2 inches x 2 inches. To help you get an idea, you can fit a tiny golf ball through the holes.
  • Continuous tissues without any sewing at the bottom
  • The empty bags measure between 3.5 and 4 feet long without including the rope 


  • Perfect for horses that gobble up hay in no time
  • Ideal to carry to shows 
  • Holes do not expand or get bigger
  • It holds up well to horses that chew everything.


  • No clips or hooks are provided for hanging them up. (See the tip below).

Expert Tips

I simply bought some hooks for hanging this hay net.

How it compares

These are excellent hay nets for horses, and they easily hold three flakes of hay for twice-daily feeding. The price is affordable, too, in case you want to buy multiple nets. You won’t be disappointed!

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#2. Best Overall: Tough-1 Slow Feeder Hay Nets

I bought these larger hay net bags for a show. They made it very convenient to carry hay, and I was able to keep my expensive Alfalfa hay together and clean on the go. They also held the optimum quantity for my larger horses. Moreover, their small holes reduced hay wastage.

Physical features

  • Made with sturdy Challenger poly cord 
  • 42-inch length with 2 x 2 inches holes.


  • Sturdy
  • Durable
  • Value for money
  • They easily hold around 25 lb. of hay.


The hanging string is flimsy. (See tip below)

Expert Tips

  • I replaced the hanging string with a sturdier nylon rope. It allows me to easily tie the bags to a tree branch.

How it compares

Tough-1 hay nets are a must-have for your horses for winters until the grass comes in and also for taking along on travels. It takes my horses 4-5 hours to finish 4-inch flakes of hay from these nets.

Without the nets, they would gobble the same amount of hay in less than an hour. Priced at just over $10, these hay nets are an absolute value for money as you will save a lot on hay. 

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#3. Best Heavy-Duty Hay Net- TEKE General 40-inch Net

My daughter needed some heavy-duty nets for her horses. I gave her these TEKE 40-inch nets because they’re advertised to hold up to 6.5 kg or 14.3 lb. of hay. They certainly lived up to the promise!

Note: This hay net has 2″ holes, which is good for most horses because it allows them to pull out hay without too much difficulty. This is a nice net but costs a little more. Currently, they sell for four dollars more than the Tough One net.

Physical Features

  • Heavy-duty nets are made of strong poly hay cords.
  • It easily holds up to 2.5 to 3 flakes of hay
  • 14.3 lb. capacity
  • 40-inch length with 2-inch holes.


  • Last for several months
  • Sturdy and well-made


There are no clips or hooks provided for hanging.

Expert Tips

Use the knot on the end to create a slip knot for hanging.

How it compares

Many hay nets for horses wear down after 6-9 months of use. With TEKE nets, you won’t have to worry about that. They last for several years and easily hold 2.5 to 3 flakes of hay.

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#4. Best Hay Net for Round Bales: Tough-1 Round Bale Net

I don’t use round bales for my horses, but one of my friends does. The biggest problem with large quantities of round bales of hay is that they tend to waste a lot of hay. To solve this problem, he began using hay nets.

He tried some other round bale nets, but they stretched out over time, defeating their purpose. With Tough-1 hay nets for round bales, he eliminated both of these issues.

 Here are some of the benefits my friend pointed out about the Tough-1 net:

  • It has fixed openings devoid of any knots. Unlike other brands, Tough-1 round bale hay net did not stretch out and retained its shape for months.
  • The price was nearly $100 less than other hay nets for round bales.
  • He could keep my hay bales clean and fresh. The net prevented dust and debris and kept the hay fresher.

Physical features

  • 2 1/2″ X 2 ½ square openings
  • It easily fits in 4 x 5 bales with plenty of room left over
  • Made with durable black poly cord.


  • Sturdy
  • Reduce hay wastage
  • Slow down, speedy eaters
  • Perfect for round bales.


  • The holes are slightly bigger than usual. It may not be suitable for all horses, especially the small ones.

Expert Tips

I suggest not using this net around small horses/ ponies. Their legs could get tangled in the net.

How it compares

Most brands of hay nets for round bales cost more than $150. Tough-1 Round Bale hay net is a good choice if you want to save money. It can reduce hay wastage while also slowing down a fast eater. The price is under $100.

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#5. Best Hay Net for Square Bales: Texas Hay Net Slow Feed

Texas Hay Net is made using sturdy nylon. It is perfect if you want to cover an entire bale and works well to slow consumption by fast-eating horses. It also has a tinier hole size than most hay nets available in the market. It is an excellent choice for the communal feeding of several horses.

Physical features

  • Made with American nylon mesh
  • Wide mouth for easy installation
  • Superior, seamless construction
  • Drawstring closure
  • It fits bales of 36”x18”x18.”
  • Hole-size is just 1.5 inches


  • It keeps hay fresh longer
  • Perfect for square flakes
  • It slows down speedy eaters
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to repair
  • Long-lasting – Lasts for 2-4 years


The tie-string isn’t looped through the holes. The hay expands after its string is removed, making it challenging to accommodate all of the hay.

How it compares

Price-wise, this hay net is almost four times costlier than our winning entry. However, if you have square bales, then this is the best choice. It also lasts long, so it offers value for money.

#6. Best Hay Net for Small Horses/Pony: Lami-Cell Small Feeder Hay Net

The problem with many inexpensive hay nets is that they are quickly destroyed, but not these. If you are looking for a durable, no-frills, small feeder hay net, and you’re on a budget, especially for a small horse or a pony, then the Lami-Cell is a good choice.

Physical features

  • 2-inch x 2-inch holes
  • Hold 3-4 flakes of hay easily


  • Ideal size for a small horse
  • Encourages slow feeding rate.
  • Affordable and value for money


  • Opening the net for adding hay could be slightly tricky.

How it compares

Ideal size for small horses; the price is affordable, too, compared to our winning entry.

#7. Best Travel Feeder Hay Nets – Majestic Ally 2-Pc Nylon Hanging Hay Nets

Majestic Ally slow feeder hay nets are great to take on travels. They are made from durable nylon and are large-sized with wide openings, making them easy to use. Amazon customers rate this hay net 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Physical features

  • Small square 2 x 2-inch holes
  • Sturdy nylon construction
  • 7 color choices


  • Durable and heavy-duty
  • Twin pack – ideal for multiple horses
  • Great for travels.


The drawstring comes unwoven from the net while putting in the hay.

Expert tip

If you find it difficult to put the hay in, simply open the top all the way and fold it down halfway, add in the hay flakes, roll it back, and pull the string tight. 

How it compares

You get two sturdy and durable hay nets for around $10! Majestic Ally hay nets are great for travel and a must-have for shows.

Also Read: What Horses Need in their Stables

Picture of a horse eating from a hay net.
Two-Year-old Thoroughbred

Benefits of Hay Nets – Why do You Need One?

Hay nets are a useful tool for feeding horses hay, as they offer several benefits:

#1. Hay nets slow down speedy eaters

One of the main benefits of using a hay net is that it can help prevent your horse from overeating or eating too quickly, which can lead to digestive issues or other health problems. By slowing down your horse’s eating habits, a hay net can help promote more natural grazing behaviors and encourage better digestion.

In the wild, horses graze slowly on pastures, which is essential to prevent these gastric issues. With a hay net, you can considerably slow down your horse’s eating speed.

Hay nets have small holes which dispense hay in small quantities, which closely mimics the natural feeding pattern of horses in the wild. Most horses will take 4-5 hours to eat the same quantity of hay through a hay net that they would otherwise gulp down in an hour, which is highly beneficial for their digestive health.

#2. Hay nets minimize hay wastage

Hay nets can also help prevent hay waste by reducing the amount of hay that falls to the ground or is trampled underfoot. This can save you money on hay costs and also reduce the amount of cleanup required in your horse’s stall or pasture.

Another benefit of hay nets is that it keeps the hay together. It prevents hay from spilling in the stalls and getting mixed with dirt and the stall bedding. Moreover, your horse will need fewer vet visits with improved digestion. Your horse will also be happier and healthier eating clean and fresh hay and not dirty hay off the ground.

#3. Hay nets are convenient for travel

If you take your horses to shows often, hay nets are a must-have. They keep hay clean and fresh longer and make it easier to carry around. Hay nets even make it super convenient to feed your horse. You can hang them up on walls using hooks so your horse can continue eating while you groom or tack it.

#4. Hay nets prevent boredom

Another benefit of using a hay net is that it can help prevent boredom in horses that spend a lot of time in their stalls. The slow, methodical process of eating from a hay net can help keep your horse occupied and engaged, reducing the risk of destructive behaviors such as cribbing or weaving.

Overall, using a hay net can be a simple and effective way to promote better feeding habits and optimal health for your horse. When selecting a hay net, it’s important to choose one that is appropriate for your horse’s size and feeding needs, monitor your horse’s eating habits and adjust their feeding plan as necessary.

Tips to Choose Hay Net

Here are some factors to consider when selecting hay net:


Size is the most important aspect of hay net selection. Choose a net that will help you store adequate hay for your horse. If you have multiple horses, select the largest size available or bring along nets for each horse.

The ideal hay net size is 42-inch length with 2 x 2-inch holes. This lets you easily feed 14-15hh size horses 2-3 times daily. This net size can fit in 3-4 flakes of hay.

The hole size of the net is critical too. Most hay net hole sizes are 2-inch x 2-inch, although some slow feeder hay nets have holes as small as 1.5-inch x 1.5-inch. You even have 1-inch holes.

However, small-sized holes could frustrate some horses, so select the size according to your horse’s feeding habits, temperament, feeding setup, and mainly your horse’s size.

According to the experts at Texas Hay Nets, the following guidelines can help you select the correct size of hay net:

  • Mini horses do well with slow feeder nets of 1-inch holes. This is due to their propensity to gain weight.
  • Horses with laid-back personalities do well with 1.75” to 2-inch hole sizes.
  • Select a larger hole-size net and a heavy-gauge material for horses that abuse and destroy all nets.

#2. Material

Most hay net bags are made of poly cord or nylon. Look for a durable net with seamless construction so your horses won’t get into trouble pulling on the seams. Select a sturdier material like a heavy-gauge net if your horse abuses nets. Avoid nets with steel or metal, as they could damage your horse’s teeth.

#3. Shape

The shape of your hay bale is also a factor to consider when selecting a hay net. You get special hay nets for round and square bales. They make the installation of hay easier thanks to their conveniently wider openings. Choose the net according to the bales you buy.

Types of Hay Nets for Horses

Hanging hay nets

As the name indicates, you can hang these hay nets on a wall hook, a post, or a tree branch, and it allows you to feed your horse while it is tied up. They help keep the hay off the ground and maintain its freshness. Hanging hay nets typically hold between 3 to 4 flakes of hay.

Hay nets for communal feeding

Larger hay nets help you enclose hay bales you place on the ground for multiple livestock to feed. You can have horses and donkeys and even feed goats with hay nets. They are massive in size but offer the same benefits as the smaller/hanging hay nets. 

Are hay nets bad for a horse’s neck?

What’s best for a horse to feed hay on the ground or from a hanging net? One of the arguments I often hear is that horses naturally graze with their heads lowered, and a raised hay net hurts their neck.

And some equine experts agree that hanging hay nets puts undue pressure on a horse’s neck. However, you can adjust the distance from the ground to a comfortable height for your horse.  

An optimum size to hang a horse hay net off the ground is about 4 to 5 feet above the ground. This will keep your horse’s head in a neutral position and minimize the strain.

 If you still believe that it is bad for your horse’s neck, opt to feed this way once in a while instead of regularly. 

Below is a YouTube video with helpful tips on how to fill a hay net.

Key Takeaways

Hay nets have multiple benefits. They improve your horse’s digestion by slowing down its speedy eating. With regular use, horse hay nets could prevent colic, digestive issues, and feeding anxiety in horses.

Hay nets also keep hay clean, fresh, and off the ground. They prevent hay wastage and are perfect for carrying hay during shows and road trips. 

I recommend the Weaver Leather Horse hay net as it is pocket-friendly, sturdy, and easily holds three flakes of hay. 

Do check out my other recommendations as well.


Are horse hay nets bad for horses’ teeth?

Horse hay nets are not bad for their teeth as long as they are not made of steel, wire, or metal parts.

How to clean horse hay nets?

To clean a hay net, remove any leftover hay from the net and soak the hay net in a solution of warm water, dishwashing soap, and vinegar for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours. Rinse it under running water. It would help if you did this each month.