Tips, Tricks & Care
EcoNets are made of a Twisted Knotted Nylon that is coated and bonded to protect from UV rays. The nets do not shrink or absorb water. Our seams are made using industrial strength webbing & thread. Webbing choice of Purple, Teal, Black, Blue, Green, Red & Pink on small nets and for large nets we use Purple on Regular nets & Black on HD nets.
|For most horses
need to save or extend hay
|most average horses
Year round use
|horses on nets year round
Need more restriction
eat to much or to fast
|ponies, mini's & easy keepers
over weight & breeds like
Fjords, Icelandics, etc
|Year round use
|Year round use
bigger herds aggressive on nets
|Extremely easy keeper breeds
Fjord's, Icelandic's and Donkey's,
|Older horses & drafts
Need more hay
mouth + teeth issues
frustrated on smaller openings
When first introducing EcoNets to your horses give them their regular or loose hay and set/hang the loosely filled net nearby. This way they can approach the new net in a curious manner & figure out how to get the hay, without getting frustrated. Do this for 3-5 days, decreasing the loose hay daily until they are eating from the nets, don't continue longer with the loose hay.
- horses can only pull small amounts of hay from the mesh. This increases the chewing motion by a minimum of 5x per bite and lessens the amount consumed. Allowing the horses digestive system to slow down and work naturally, thus better utilizing the smaller amounts of feed
- the hay is almost always available so they learn to relax and don’t have to guard their feed
- horses tend to pull hay from the nets with their heads down, when using round bales, simulating a more natural grazing position
- the nets prevent the horses from being able to ‘tunnel’ into the hay, improving respiration issues from breathing in chaff and dust
- horses with minor respiratory problems usually improve or their symptoms have even disappeared completely
- it takes much longer to eat their hay ration, satisfying their required 16-20+ hours of chewing
- the net also gets used as a toy, many have observed horses swinging the net, playing ‘tug -of-war’ and even dragging a whole square bale around
Horses on ‘Restricted Free Access’ hay are calmer, more patient, happy and easier to train. No more upset tummies, acid reflux, cribbing, ulcers, colic or respiratory issues.Each Fall - Remember to 'transition with loose hay' or when starting to use nets again. As new horses may have been added and pecking orders change. It allows the horses to start using the nets again in the right frame of mind & not frustrated.
Most horses need a 1.5" hole size net unless they need more restriction due to size or health concerns, start with a 1" hole size for Ponies/Mini's and very over weight or foundered/metabolic/insulin resistant. If you have a mixed herd generally go with what the majority need or the health concern 1st, as most horses can eat and do well on a 1" net on average hay, use caution if hay is overly stocky/long. 2" nets are for older horses & some drafts or those that you don't want to restrict intake but still eliminate the wasted hay.
When giving ‘Restricted or free access’ it is better to 'transition' them onto the nets with loose hay along with the netted hay. Give their normal ration in the nets while gradually decreasing the amount of loose hay. This gives their digestive system a chance to adapt and they won’t be so prone to constantly stand at the bale. Some horses will actually use more hay and even gain some weight in the first month but once they realize that it’s always there (like being out on grass) they relax and eat less, returning to a normal weight. If they don't slow down you probably have "to big" of a hole size for them.
- Critter holds a handful of hay & prevents hay from turning into bedding
- Trailer hold 2 flakes, have a smaller circumference than Mini
- Mini hold 1-4 flakes
- Half hold up to 1/2 a small square or fold in 1/2 to create a net for 1-2 flakes
- Square holds up to a 75 lb small square or fold in 1/2 when using less hay
- Texas holds 2 small square bales side by side, great for extra feed when away
- Small holds up to a 4 x 5 ft bale or 6-10 small squares, depending on size
- Medium holds from 4 x 5 to 6 x 6 ft bale, usually up to 1500 lbs
- Large holds up to 6 x 7 ft bale, anything consistently 6x6+ or 1600-2100 lbs
- X-Large for bales 7x7 ft or over 2000 lbs
- 3 x 4 x 7/8 for the smaller sized Large Squares, opening is at end.
- 4 x 5 x 8/10 for the bigger Large Squares, opening at end.
Installing the Large Square net: use your equipment to elevate 1 end of the bale just off of the ground, scrunch open end of net like a pillow case & put over the elevated end, pull net towards the center making sure the closed end is snug, set bale down and then elevate the opposite end so you can pull the net out past the open end, lower bale, cut & remove twines, tighten draw cord, secure on D Ring tying off excess cord & putting inside the net. All done. Remember to protect net from shod horses using a feeder or similar so horses don’t get caught on the net with their shoes.
- Basket fits tubs
- Small fits up to 5 ft diameter or 16 ft in circumference
- Medium fits up to 7.5 ft diameter or 23 ft circumference
- Large fits feeders over 7.5 ft to 10 ft wide or 33 ft circumference
EZ Feeders are sized according to the Feeder not the Bale
** Please measure your feeder before ordering
EZ Feeders are meant to attach to the top ring of the lower area of the feeder, usually 2-3.5 ft ft above ground, do not attach to the very bottom rung as the net can freeze to the ground.
Note- If your feeder is open with rungs at the lower part, try lining with plex board, belting or we have netting in long narrow strips that can be used to prevent excess hay from falling or being pulled out. ** Be sure to attach on the inside of feeder to prevent horses getting shoes caught up or injured.
Net attached on the 1st 2 feeders,
3rd - Open type feeder, should be lined at bottom w/belting or puck board and then the EZ net attached to top rung.
Square nets have 2 d-rings but no snap, if needed, they can be hung horizontally to help distribute the weight of the bale. Clip 2 HD trailer bungee's onto each end of the net by the seam adding some netting into the clip
Texas have 2 welded dee's but no snap as they're Not meant to hang, but rather to assist securing into tubs or feeders.
- We make our Mini, Half & Square sizes with a large opening so they very easily go over a Square Bale to make loading simple.
- You can have several nets/bags filled ahead for quick and convenient feedings later. The square bale nets stack nicely & you can hang a full Square bale in a stall on 2 bungee trailer ties so as the hay is eaten the net will raise - also eliminates multiple trips to feed in that stall for 1-3 days !! Tip - leave the twines on till ready to hang or use.
To easily fill your Mini + Half bale net: using a muck bucket, mineral tub or leaf bag holder, stretch opening of net over the edge of the bucket, to easily fill with hay, pull out of bucket by the drawcord and its ready to use.
Forking from a round bale to feed: save hay and time by purchasing a ‘Texas’ as it has a large circumference to go over 2 Square bales. Works great for forking off of the round bale because it is so big around. You can also put net in a deep wheelbarrow or 45 Gallon drum, stretch opening of net over edges, fill with loose hay (be sure to pack down the hay real well and get lots in), then close by pulling drawstring tight and securing closed on the D provided. Remove from barrow or drum. You are now ready to feed with no more trampled and/or wind blown hay.
Having problems with freezing ? Try putting some straw, shavings, EZ PELLETZ or EcoRasters/HD black shipping pallets under/in the area where you are putting the netted hay. Also sure to place away from drainage & in a higher area. This usually stops issues with the nets freezing to the ground.
If your net does freeze to the ground, do NOT tug & pull or use equipment to pull as you will damage your net !! Remove any snow and hay covering the frozen area. Then try pouring some warm water over the frozen area or even letting the sun melt it on a warm day. Some have used salt as melter but be sure to rinse the net as it can be corrosive to the net.
- We have found that geldings usually will not pee on the nets (given they have some straw or bedding for that purpose, especially when pens are packed down hard in the winter).
Try this “Equine Litter Box” next winter or this summer if you have penned horses- pick a spot where you would like your horses to “Go”(a somewhat sheltered area, easy to access, not to far from the feed & not where they feel trapped), put a bag or 2 of shavings and some straw in that area, move a fresh “pile” to the center of this area and watch them head over, check it out & use it. You may have to move a few piles over a few days but you will find that they will start using it like a litter box. Or if you see that they already have an area that they seem to like, put the shavings and straw there. Keep the area cleaned every so often to prevent build up and to keep fluffy. The mix prevents urine from splashing onto their legs, works for geldings & mares.
Do you feed compressed bales, cubes or chopped hay? Our 1/2″ mesh net works great for processed hay, cubes or chopped hay and slowing down the consumption. As this hay is much finer you will need 1 size less than normal. Example: normal use a 1.5" net, then start with a 1" for these processed hays. Also the EZ Bales & TransFeeder compact bales work well in the 1/2″ mesh nets.
If you have a herd – give them a round bale of timothy or grass type hay in a ‘Round Bale’ net. **Use a feeder if shod or the EZ Feeder Kits. This will satisfy their chewing requirements, keep their digestive system working properly, occupy & prevent boredom and make them easier to train & ride!
- The life of your net will vary depending on the type of hay used and the maintenance and care given to your net. Grass hay is easier for horses to pull through the net were as alfalfa hay stocks can be harder for horses to grab. This can teach horses to be more aggressive and can lead to pawing and chewing to get the alfalfa leaves and stems. If a hole is found please repair as soon as possible to stop horses from enlarging the hole.
- As horse owners we know that all horses are different and have their own personalities and tendencies… some may learner quicker than others on how to eat through the net; some may be more content to simply eat off the net and others may want to paw at the net more; and some may need to be moved down onto a 1″ net mesh to further slow their hay consumption while others can stay on 1 1/2″ net mesh for their whole life. It is up to you, the horse owner, to be aware of how your own individual horses are using the nets and decide if any changes are necessary. If you have any questions or comments about your horse(s) using the nets, please send us an email through our contact form and we would be happy to help you.
When not using your net: put away, clean, empty of all hay, repaired, folded or rolled up, put in a rodent proof tub to prevent damage from mice & birds, store in a dry location and out of direct sunlight.
- Remember, if your horses wear SHOES the nets MUST be hung at chest height or higher/secured into tubs or feeders so they cannot paw or remove. Otherwise they will get caught in the netting and may be hung up or injured !
- When hanging your net remember to hang in a safe place were it can not get snagged and ripped. Hang from the D’s or from the web seam.
Do not hang Square or Texas nets from the D-rings, as they are too heavy !! Hang using the HD bungee trailer ties and clip them onto the seam along with some of the netting to lessen the wear point. We suggest clipping heavy bales in Square or Texas nets into feed tubs, rather than hanging.
WARRANTY: we warranty the craftsmanship of our nets, as in the seams that we sew (under normal use), but we Do Not warranty the netting, chew thru’s or tears in the netting. Horses are livestock and very strong animals, we cannot know which horses will figure out the nets and which will not. Chew Thru’s will Not be warrantied, replaced or repaired. Follow our "Starting Out" tips for best introduction and acclimation to the system.
RETURNS: returns are only accepted if the item is unopened & in it's original packaging. Item must be returned with-in 30 days from date of purchase. Customer is responsible for all shipping costs and shipping fee's will not be refunded. Receipt to verify proof of original purchase from EcoNets must be provided by customer. If you've purchased your item from one of our retailers/reps please contact them to do the exchange. Before sending your item to us please contact the Order Dept at 1-844-326-6387. Refunds will be processed within 15 days of receipt of returned item, once item is inspected & verified.
EXCHANGES: items ordered by mistake may be exchanged for another item with-in 60 days, so long as the item is un-opened, un-used and still in it's original packaging. Customer is responsible for all shipping costs including: original shipping, returning the original item back to us, as well as sending out the exchanged item. Receipt to verify proof of original purchase from EcoNets must be provided by customer. If you've purchased your item from one of our retailers/reps please contact them to do the exchange. Before sending your item to us please contact the Order Dept at 1-844-326-6387.
*** Please Note that all Exchanges & Returns are done at the discretion of EcoNets staff. If items have been opened or packaging damaged restocking fee's may apply or transaction may be declined.