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Slow Feed Hay Bags

  • November 4, 2021
  • Written by Audra Cooper
  • Video

nets

Reduce waste & feed consumption with a slow feed hay bag or net today! Check out the below information to decide if a hay bag is right for you. 

N.A.G BAG FAQ & Information below.

What size do I recommend?

The size depends on your hay type as well as the type of animal you are feeding.

1 inch**: Ponies and miniature animals do very well right away with the 1-inch netting. 

1.5 inch: This is our most common size for most grazing animals.  

2-inch:  For larger breeds like drafts, warm bloods, working horses, young and older horses, and some mini cattle.

2.75 inch: This size must be placed in a feeder as a safety precaution. It is great for cattle and large breed horses. Ear tags, halters and any hoof must not be in contact with nets.

**Note – 1” netting is designed for small animals and for animals that have mastered grazing from the 1.5” net hole sizes. During cold weather a net can freeze, further restricting an animal’s ability to feed from this hole size. We recommend larger hole sizes be used in freezing temperatures.

How to Introduce a NAG Bag: Always provide loose hay alongside the NAG Bag until the animal seems comfortable eating from the net. This will ensure that animal learns to graze from the net without frustration. Proper introduction of a grazing bag will prolong the life of the net.

Net                              Capacity

Mini Bag                     1 to 2 Flakes

Trailer Bag                 2 Flakes

Hanging Bag             3 to 4 flakes

Mid Day Bag                5 to 7 flakes

Day Bag                     6 to 8 flakes

Square Bale Bag       1 two-string bale up to 95 lbs

EZ-Fill                         3 to 4 flakes

3 Tie Bale Bag           1 Three-string bale

Large Rounds and Squares

When customers are purchasing round bale bags, ask them what their bale size is (height and width) and recommend the appropriate size bag. For example. if a client has a 5x5 bale size recommend that they buy a 5x5 (RB5) or a 6x6 for ease in winter climates as nets become stiff and frozen, so using a size up helps with ease of feeding. The same is true for large square bales. Nets should fit loose never tight – if so exchange before using..

Note: We do not recommend the use of 1” netting in below-freezing temperatures. This is because nets can freeze and increase restriction, hampering an animal’s ability to access forage. When it comes to round and large square bale nets, the 1” netting is best suited for use in warmer climates.

FAQs

Can bags be left loose on the ground?

Yes. All of our bags can be left loose on the ground for extra movement and entertainment. Non-sandy surfaces are best. But with large bale bags these nets can sustain damage, as horses will stand on them and pull up,  as well as freezing to the ground more likely. Placing in a  feeder is best for all the large bags.

IMPORTANT:  Horses with shoes must have nets placed in boxes or feeders. Also note that bags with 2” net hole sizes can not be left out for minis or young horses. The 2.75 is never to be used on the ground.

Can I soak hay in the bags?

Yes, bags can be used to soak hay. We suggest that customers soak hay for a maximum of a 30 minutes. To avoid a hazard, customers should let the water drip/drain out before hanging bags above a surface that could become slippery (such as in a trailer).
 
Note that soaking hay in warm water results in the removal of higher amounts of sugars and starches. Levels decline significantly when hay is soaked in warm water for 30 minutes or cold water for 60 minutes. It is important that hay is not over-soaked (1-hour max) as this can cause mineral loss and reduces the amount digestible fiber. Soaked hay should be consumed within 6 hours and any remaining hay should be removed from the bag.

 

What type of hay do I use?

Grass mix hay free from both dust and mold is ideal. Easy keepers do best on 1st cut, lower sugar and starch hays. Hard keepers and elderly horses may require higher protein hay types. 

Coarse, long hay is harder for horses to remove from a hay net than fine hay is. If hay is too fine, it can cause issues like balling and/or impactions. Hay with more stem aids digestion by helping hindgut secretions flow, increasing the amount of chewing required, and slowing down the rate of consumption - all good things.

When the net is empty should I refill it, even if my animal has eaten all of its hay for the day?

Yes, it is best to keep the nets full. You may go through a bit more hay in the beginning, but after the horse self-regulates his feeding (grazing), his habits will change both physically and emotionally as consumption slows down. The hay type must suit your horse's needs according to whether they are easy or hard keepers, we strongly recommend hay testing. You could also utilize a two-bag system…one bag with the regular hay and one bag with lesser protein & WSC hay (a munching hay or straw).or one bag with a smaller hole net and one larger hole net.

 

Will my horse be frustrated with the NAG Bag?

After proper introduction, horses using NAG Bags with the correct hole size tend to prefer to graze from the net, rather than from loose hay feedings.

Can I use this continuous feeding system with my laminitis-prone horse?

Yes, this is one of the best feeding systems to use because it helps to keep your horse’s insulin levels balanced. When forage is available 24/7 stress is also reduced. BUT it is important to note that you must ensure that you are feeding hay that is correct for sensitive horses – having your hay tested is essential! Hay testing is easy to do with minimum cost, see our web for more info.

How is the Round Bale eaten down?

The round bale simply shrinks/collapses down with the hay and molds into the shape of a large pillow. Before the bag is completely empty, shake the hay out and insert a fresh round bale.

Will the Round/Square Bale freeze to the ground?

In the winter you can use straw, shavings, or tarps under the hay net. Making sure that the nets never become completely empty is the key, as hay helps to insulate the nets from the ground. 

 

Do I have to re-tighten the Round/Square bale bag?
No, you only tie the net up once, but you should inspect your bale bag frequently. As if a hole appears its easy to fix – if left over days it will become larger and a danger.

NAG Bags: Troubleshooting

 

My horse won't leave the slow feeder...

Keep going along with it, their eating will slow down. For some animals, it can take days and sometimes even weeks!  These horses are usually the ones whom have never had a free choice feeding before. 

  • If you do not have the correct hay for full-time free-choice slow feeding, you may just use the slow feeder to extend the hours of your regular hay feeds.
  • If you have the correct hay for your horse they will slow down and regulate themselves.

Using NAG Bags with poor teeth or missing teeth?

Before a customer starts feeding with slow feeders they should check their animal’s teeth alignment.

Some miniatures have poor teeth alignment, and it is not uncommon for older horses to be missing teeth. If their horse has a missing tooth that is fine, but if it has all of its middle teeth and none on the sides, or if one tooth is laying over top of another, we recommend that they seek the advice of a veterinarian or dental assistant before use. 

Can my horse chew through the NAG Bag?

Our net is the safest and most durable on the market. When introduced correctly (with loose hay feedings along with the NAG Bag), we see minimum to no damage, but it is possible. If this happens, a simple repair can be made (the value of the NAG Bag far exceeds a small repair or two).  Care should be taken not to snag bags on feeders or equipment.

What do I do if I get a hole in the net?

All nets come with spare matching twine - just as a good sweater comes with an extra button. Make sure you sew up the hole as soon as it is found so that the animals don’t make it larger. If you have a hole that has been left and is now very large and cannot be pulled together without making the bag too small, you will need a repair patch kit. Repair kits include large patches of netting and a roll of twine. See our video on repairing.

 

Video