One of the most common questions we receive is how to install our round bale hay net. There are a number of ways to use the net. The best method really depends on your feeding routine. The following article lists the most common ways customers are using our nets. These same methods will also work on large square bales.
First, remove all bale wrap, twine, and strings to prevent animals from ingesting them. If you are concerned about your bale falling apart or blowing away once the wrap or twine is removed, then first cast the net over the bale leaving it loosely draped on top of the hay. Lift up one side of the net just enough to expose the wrap or twine, cut it, and then pull it out.
Depending on what size your bale is, the net may or may not be big enough to completely enclose the bale. As long as the net covers the top and sides of the bale, you are in good shape. Regardless of which method you use, the net will never super tight on the bale. The mesh holes will look like squares or diamonds. If the net is stretched too tight, the holes will look like narrow little slots and you need some slack.
The easiest way to install your net is by simply throwing your net over the bale like a blanket. Check all sides to ensure the net is evenly draped around the bale. Once you have the net positioned to your liking, pull the drawstring snug and tie a knot in the cord to keep the net in place. Tuck any excess cord up underneath the net and against the bale.
If the net is big enough to enclose the bale, you have a couple of options:
- Place the net over the bale leaving some slack on one side. Next, roll the bale into the net. Pull the drawstring snug and tie a knot in the cord to keep the net in place. Tuck any excess cord up underneath the net and against the bale.
- If you have a tractor, you can lift the bale up enough to slip the net over it leaving the opening on the side with the hay spear. Then cinch the drawstring pulling the net loosely closed around the spear. Once you’ve set the bale down and removed the spear from the bale, finish pulling the drawstring until the net is completely closed. Tuck any excess cord up underneath the net and against the bale. We do not recommend spearing the bale after the net is installed. The spear or fork can rip holes in your net.
Attach the net to a hay ring. Place your bale in the desired location. Then lower the ring over the top of the bale. Hay ring attachment tips are addressed next.
Hay Ring Attachment
Depending on the construction of your hay ring, you may be able to attach your net to your ring. Because there are many different types of rings on the market, there is no one size fits all method for attachment. You may have to get creative.
The 2 most common methods are zip ties and ropes. Regardless of which method you choose, we recommend attaching the net the inside of your hay ring.
Zip ties. Purchase some wide, heavy duty zip ties from your local hardware store. We recommend stainless steal zip ties. Line up the bottom of the net with the inside of your ring and zip tie the yellow draw cord directly to the ring about every foot or so. We do not recommend zip tying to the mesh holes. The net can be attached anywhere inside the ring that you can find a place to tie it.
Ropes. Remove the yellow draw cord from the net. Leave the loop at one end intact and untie the knot at the other end. Line up the bottom of the net with the inside of your ring. Take the yellow rope and feed it through a mesh hole. Then wrap the rope around the ring once before feeding it through another mesh hole about every foot or so. Repeat this process all the way around the ring. Feed the loose end of the rope through the end with the loop and tie a knot to keep the rope in place.