Saturday, November 6, 2010

Getting creative

Those of you who know me well know that I'm a rabid recycler and in general try to maximize reuse. I carry plastic grocery bags in my purse so that I don't have to get new ones at the store, and I've been known to drag cans and bottles hundreds of miles home from camping trips just to put them in my recycling bin. So I often look for things to do with stuff that would otherwise be thrown out to see if I can get that extra mile out of it or come up with a creative new use. Because, well, that's just fun to do!

Lately I've been looking for ways to slow down the boys' hay eating habits. You know how it is - your horse grabs a giant mouthful of the stuff (Miss Manners would be horrified!) and munches, while wisps fall to the ground. Hopefully your horse is a neat eater and vacuums up the bits afterward, but we all know this isn't always the case. Ideally, the boys would have to work for their hay and move around to get at it... but well, I'm working on that concept.

So I'd been researching ways to feed them hay that would slow them down. There are a couple of sites with slow feeder ideas, which seemed useful but expensive. I looked to see if anyone was making "hay pillows" - solid fabric bags sized to fit a flake or two, with small holes to slow consumption. Since I sew, I figured I could make some pillows with scrap fabric, or even leftover poly feed bags. And as I was searching the web for ideas, I came across How to Make a Hay Net out of Bailing Twine. Does it get any more brilliant or reusable than that?!? I've got LOADS of bailing twine, so I decided to give it a go.

I started off with 12 strings and tied them together in a big knot at the top end.

Next, I tied pairs of strings together using an overhand knot.

I continued on down, tying alternate pairs of strings together to form the diamond mesh pattern.

As I quickly discovered, if you want a small-mesh net, you need to tie your knots fairly closely together. However, this makes for a fairly narrow hay net - more like a hay tube, really. I think I would need double or even triple the number of strings to make a small-mesh net that opens wide enough to get a couple of flakes of hay in it.

So, I'm saving up more bailing twine for the next go. The boys are happy to help with the twine collecting process, diligently munching their way through the hay so I can get the twine. Kind of them, really. It's probably a good thing that they don't know the eventual outcome - they'll have to work harder for their hay thanks to the small mesh bags!


  1. HMMMM now I'm really thinking about tying a net to upgrade my hay feeder. I wonder if goats eat baling twine? Only one way to find out!

  2. that looks so awesome, hope the next one works out bigger - i just bought a bulk lot of haynets :(
    next time i'm running low i'm definitely trying this instead.
    oh and i love that you're so good at recycling things, kudos! :)

  3. Never would have thought of that! What a great idea.