Well, relatively pain free. I took these pictures to show someone on a forum and figured why not use them all here too?
First, your humble narrator on her way to the barn to take the pictures and feed the horsies their dinner. Everything that looks knit I knit myself, lol:
Please note the ratty old trailer, over grown yard, and assorted dishes on the roof. Yeehaw! Looks like home to me!
A word of warning... I took these pictures on top of my grain bin, which is a "re-purposed" fridge. It was rusty and gross when I got it, and has not improved with age. It keeps the mice out of the feed and was free so I'm not going to complain. Also, the muck bucket is not a standard sized muck bucket. It is a bit smaller and much worse for wear. I actually use the good muck bucket for other things so the ratty cracked one gets hay duty. I tossed a burned log into it once not realizing how hot it was still, so, um, the stuff inside that looks like poo? Not poo. Singed plastic.
My supplies, ratty muck bucket and mini mesh hay net (I will not use a regular hay net... no way, no how, not ever. Not after seeing a few horses with injuries from them):
Now I reach down through the top of the net and grab the center bottom and pull it through to turn the bag inside out:
Inside out bag:
Then I pull the bag over the open end of the ratty muck bucket:
Then I pull it down so that the bottom of the net is pulled tight across the top:
Now if this were a normal sized muck bucket I could just stick one end of a hay bale in here but it is a little small and I don't pack a whole bale in there anyway. So I start by sticking a few flakes in first to fill the bucket:
Then I stand the rest up on top of that (weird perspective on this looks funny, flash washed all the colour out of the hay, it's not as strawlike as it looks, lol!):
Then I pull the net up around the sides and tighten the rope:
The finished product, a full hay net with very little hassle and no cussing or swearing!
Notes: if you are using a large mesh hay net OR have horses with halters/shoes on even if they are small mesh do NOT tie your hay nets this low! ANY hay net can be dangerous to horses. Heck, a padded room and bubble wrap blankets could be dangerous to a horse. If there is any way to get hurt they will. Just try to be smart and careful and if you do decide to use hay nets this way of filling the stupid annoying things is much simpler than just trying to stuff flakes into it.
I don't fluff the hay before cramming it in because I WANT the horses to have to really work to get the hay out. The tighter the flakes are and the tighter they are crammed in there the better.