I still use and love the nylon mesh hay nets from Busy Horse. Even my super destructo gelding hasn't managed to wreck one. Their only hay net I've ever gotten rid of was due to excessive fraying - wear from around a year and a half of daily use.
I've timed him. The small hole net takes the horse nearly 2.5 times longer to eat than a flake on the ground.
You guys who use carabeeners, please be careful-if they are strong enough to hold hay nets they are strong enough to tear nostrils or eyelids. Please be sure the 'beeners can only open on the side away from your horses' faces.....ask me how I know.
I also put my empty nets in the muck tub to fill but I think I like the low hook method. I'll give that a whirl later today. Same thing, be sure horses can't get to the area where the hooks are!
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
My mare is a stall trasher. Grinds up her all poop so all her shavings are black after 1 day.
If she gets fed in the hay net, since she has food all night long and it's up off the ground, in the morning she has 5-6 nice poop piles in the same area of her stall which makes cleaning it much faster. Our barn helper is VERY lazy (VEEEERRRRYYYY). He wouldn't fill the net until he realized that if the net is full, it takes him 5 minutes to clean her stall versus esentially stripping it if the hay is on the ground. Now he'll put a full bale in her net (so he only has to fill it every other day. Did I mention he was LAZY?).
Good luck OP. If you can get them over the hump, hopefully they'll realize the pros > cons.
I've always used nets for the reasons listed already. My two guys are very hard keepers and will trample all their hay leaving them little to eat. I put 4 or 5 flakes in and they have enough for the whole night. It also saves me at night check. I would otherwise have to throw more hay and try to gauge whether they need more or less and always leaves me with much wasted or none left thinking I didn't give enough.
My other guys are pigs so I can control their intake and they have hay all night. I have never heard of the hook method to fill but you best believe I am trying that one tomorrow morning!