How We Do Hay at the Barn
First, I want to note that each boarder is responsible for his or her own hay, though some of us do go in together on a load to save on shipping.
We have several horses that have some medical issues, so we have to limit their intake of grass, due to the high sugar content in it. For this reason, we are required to feed them hay. We have been through about 5-6 different farmers for hay and we have tried square bales and we have been using 5×5 round bales for the past 3-4 years. It works out rather well, but it wasn’t always that way.
Today, we store the round bales on top of two high wooden pallets, to allow airflow underneath, and we cover them with tarps, but make sure we leave the bottom open for the air to flow. The air flow allows us to better control the moisture and dry hay will last a long time, compared to hay that has been wet or is wet. After a few weeks, it will surely mold and then you can’t feed it to the horses.
Since this farm doesn’t have any cows, who can eat lesser quality hay, we will either spread it on the corner of the field or if it isn’t too bad, feed it to the goats on the farm, since they can tolerate a lesser quality hay also. But if it is really nasty, it goes to the woods so hopefully no one eats it.
When it is time for a new bale, we roll it over and flip it on its end, they are heavy, they weigh anywhere from 750 to 1,000 pounds, so flipping isn’t always easy, especially when you have muscle loss from the autoimmune diseases and my ribs are always sore from the costochondritis.
We then use hay bags to feed the hay to the horses. We discovered that using a Rubbermaid trash can works perfectly to hold the bags, so we can stuff the hay. Lately the more recent bales, the hay has been just falling off in the sheets that it was rolled from and that makes it super easy to stuff the bags with.
Once we have the bags stuffed, we put a tarp over that bale and put a few pallets up against it to keep the tarp from blowing away and we go hang the hay bags for the horses.
Maya said, yummy, but she much rather has her hay in the round bale holder, because she can pull her fat lazy ass up to it and park it there all day. The bags make it harder for her to get fat on hay. Being she is part draft, she is a very lazy horse.
Extra bags are hung for the night and served the very next day. All done!!!