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post #11 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Production Acres View Post
This absurd labeling of hay by horse lovers has no basis in fact! The best hay in the nation goes to our dairy herds. Many cow herds are fed better than you could imagine!
Around here if it's advertised as "Cow Hay" it WILL be crummy and moldy. 99% of people selling "Cow Hay" make sure to note in large letters that it is NOT suitable for consumption by horses. Now I personally wouldn't feed the "Cow Hay" sold here to any animal but obviously someone is or nobody would sell it.

It's not so much about the name someone calls it as what you are actually getting. We visited about 6 places selling "Horse Hay" before we found the quality that we were willing to feed our horses (and promptly bought all he had). The guy we purchased our hay from will call us as soon as he has more ready but even though we are absolutely thrilled with what we bought, we'll still go out there and inspect it before we commit to purchasing. Our one horse coliced the last time we ran out and were forced to use cubes so we buy hay by the truckload now to try and avoid the possibility of running out.

Last edited by Delfina; 05-07-2010 at 11:24 AM.
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post #12 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 11:25 AM
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99% of people selling "Cow Hay" make sure to note in large letters that it is NOT suitable for consumption by horses.
Exactly. That's the type of hay I'm talking about.

The people who bale and sell hay around here always indicate whether or not it's recommended for feeding to horses.

'Cow hay' is specifically cut and baled with less attention to tettering and insuring it's as dry as possible before it's baled. Because of that it tends to be more wet, and more susceptible to mold.
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post #13 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 11:26 AM
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This absurd labeling of hay by horse lovers has no basis in fact! The best hay in the nation goes to our dairy herds. Many cow herds are fed better than you could imagine! Yes there are a lot of people out there that feed some real crap to their cows. There are people out there that put their animals in all sorts of riducoulous situations - both out of love, neglect, and ignorance.
But call the hay what it is - cheap! or Junk! or Erosion Control Material!
Labeling hay should be based on its forage analysis, not the stock you see eating it! The stock you see eating it do not qualify as a forage analysis!
There is good hay put up in every bale dimension, in every climate, of every species of grass. There is also garbage baled in every bale dimension, every climate, and of every species of grass.
I'm sorry that you are offended. Cow hay, in my opinion is hay that has a little more "crud" in it than I would like, such as briars and weeds. It also isn't quite as "clean". Cows can eat alot more stuff then horses can. I wouldn't quite call it erosion control hay.... it's edible..... just not what I want for my horse.

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post #14 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 11:29 AM
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Interesting point. In my area referring to low quality hay as cow hay and better quality hay as horse hay is common. The other part of the code seems to be "cow hay" = round bales kept outside uncovered or wrapped bales kept outside and "horse hay" has been kept inside. BUT the hay my inlaws put up on the homeplace to feed our own cows and sell is better quality than most "horse hay" I've seen. However, they are very dedicated, serious farmers and business people.

Maybe "cow hay" really reflects that their are a lot of half-assed farmers who run 10 - 12 head of beef cows in order keep their land rated as agricultural use who don't care about the quality of the hay or the weight gain of the beef? I can't believe some of the crap I've seen people bale.
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post #15 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 11:32 AM
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Wow, farmpony, where do you live? I haven't seen anybody cutting hay yet, but I suspect I will this week as it's unseasonably hot. Usually first cutting around here is around Memorial Day weekend.
Fredericksburg area, there is only one farmer I've seen bailing. My supplier has not baled yet. I did find a lady that has some of last years alfalfa square bales that are... OK. bleached on the outside but green on the inside. I ordered some of those. I really hope they bale soon!

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post #16 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 11:46 AM
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Maybe "cow hay" really reflects that their are a lot of half-assed farmers who run 10 - 12 head of beef cows in order keep their land rated as agricultural use who don't care about the quality of the hay or the weight gain of the beef? I can't believe some of the crap I've seen people bale.
Where I live, that is correct. The general population has 2 - 10 cows in their backyard. Judging from the living condition that most of these animals are in (kinda, sorta fenced, grazing around junk piles and old cars, water troughs that look like they were last cleaned in 1910 and so forth....) I just don't think that the people feeding them know any better. Pull up Craigslist, see an ad for some really cheap "Cow Hay" and since they *are* cows, there ya go.

There's a place on the way to my kiddo's school that has a giant sign saying they sell hay. The "hay" they are selling was baled and stacked directly on the ground (with no covering of any sort) before school started last August. It has sat out in the open since then, it has snowed at least 3 dozen times, hailed about the same quantity and I cannot begin to count how many times it's poured. I'm not sure that what this guy has should even be called "hay" any more but yet, he's trying to sell his "cow hay" and is busy feeding it to the dozen or so decrepit, mangy-looking cows wandering around his property.
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post #17 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 11:56 AM
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I'm in the middle of beef cattle country, so the smallest herd I've seen has been about 200 head.

The beef farmers around here cut and bale their own, but I know what their fields look like and they bale everything, which includes weeds, inedible plants, etc. They also cut and then immediately bale it. At no time does it have time to dry properly for horses. It's intended for cattle, period.

People cutting and baling for horses do it differently. I have no problem with buying round bales if I know the hay has been cut, dried, baled, and stored properly with horses in mind. Round bales aren't inherently 'cow hay' just because they're round.

Last edited by Speed Racer; 05-07-2010 at 12:00 PM.
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post #18 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 12:15 PM
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I'm in the middle of beef cattle country, so the smallest herd I've seen has been about 200 head.

The beef farmers around here cut and bale their own, but I know what their fields look like and they bale everything, which includes weeds, inedible plants, etc. They also cut and then immediately bale it. At no time does it have time to dry properly for horses. It's intended for cattle, period.

People cutting and baling for horses do it differently. I have no problem with buying round bales if I know the hay has been cut, dried, baled, and stored properly with horses in mind. Round bales aren't inherently 'cow hay' just because they're round.
My farmer is a beef farmer. He has round bales that are "cow bales" and he has round bales that are "horse quality". And what you are saying is exactly correct. The horse hay comes from a completely different field then the larger one that bales cow hay. It's a different quality even.

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post #19 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 12:19 PM
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Wow, farmpony, where do you live? I haven't seen anybody cutting hay yet, but I suspect I will this week as it's unseasonably hot. Usually first cutting around here is around Memorial Day weekend.
Two farmers next to me cut orchard hay this week here in MD as well. Grass is HUGE this year.
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post #20 of 31 Old 05-07-2010, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Uhm, well... Jeeze. I didn't really think this thread could possibly offend anyone, but let me explain my "absurd labelling" of the hay:

The hay we feed to our horses is a grass/alfalfa mix. It is cut, dried and baled as all hay is. However, what makes it different than "cow hay" is that it is much...softer (for lack of a better word). Cow hay around here is more stemmy and woody and generally has some amount of mold in it. It is lower quality than most hay being sold specifically as "horse hay". That is not to say that ALL farmers feed their cows low quality hay. I work on two different farms and the hay between farms is drastically different in quality. So... I am sorry if I offended anyone.


So.. The general consensus is that it is OK as long as it is mold-free? If she won't eat it, what do I do? Someone suggested hay cubes... Would that work?

Thanks for all the responses!

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