Feeding straw - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Feeding straw

Ok, I know a lot of people use straw as filler. I never personally have. However, we're running into the same issue we always do in winter - trying to find enough hay to feed 7 horses. We spent $2,000 at the beginning of fall which equals pretty much enough hay to get us into March, which isn't enough. The trouble being, actually trying to find hay IN March is like pulling teeth. We have an enormous cattle community, and they all just ASSUME that we should own a tractor to pull rounds off a flat deck when we don't.

So we've been discussing throwing some straw bales into the pasture for them to chomp on and being able to reduce the amount of hay. They're all ridiculously fat and don't need as much hay as we give them, but due to our cold winter, forage 24/7 is almost a must.

Now the problem I'm having is I know that oat straw is most palpatable for them - and in all my searching, apparantly nobody here even knows what it is and they certainly don't seem to farm it. The only thing available is wheat straw.

Will they even EAT it? The only time I've ever seen a horse eat wheat straw was when I brought home Zena as a starved pregnant mare and she'd routinely clean up her entire portion of hay and eat half her bedding in a night as well. A lot of barns use straw around here, and I would assume that if horses actually ate it, they'd eat their bedding, no?

Anyone have any experience feeding wheat straw? Or are we just wasting our money by buying it?

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #2 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
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Macabre, I know my horses wouldn't eat the straw unless they are starving. From how it sounds your horses are fat, so my guess would be they may just ignore the straw. BTW, I don't keep hay 24/7 - just give flakes 2-3 times/day and it seems to be enough (but I'm not in Canada either ).

Can you buy big round bale one in time and ask someone to deliver and just push it right into the field? I know some people around here do it this way. And it's much cheaper around here then square bales. Or you can agree with couple other people and make a delivery of whole truck of cheap hay from US. Again I know some people here did it - delivered hay from mid states when we had drought.

In any case - good luck with finding some solution!
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post #3 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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That's what I figured - asking spoiled ponies binging on alfalfa to eat cardboard is probably the definition of insanity It's actually been not so bad so we're trying to find a happy medium - giving them the bare minimum of 20-25lbs of hay a day when it's nice out, and then throwing more when it's bitterly cold.

When it hits -40, even the fattest thickest coated ones will start shivering violently if they go more then 45 minutes to an hour without food. Thankfully we haven't had much of that weather yet, but January and February have always been the worst months, so it's probably still coming.

The round bales is an option, if we can manually push them off ourselves. We ran into this issue last year - the hay is there, the delivery is there, but the means of getting it off the truck and into the location it needs to be is the problem. That's why our hay guy is so awesome, he brings his little tractor with him and does it all for us. Unfortunately, he's almost always sold out partially into winter because his hay and service are so darn good!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #4 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Pickton, TX
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I have my Other Half move the bale with his flat bed. I dont know if you have one or if someone else does. He just backs up and pushes the bale. I so wish we had a tractor!
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 09:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Brooksville,Florida
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The big round bales really aren't that hard to push off a truck, we do it all the time.Where I get my hay I can pay for several bales at one time and they keep it there in the barn until I need to pick one up, they give me like raffle ticket 1 for each bale that I purchase that way it is easy to keep track of, I thought that was a good ideal, if I got 50 bales to last me though the winter then I get 50 tickets.Maybe you can mention that to the guy you get hay from, that way you're gauranteed hay all winter long.

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post #6 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Well, we've definately pushed round bales before and I don't know how light your bales are, but it takes all our energy for two of us to push one and that's as long as it doesn't have flat sides. Our round bales are easily 1000-1500lbs.

That's essentially what we did with our hay guy - we buy 800lb square alfalfa bales off him but we have hardly any room. So we have a piece of paper that he marks off everytime he makes another drop (usually 8-10 bales). The problem is that $2,000 was absolutely all we could afford in fall, and I'm pretty sure he's already out of hay. We have a delicate situation where Shay-las mom is more useless then tits on a bull and despite making as much money as we do, spends it all on beads. So she likes to sit on her ass and assume we're responsible for feeding HER three horses to boot (incidentally, the fattest **** animals on the property). We've brought it up with her numerous times, and she just threatens to kick us off the property and at this point, it really is just cheaper for us to feed her haybags as opposed to paying a minimum of $200 a horse for any half-decent boarding facility.

/end rant

LOL, sorry guys. I think we may just end up looking for some round bales and crossing the bridge when we come to it. We HAVE pushed rounds around before, we can do it again. The only problem is we have such a lack of density in our population, no hay guy will deliver less then 5 or so bales at a time. Time to build muscle!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 09:43 PM
Green Broke
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I am having a hard time getting hay, too. We just got the last 6 bales from our local supplier and we are down to 2 bales :/ But we also just got a roundbale for the pasture and they really enjoy that. Saves hay too.

My horses are little princesses and wouldn't eat straw unless they were going to die.

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post #8 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Dixie
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I've had to wrassle round bales. The ones I used to get were the big 1500 pounders. When my hay guy couldn't deliver, he'd load them in my truck. I'd tie a rope to it, and to whatever and drive out from under it.

I'd do that near where I wanted it. If I needed help to roll it I'd have to recruit someone for help.

.// \\
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 11:15 PM
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My mom has her round bales fenced off (with corral panels), and has them arranged in such a manner that she can easily open a new bale, without having to 'move' it. Maybe something you can do? Her horses are loose with the round bale during the day, and brought in at night, and fed other hay.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 11:58 PM
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Interesting thread , sorry if this is off of the subject but...
I have a question abou the round bales, if they are left outside in the pasture what do you do when they get snowed on? , rained on? Will it cause the hay to mold ? I dont know much about round bales , but I was thinking that may be a good choice for where my horses are to conserve the square bales.

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