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Round bales

This is a discussion on Round bales within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Round bale year old hay, outer edges of bales are bad
  • Curing round bales

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    02-28-2013, 10:37 AM
  #31
Trained
I too feed rounds. We do our own, test it, it's stored outside, and have never had a problem. I've been feeding rounds for over 25 years. Never had a horse come up with heaves. I see more heaves from horses barn kept and fed poor two year old rotten hay.

Buy from a reputable grower, that is tested for nutrition, and make sure it's current. Are your bales net wrapped? I feel it helps.

My bales do get the wet yucky spot on the bottom. I roll it around the field, peel it off when I unwrap it and the first top layer. Alls good. Watch for dusty white mold, and smell it for freshness. Flaky light green mixed with stems after peeling off the sun bleached top is ideal.

This year our hay is pretty cruddy, mostly stems due to the bermuda burning up. Going through 1 bale a week for three horses, YUK! But nothing makes me happier than watching them nap on and gorge themselves with it when it's cold or nasty out.
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    02-28-2013, 11:01 AM
  #32
Banned
Iv been feeding rounds for 20 years never given the botulism shot either. I even have a heavey horse who does just fine with rounds. She hasnt had a flare up for over a year. Don't understand what the big deal is about round bales there are many horses fed rounds and they do just fine. Can hardly find squares bale where iam most farmers around here do big round bales. Most horses wont eat the moldy hay I know some of our bales have bad spots horses just eat around it.
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    02-28-2013, 11:06 AM
  #33
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGap    
Are your bales net wrapped? I feel it helps.

Net wrapping does help a lot.
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    02-28-2013, 11:25 AM
  #34
Banned
Quote:
Why on earth would you wait till your horse had heaves before you were concerned about hay quality? Maybe I'm reading this statement wrong.
Yes, you're reading this wrong. I am very concerned about the quality of the hay. I buy from the same local reputable grower every year, and I inspect and pick my bales. One of the things I like about my hay guy is that he refuses to sell a bale out of the field under any circumstances; he wants it to cure in his barn for 30 days before he sells it. Love him.

I also store my rounds in a separate barn on pallets, and I put pallets at the bottom of my feeder to keep it off the ground.

As other posters have stated, and I will state again, there is not a correlation between feeding round bales and heaves. Though dampened timothy or a hay substitute is usually suggested to keep from aggravating heaves, it is much more likely caused by a combo of other management practices like dusty indoor stabling and heriditary factors.

This whole conversation started because you assumed the OP was talking about *moldy* hay when she talked about the discolored outer portion of a round bale, and I have yet to hear that assumption born out. I have heard no evidence that the OP is actually talking about *moldy* hay.

Please don't assume others aren't taking sufficient care of their horses without better evidence than your own misreading of a post.
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    02-28-2013, 11:43 AM
  #35
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowgirls Boots    
So the farm I recently moved back to (was there for 8months, left and just came back) makes there own hay. But, they let the round bails sit outside so they get moldy on the outside. Usually the top layer gets peeled off before going out to the horses, but is it normal to leave them out? I mean the round bail that was just put out today has a moldy spot on the side but the horses are just eating through the middle to the good hay and are ignoring the bad hay. Input/thoughts? The hay on the inside looks fairly decent but the last bail (which still has some left overs) doesnt look so great but it's been pretty crapola weather here lately and the hay is wet but the horses were still eating it until they put out a new bale.
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Maura, this is what I read. Please forgive me for reading the bolded statement and being concerned about what the OPs horse is eating.

There seems to be a general misunderstanding that I'm condemning round bales, when I've stated several times that I feed round bales myself. But I will not, and never will, feed rounds that have sat outside in the weather, as I feel personally that the risks outweigh the benefits of having free choice hay. I would rather have to go out three times a day to haul quality squares, than feed what I perceive to be sub-standard rounds. To each his own.

I also disagree that feeding poor quality round bales isn't placing your horse at a higher risk for heaves. If, in your own words, dusty stables can contribute to heaves, how is it that a dusty bale, which your horse will literally stand with his head inside for extended periods, can't? That's just not sensible.

I'm not assuming anyone isn't taking good care of their horses. All I can respond to is what is posted here. I'm done, have a nice day.
     
    02-28-2013, 11:52 AM
  #36
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by farmpony84    

I would suggest getting the botulism shots though if you are feeding round bales...
Check with your vet.

Per ours - the issues with hay botulism is more of an east coast issue. The drying cycle for hay is hampered by the environmental conditions.

As others have said, we've also fed round bales for many, many years without issues.
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    02-28-2013, 11:54 AM
  #37
Banned
The please also go back and read post #5
Quote:
I could be wrong. May not be moldy but it is dark and gnarly. I
and the subsequent 4 pages of conversation about the discolored outer layer of bales stored outdoors or the spot that develops on the bottom of a bale stored on the ground.

I agree with some of the rest of your post - poor quality hay that's dusty can contribute to heaves.

However, the OP never mentioned the hay being dusty, so that's not really relevant to the discussion at hand.

Saying as a generalization the *feeding round bales* contributes to heaves would be incorrect. There's a huge variety in quality of round bales; the round bales I feed are prettier, sweeter smelling and cleaner than a lot of squares I've seen feed.

I can't quite agree with never feeding rounds that have been kept outside. "Never" is a rather limiting term. Of course I prefer what's called horse hay over cattle hay in my area, meaning stored inside vs. stored outside, but depending on the year and the conditions, there may very well be decent hay that's been stored outside. I wouldn't rule it out without looking at the hay.
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    02-28-2013, 12:06 PM
  #38
Super Moderator
I think the OP is mistaking the blacked dry hay on the outside of the bale as being moldy. It is NOT mold on the outside of the bale except on the wet bottoms. It is discolored and black because of oxidation, sun and drying out completely, not from mold.

If you live in a wet climate, you never want to stack round bales on top of each other because it DOES let them mold where they touch.

We DO buy a lot of hay straight out of the field because it is a lot cheaper if you can save one handling and haul. We only buy it if we visually see it before it is baled or if we know the grower, he has a moisture tester and does not bale it until it is at or under 16% moisture. Then, it will not sweat or heat. This is particularly important if you buy BIG round bales. The 4 X 5s will cure a little in the stack if you row them up and leave a few inches between them. The 5 X 5 and bigger bales will not cure at all after they are baled. If they are baled above 16% moisture, they are not suitable for horses.

I, too, have found that most heavy horses come out of stall housing. Poor ventilation and breathing strong ammonia make a horse much more prone to heaves. The only one I have with heaves, is an old show horse that was stalled and he came to me with heaves. I would have taken him back to the next sale (same place I bought him) because they did not announce his breathing problems. But, he is a real sweetie, so we put up with him and water down his hay.
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    02-28-2013, 12:32 PM
  #39
Green Broke
Oh gosh. Didnt mean to start such a debate. Some of the horses have been here for years eating this hay and none have gotten sick. Besides two. One has just normal allergies which is not related to the hay and one got a respitory infection. Her stall was so extremely dusty from the bedding I couldn't even walk in the stall without yaking my brains out. So again. Unrelated to the hay.

I further inspected the hay today and where the black parts are there is tiny white specks. Not sure if its mold or not but that's the only place I see those 'white specks' -on the black parts. The horses have been ignoring it but the rest of the bale is NOT moldy from what I can see. It isn't the best quality that I've seen but there isn't much I can do about it. They do put out one square bale in the mornings in a seperate pile which is pretty good quality but as you can imagine that gets vaccumed up pretty quick.

The rounds aren't stacked upon eachother from what I know. I could be wrong. They're also not netted or wrapped. They're just outside naked.

I did take a few pictures but they may be a tad hard to see.



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    02-28-2013, 12:43 PM
  #40
Trained
I wouldn't be happy about that hay, but the bottom area, the fresh stuff (in the bottom photo) doesn't look too bad.

To me it looks like 2011 and *possibly* chocked full of johnson grass. If it's cured properly it won't hurt them, obviously they aren't dead yet, but leads to a lot of waste. If so make sure they are getting a ration balancer or feed with minerals.
Are the bales squatty? I'd peel off a bunch of that rot before putting it out.
     

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