Round bales and allergies

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Round bales and allergies

This is a discussion on Round bales and allergies within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Horse cough virus and round bales
  • Horses that have access to big round bales 24/7 in winter do better

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    08-28-2012, 12:12 PM
Green Broke
Unhappy Round bales and allergies

So once again Lizzy has an issue. Really it should just be a given that as soon as one thing is figured out she comes up with something else for me to figure out.

Horses were put on round bales about a week ago to save some square bales and give them more time eating. About that same time she got a horrible cough. She has been on Anti hist for the last month and a half. She has normal seasonal allergies. She got one scoop twice a day as the maximun recommended dosage for about 3 weeks. I wanted it to build up in her system. So then I cut her back to once a day. But this just so happened to occur about a week before round bales.

So I am not sure if the round bales made her cough or if my cutting back her allergy meds finally wore off and she just needs it twice a day.

Since upping her back up to twice a day the cough has minimized but still there as of yesterday. But now only when working and it's a few here and there. Before she would cough just standing still.

So my questions.... how much do round bales affect a horse that already has allergies? Does this get better come winter? Or would it be best that she's not on a round bale 24/7 through winter?

She was supposed to go into a paddock with two other horses that we were buying our own round bales for so they could eat constantly through the winter to help keep weight on. And those that know Lizzy know she still needs to gain weight not to mention keep it through winter. But now if she can't have round bales I may have to up other feed.

Thank you for any responses.
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    08-28-2012, 01:05 PM
Round bales are going to vary greatly in quality just like squares. It could be dustier because they they need to have a lower moisture content to cure properly. One aspect of rounds that could be aggrivating things is the level at which she is eating. If she could drop her head all the way to the ground, she would have more drainage.
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    08-28-2012, 01:08 PM
Green Broke
Haha I'm sure she's eating the stuff that's on the ground. She looks at it funny then sticks her nose in it but can't figure out why it's so hard so she just eats the stuff on the ground.

I'm just wondering if this is a common issue with round bales or if by winter we might have better luck. It would come from the same supplier though I am not sure when these bales are from.
    08-28-2012, 01:22 PM
Super Moderator
It is a common issue. It's way harder to find and make good quality roundbales. I was told by an oldtimer to make the bale fall on it's round side when delivered. If it bounces it's good, if it just goes "thump" without bounce, it's most likely moldy inside.
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    08-28-2012, 01:34 PM
Green Broke
Ok so on the moldy idea, here's a question.

My human allergy doctor told me that all hay will have some mold spores on it. I am apparently allergic to hay since I myself have a mold allergy to alternaria. So in that sense, if almost all hay has some amount of mold how do I find the stuff that doesn't? All hay makes me wheeze so according to my lungs all hay is moldy lol.

And am I left with an alternative for winter? If she can't be on round bales she will be in a regular paddock with square fed twice a day.
    08-28-2012, 01:40 PM
Super Moderator
Oops, wasn't done yet.....
Anyway, I found that to be true. One thing to look for is bales with a soft core. They tend to breathe better and most likely are not moldy.
Main problem with round bales us, due to their size, if there is just a little bit of not dry enough hay in it it will get hot and burn a good portion. Or go flat out moldy. Now the slightly "burned" hay still smells good, a bit like tea, and horses like it. But when it comes to a certain point that hay makes even me cough.
I've worked with roundbales for the last 20 years and have learned the hard way (COPD horse) to not just throw the bale in. I fed it, after careful inspection, in portions.
If its moldy, you'll see and smell it, when open, but the mold spores go in and out of the moldy spot for at least 5".
Having a horse who is already prone to allergies, I wouldn't even consider it.

There is a possibility now tho, I didn't have in all these years. Slow feeder round bale nets. That way she can pull out only a little at a time and not bury her nose in it. And users say it gets thin horses to gain and overweight horses to loose, if that would be a concern.

If you can reach in the bale on several places and pull out a strand and smell it and it smells sweet, you might have a good one.....
Another problem is if it's bad, you'll have to most likely throw away the whole bale which is a big cost factor.

I do have to state, good roundbale hay is way better for horses than the crushed or chopped small bale hay. Longer stem, more chewing time. But, it's a risk.

I know for sure some people will say that they have fed roundbales and never had any problems
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    08-28-2012, 01:51 PM
Green Broke
Hmm well these definitely had a tight core. But I shall go inspect what is left of them tonight. She was kept off them today and fed square bales separately and will remain separate until the rest go back to square to see if it helps her cough.
    08-28-2012, 01:55 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by poppy1356    
Ok so on the moldy idea, here's a question.

My human allergy doctor told me that all hay will have some mold spores on it. I am apparently allergic to hay since I myself have a mold allergy to alternaria. So in that sense, if almost all hay has some amount of mold how do I find the stuff that doesn't? All hay makes me wheeze so according to my lungs all hay is moldy lol.

And am I left with an alternative for winter? If she can't be on round bales she will be in a regular paddock with square fed twice a day.
Well, either squares or investing in a net. It will save money in the long run,with an open bale, even in a feeder , you'll have up to 50% loss. They pull out strand by strand and what's not wanted will get trampled, slept on or worse, pooped on.

Dustfree hay, couldn't tell you any grand, only European ones. Cubed hay and good clean straw for extra nibble time might be an option
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    08-28-2012, 02:02 PM
Super Moderator
Good. I'd wet her hay for now, to help her get over the cough.

Sometimes I think with al the mechanized stuff we don't do us or our horses a favor. I remember well when we made loose hay...stored it in a huge hay loft. And salted it, layer per layer. Then the small low pressure bales came up. Again, salted in storage. Even high pressure bales can be salted. And round bales, right at the baling process. But people don't remember this. The salt pulls out excess moisture and makes the hay smell super good.........
Geez.....I'm old....
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    08-28-2012, 02:27 PM
Green Broke
Well I'm pretty sure it was mold in the bale. Just found out these were bought from the same guy that we got all our squares from. A few of the squares we have found have mold. So we check those everytime we feed.

Maybe if we decide to do round bales we can find a different supplier.

Salt does sound like a good idea, I've just never heard of that before.

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