Buying Round Bales of Hay that have been stored outside
   

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Buying Round Bales of Hay that have been stored outside

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    04-14-2010, 01:20 PM
  #1
Foal
Buying Round Bales of Hay that have been stored outside

Under what circumstances would you buy round bales of hay for your horses that have been stored outside? I know in a perfect world, they should be stored inside, but that is not always possible. So does the manner in which they store them matter? Stacked vs in rows? Is one better than the other? How about wrapping? Does net wrapping preserve more of the hay? Does net wrapping have to be removed before feeding ? What is the oldest hay that you would consider? Only hay from the current year or last year? How long could a round bale stay good being stored outside in the elements?
     
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    04-14-2010, 03:09 PM
  #2
Showing
There are no circumstances under which I'd buy round bales that have been stored outside for my horses to eat.

Round bales that have been stored outside are only good for cattle or other ruminants.

I don't see why you can't find round bales that have been stored inside. Maybe it's because I live in an agricultural area, but I have my choice of round or square bales, all of them stored inside.

Unless you have a covered round bale feeder, I wouldn't leave a round bale out in the elements for horses.

Up to you what and how you feed your animals, but horses have a pretty delicate digestive tract. You're just asking for trouble if you feed them crap hay.
     
    04-14-2010, 03:30 PM
  #3
Foal
Where exactly is "South of Insanity" anyway? LOL! I also live in an agricultural state, but everything I am finding for round bales is stored outside and I truly want no part of that. But I was wondering if I was maybe being oversensitive and undereducated. I want to feed the best I can find and afford, but in the end, they have to eat something. I have time now that they are on pasture, so just trying to educate myself and see what everyone else's opinions were. Thanks, SpeedRacer!
     
    04-14-2010, 04:30 PM
  #4
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosebud64    
Under what circumstances would you buy round bales of hay for your horses that have been stored outside? I know in a perfect world, they should be stored inside, but that is not always possible. So does the manner in which they store them matter? Stacked vs in rows? Is one better than the other? How about wrapping? Does net wrapping preserve more of the hay? Does net wrapping have to be removed before feeding ? What is the oldest hay that you would consider? Only hay from the current year or last year? How long could a round bale stay good being stored outside in the elements?
If it's just for 5 or fewer horses on partial turnout I wouldn't bother with rounds... the hay would go south before it was eaten. HOWEVER, the way a round bale is made will "thatch" the upper layer; rainwater sheds right off, and the outer funky-looking layer can be removed. The inside looks like the day it was baled, even after months under snow. Once the horses start eating the bale you lose that thatching effect, so it's best to feed the roundbale under cover or have enough horses that the bale won't exist anymore in a couple of days.

Plastic sheeting bale wrap is a pain in the rump to handle, but fairly easy to remove. Netting is harder to get off, IMO, especially if the bales are stored outside and snow fuses to the hay through the net. ABSOLUTELY remove whatever kind of wrap is on the bale, whether twine, net, or plastic sheeting. The guy we bought our farm from just dropped wrapped bales and left the plastic sheeting lie... yeah, we're still pulling sodded-in wrap out of the ground 10 years later. I've seen horses with rope burns around pasterns from catching up in looped twine and netting. Remove it and put it in the trash. Plastic sheeting can foster mold growth if the grass is still wet when it is baled (sometimes just turns to haylage even in an individual bale)... use with caution there, but the white plastic is more of a cow hay phenomenon, and they are a bit tougher digestively than horses.

Right now our local area is in a major hay shortage, we'd probably buy anything under 2 years old for our cows. For the horses, what we do buy was baled (square) within the last year. We do our own square bales, and it's rare to have any hang around longer than that. More often we buy an extra 50 squares to supplement them until we can cut again.

To my knowledge, stacking vs. rows doesn't matter.

A concern that I have is the horses eating the hay with their heads up, and dust and the like going down their noses (I don't use hayracks, either). I know a guy with 8 horses on full turnout all winter, and he will cut the wrap and unroll the hay like a carpet. The horses get the grazing effect, and the hay.
     
    04-15-2010, 11:43 AM
  #5
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosebud64    
Where exactly is "South of Insanity" anyway? LOL! I also live in an agricultural state, but everything I am finding for round bales is stored outside and I truly want no part of that. But I was wondering if I was maybe being oversensitive and undereducated. I want to feed the best I can find and afford, but in the end, they have to eat something. I have time now that they are on pasture, so just trying to educate myself and see what everyone else's opinions were. Thanks, SpeedRacer!
It's actually south of sanity, Rose.

I live in the agricultural part of Virginia. Lots of beef cattle and crops.

No, you're not being oversensitive and you certainly don't appear undereducated. Cows, goats, and sheep can eat things that would put a horse on the ground with a bad colic.

Maybe it's because I'm on the east coast and Virginia is a major horse state, but anyone who puts up horse hay knows that it needs to be stored inside. Many of the cattle farmers around here do both cow and horse hay, and sell it advertised as such.

I can buy either round or square bales of horse hay. I've bought both, depending on the time of year and what's available. I don't put the round bales outside though, I keep them in the barn and unwind them as I need them.

Horse hay needs certain criteria to qualify it for horses, and being stored inside is one of them. Cow hay can be baled wet and stored outside, and it won't hurt the cattle at all.

I'm pretty picky when it comes to my hay.
     
    04-15-2010, 11:49 AM
  #6
Foal
Oops.....see..... undereducated!! LOL! Thanks for all your input, it is very appreciated.
     
    04-15-2010, 11:53 AM
  #7
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
I can buy either round or square bales of horse hay. I've bought both, depending on the time of year and what's available. I don't put the round bales outside though, I keep them in the barn and unwind them as I need them.
A couple of years ago there was a really major hay shortage. If I remember right, it was mid February and we were down to 50 squares (about a month's worth for our 2 horses), and no chance to bale again until May at the very earliest. Not a soul within driving distance had any squares to sell. We did the same as you... bought round bales, set them in the barn and unwrapped "feeding sized" chunks as we needed. Messy, but effective. Cats loved them, too. We ended up putting a tarp on the top to keep the cats from making nests in it...
     
    04-15-2010, 11:56 AM
  #8
Started
I fed my horses from round bales that we baled last summer. (just pasture grasses) The bales were kept outside. (I'm feeding 3 horses) I would have my fiance unroll part of the bale for his cattle and bring me the core of the bale for the horses. The hay was in excellent condition. (even after being rained on and snowed on.) The hay was still greenish in color and smelled like summer. There was no reason not to feed them from round bales.

On days that I got a whole bale instead of a core, I'd just have him drop it a few times and then it would be easier for me to pull from. I spread my hay in piles for the horses (or unroll the core for them..so they are getting a grazing effect.) Even with a whole bale, the hay was still in good condition.

(Ps..we stack our bales 3 high and 3-4 rows deep. We use them for wind breaks in the winter.)

In the worst part of winter, my fiance would put a whole bale in the barn and I would unwind it as I needed it.

Pss...I live in SD too.
     
    04-15-2010, 12:07 PM
  #9
Trained
Round bales keep better outside than square and if they are stacked the middle bales should be much better than the top or bottom. You would have to evaluate them before you buy them. I would also like to point out that the climate between Virginia and South Dakota varies greatly. I would not by hay that was stored outside in Virginia either due to the amount of rain. Some parts of South Dakota stay pretty dry and the hay would be fine outside. I have seen hay that was put up correctly and tarped stay good for a year outside and I have seen hay that was baled poorly rot in a barn in six months. I evaluate each load of hay as I buy it regardless of how it is stored.
     
    04-15-2010, 01:50 PM
  #10
Weanling
...My horses eat rounds and none have ever died. They are *gasp* even outside and uncovered!
     

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