Ditch Hay

       The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Health > Horse Nutrition

Ditch Hay

This is a discussion on Ditch Hay within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

LinkBack Thread Tools
    07-21-2010, 04:11 PM
Ditch Hay

Anyone feed ditch hay? Anything to watch for if buying ditch hay? I was just curious. How would you know that grass hay you are buying actually came from a field and not a ditch?
Sponsored Links
    07-21-2010, 04:34 PM
Are you talking hay that was baled after the grass beside a road was cut? I would be very uncomfortable feeding something like that because there is no way to tell what all kinds of little pieces of metal or glass or other foreign objects could be in there. To make sure that I didn't get ditch hay, I would buy from a private person who bales their hay out of their own fields instead of the hay that was sitting outside the local feed store unless they can guarantee where the hay came from.
    07-21-2010, 04:47 PM
Yes, grass that was baled on the side of a road. Where I am we are very rural and so I would not be too concerned with a bunch of garbage being in it. Even so, I am apprehensive about it. But how would you know if it was ditch hay or field hay, if the person you are buying from says it is field hay? Could you really tell the diff? We are new to the area and don't have a supplier, so I have to buy what I can find. And I was just curious. I am sure a lot of people feed ditch hay, but that is just a hunch.
    07-21-2010, 06:51 PM
If you are a little bit unsure about whether the seller is being honest or not, just make sure that you check it very carefully either before you feed flakes off of it (square bales) or check it once or twice a day for debris (round bale).
    07-21-2010, 07:59 PM
Even when I was a kid we didn't let the horses graze on the roadsides. Too much pesticide residue from the field crops. Hay would scare me for the same reason.
    07-22-2010, 10:07 PM
Green Broke
Eh, be careful. We've fed it before and I sure as heck wouldn't free feed it - we shucked up chunks to throw in the pasture, and let me tell you, by the time I was done I was ready to call the police and report a dead child. We found EVERYTHING in there - styrofoam, kids jacket, kids boot (just one), kids pants, pieces of wood, a piece of a tire, broken headlight plastic, etc.

It did in a pinch and the hay itself wasn't bad (no real nutritional value, we fed tons because it was so fine), but definitely sift through it with a fine tooth comb if you absolutely HAVE to feed it. We only ordered a couple bales because we couldn't fine anything else in the middle of winter and it was like a dang Crackerjack box of pony death!
    07-22-2010, 10:11 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by BigGreyHorse    
Even when I was a kid we didn't let the horses graze on the roadsides. Too much pesticide residue from the field crops. Hay would scare me for the same reason.
You think half the crop hay we feed isn't covered in it? What about straw which is derived from crops specifically under use of pesticides? Cropland is typically in quite close quarters - chances are if it's in the ditch hay, it's in the quality stuff to just from proximity or better yet, the fact that we have no real regulations barring them from putting pesticides on hay - it's just ADVISED not too.
    07-23-2010, 04:33 PM
I would avoid feeding ditch hay if at all possible. I live in a very very rural area, and you would not believe the amount of garbage that people toss along our road. It's really terrible around summer holiday weekends when tourists sail through on the way to their camp/cabin properties, tossing garbage all the way in and out. We cut our own hay, and Dad just runs a brush cutter along the road-side of the field about 15 feet in to make it look nice. Not only is there a danger of baling the garbage, but beer bottles are tough on the haybine/tedder/rake/baler. If you must feed ditch hay, check it well each feeding. Checking each bale thoroughly is a good idea anyway, in case mold forms; also a not-good situation.
    08-03-2010, 12:25 PM
Never heard of it, but by what everyone else says I wouldn't even think about getting them. Surely there has to be some alternative?

As for knowing if it came from a field and not a ditch, look for local farmers that bale their own hay. When we find a new place to get hay, we go and check out the haying field and then if we like it we will load it up ourselves (saves on delivering costs). If the farm is off a little ways from the road then I seriously doubt that they will bale the ditchs.
    08-03-2010, 01:19 PM
I feed ditch hay.. But I also help bale the hay I'm feeding and know exactly where its coming from. Occasionally we'll find the odd bit of garbage here and there, but its never been enough that I was terribly concerned about it.

It really doesn't have much nutritional value, as someone pointed out, but my horses are given good mixed hay two times a day and since I keep my horses on a dry lot, they have free choice ditch hay (usually) all the time.

You should always be checking any hay you get, so of course, check this as well. As MacabreMikolaj pointed out, cropland is all fairly close, so I wouldn't over-think what pesticides and such would be on this compared to hay grown in a field. Its probably close to the same.

As for knowing the difference.. Ask out-right to see where the hay was baled. There's always the risk that he won't be honest, but hopefully he would be.

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0