Questions about round bales - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Questions about round bales

I have never used round bales before, but with the price of hay I was thinking about putting one in the pasture to take the place of the AM hay, Then they would come in at night with 2-3 flakes.

Wondering about mold, my hay guy wouldn't sell me one because of mold. Is it worth it for two horses or would they waste more than they ate, would it mold before they finished?
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post #2 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 10:56 AM
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I did some research while back (I have 2 horses myself) and ended up with square bales. I think for 1 or 2 horses it still worth it to go with square. Depending on how much they waste and how fast the mold goes (here in MD with humidity being so high all year around mold can be a real issue). Also I was told it's a good idea to give a botulism shot if you use round bales.

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post #3 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 10:57 AM
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You would check for mold on a round bale the same way you would with a square bale. If you trust your hay supplier, you should be okay.

The outside layer of a round bale will be weathered. You place it on high ground, cut the strings and remove them, then put your round bale feeder around it (one designed for horses, not cattle). You can peel away the first layer. Once the horses see the good stuff underneath, they rarely go after that weathered layer anyway.

It will not go bad while they eat it. They will most likely eat a "hole" into the side of it, but eventually they will eat all the good stuff. Then remove the bale feeder and they will use the rest as bedding.

I have seen two and three year old round bales still nice and green on the inside, due to the way they are baled.
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post #4 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taffy Clayton View Post
I have never used round bales before, but with the price of hay I was thinking about putting one in the pasture to take the place of the AM hay, Then they would come in at night with 2-3 flakes.

Wondering about mold, my hay guy wouldn't sell me one because of mold. Is it worth it for two horses or would they waste more than they ate, would it mold before they finished?
No it is not, as far as I'm concerned

I have four horses and I will never feed round bales - never.

1. The mold issue; hug your hay guy, buy him lunch, or both for being so honest. Most sellers of hay don't give a flip, they just want their money.

2. Then there's rats looking for a warm place to stay in the bad weather.

3. IMO, my four horses couldn't eat even a small round fast enough to keep from having a large amount of waste due to the environment.

3.1 Then there's always that one horse that wants to "take care of business" right in the hay droppings that you could've re-used, had that horse not done its business right there.

4. You have no control over how much hay they eat; some horse will eat until they explode and that means they are not moving around, so nothing's getting exercised but their lips.

I felt this way about round bales for a small herd of horses before I had two that developed metabolic issues.

If a roundbale is all you can swing, at the very least, find a place to keep it under cover, setting on a pallet or plastic and chain saw off the amounts you want your horses to have. No over-eating and not as much waste.

JMO
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post #5 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Gate Farm View Post
The outside layer of a round bale will be weathered.

It will not go bad while they eat it. They will most likely eat a "hole" into the side of it, but eventually they will eat all the good stuff.
Yes!

If your horses have enough to eat, they most likely will not eat anything questionable.

If your hay supplier put up the hay dry and stored it correctly, it should be fine.

A feeder is a MUST if your plan of action is to save on hay funds. Without the feeder, the horses will have a 'trash the round bale' party.
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post #6 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 11:01 AM
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BTW, in boarding place I used to keep my mares they fed round bales. I'd say the waste was like 30% (plus animals managed to pee on it even with the feeder ).

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post #7 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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The first thing my hay man asked when I inquired about roundbales was... Aren't you concerened with mold? Of course I said yes, and he said he keeps his outside. Do I need to purchase from someone that keeps their bales undercover?
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post #8 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
BTW, in boarding place I used to keep my mares they fed round bales. I'd say the waste was like 30% (plus animals managed to pee on it even with the feeder ).
I hope the link works.

The University of MN extension service conducted a round bale feeder study - these are the results -

Search Results: round bale
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post #9 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 11:19 AM
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I use them when I can find dry ones that were either wrapped well or stored undercover. Not always easy to find. I'm getting some now and the savings is tremendous. There is a lot of waste but for $30 for a bale of hay that takes 2 adults to roll off the truck it's well worth it. The last 2 bales I brought home I had to tie a strap around them and to a tree to pull them off. A 21 year old man and I together couldn't shove them out of the truck bed. Nothing wrong with the hay at all. Smells sweet, looks green.
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post #10 of 39 Old 12-29-2011, 11:19 AM
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I use round bales. My husband grew up with the farmers family. We do big events together like a big happy family. His hay is superb. I keep my round bales in my leanto (I have 5, 3 grass and 2 alfalfa). I have the unused bales under tarps and the bale I'm using to feed has some plastic wrapped around it to keep the elements from getting to it. We don't have any humidity here and I've never seen a rat so I'm not worried about that. I don't use a feeder though. I have a big rolling trash can I use. I pull off a layer of hay, stick it in the can and then wheel it over to the barn. I then feed like anyone else would. I take the correct amount of hay from the can and put it in the feeder for them every night. I mix my alfalfa and grass. I can stick a weeks worth of hay for 2 horses in the trashcan I have. It's a little more work as I have to refill the can weekly but otherwise it's so cheap. For 4 tons of hay I paid $425.

Last edited by furbabymum; 12-29-2011 at 11:24 AM.
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