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Questions about round bales

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    12-29-2011, 12:56 PM
Originally Posted by Taffy Clayton    
Funny thing, I have had horses all of my life , and in those 50 years I have never heard of Botulism shots.
Both vets I used advised me about it. While lots of people don't give the shot with no consequences we had quite a horrible situation in my area when bunch of horses (7 or 8) got the botulism. The vet I am currently using was the one putting them down, and I was told he cried when he came to the farm.
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    12-29-2011, 01:01 PM
We always fed round bales outside in the winter months. We always bought from Dairy Farmers vs Beef Farmers as Dairy Farmers care about the quality of their hay very much as it effects milk production. I never had issues with mold. A small round will be gone in a week with 5 or 6 horses in a pasture. As a matter of fact we never used feeders although if the hay is going to be out in the elements for a few weeks.. a feeder would be a good idea.
I've heard of Botulism Vaccines but was not aware of any that are approved and thought animals who are being fed haylage were considered candidates for the one that was on the market back when I read about it. We have never and will never feed haylage although I am aware of some who do and honestly that is a decision that needs to be made on a owner, vet level.
Round bales have always been a great winter feed over the years for our outside mares that were in run-ins.
    12-29-2011, 01:11 PM
Green Broke
I can't imagine having 8 horses dying at once. I took canning classes from the state in order to sell salsas and sauces at the farmers market and we learned all about the dangers of botulism, how it grows, the ph it needs and how to prevent it. It is deffnatly some deadly stuff.
I always knew never to feed moldy hay, I guess that was because of botulism.

Is haylage the same as silage?
    12-29-2011, 01:24 PM
Haylage is hay that is cut and blown into a silo the same as you would with corn silage. It is not cured so it is a very controversial feed for horses. Some vets say it is safe, others absolutely do not want it fed.
    12-29-2011, 01:34 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Taffy Clayton    
I always knew never to feed moldy hay, I guess that was because of botulism.
I may be wrong but I think it has more to do with the way the round bales are baled and the fact that they tend to pick up feces and sometimes little animals...?
    12-29-2011, 01:46 PM
Green Broke
I've seen more than one small square bale with a mouse butt sticking out.

The round bales I'm getting now are over 800 lbs. Have to be. I can roll the 400 lb ones around myself. These I can throw myself against with all my might and they aren't even rocking. The pick up is also starting to handle funny with 2 on. Not as bad as a pallet of coal but definitely closing in on it.

I wish I had a tractor. If I did I would probably feed rounds all winter but I'm limited to being able to get the truck out there with the snow. So far I've been lucky. But looking at the weather report I'm thinking I need to get my butt up north and get the two I've paid for soon.
    12-29-2011, 01:52 PM
Originally Posted by Taffy Clayton    
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?
We use round bales in our pasture during the winter. We use a feeder designed for horses. Our hay supplier keeps our round bales under cover in a large shed. He keeps his hay for horses separate from his hay for cattle, which is stored outside. We are very pleased. We always receive good quality hay and it is much more cost efficient for us. At the suggestion of our vet, our horses have also received their Botulism vaccine. It is three rounds a month apart, and then one shot each year afterward. Your vet will be able to tell you if the vaccine is effective against strains found in your area. If there is any question of the hay having mold, I would just deal with the square bales. Maybe you can ask your supplier if he knows of anyone who stores their round bales under cover and bales them specifically for horses. Or ask other horse owners in your area.
    12-29-2011, 01:59 PM
I feed round bales. We cut over 1,000 acres every year soooo we don't have to "pay" for it. We have fescue/bermuda/clover/mixed hay that are net wrapped. We do not store them under cover, sell it as cattle grade due to the fescue. We are SUPER careful with our hay and make sure it's dry, under 9% moisture before baling (pretty sure that's the %). It sets out to cure for a week or two, then hauled off where ever.
We keep our personal in rows that don't touch to keep the critters out of them. This weathers the sides but I'd rather do that than have an infestation, feces. I could be totally wrong, but any hay that is barn kept, stacked, touching has more infestation with mice hence the feces and the Botulism. I inspect each bale for rodent holes, mold, and we peel off the top and bottom layers before feeding, I've never given shots or had a problem. Our 600lb. Bales last about 10 days for three horses free feeding. I probably loose around 50lbs. Due to waste?
We have never had a mold problem, we are crazy responsible, almost insane, when cutting and baling the hay. Can't sell moldy hay! It's a huge part of our operation and if we lost a large crop we would be out $$,$$$!!!
    12-29-2011, 02:02 PM
Right now my round bales are weighing in at about 1200 lbs or a little over 1/2 ton. Small squares of good quality bermuda grass are going for $12/50 lb bale, $480/ton. My big rounds are $80/each, so a ton is approx $135/ton. If you can store the round bales properly and your hay guys tell you they're baled for horses, you can save a HUGE amount of money.

I use 3 round bales per week to feed all my horses,
3 X 80 = $240/week
72 X 12 = $864/week

Especially during this drought, I have to stick with the rounds as much as I can.
    12-29-2011, 02:34 PM
Originally Posted by Taffy Clayton    
I can't imagine having 8 horses dying at once.
The whole story was people not knowing any better about horses got bunch in a time for "trail riding". And then fed them with the moldy hay and didn't call vet right away when things went wrong. So by the time the vet was there it was really late. I believe one horse made it through (the one that had a shot before it was sold to those people).

I've heard the story from the good friend of mine and when I asked my vet was it true he said he doesn't even want to talk about it as it still in front of his eyes even though it happened several years back. The vet is older been there seen it all country guy, so I can imagine it was really bad.

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