round bales - good or bad? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 09:58 AM
Green Broke
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AB raises a valid point, I don't know where you are, but in my part of the country, horse-quality round bales are wrapped in a netting mesh - the bales that are shrink wrapped in white plastic, if that's what you meant, is silage and I have only ever seen it fed to cattle. I wouldn't want to risk feeding them to my horses!

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post #12 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 12:19 PM
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I feed rolls to my horses. You need to watch for mold jsut as you do in squares. Make sure it isnt dusty as the horses eat with their heads stuffed down into the roll and will get a cough from dusty hay real quick.

Other than that, there is no real risks. I like to have hay for them 24-7. Its better for them than to fast inbetween meals. So I use rolls or I use slow feeders. Sometimes I use a roll slow feeder too to save on hay and waste :) If you dont use a feeder for your rolls, they WILL waste a bunch..poop on it, sleep in it and pee all over it and so forth.
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post #13 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 01:37 PM
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You are feeding Haylage in a round bale!

Originally Posted by alexischristina View Post
ones that are all wrapped in plastic, and the guy that dropped them off said that lots of people feed them to their horses, but I'm still curious. When we opened up one of them it smelled super... sweet, and even though it smelled the same last time,.
Totally wrapped in plastic and smells sweet is haylage! Yes, it is fermeted like beer or silage! This is a wonderful product put up correctly! This product can mold more easily than regular hay if not put up correctly! Haylage MUST be fed in 2-3 days! Absolutely do not open up 2-3 bales so they can all feed off several bales each! The plastic wrapping prevents oxygen from getting to the hay and keeps it in condition - once you remove that wrapper, it will spoil it 4-5 days. It might keep slightly longer in BC this time of year as it is so cold, but when things get above freezing, it needs to be fed quickly. Additionally, haylage should only be approximately 40% dmi of a horses diet.

You should consider finding another hay source - preferably small square bales!

Last edited by Production Acres; 12-21-2010 at 01:39 PM.
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post #14 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 04:10 PM
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There's nothing wrong with feeding regular round bales to horses mr hay producer. Plenty of people do it quite successfully. As long as the hay is good quality, is kept tarped or barn stored until feeding, and it's either under cover or eaten in less than 2 weeks, it's just fine.

The only way I will feed square bales is if I can get them for $4 or less a bale, delivered, $3 or less picked up. If they cost me more than that, then round bales are cheaper, even with the waste.
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post #15 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 04:14 PM
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Luvs2ride, are you talking to Production acres when you say Mr. Hay producer?

I think Production is discussing fermented hay, not standard round bale hay. I agree with Production. If these are plastic wrapped round bales they are not just round bales of hay. They are fermented hay and (aka silage or haylage) they do spoil quickly, no matter what you are feeding them too.

If the OP can get round bales that are not plastic wrapped then sure, go for round bales. But if the only round bales they can get are the plastic wrapped type (which is what they describe in their OP), they are not best for horses.
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post #16 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 05:21 PM
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Look at the two pictures!!!!! There is a major difference in the way the two hay types are harvested!!!!! There must of necesity also be a major difference in the way the two hay types are handled as they are fed!!!!!!

There is more to buying your winter hay supply than going to the local farmer and asking for a bale of hay!
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post #17 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Sadly, I don't have much choice in hay source, what we feed, blahblahblah but I'll make a convincing argument about why this hay is no good. Frankly, the only reason my parents bought from this guy was because he delivered... Thanks for all the responses though!
I'll check the hay every day to see if it's gone bad, it's out of the weather, kept very dry, and I'm pretty sure it's not going to get above freezing for the next few weeks (ew.) but... if the hay doesn't go bad is it safe to feed to them? Will eating the supply we have now, provided there is no mold, hurt them?
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post #18 of 25 Old 12-21-2010, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind View Post
Are your round bales totally wrapped in plastic (sides and around the round part) or are they just held together with plastic around the round part?

If they are sealed you are not feeding round bale hay, you are feed silage. Silage is fermented. And though people do feed it to horses I am not sure I would feel comfy with a huge round bale of it for two of them.
Not nessecarily - Haylege also comes completely wrapped in plastic, it is baled wetter then hay and dryer then silage. It is less fermented then silage. Haylege is completly safe to feed to horses infact it is made specifically for horses, my lot have large bale haylege in the field and are fed adlib haylege in the stables. Infact there are many medical advantages to feeding haylege over hay.

I know Haylage is not common in the US but it is perfectly safe to feed in enormous quantities.

I'd never feed actual silage as there is the risk of the horse contracting botulism.

ETA - Our haylege lasts 2 weeks before going off, normaly my ponies (when there were 3) went through one in approx 10 days in the field.
In the UK It is more common to feed horses haylage then to feed hay. Infact haylage is far easier to get hold of, in my area haylage is cheaper.

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

Last edited by faye; 12-21-2010 at 11:48 PM.
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post #19 of 25 Old 12-22-2010, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by faye View Post
ETA - Our haylege lasts 2 weeks before going off, normaly my ponies (when there were 3) went through one in approx 10 days in the field.

"In addition to its nutritional qualities, bale-wrapping allows greater security of harvest, ease of management of pasture, and does not require any storage buildings. However, once they are opened, the bales should not be used for longer than five days, which limits its use in the small units that represent a substantial proportion of horse owners." By Catherine Trillaud-Geyl
Agricultural Engineer at the Directorate of the French National Studs (Haras Nationaux) in Arnac-Pompadour

Dairy Farmers who feed hundreds of animals per day invest thousands of dollars yearly on silage defacers which give a clean face to the large stockpiles of silage that they use in an effort to keeep the daily influx of oxygen from penetrating the stack of silage even though they will use 1-2 feet of silage every day.

Haylage is a very good feed - it must be used with care - and 1-2 horses cannot consume a large bale of hay quickly enough.
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post #20 of 25 Old 12-22-2010, 07:24 AM
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I know Haylage is not common in the US but it is perfectly safe to feed in enormous quantities.

I'd never feed actual silage as there is the risk of the horse contracting botulism.

Risk Factors which may increase the risk of Cl. botulinum in silage include:
  • the raking of hay and thus incorporating earth in the hay,
  • ensiling of drier haylage (probably less than 30% moisture),
  • the use of chicken/turkey manure on the land and
  • delays in wrapping or bagging of the plant material.
Recommendations to Horse Owners:
  • Hay silage is a great feed when preserved properly but carries the danger of botulism.
  • Don't feed silage to horses unless the horses have been vaccinated.
  • When raking hay, lift the tines of the rake up so they don't pull earth into the hay.
  • Don't apply poultry manure to hay fields intended for hay production.
  • Watch out for the accidental incorporation of animal carcasses into the bales. (This is difficult when it comes to mice.)
  • Ensure that the hay is baled in the 35-50% moisture level or use acid preservatives on the hay when baling. The acid and higher moisture levels are used to ensure that the pH drops below 4.5 rapidly (within 2 - 3 days of bagging).
  • Dr. B. Wright - Veterinary Scientist, Equine and Alternative
Silage has just as much risk of botulism as does haylage! Interestingly, even hay can cause serious problems. A hay supplier iin CALif several years ago who had been supplying dry hay to a large dairy applied chicken litter at the inappropiate time , cut and baled the hay, delivered the hay, next day, 150 dairy cows were dead or dying due to botulism!
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