Buying hay

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Buying hay

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    07-25-2008, 06:09 PM
Buying hay

So I've always boarded my horses at a place where hay is either provided or I buy from the barn owners hay supplier. However I recently moved my horses to a barn where we need to find our own hay supplier. I didn't really like the last hay supplier as it was hit or miss whether I would get decent hay or not (either weedy, moldy, dusty bales were mixed in with good ones).

What are some things to ask possible hay supplier? I really don't know much about hay... is a first cutting good or bad?

I know to ask for : was it sprayed for weeds, stored out of the rain... anything els?
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    07-25-2008, 06:13 PM
Green Broke
First cutting tends to have less weeds and be better quality.

Ask how is was stored (that's VERY important). You want it stored inside if you can find it. Another good thing to ask is if it got rained on after it was cut but before they bailed it (that happened around my part, not sure about yours).

Check out Craiglist in the Farm and Garden Section. There are a TON of hay adds for your area

There are probably other questions to ask too, but that's my knowledge on hay, lol
    07-25-2008, 06:17 PM
Thanks! I'm already ahead of you on the craigslist thing... I posted an add asking if anyone delivered and got a response saying he had first cutting brome and alfalfa. Is brome good? Like I said... I'm a hay idiot. I never really payed attention besides whether it was moldy or not...
    07-25-2008, 06:19 PM
Green Broke
Brome is grass hay. And alfalfa will easily make your horses VERY hyper. Depending on their nutritional needs you'll have to make the decision. Alfalfa has more protein in it.

Personally I prefer Brome hay instead of alfalfa because I don't like my horses being so full of energy and sometimes unmanagable. JMO though
    07-26-2008, 02:31 AM
Green Broke
When you go to see the hay (and please go to see the hay; at least the first time) ask them to split open a bale...grab a handful and smell. It should be light and sweet smelling - - no mold! Also pick up a bale - - it should be heavy, but not like it's wet inside ( and not too light, either)

Alfalfa does not need to be fed in most instances. And buying it from an individual has its risks, too, because of a beetle that lives in there (really dangerous, can't think of the name of it) and also mold ;)
    07-26-2008, 09:23 AM
Kickshaw, I think you are referring to blister beetles. I'm no hay expert but from what I have read, blister beetles are more likely to be in the alfalfa if it was grown west of the Mississippi river.
    07-26-2008, 11:04 AM
We always feed our horses orchard/fescue mix, but last year with the drought when there was no fall NC hay, we did have a load of brome from up north and they ate it just fine.
    07-26-2008, 01:39 PM
Brome and prairie hay is pretty much all we get here. Brome has a tendency to make our girls fat so we go with prairie (plus its cheaper) I keep about 100 or so small bales of brome for those really cold days I think it helps them produce more body heat. Brome hay should be really leafy with few stems. There may be some with seed heads depending on when it was cut. Its a pretty hay with a good smell. It should be a nice green color with no white or black moldy stuff.
I know our local brome hay is only cut once so you would get a first cutting no matter what. Alfalfa can be cut more than once but the first cutting is the best.
A good hay guy is worth his weight in alfalfa so once you find one keep a good relationship going with him.
    07-26-2008, 02:06 PM
It looks like pretty much everything has been covered. The only thing that I would add is that some hay providers will even be able to tell you the different the actual percentages of each particular grass in the hay bales.
As to where do you find hay? Your local newspaper, I know here some of the smaller hay producers also post signs out. Something to look for.
    08-04-2008, 02:09 PM
Thanks everyone! Sorry I left town for a week and didn't have internet :(

Anyway... question number 2...
One guy has hay that is 95% brome and 5% clover. When I seeded a pasture it had clover in it so that's ok right?

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