Question about feeding round bales - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Location: central Illinois
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Question about feeding round bales

I have a question for those who feed round bales to their horses-- what do you do about the mold that is around the outside of the bale? I know mold is not ok for horses (or even my goats).

The times we have gotten round bales , we have had to take time to peal off the big ring of mold all around the outside of the bale and inhaling that mold is not good for anyone, let alone me with my bad respiratory system.

I would love to have the size of a big round bale, but hate to have to mess with the mold. Plus I always feel as if money is wasted when the moldy hay is unusable and you can't feed the entire bale.

We have purchased round bales from several different people and towns, but everyone of them had mold. We had one bale that had two feet of mold all the way around it.
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 07:18 PM
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Round bales used for horses should never have mold. If they do, they were not stored properly. Do you buy bales that are stored outside in the weather?

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post #3 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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The few we have used have been stored outside. We can not find anyone who stores them inside.

When we lived in Missouri and now up here in Illinois. I even called a big hay place and they store their round bales outside.

Their bigger square bales are stored inside. They are 3ft. x 3ft x 7ft and weigh 750 pounds. They cost $70. Their round bales are 1,200 - 1,500 pounds and also cost $70.

I would be able to get a lot more hay for the same price, but since they are stored outside, I am pretty sure they would have mold.

Any hay I have seen for sale (in four counties or more) that are round bales, are stored outside. No one puts them inside or under cover.

We do have normal size square bales, but if we have days of ice or blizzard kind of snow blowing, getting out to give the horses and goats food, may not be possible for that day. With a large bale, they can feed any time they want and how much they want. They won't miss out on food if there is a day we can't get to them.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 07:57 PM
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Why don't u buy the hay after haying season, and cover it yourself?
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SaskGal View Post
Why don't u buy the hay after haying season, and cover it yourself?
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No place to store that many round bales. Also no way to handle them, move them or anything like that. We don't have a tractor, or bobcat, or anything with bale spear, or lifts.

When we got round bales in Missouri, would bring in one at a time, and hubby rolled it off the back of his truck onto the ground.

The square bale (3 x 3 x 7) fit in the truck bed perfectly and to get it off, put a tie down strap (truck tie down) around the bale, hooked a chain to it and to a telephone pole next to the barn and slowly drove the truck out from under the bale. It slid off right under the 10 foot overhang.

So basically we can only get one bale at a time, of either a round bale or of large square bale. I would prefer a round bale of 1,200 - 1,500 pounds of hay for the $70, instead of the 750 pound square bale for $70
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 08:39 PM
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^^^ Yes, If you have storage, when they cut the hay, go get it off the field right away (or have them deliever it asap) so you can store it right away inside.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 08:58 PM
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Seems to me, I remember hearing some folks will use a chain saw on a round bale to break it up and help strip away the mold. I have no idea if that would work at all but might be worth a try.

There are implements you can buy to haul round bales with a vehicle (rather than tractor). They are usually two wheel jobs with a spear on a u-shaped frame. The frame is on a hinge so you load/unload the bale by backing it into place thus stabbing the bale then winch it up for travelling. They are reasonably priced and may also be worth a look.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 09:04 PM
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Don't buy moldy round bales, that is all you can do. Around here, the hay growers that sell to horse people wouldn't dream of offering moldy ones. Those ones are spread out to cattle on winter grazing.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 10:29 PM
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I may get flamed for saying this, but I have never worried about it.
When I feed round bales free choice whether it be in a round bale feeder or flung off a spinner from the back of the tractor, the horses never ate the crappy pieces of hay. Usually there was only one bad side on the outside layer where it had sat on the ground and outside top and sides bleached from the sun. The inside was all good hay and they never ate the bad chunk.
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 10:34 PM
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Chick, you're not alone there. Some of us have to sort of take good hay where we can find it, even if it does have a touch of mold on one part.

Our horses have always just eaten around the bad parts and left them laying.

The biggest thing, though, is you can't let them run out because if they get hungry enough, they will eat the moldy hay but so long as they've got access to hay that isn't moldy, then you shouldn't have to worry.
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