Feeding Hay from a Round Bale
When feeding hay from a round bale, do you just dump the whole thing outside and let the horse(s) eat freely from it, or do you keep the bale somewhere else and take them a little bit at a time?
Is one way better than the other or is it just a matter of preference?
It boils down to a matter of preference. I let my horses free feed on the round bale.
I peel off my feedings from our round bales and take it out to them. My horses waste so much hay if i leave it for them to pick at.
I occassically will get a round bale for when we go out of town for my horses to eat. It makes whoever is checking on them much easier. They just need to do a headcount and fill water troughs.
Or, if i have a skinny/injured horse, i isolate them and give them a roundbale to keep them busy.
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I give them the whole bale but make sure its in a hay ring. They waste less hay that way.
I throw the whole thing out to them. Free feed
Some folks here have dumped the bale in and never had problems, others had done it once and ended up with a horse with chronic cough and/or heaves.
Throwing the bale in just like that will result in up to 50% waste, so some type of feeder would be necessary
Letting horses eat however they want can expose them to bad, moldy hay which might be hiding in a bale.
There are slowfeeder haynets available now, which reduce waste, slow horses down, which is more natural and better for them.
Throwing it in will reduce waste, and gives you some control over what they eat(you would discard the bad hay).
This is what I did for many years, and it worked just fine.
Now I have square bales only and use small slowfeeder nets. Horses are happy, I'm happy and I save lots of money.
Free access here. Graze all day
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With he price of hay the way it is, I would recommend taking a pitchfork and feeding the hay the way you would a square bale. Horses tend to drag roundbales out and tramp it in the ground. I would conserve as much as possible and not let them waste.
I have round bales used to put them out but horses were wasting to much even in a feeder. Theyd have almost a 1/4 of it all over outside feeder so i now peel it and feed that way i can control how much they eat.They still have hay 24/7 but i dont put out more if they have alot of hay outside feeder.Iam making them clean up so no wasting going on this winter. When we cleaned up the corrals last spring there was over 3 feet of pooped in hay all around the feeder.
I must have piggies because then really clean it up as long as I have the hay ring. Without the ring they end up using it for bedding.
As to the mention of chronic cough and respiratory issues - that is directly linked to the quality of hay. You should only use hay from someone who knows how to cure and bale it for horses and keeps it stored under shelter. They can take shortcuts for cattle hay and keep it stored out in the field but that is begging for problems when it comes to horse hay.
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