We would like to buy a round bale of hay for most likely 2 maybe 3 of our horses as they are being moved to a paddock with mainly bush grass and I dont want them to drop any condition(they are getting hard feed aswell).
I was wondering if it can just sit in the paddock or if we need to put a tarp over it or something AND we usually feed lucurne but I was wondering if something else would be better if they are going to be having access to it 24/7?
If it's more hay than they can eat in a week, I would put it under some kind of cover.
Nutritional quality does degrade with exposure to sun and rain, etc.
Depending on the type and condition of your horses, you may find that you need to restrict their access to it to keep them from getting too much.
Normally there's no such thing as too much forage, but I have a piggy little QH who's the equine equivelent of an air fern; when I put out a round bale I either have to shut him off of it on alternate days or make him wear a grazing muzzle. The round bales I feed are pretty good quality, but even with lower quality hay, if you have a piglet, you may want to restrict access so they don't get a hay belly.
Thanks for that Maura! everything I needed to know.
One horse that will be getting it is a 14hh QH who is a very easy keeper and he other is a 15.1hh TB who was a rescue although she is a good weight now BUT I am getting the suspicion she may be bred.
I feed round bales. It's best to get some type of grass hay or mixed bale (lucern/grass mix). If you have 2-3 horses eating on it, you don't need to worry about tarping. They'll eat it up in about 2 weeks or less.
I would suggest using a round bale feeder though, to reduce waste. They will end up stomping on it, laying on it, and soiling the hay if you don't use a feeder. 20-30% of the bale will go to waste on the ground, and then you'll have to clean it up or burn it.
I use a plastic molded hay ring. They're affordable, durable, and VERY easy to move around. I use the "adjustable hay ring" on this page.
Another platic model, a bit more sturdy.
O'Neill Bale Feeders - Products
You don't want to use a feeder that has a top ring on it as they will rub a horse's mane out. If you go with a metal feeder, you want a "tombstone" style feeder, like these:
BarnWorld Farm and Ranch Superstore
Horse Round Bale Feeder
Excellent advice, luvs2ride.
Agree about the hay feeder rings. I have a horse style one without the top rail.
Thank you for the tip on the feeder! I'll have a look around.
I have been feeding round bales for years. I have done is several different ways. One is to set the bale on end cut the strings or netting and unroll it and feed just like you would a small bale. This works well if you only have one or 2 horses on a bale or the bales are larger. Just make sure it is on a pellet and well covered b/c on end the rain with get down into the role easier.
Anouther way is to just sit it out cut off the strings/netting and let them have at it. This way they will eat it faster then if you leave the netting on. With out strings or netting a 500-600 lbs role last about 5 maybe 6 days for 3-4 horses out for about 12 hours a day. It will last one horse about 2 weeks. Mine come in at night in the winter. If you leave the strings/netting on they have a bit of a harder time pulling it apart and it will slow them down and make it last longer. I find that this is the best way to do it unless you wish to put in on end on a pallet and feed it out your self and have a lot more control this way.
No matter what way you feed it out to store the roles unless you can keep them inside is to put them on pallets and cover then with a gray tarp. These tarps hold up much better then the blue ones and keep the temps down and light out.
Dancer and Misty have figured out how the eat the hay from the inside out. I looked out the other day and Rain was asleep in the center of the hay bale. It was pouring rain, but she was nice and dry!
Mine eat the bales from the in side out also. Unless I cut the strings then they just eat it all in one bit. That is why I like to leave the strings on most of the time is to slow them down a bit. I have yet to have one eat any of the netting or strings. I find the netting with all the hay picked out or berried. Once it gets to the point that it is now which is the center is gone and the bale has collapsed I usually will go out and pull the netting out of the hay. This is the point I prefer string as it can be pulled out a lot easier.
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