Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
Like here in NC, SC can be very humid, so you need to watch for mold if you have a lot of hay around.
In the end, the best thing to do is to experiment with different setups and look at your cost and waste.
Some general tips:
- Round bales are cheaper than square bales, but are not as easy to work with.
- You're not going to be able to move a round bale without some machinery. Some folks do (as you mention) tear off layers for each feeding.
- You want to store hay off the ground (e.g. pallets) in a dry place with lots of air circulation. Mold loves humid, warm, dark places. You can cover hay (e.g. tarp) if it gets enough air, otherwise you'll trap moisture under the cover and mold with thrive.
- If you feed on the ground, your biggest waste will be from hay getting pee'd/pooped on and muddy/trampled when raining. You'll always have some waste, but if you'll have only one horse and you have a shelter to feed under, you'll waste less.
- Assuming you can move a round bale, you can use a whole round bale with even one horse if you build a covered feeder where the bale is off the ground out of the rain. This keeps the horse from spreading all the hay everywhere and fouling/wasting it. Another advantage is that you can throw square bales in there instead of you want.
- Any hay that gets moldy or smells bad....throw away. Horse won't typically eat moldy hay, but don't take a chance.
On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.