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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I know a lot of people use straw as filler. I never personally have. However, we're running into the same issue we always do in winter - trying to find enough hay to feed 7 horses. We spent $2,000 at the beginning of fall which equals pretty much enough hay to get us into March, which isn't enough. The trouble being, actually trying to find hay IN March is like pulling teeth. We have an enormous cattle community, and they all just ASSUME that we should own a tractor to pull rounds off a flat deck when we don't.

So we've been discussing throwing some straw bales into the pasture for them to chomp on and being able to reduce the amount of hay. They're all ridiculously fat and don't need as much hay as we give them, but due to our cold winter, forage 24/7 is almost a must.

Now the problem I'm having is I know that oat straw is most palpatable for them - and in all my searching, apparantly nobody here even knows what it is and they certainly don't seem to farm it. The only thing available is wheat straw.

Will they even EAT it? The only time I've ever seen a horse eat wheat straw was when I brought home Zena as a starved pregnant mare and she'd routinely clean up her entire portion of hay and eat half her bedding in a night as well. A lot of barns use straw around here, and I would assume that if horses actually ate it, they'd eat their bedding, no?

Anyone have any experience feeding wheat straw? Or are we just wasting our money by buying it?
 

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Macabre, I know my horses wouldn't eat the straw unless they are starving. From how it sounds your horses are fat, so my guess would be they may just ignore the straw. BTW, I don't keep hay 24/7 - just give flakes 2-3 times/day and it seems to be enough (but I'm not in Canada either :wink: ).

Can you buy big round bale one in time and ask someone to deliver and just push it right into the field? I know some people around here do it this way. And it's much cheaper around here then square bales. Or you can agree with couple other people and make a delivery of whole truck of cheap hay from US. Again I know some people here did it - delivered hay from mid states when we had drought.

In any case - good luck with finding some solution!
 

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That's what I figured - asking spoiled ponies binging on alfalfa to eat cardboard is probably the definition of insanity :lol: It's actually been not so bad so we're trying to find a happy medium - giving them the bare minimum of 20-25lbs of hay a day when it's nice out, and then throwing more when it's bitterly cold.

When it hits -40, even the fattest thickest coated ones will start shivering violently if they go more then 45 minutes to an hour without food. :-( Thankfully we haven't had much of that weather yet, but January and February have always been the worst months, so it's probably still coming.

The round bales is an option, if we can manually push them off ourselves. We ran into this issue last year - the hay is there, the delivery is there, but the means of getting it off the truck and into the location it needs to be is the problem. That's why our hay guy is so awesome, he brings his little tractor with him and does it all for us. Unfortunately, he's almost always sold out partially into winter because his hay and service are so darn good!
 

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I have my Other Half move the bale with his flat bed. I dont know if you have one or if someone else does. He just backs up and pushes the bale. I so wish we had a tractor!
 

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The big round bales really aren't that hard to push off a truck, we do it all the time.Where I get my hay I can pay for several bales at one time and they keep it there in the barn until I need to pick one up, they give me like raffle ticket 1 for each bale that I purchase that way it is easy to keep track of, I thought that was a good ideal, if I got 50 bales to last me though the winter then I get 50 tickets.Maybe you can mention that to the guy you get hay from, that way you're gauranteed hay all winter long.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, we've definately pushed round bales before and I don't know how light your bales are, but it takes all our energy for two of us to push one and that's as long as it doesn't have flat sides. Our round bales are easily 1000-1500lbs.

That's essentially what we did with our hay guy - we buy 800lb square alfalfa bales off him but we have hardly any room. So we have a piece of paper that he marks off everytime he makes another drop (usually 8-10 bales). The problem is that $2,000 was absolutely all we could afford in fall, and I'm pretty sure he's already out of hay. We have a delicate situation where Shay-las mom is more useless then tits on a bull and despite making as much money as we do, spends it all on beads. So she likes to sit on her *** and assume we're responsible for feeding HER three horses to boot (incidentally, the fattest **** animals on the property). We've brought it up with her numerous times, and she just threatens to kick us off the property and at this point, it really is just cheaper for us to feed her haybags as opposed to paying a minimum of $200 a horse for any half-decent boarding facility.

/end rant

LOL, sorry guys. I think we may just end up looking for some round bales and crossing the bridge when we come to it. We HAVE pushed rounds around before, we can do it again. The only problem is we have such a lack of density in our population, no hay guy will deliver less then 5 or so bales at a time. Time to build muscle!
 

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I am having a hard time getting hay, too. We just got the last 6 bales from our local supplier and we are down to 2 bales :/ But we also just got a roundbale for the pasture and they really enjoy that. Saves hay too.

My horses are little princesses and wouldn't eat straw unless they were going to die.
 

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I've had to wrassle round bales. The ones I used to get were the big 1500 pounders. When my hay guy couldn't deliver, he'd load them in my truck. I'd tie a rope to it, and to whatever and drive out from under it.

I'd do that near where I wanted it. If I needed help to roll it I'd have to recruit someone for help.
 

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My mom has her round bales fenced off (with corral panels), and has them arranged in such a manner that she can easily open a new bale, without having to 'move' it. Maybe something you can do? Her horses are loose with the round bale during the day, and brought in at night, and fed other hay.
 

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Interesting thread , sorry if this is off of the subject but...
I have a question abou the round bales, if they are left outside in the pasture what do you do when they get snowed on? , rained on? Will it cause the hay to mold ? I dont know much about round bales , but I was thinking that may be a good choice for where my horses are to conserve the square bales.
 

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I do NOT feed round bales mostly because how my property set up (just no space to keep them plus I have just 2 picky horses who throw too much hay around). But from what I was told by hay person the best way to go is to keep them on wooden racks (I use similar in my sheds for the square bales) and cover them with tarp. Also if you feed round bales it's a really good idea to give a botulism shot (that's a suggestion from several horse people and 2 vets I talked too).

My hay guy doesn't keep the hay - whether you pay him or not (I asked). You get it or loose it. Lol! So I try to buy everything before Jan (got bales just before NY).
 

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About the straw I have a little pony called Patch he would eat anything you put in front of him. He once grabbed my ham roll off my and chomped it down but the one thing he won't eat is straw lol
 

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Wheat Straw - Straw is used extensively in the Dairy industry to "cut" the protein on alfalfa and for its bacterial innoculation. Basically, it is like yogart, the good flora on the straw help the digestive system in the cattle. There is nothing wrong with feeding straw as a filler for your horses; straw quality is like hay quality - some is good, some is poor. Most guys baling wheat straw don't care as they are baling either bedding material or erosion control. And yes the dairy industry grinds the straw into a TMR wagon thus creating a "Total Mixed Ration" for the animal to eat. Many horses will eat straw, some may not - a lot of it depends on the quality of the straw.
Round bales are designed to be handled with a tractor, not by pushing them - it is very easy to bust a disc in your back pushing on a 800-1500lb bale of hay - STUPID!
Storing rd bales outside is not a big deal in the arid west or the north, this is not an option in the east or the south, we get way too much rain and our snows are wet, not dry.
 

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pushing a round bale of hay is not hard if it doesn't have flat spots, which mine never do.Yes they do wiegh 800-1500 lbs.I have no problem doing it, we roll it off the back of a pick-up truck every week when we get one, yeah you can throw out your back but if done right you'll be ok, not suggesting everyone do this, but hey gotta do what has to be done...jmo
 

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I'm lucky that I have a guy down the road that cuts our hay fields (we don't use them) and then gives us a roundbale for free when we want it. He has several large tractors and seeing as we don't have anything bigger than an F250 truck, that works out perfectly!
 
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