Feeding Round Bales?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by crayon, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. crayon

    crayon Senior Member

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    Who on here feeds round bales to their horses? I grew up knowing only small square bales for horses, stored inside. I have recently moved and my horse is here now too. She has a couple square bales left so we're looking for more hay. There are a ton of round cows around here and so far all we can find is round bales. A lot are too brown and nasty looking (sat outside uncovered forever) to feed to a horse.

    Anyway, everyone we know is trying to help find hay for us and it's all round bales. I don't know how to politely say that the quality is really important and I can't just call up anyone and order hay without seeing it and knowing how it was stored, etc. If I CAN find some nice, greenish looking bales, how do you feed round bales? It's been raining so much lately and I can just see all the hay getting moldy and being wasted... furthermore, about how long does one bale last for one horse? We don't have any equipment to move one of those with, so it would mean having another delivered every time the old one runs out. I'm trying to decide if it's worth it. Last option would be to just feed alfalfa cubes all winter like in Hawaii, if none of my winter grass pops up. But that's not ideal in my opinion if there's no pasture left.

    I know things should've been mapped out a little better before moving Crayon and all... We were just in a tough situation and needed to move her south before another Winter starts up north.
     
  2. endurgirl

    endurgirl Senior Member

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    I feed round bales. If you find horse quality rounds , you can set them out for the horses is the pasture, or you can turn it sideways under a shelter and pull some hay off of it each day. Since my horses are pastured pretty much year round, feeding rounds are so easy!!!
     
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  3. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    We also feed rounds but we don't feed free choice. If you leave the bale on it's side and/or tarp it, it is almost impervious to rain and you can just peel of some with a pitch fork and feed just like you would from a small square.

    We store ours on a pallet so it is off the ground, on it's side and tarped. Before we had a tractor, I brought a bale in the back of the pick up, backed up to where I wanted the bale, tied the bale to the other pick up and drove out from under it. Or, just push the bale out of the pick up and roll it where you want it. Just don't forget to block it form rolling where you don't want it when it lands! They are not that hard to roll around some by hand so you could feasibly put a tarp down to roll the bale on to and wrap it up good against the rain. It can be a pain to unwrap the bale every feeding but you could fill several hay bags and not have to unwrap the bale several times per day, just hang the bags.

    If you leave a round bale on it's side, it sheds water really well. Most are netted these days and that helps too. The disgusting looking weathering you see on bales that are stored outside is usually not very deep in the bale and can be peeled off and discarded as you use the bale.

    I could not afford to free feed my mob, they have a controlled diet when they can't be on the pasture!
     
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  4. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

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    I feed round. A good round stays round. If it collapses, it usually means it was put up wet and molded inside or was baled too loose. I turn mine on the side and take off the outer layer and burn it. I can pitchfork off what I need and feed it. I am not keen on feeding the whole bale. First of all, I have taken care of a horse with COPD for years. I'm definitely not saying sticking their heads inside a roundbale breathing dust and possibly mold causes COPD. I'm saying you can call me paranoid, and I just don't feel comfortable doing it. You would be surprised just how much good hay is inside a roundbale. The outer layer always looks nasty, and the bottom is moldy if left outside. Depending on the size, one round is equivalent to about 30 squares. I prefer netwrapped to string tied by far.
     
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  5. emali06

    emali06 Senior Member

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    I want to get some big bales to feed. They are not usually stocked so I'll have to go a couple counties over.
     
  6. JStorry

    JStorry Senior Member

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    I free feed rounds. I don't have a tractor so I have a deal with my supplier to pick up as needed. I push it out of the back of my truck right into the feeder (I built it out of lumber. Going on 3 years with the lumber feeder!) My 3 horses go through an 800lbs round every three weeks or so. I always buy a couple ton of small squares in case they go through it and I can't grab another for a day or two, feed the small squares in between. I've raised all three, the oldest coming 6 and the youngest a weanling. They have never not had free feed. They don't gorge because they know they will always have food. Blanketing makes hay last longer as well, as they aren't eating to keep warm.
     
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  7. Lopinslow

    Lopinslow Senior Member

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    Rounds are SO much easier. Started using feeders/nets a couple years ago, and that has kept the waste down.
    Harley goes through 1 every 3-4 weeks

    Other pasture, I'm currently feeding small, looser rounds, so been going thru about 6 a week
     

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  8. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    I cut my own hay. Coastal round bales. They say 1 round bale will last a horse approximately 1 month. So if you have 2 horses on 1 round it should last 2 weeks, etc. I am a big fan of storing a round bale under cover and filling hay nets. Not feasible for large pastures but if you only have a horse or a few, or a small barn, it's doable and much less waste. As others have said, discard the outer portion if it's gross. My rounds get put up right away under cover so they don't get gross looking on the outside.
     
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  9. Mackenzie M

    Mackenzie M Senior Member

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    I feed rounds year round (used to only feed squares) except for my pregnant mares/foals when they are in stalls in the spring. So much easier and cheaper. Mine are frees choice as I have anywhere from 2-6 horses in each pasture. I use the slow feed round bale nets which save an incredible amount on waste.
    Don't write off bales just because they look brown/grey on the outside. Sometimes the rain/sun will discolor them. If you lift up the top few inches, it should be nice green hay underneath. If I find mold, its pitched, if its just discolored, they have no problem with it.

    Agreed on setting it on a pallet and tarping if you're going to peal it
     
  10. crayon

    crayon Senior Member

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone! I have never dealt with round bales so it's great to learn that they're usually fine underneath. She is just one horse so it sounds like putting it on a pallet and tarping in between feedings will be our best bet.
    I'm about to be away for 10 days so I think she's going to have to have premixed alfalfa cubes and senior feed until we get back. But I can't wait to get a big round bale now. I don't blanket her so it's about 12 bags of cubes a month to keep her going. :whistle:
     

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