What should I do with moldy hay? - Homesteading Today
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Old 12/02/06, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Crane,Mo.
Posts: 96
What should I do with moldy hay?

I've got a couple of bales of moldy orchard grass and was wondering if there was any good use for it? Any suggestions would be helpful we would hate to waste. Thanks,

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Old 12/02/06, 04:30 PM
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Use it as mulch in your garden!
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Old 12/02/06, 04:31 PM
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Location: Indiana
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I love to lay it down between my garden rows. It smothers out the weeds and in the fall I just till it in.
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Old 12/02/06, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Crane,Mo.
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What should I do with moldy hay?

We did use a bunch of old straw between the garden rows last year. It worked very well we just wanted to make sure the mold wouldnt spread to our plants. Thanks for the quick responses.

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Old 12/02/06, 04:53 PM
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What to do with it??

If you got cows, just sprinkle some salt on it and feed it to them. My grandpa said he had a field that got rained on for a week straight, so he dump raked it into a big ditch. He said that winter the cows busted their butts to get down to that hay. Also you could put it into a ditch to stop dirt runoff. I started doing that with 2 round bales, then caught enough dirt to where they didnt work anymore, so I used square bales. Now all ive got is a slight depression, and no more hay bales
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Old 12/02/06, 05:36 PM
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Yes I agree if had a cow or 2 feed it to them I had some I had to separate that had gotten molded, small bales. I have horses and they can't eat the stuff. But my steer sure did.
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Old 12/02/06, 06:27 PM
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set them outside and in springtime plant a tomato or something in the ceter of the bale.

itll grow real well.
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Old 12/02/06, 06:34 PM
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Old 12/02/06, 06:41 PM
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Pigs can eat it, but don't give it pregnant sows.
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Old 12/02/06, 09:29 PM
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I go around and get all the hay people have used for decorations, and use it for a windscreen for the hens. They play on it too.
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Old 12/03/06, 06:28 AM
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I throw some of it around my garages and barnyard (not where the horses can get it) when they're calling for ice rain or I have slippery frozen spots already on the ground. Once it gets walked on a few times, it makes for great traction, particulary if it melts a tad and then freezes again right into the ice.

I also spread a thin layer of it over thin muddy spots (but not where it's too deep and muddy, as it will just sink in); your boots will stay cleaner and you won't 'stick' so much.

Great for keeping for gardening also, like everyone says.
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Old 12/03/06, 09:24 AM
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If the mold is white, it is only good for compost, mulch, of some non-feed purpose, but if the mold isn't white, it won't hurt cattle or horses. Just don't give it to them as their only source of feed. I've feed hundreds of bales of moldy hay to cows and horses without the first problem due to the mold. If it's too moldy, they won't eat it.
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Old 12/03/06, 09:56 AM
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We did like Dixiedoodle-spred it in low muddy areas.

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Old 12/03/06, 10:04 AM
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in summer/fall, slightly moldy hay can be soaked in water for 5-10 minutes, horses will eat it... at least ours did.
Saving it for ice storm weather or the garden is a better idea.
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Old 12/03/06, 10:44 AM
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I use it as mulch for the veggie garden mainly. In the spring or during a winter thaw I lay it down in the kennel and chicken yard to keep the mud to a minimum. I've also put them end to end and make a circle with them to make a brooder area in a stall when starting chicks. It blocks the wind and there are no corners for the chicks to pile up in.
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Old 12/03/06, 11:15 PM
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You can use it to grow potatoes in a barrel or pile of tires. You can get up to 40 lbs of taters off one plant by that method. ('cage method')

Here's a link:

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Old 12/04/06, 01:10 AM
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moldy hay bales make excellent wormbeds while also being used to grow tomatoes or peppers in.
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Old 12/04/06, 01:52 AM
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We had the best garden we've ever had this last summer thanks to mulching with our old rotting hay. It kept the top layer of soil from getting scorched in the hottest weather, kept the moisture in the ground and keep the weeds OUT! It was great... we'll be doing that from now on.

DixyDoodle thanks for those tips; I'll have to try that.
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Old 12/04/06, 01:55 AM
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moldy hay is NOT good for horses.
watered or salted or smeared with jam....

moldy hay can, and does cause colic, heaves, and indigestion.

if a horse picks thru hay they will usually avoid the smelly parts, but a board or hungry one will eat the moldy hay.

I dont use hay that even is tainted wth must or mildew, or even smells "old" it isnt worth the risk.
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Old 12/04/06, 04:57 PM
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Location: missoula, montana
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Moldy hay is the very best stuff for all sorts of mulching

***** BUT *****

.... if the hay has been treated with certain herbicides it can kill most plants. Clopyralid, for example, has a half life of 11 years. When used by a grass hay, it effectively wipes out almost all broadleaf plants (weeds) for a looooooong time. And the grass takes some up, but does not die. But if you use that grass hay as a mulch, it will release the clopyralid as it decomposes and that will also be quite effective at wiping out almost all broadleaf plants (tomatoes, squash, trees, etc.).

AFAIK, alfalfa hay is always safe in this respect because it is a broadleaf.

If you see broadleaf leaves in the hay, you are probably safe.

Of course, any hay (grass or alfalfa) could be treated with insecticides or other pesticides that could still be on hay that are taken up by the mulched plants. This would be a problem only for those folks that are trying to grow stuff organically.
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