Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So we have a regular lawn mower and I was wondering if we could use it to make some winter hay for a small sheep herd and some rabbits. I have heard that a regular lawn mower would "chop up the hay", but I don't understand how that ruins the it. I would love if someone could explain further and maybe share any personal experiences they may have with this!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,612 Posts
The biggest problem that I have had is that the small pieces of hay will vanish into the lawn. To prevent this I would let it dry for several hours and then rake it up before it was entirely dry.

I was careful to keep the drying "hay" pile light and fluffy: once it was entirely dry I could put it into a clean garbage can and THEN moderately pack it down.

Then, when I wanted it for chicken bedding, it would still be good smelling and healthy.

The chickens loved the dry grass clippings to scratch at, but it would break down in perhaps 3 months time, and so in the Fall I would need enough stored to replace it in, say, January.

It takes a bit of time to do it, and I would hate to try to store enough for a small flock of sheep, but I would not hesitate to store enough for rabbits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The biggest problem that I have had is that the small pieces of hay will vanish into the lawn. To prevent this I would let it dry for several hours and then rake it up before it was entirely dry.

I was careful to keep the drying "hay" pile light and fluffy: once it was entirely dry I could put it into a clean garbage can and THEN moderately pack it down.

Then, when I wanted it for chicken bedding, it would still be good smelling and healthy.

The chickens loved the dry grass clippings to scratch at, but it would break down in perhaps 3 months time, and so in the Fall I would need enough stored to replace it in, say, January.

It takes a bit of time to do it, and I would hate to try to store enough for a small flock of sheep, but I would not hesitate to store enough for rabbits.
Thanks for the reply! Glad to hear your experience. I am definetlely not expecting to feed all my sheep with this method but I think it could be a nice little source of hay on the homestead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
390 Posts
I am definetlely not expecting to feed all my sheep with this method but I think it could be a nice little source of hay on the homestead.
+++
Yes... From Agribusiness classes, animal husbandry ever so many years ago.. Anything you can harvest and feed livestock from your own place, rather than purchasing feed is called "nutrient transfer"... Always a good thing to do..

ZZZ
In parts of our old, overgrown pasture I have cut a lot of it with a brush hog mower.. Then rake and pickup as loose hay.. We use it for chickens, geese, and meat rabbits.. Works well enough..

NOT going to try to use a bailer.. Too much trouble for the amount we would use it...

However if I could run across one of the small round balers, the kind that makes a 50lb or so mini round bale the size of a normal small square baler, I would like that.. This size bailer runs easily on a 30hp or less compact tractor..
 
  • Like
Reactions: RJ2019

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,116 Posts
Terri hinted at the problem-- a regular lawnmower cuts it into little pieces that mat together and don't dry out properly if you rake it up right away. Then it gets moldy fast.

Even used haying equipment will easily run close to $10Gs. At $5 for a small square, you can buy one heck of a lot of hay (2000 bales) before you break even. (And used stuff usually needs a lot of repairs.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,788 Posts
Your grass has to be pretty tall to get enough usable material to try drying it out. You could try with a bagger mower if you have a tarp or concrete pad to spread the grass on to dry it out.

I have made lawn hay for rabbits. The biggest problem was drying the grass before it molded.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,612 Posts
About a year ago I spent perhaps $300 to get a lawn sweeper. It pulls behind my riding mower and saves me from raking it by hand. And, besides being good for chicken bedding dry grass is also good for mulching vegetables

I still let the grass dry for a few hours first, of course. Grass (or hay) will mold if you let it be compacted while it is green.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Very hard to get useable hay from a lawnmower as it's too chopped up. You could opt for haylage but it would require a fairly large amount to ferment properly.

I recommend you buy a good scythe and harvest by hand. You would be surprised how much good hay you could cut in 20 minutes. Commit to that 3-4 times a week and your hay will begin to add up.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
139 Posts
How much hay and yard are you thinking ?
I had a push mower that was specially modified to be a brush cuter. The front right third was cut away exposing about a inch of blade.
Using a mulching blade usually it would cut once and throw the material to the right.
If you went to fast sometimes it would bunch and pack against the engine. Usually you could pack it hard then back up till it pulled of the deck then when you hit it it would really fly.
I don’t know how it worked but there seemed to be some krimping action too.
LOTS of work making hay this way. Keep your eyes open for a Cheep old hay rake or even a wheel rake missing a wheel.
Perhaps you could mount a single Rake wheel on a riding mower or atv ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,499 Posts
I have researched this problem and picked peoples brains on here for a couple years. One problem someone mentioned is the grass getting molding another is if you have some nasty weeds you are going to chop them up into bitty pieces where normally the animals would just pick them out. I have a scythe but it takes time. I don't want the up keep of a large/old tractor. One person modified a pull behind brush mower and they said it worked well for them.

I finally bit the bullet later this summer and bought a BCS walk behind tractor. Love it. I have a ~42 inch bar sickle mower. It is a little bit of a beast to get used to. But I can get so much hay cut in about 10 min. It is not something I would want to cut 20 acres of hay with. Short of getting a tractor it was really only out of the box solution I could come up with.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,191 Posts
IF your grass is very tall, sounds like it would take quite a long while to get any amount accomplished, and also sounds like, IF the grass is say a foot high, that it would be rough on a good mower after an acre
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
I've put hay up before bush hogging a small overgrown pasture and using a wide handheld hay fork... If you want exercise it will work but you need to be able to flip it and let it dry. It's a lot of work
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,128 Posts
Our goats and horses wouldn't eat grass mowed with a lawn mower . It is too fine and they don't like it. When we no longer had a big herd of goats or several horses and just had two goats my husband got a second hand walk behind mower to mow grass for hay. When we had a lot of hay eating animals he mowed with a team of horses. He also has mowed hay with a scythe which takes a strong back and a limber swinging motion. Mowing with horses or by hand we most always turned the hay and shook it out withy three pronged hay forks and raked it up with wooden hay forks. There was a period of time we had three horses and seven-teen goats. We mowed with a team, raked hay with a team but pitched it all on the hay cart by hand. No wonder we are tired!
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top