Feeding round bales

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HilltopDaisy, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Had ten 1000# round bales delivered today. I had the guy put 6 in the paddock that I use for the horses, mostly during winter months. 2 bales in 2 other paddocks.

    Now I'm trying to figure out the best way to portion them out. I put all 3 horses in the front area, where the grass is chewed down to nothing. We are pretty much done with pasture here in NY. They have 2 bales in there, and are very interested. Round bales are a first for us.

    Do you all use round bale feeders? I worry about them wasting the hay.
     
  2. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    We used to just put the round bales straight into the feeder as is.
    But, I've discovered that a couple of my horses have a tendancy to develop a hay-cough when they do this as they all seem to eat a hole straight into the center of the bale. :rolleyes: Much like that picture of an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand.
    Consequently, we still use the feeder (it keeps them from standing in they hay, spreading it everywhere, peeing in it, etc.) but we just fork hay into it periodically instead of feeding the entire bale.
     

  3. MO_cows

    MO_cows I calls em like I sees em

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    They will waste a LOT of the hay without a ring. Horses are bad about eating the core out first then the bale collapses and they trample and waste a lot of it.
     
  4. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    After going thru a few of the rings....my cows would lean against them, and eventually break the metal.....I built "THE LAST DADGUM ROUND BALE FEEDER" I ever plan to have.

    It's a small portable "shed" type deal with 6x6 runners so I can scoot it around with the tractor to different places to feed, the main body of it holds a 4x5' round bale ( which is what I use ) up off the ground about 18". Has 4 upright 6x6 posts mortised in the runners, then a 'bed' and 2 end walls of 2x oak lumber (picture a four poster bed, on sled runners ). The front and back are racks they can get their heads in....welded out of 1.5" sq tube steel, one side is bolted to the upright 6x6 on that side, the other is hinged to swing open to load the bale. Roof is 2x6 framed rafters with metal roofing sloping to the ends so the bale stays dry.

    I load a bale on the front end loader, open the swing gate, set the bale inside, and close/lock the gate. The bale ends up flush with the gate/grate on each side, and they can clean it up to the wood floor. Cut my waste to about nothing.

    Worked great for about 5 years now.
     
  5. DamnearaFarm

    DamnearaFarm aka RamblinRoseRanc :) Supporter

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    I've thought about using a hog/goat panel to wrap around our bales. I checked at TSC and the only panel that'd work was 45 bucks. A friend told me that the Co-op carries one with smaller holes at the bottom (the cheaper ones at TSC were large enough for the horses to hook a hoof in) for 20 bucks.
     
  6. watcher

    watcher de oppresso liber

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    Here's what I used to do. I'd have the bales delivered which were too big for my little tractor to move (they were 2000# at least). So what I did was I had them placed where there was space between each bale. I'd then run a hot wire around them. As I needed to feed a bale I'd move the hot wire so they could get to a new bale. After they had eaten it down I'd move the wire.

    They did "waste" a lot but I'd take the tractor and scoop it into a pile. After a year or so that pile would go onto the garden so it wasn't really wasted. Also getting such large bales delivered for 20-25 dollars I really didn't worry too much about the waste.
     
  7. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    We built a feeder last year. It will hold 20 small square bales or one large round one. To load the large ones you almost need a tractor BUT...we can roll them in if necessary. It looks like a shed with the roof tipping in one direction rather than trusses. It is enclosed on three sides. The front has two 'gates'. The first one is wood and has slats that slant to the side. It opens up like a ...gate so a bale can be put inside. A cow is supposed to be discouraged from pulling their head out while eating. The 2nd gate is inside the wooden gate and made with metal uprights - spaced too closely together for a cow to get its entire head inbetween. It tips towards the wooden gate so as they eat, any hay not consumed falls berween the gates into a trough (they still manage to get some out. We installed a cattle panel (cut to size) under the bale with a winch attached so we can pull the bale up against the 2nd gate.
     
  8. Mare Owner

    Mare Owner Sugarstone Farm

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    I feed rounds and use the rings whenever I can as they waste so much more without a ring. If you don't have a tractor, but if you can roll them you can feed one at a time, just fence them off from the others. Some friends I have get one round at a time, have the seller load it in the back of the pickup and roll it out of the truck at home. Some of the rings are easy for one person to handle, so you can put the ring around the bale after it's unloaded.

    I've seen pictures of bales fenced off with a single hot wire that was moved back as the stock ate down the bales, but can't remember where... The bales were all lined up tight, no spaces between.
     
  9. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have five horses that usually go through three round bales a winter. We store them in the barn and use a pitch fork to break them up (one at a time) and pitch fork hay into each stall for them.
     
  10. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We use round bales sometimes with the cows/goats, but there has been a lot of waste with them. In good weather, I place the hay in a cradle holder in the open and hope that they get through it before the rain comes. Once it gets wet, they won't eat it so much. (They just yell at me to bring them a dry bale! Lazy livestock is a curse.) In bad weather, I move the cradle to the hall of the barn in the dry, and that helps, but then there is too much traffic sometimes for the smaller animals.

    I prefer using square bales in a rack/feeder off the ground. There is much less waste. This year, our first cutting was round bales, but the second cutting, which is on the ground and scheduled for baling tomorrow, is going to be square bales.
     
  11. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do any of you worry about the horses getting mold from the big bales outside?
    This is why I struggle with small squares all the time....
     
  12. Bret4207

    Bret4207 Well-Known Member

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    If the bales are put up right in the first place the only mold you get is on the very outside just under the brown junk. I figure 3-4" of waste per bale, that's maybe 10-20 lbs on a 1K lbs bale, for cows it's less. I can tell you this- given free choice my stock prefers the rounds to squares. I think it's the texture of the hay.
     
  13. Critter Keeper

    Critter Keeper Well-Known Member

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    Do you happen to have a picture? I would like to build something like this for the horses and goats. As for the OP I use a round bale feeder for the horses and feed square to the goats, but i'm always on a quest to find a way to save waste, money and time.

    Cindy
     
  14. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cindy, I am still feeding square bales to the sheep and goats, but these round bales ought to save me some money this winter, not to mention hauling less square bales.

    The horses have begun to eat a hole in the center, as many of you said they would. There's no $ in the budget for a feeder right now but I might be able to rig something up with either pallets or scrap wood that's laying around. Thanks for your help.
     
  15. Minelson

    Minelson Well-Known Member

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    I do...and that is why I pay more for the small squares. Not just mold but dust also. They stick their noses way down in there. I am very picky about hay and it's just not worth it when a horse gets sick or gets heaves. I have several different friends who feed round bales and their horses are the ones who are coughing up a storm when we ride together. Not mine. That is proof enough for me. My boss used to be a large animal vet and he said 9 out of 10 breathing issues with horses were because of round bales. He is the 2nd vet to tell me that.
    I know many will say they have been feeding round bales for years with no problems with a gazzillion horses. I am just stating what I personally have witnessed.
     
  16. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

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    I used to feed our 15 horses grass hay round bales which weighed about 12 hundred lbs. each. I would feed two bales at a time in two round bale feeders. figure about 20-25 lbs. of hay per day per horse. This worked pretty good but they do eat a little more feed then they actually need, although it is very cold all winter so I figured they needed the extra feed..............this is all they got for feed and they did great for years this way.......about every 6 to 8 days they were ready for the next bales. no waste really at all.
     
  17. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    with 3 horses you should really think about having a cover over your hay.
    Once the bale is broken its ability to shed water is pretty much gone and rot will begin quickly if it's wet out...like fall or spring. if you have the bales placed on their ends there is no ability to shed water and you will have a pretty pile of compost quickly.

    Before we started baling our own we would have 4x6 rounds placed in the garage and we would peel them and feed them to our steers outside.
     
  18. ErinP

    ErinP Too many fat quarters... Supporter

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    That's my experience, too. That's part of the point of a round bale, afterall-- they shed water. Haystacks do the same.
     
  19. KOHL HAWKE

    KOHL HAWKE Well-Known Member

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    we buy from a guy we know bales them right, and have never had mold issues. there is waste but some of these heavy duty feeders can be found at your local steel supplier, or there are even plastic "huts" avail. we buy both round and square. square for birthing time/stalls. and rounds for the rest of the season. The horses do eat out the center first i agree!, but finish up the rest with time. I would use a hay ring or something of your injunity for less waste. the cows do push on the hay rings i agree too!
     
  20. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    We just put the round bale out and let the pigs and sheep have at it. They clean it all up in a few days. We go through about half a round bale per pig per winter. Figure one full bale also per farrowing. I like having a whole bale per pig available on hand at the start of the winter. We use about two square bales too per pig. This is in Vermont. Long dry winters. Wet is worse. "Waste" is about 2% or 3% based on how much I scrape up at the end of the year. Not much. I put waste in quotes because that goes in the compost pile and turns into good garden soil. Nothing is wasted.

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
    in the mountains of Vermont
    Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa