Green chop or Hay

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by minnikin1, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    I'm having a brain dump here, apparently.

    I want to feed green chop once the grass gets growing this spring because our fences aren't ready.
    I read warnings that you need to feed it really fresh, that you should not allow it to heat up.

    So say I'm slow and it does heat up. How long until it is technically hay and safe to feed again? I'm so paranoid now that I'm gonna feed it in the harmful tweener stage! :eek:
     
  2. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If it heats, you're making compost, not hay:) Hay is dried as quickly as possible to preserve it, silage heats but must be made in an airtight space.

    If you're worried, just give them plenty so they aren't forced by hunger to eat something spoiled, I would think they would sort through it even better than cows with those little snouts.
     

  3. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    green chop should be chopped on a daily basis during the summer and spring . three days is the longest we have gotten the chop to last in the fall. there are preservatives but have not tryed them (yet)
     
  4. Celtic_Knot

    Celtic_Knot Celtic Heritage Farms

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    We usually try to give it to them within a few hours. It really depends on your storage and cutting methods. If you cut it really short then you have less time, if you pile it in compact piles, less, in the sun, less
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Green chop never really becomes "hay" unless we're talking about a different harvestign method than using a chopper. Green chop is made with a flail harvestor that cuts and throws it into a wagon, or a forage harvestor either direct cutting or pickign up green fresh cut grass. Either way it's not laid out to dry it's chopped and into a feeder wagon or a forage box to be augered out or stacked to ferment as silage.

    If you mean you're going to cut hay and feed it green from the field, as the remainder drys, and then feed a little more and then a little more with the hay always getting a bit drier on each feeding, then you'll you'll never get the spoilage problem with chopped haylege. It's slime to outright mold that is the problem not water content. You will have to remove the uneaten green stuff as it will spoil.
     
  6. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    are you talking about mowing your lawn and saveing the clippings for the sheep? if your doing this dont save it from one day to the next, sence its all cut up fine all the moisture is let loose and sence its all buched up bacteria and molds can begin to grow remarkably fast, if you let it sit your makeing compost not hay,
    hay is still intact plant material that is alowed to dry quick naturally with out alot of cut surfas area where molds and bacteria can grow,
    if your going to feed grass clippings do it emediatly and dont save it for later
     
  7. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    OK, I'm beginning to understand the differences here.

    I was planning to cut portions of the pasture with a DR type mower to feed to the sheep, but I haven't purchased the mower yet.
    Right now all I have is a regular lawnmower, or we could rake after the brush-hog.
    So heres what I think you're all saying, if I can't feed the mowings immediately, I have to make haylege. (I would do this on a small scale in an airtight plastic bag per Gene Logsdon's directions)

    Once I bag it, do you have to let it ferment for a certain amount of time, or can you feed it as soon as you need it?

    I had also read that if you can spread plant material on a dark surface like black metal roofing material, it will dry like hay. (They were talking about doing this to add herbs like comfrey to the diet) Not true? Sun is bad?
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Silage goes through a fermentation process which start with aerobic bacteria flourishing and consuming all the oxygen. This produces an undigestable acid (not prusic acid but the correct name escapes me) Anaerobic bacteria take over and start the ensiling process which produces a lactic acid preservative, which is digestable so yes there is a wait time. How long depends partly on the amount of moisture, how tightly its packed, how air tight it is........ its a science which would be hard to make a precise time for a small system like you're suggesting. For our stacks we wait a minimum of one month before opening the pile. The haylege going in was wilted before chopping (or round baling) to reduce the moisture.

    As for sun beign bad you need it to make haylege or hay to reduce moisture but too much starts to destroy vitamins and protein. If its bleeched its damaged. You could dehydrate it faster on a hot roof, but again too much and you destroy nutrients.