Hay question. Anyone use round bales?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by homebirtha, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Hay has gone up quite a bit around here, especially for square bales. Round bales are looking like a pretty good deal now. But I'm not if they'll work for goats. Does anyone use round bales? How do you do it? We don't have anything to move the bales around with, so they only option is to have the hay guy drop it in or near the pasture. Can they be pushed/rolled around? Do they get moldy? Or is is possible to store them in the barn and just pull chunks off (like I would with a square bale) and take it to their pasture?
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    If you store it in the barn and pull pieces off, that would be the best option. Also make sure you get this year's fresh hay, not some that has stood out in the pasture for a year or two.

    With goats climbing on everything, I don't think feeding a round bale in the pasture with a ring around it like we do for cattle would work at all.

    Using round bales with cattle wastes SO MUCH hay! I hate it, but nobody in our area does square bales any more.
     

  3. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    I do this, and it works. It works GREAT. They love, they EAT it. It lasts longer if you use a hay ring. I've built a hay ring outta cattle panels and cut holes out so the dorks with horns wont get caught (Data does anyway from time to time, he ignores the holes sometimes) but am trying hay rings Ive borrowed from Mom before I go out a buy new ones. IMHO square bales sux. I get covered in hay (I'm allergic), and filthy. When I use square bales I have to do it several times a day, and SO MUCH is wasted. (I actully had a doe who would pull out all the loose hay after I cut open the square bale and then pee on it so the others wouldnt eat it) The round bales are wound tight so they can only pull off what they actully want to eat, and the "waste" with the cattle panel ring is almost down to nothing. Wish my diggycam was working I'd send pics. I just took one and a half cattle panels and wired them in a circle (using clothes hanger wire....it just HAPPENS to be the RIGHT gauge for neat odd jobs like this)and then used a bolt cutter to cut out four squares to make a nice big hole, all the way around about 24 " up and above. Havent had them get on top t and pee yet!!!

    Joy

    -who has learned that she enjoys her animals MORE if she keeps it SIMPLE.
     
  4. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    We sometimes feed roundbaled hay in the barn in winter if we run low on squares. I just unroll it and feed it out. In pasture the cattle panels will save you alot of waste. I have tried the ring and the dumb goats stand on the bales.
     
  5. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    At our local tractor supply they have about 4 different kinds of hay rings. One has diagonally slanted metal bars around it and one has 4" square panel around the bottom. Has anyone tried these??? I suspect theyd work better than the plain old three rings joined by a couple of vertical upright cattle hay rings. I've just wired normal cattle panels around the bottom of the "borrowed" cattle hay ring and will be interested to see how it works. (That ones been in there two weeks and havent caught anyone on top yet, but the bale's still young)
     
  6. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    I do use round bales more often than square. One of my suppliers delivers them with a dump truck as they are 1200 pounds. So you can't move these around obviously. Though another farmer brings smaller bales you can maneuver. I do peel off gobs of it, put them in plastic tubs and carry them out to my goats. Sometimes you will run into some moldy parts but I haven't found that to be a problem. I have found it a better deal than square bales. $70 delivered feeds my herd of 14 for almost three months.
     
  7. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Keep them flat side down, on pallettes, and just wind them down. be sure to keep them covered...once they are stored 'up', the rain can get into them. Stored 'rollable', the rain runs off.
     
  8. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    We use the round bales and place them right in the field.We do have some waste but for the most part they eat it.Make sure you cut the strings off though as they can get caught in them.
     
  9. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    We are completely new to goats, and chose the square bales. They are cheaper than rounds up here as the local farmers prefer the rounds. We plan on letting them browse until winter and then giving hay, and the squares will be easier for me to load on the four wheeler.
     
  10. tulsamal

    tulsamal Well-Known Member

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    We use round bales with our Boers. After our field is cut I have the guy who does the baling space out five or so up by the house and barn. The goats tear a few pieces off but mostly lose interest. But once it get cold and the grass dies, the hay suddenly looks good to them. By spring the bales have just sort of "melted into the ground" from all the nibbling.

    We have also used a tractor to just put a whole one right into the side of the barn where some of them sleep. They tore that round bale apart and hay ended up spread all around. Which is what we wanted. First it was food and then it was warm bedding.

    The only really disadvantage to the round bales is that they are hell to move. You can do a lot with square bales with just one or two people and a pickup. Don't even try to screw with big round bales unless you have the proper equipment.

    Gregg
     
  11. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    ok here is what you do, you can have the guy set a bunch out side your fence out of reach of the goats but close enough to use a pitch fork, take a piece of cattle pannel and make it into a "V" attaching the ends to a VERY solid part of the fence, preferrably a part of the fence made of another cattle pannel, then you can fork a buch into the middle of the V and use it as a hay feeder,

    OR the other option is to have one or two bales deliverd at a time and have them set out in the pasture where you want the, then take another cattle pannel and some extra (the bale is most likely bigger than one pannel will go around all the way) and wrap it around the bale, this will keep the goats off thetop and let them eat through the pannel holes,
    you can eather have them set the bale on its end or on its side, i reccomend its side as less moisture will wick in from the ground,

    depending on how many goats you have and how much brows they have available one good sized bale can last at least a month or so, sometimes more depending on the other variables
     
  12. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    SEE??? It just goes to prove that nothing is new, and everything's been done before. giggle. Glad to know I'm not the ONLY one who thought this was a good idea!!! grin.
     
  13. GrannyG

    GrannyG Well-Known Member

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    Laughed at the memories this invoked....yes, we used round bales for our goats. They ate the center out, and would play "Jump through the middle" till it finally collapsed down.
     
  14. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    If they are available to you, the smaller 4X4 round bales weigh about 700-750 pounds. Two adults can roll them - but not on soft ground or in snow. If you can put them in a barn, your simplest option would be to tip them up onto the flat end. Then, examine the direction in which the bale was wound up. Going in the reverse direction, you can spin off large sheafs of hay using a 3-tine pitchfork. For best results, take sheafs off the entire 4 feet height as you go, trying to retain a cylinder shape. Then fork these sheafs of hay into wheelbarrow or onto a sled for winter feeding. You continue this process as hay is needed, going round and round until the bale gets down to about 10 inches diameter or less. The remaining core can be thrown in a wheelbarrow and fed easily. We generally use the outer rain damaged shell for bedding hay.
    This pitchfork unwinding technique works equally well with larger round bales, but it is dangerous to attempt to roll or tip larger bales(4X5 or 4X6)up on end without the use of a loader.
    BTW in the depths of winter a portion of outer shell may freeze solid. This can be overcome by taking an Ax, cutting a single cut down one side to open up the outer shell.
    We have fed many, many round bales this way. :)
     
  15. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the input! It seems like the round bales are worth a try. The hay guy is willing to deliver them to us as we need them, because he stores them just down the road a bit. Square bales are going for $3.50 this year, while the rounds are only $25!! Seems like too good a deal to pass up. He's bringing us one tomorrow to see how it goes. I'm not sure what the size of these are, but he said it's about 20 square bales worth of hay. He also has smaller ones, that would be easier to move around, but he's sold all those from this cutting already. We're going to put cattle panels around it and cover it with some kind of roof to keep the rain off. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again!
     
  16. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    We just got a round bale for our girls. The farmer just dropped it in w/ a tractor. We chose to leave it in the pasture, side up, and cover it w/ a tarp. Then we just cut a bit of the poly rap so they can eat off of where it is cut into only. Worked so far:) about 2 1/2 weeks.
     
  17. lijj

    lijj Well-Known Member

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    I love roundbales, we just put one right outside their pen in the barn in the winter. They stick their heads through and eat it. I like it a lot better than roundbales b/c you don't have to lug the square bales back and forth--especially in snow. They usually go through one a winter. It saves money too, we don't buy the roundbales, we make them. We don't make square bales though, I have to buy them for my horses and they aren't cheap. Especially when two horses eat nearly two bales of hay a day in the winter.