Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,416 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know the basics, cut, dry, bale, but need to know details, like when to cut it, how long to let it dry before baling it.

I will not be doing lots or large bales. Just small quanities and then if I can I will put it into very small bales. But, I don't want it to mold or any other bad thing. And most of it will be used for bedding, not food.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,477 Posts
I think people are going to ask you what kind of hay you are growing. There is a big difference in growing times between alfalfa and grass for example.

And I have a stupid question. How are you going to tell your animals that the hay is bedding a not food? Or do you mean bedding for yourself?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,929 Posts
Read this - it really does have a lot of help.

http://www.sheepscreek.com/rural/haying.html

Different climates and different types of hay require _drastically_ different methods, I assume you are in a dry area, sounds like you are not looking for good quality stuff but prefer stemmy over-ripe bales, and grass-type hay?

The critters will decide if you made tasty hay & eat it or not. Bedding is usually made from a courser, non-green stalk that isn't tasty so they just lay on it. Trying to use good grass for bedding will work, but they will eat a lot of it along the way.

--->Paul
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,416 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the link rambler.

I know, sounds like a stupid question even to me since I live in a high hay area. And spent the better part of a week in a hay field while they were haying looking for my dog that wondered off.

So, I have some very fine grass in the pasture and have heard that it is used as nesting material for cage birds. And the dry from last year is still so soft and would make wonderful nesting material. I would like to try to preserve some of it to use for cage bird nests. Being dry and soft will be my goal. The geese are eating it with relish green, so I will have to get what I want removed to keep it away from them, or fence it off.

I am not wanting to put up hundreds of acres of hay for livestock. :)

EC KS is prairie land and rather dry in the summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,477 Posts
Thanks for the link rambler.

I know, sounds like a stupid question even to me since I live in a high hay area. And spent the better part of a week in a hay field while they were haying looking for my dog that wondered off.

So, I have some very fine grass in the pasture and have heard that it is used as nesting material for cage birds. And the dry from last year is still so soft and would make wonderful nesting material. I would like to try to preserve some of it to use for cage bird nests. Being dry and soft will be my goal. The geese are eating it with relish green, so I will have to get what I want removed to keep it away from them, or fence it off.

I am not wanting to put up hundreds of acres of hay for livestock. :)

EC KS is prairie land and rather dry in the summer.
OH! THat would be easy! I would honestly just cut it all and let it dry to a crisp in the sun. You wont need to worry about nutritional value. I would just stuff all of it into garbage bags or something once it was dry.

I was thinking you wanted a years worth of bedding for a cow or other large animal.
 

·
Happy Scrounger
Joined
·
13,634 Posts
If you cut using a regular hay mower, or some form of weed whacker even, rake it into rows...even the light weight grasses. Not thick rows, but so that they're not blowing away. If the rows are thick, you'll need to turn the row so it dries on both sides. Depending on where you are it can take anywhere from 24 hours to dry to 3 days.

Try to do your cutting when there's no rain forecast for at least 3 days. Dry wind but overcast is actually better for drying hay than sun without wind. (Living with a Dairy Forage research type guy has it's perks! I learn lots of stuff whether I want to or not! )

Since you're using it for bedding, the growth won't matter. Do try to get it before it starts to dry on the stalk tho.

You could easily do it with just a scythe, or a weedwhacker, a rake and a wagon. Store it in a barn somewhere in a loose pile.
 

·
God Smacked Jesus Freak
Joined
·
7,456 Posts
THe last year I had chickens I just cut an area with tall grass with scissors :)D dont laugh it is actually relaxaing sitting out there in the evening cutting grass,listening to the wind and building some killer grip strength to boot). The grass was about 3+ feet tall, and I'd say it took an area about 40-50 square feet to fill an area 6x8 about 24" deep (96 cubic feet).

I have since inherited some grass cutting shears(the hand is differntly angled which is easier to squeeze). I did get a few blisters which callused up(later I just put a bandaid where I knew it would do that), but pain is weakness leaving the body. It only took a few nights worth of tv to cut the grass with scissors, so that is no big effort to me.

But yeah, just cut it in hot weather so it will dry quickly like ANn said. I'm just piping up to say scissors will work :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,416 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I have used the grass scissors for a couple of years now. You are right, it is relaxing unless I am thinking about other things that need done. :) And I have lots and lots of that real tall regular type grass that needs to be cut for the penned critters. Or to make regular hay out of.

Thanks for the help everyone. I think I will cut some and let it dry in a wagon and see how it goes. if I get to it before the geese do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,519 Posts
How about one of those hand held weed whackers? They easily cut tall grass and you can work your wasteline at the same time.

You might also google 'pine straw balers'. If you want your hay in neat packages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,511 Posts
A quick way to make sure it is dry enough to bale is to get a hand full and bend it. If it is dry enough it will break and if not then it is not. This is the way I did it when I baled hay.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,303 Posts
Not sure how you make it but I've heard that you make hay when the sun shines!:bouncy:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,787 Posts
I think in this case Id dry it in a shed take a few pallets put some wire or screens over them and lay the grass on it in jumbled layers less than a foot thick and then aim a fan under the pallets.
DONT let it dry to a crisp in the sun as I think that would make it both hard and prone to just disinagrate frome brittleness.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
THe last year I had chickens I just cut an area with tall grass with scissors :)D dont laugh it is actually relaxaing sitting out there in the evening cutting grass,listening to the wind and building some killer grip strength to boot). The grass was about 3+ feet tall, and I'd say it took an area about 40-50 square feet to fill an area 6x8 about 24" deep (96 cubic feet).
I wouldn't laugh. We have a crappy front lawn where the grass grows in bunches instead of a carpet. The kids and I go out with scissors and trim down the clumps of grass every so often. It IS relaxing. And then we take the grass we cut and either put it in the chicken pen, or in the compost. Our neighbors think we are strange, but I don't have to buy a "keep up with the joneses" lawnmower I can't afford, hehe. We mow our back lawn with one of the old fashioned push mowers, like Beaver Cleaver used. No grease in the grass, so it is safe to feed to animals, or use in the compost. And our side lawn is where we keep the goats.

For the OP, you can find old scythes pretty inexpensively in old junk shops. To sharpen them, you lay them on an anvil or a piece of rail or I-beam and beat the edge out with a small ball-peen hammer. If you try using a stone to sharpen them as if they were a knife, you end up with no scythe left before long. You don't have to heat the metal to do this, just do it cold. It will pinch the metal out and make a new, sharp edge. I loved working with a scythe when we had our acres. I'd use it to cut fresh grass for the sheep and our calf every day when they had grazed their pasture down too much. That's another peaceful job.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
139 Posts
If you’re just making a tiny amount and you’re Going to put it up in bales about the size of a brick I’m not sure you need to dry it at all before loosely brick stacking it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,191 Posts
The longer the time you take between cutting it and bringing it in under cover, the less the animals will eat it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,789 Posts
I hope he/she figured it out over the 11 years since this thread was posted. Also, the poster has not signed in for over 7 years.

FIDO bites another member.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top