Round Bales of Hay - Pros and Cons?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MarkSykes, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. MarkSykes

    MarkSykes Well-Known Member

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    I am just about out of hay for my five dairy goats. Instead of buying more small square bales, I was thinking of buying a single round bale of hay, transporting it via my GMC pickup truck, and storing it in the barn (there's room). I'd like your opinions on this idea, specifically, do you figure I can or can't transport a round bale in my 1/4 ton full size pickup truck; round bales are typically left out in the weather so the quality may or may not be there; a big round bale is going to turn into a big mess in the middle of the barn versus the easier to handle small square bales; plus anything I haven't thought of.

    What do you all think?

    Thanks,
     
  2. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    A large round bail is going to be on the order of a ton, yes 2000 pounds. A small round bail may only be about 600 pounds. If you can manage to get it in the barn up on end you can unwind it to use as feed. Likely the first 6-12 inches are going to have no feed value and should be set aside as bedding. Alternately you can leave it on its side and let the animals do what they want to it, in which case likely one half will be wasted
     

  3. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    You can use a sawsall to cut it up. Put it on a pallet to keep it off the ground.


    mikell
     
  4. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

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    Well they outlawed round bales in Alabama


    Seems like they decided the cows just couldnt get a square meal out of them
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If round bales have been handled and stored like small squares (IE no rain) then you will have feed value through out the bale. Better actually as there is less leaf loss. Even if you're buying weathered bales, 80-90% of it is going to be reasonable feed. Do check the sizes, like George says not all are equal! Use a feeder and save money big time over small squares. I chop my rounds with a tub grinder and that reduces waste to about 10-15% but any feeder will keep losses to a minimum.
     
  6. MarkSykes

    MarkSykes Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, all. I'll see if the farmer can guess the weight and give it a try. I *think* there's an economy of scale in buying the round bale which is why I'm considering it.

    DrippingSprings, I fell for the gag, got all indignant about intrusive laws and then read the punch line.
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well I can offer a little insider info on weights so find out the hay type, the bale dimensions and make of baler that rolled it up, and I'll get you the weight it should be. I've been looking for a replacement for my Krone kr125 and checked out about every one made!
     
  8. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..............My first question would be do you have a tractor with a frontend loader to unload\move a Roundbale? My other comment would be that , the people down the road from me will occasionally feed their goats with a round bale . Those goats jump on top , knock chunks of hay to the ground and then promptly pee and sleep on their handiwork . That never seemed very efficient to me . I think I might stick with square bales if you only have 5 goats to feed ...fordy... :eek: :)
     
  9. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I was feeding Round Bales to my Goats.It was just easier for me to hook a Cable around them and pull them off the Truck,I used a 1/2 Ton,hauled 2 Bales at a time,so yes I had a Load.

    I would just set them on end fork off what I needed and cover it with a Tarp.

    big rockpile
     
  10. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

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    Well I have a friend who raises goats and he took one of the roundbale holders and put legs on it to lift it just high enough the goats could reach it and not be able to hop on it. Wire mesh bottom and four legs all it took. He too had the problem with the climbing til he did this
     
  11. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    The farmer should know how much his bales weigh. If he acts like he doesn't, he's probably trying to get too much for them. We generally have 1500 pound bales. Most people around here go with 600-800 pounders.

    Smaller bales are easier to deal with if you don't have equipment, fit in round bale feeders better. Larger ones last longer before you have to put hay out again. That shouldn't be a big problem though with five goats.

    They will waste alot. The longer it takes them to eat it, the more they waste (or so it seems).

    Jena
     
  12. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

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    put the round bale on the OUTSIDE of the fence. Against a cattle panel. The goats can eat through the panel and self-feed. Some moving now and again will keep the bale against the fence.
    DO NOT PUT THE BALE LOOSE IN WITH GOATS. They will tend to eat the "bottom" part first, they lay in it's "shelter" and it becomes top-heavy and then collapses down on top of them, killing them.

    Through a cattle panel works well.... I've been using the system for years...
     
  13. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Oh goody!! Looks like So Far, I get to be the resident 'ex-spurt'! LOL!

    I have three horses, and three goats. I have used round bales for several years. It takes about one a month. I have no hay ring, so the horses are MESSY, so there is some waste, but not a lot! My little Nanny always gets on top, but has NEVER pooped up there. I will say the round bale is less trouble and great if I'm going to be gone. BUT it would be more efficient (cheaper) w/square bales; although more daily trouble. My horses also have a tendancy to 'pork up' a bit with the round bale, at first, but not bad. :eek:

    When my neighbor who delivers it on his tractor w/hayfork brings it over, I have him NOT CUT THE STRING and put it with the string Vertically around it. You know.. UP and DOWN if you look at it from the string side. The animals eat out the sides a bit and as they nibble it down I keep a check on the string and remove as necessary to keep from 'accidents'.

    NOW... I once picked up a round bale in town and brought it home in the bed (I should say ON the bed, draping over!!) of a 1991 Ford Ranger. :eek: The truck was really light on the front!! LOL!! I got it here okay, and had to 'roll it off on a 'hill'. :eek: or no... wait.. The PLAN was to 'roll it off" !!! I had to have my neighbor come over w/his hayfork!! LOL!! Oops.. ROFLMAO!! That's right... I DID.. That sucker wouldn't BUDGE. :waa: BUT the horses and goats didn't mind if it was attached to the truck for a few days! And it was a SMALL round bale. Not my usual neighbor's hay that is lucious, blue ribbon winning, etc. and really HUGE! LOL

    Yeah... ya better get a 'buddy' w/ a hay fork or a truck you don't need to use!! :):) Good luck!
     
  14. ponyexpress

    ponyexpress Well-Known Member

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    We went to round bales about 4 years ago. we're getting older, can't stack square bales like we used to, and don't have a reliable truck...
    My hay man delivers and he and DH roll the bales off the truck by hand (he says they weigh 600 lbs each, but I think thats a light estimate) You do need a "brake" to stop them from rolling. That is usually ME! I have wondered a few times if I was going to get squashed! The men run right around and help once they get it started rolling.
    We store ours in the middle of the barnyard, tarped, and fork it off as needed. None in the barn, which turned out to be a very good thing as we had a grass fire last week and it caught the hay too. It could not be put out, and beleive me, we tried. In all my years with horses, I have never seen such a mess. Luckily we only lost the hay and all the grass in the yard.
     
  15. MoBarger

    MoBarger Goat's Milk soap for sale

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    You got a round bale in a RANGER?? We have to use our truck with the long bed. Then we can roll it off onto pallets by the goats, and cover with a tarp.
    Round bales are cheaper in the long run, just hard to move around and store lots at a time.
     
  16. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

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    Either tie the bale to a stout tree or some such and DRIVE OFF OUT FROM UNDERNEATH IT if you are using a pick-up.

    I use my Allis Chalmers B or the pickup to pull them over on their sides to unwrap and feed them (if I didn't put them in with the animals). Just put the rope/chain on the upper third of the bale, attach to your vehicle, and drive off. It WILL pull the bale over. Make sure you put a pallet under where you think the bale will end up to keep as much of the hay usable....

    Round bales are much better to store than square bales. Placed cinnamon roll side to cinnamon roll side keeps them better than side to side...

    And the cruddy stuff on the outside can be used for chicken hay or bedding...