Round bales reek!

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Jillis, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    I have long resisted my husband's exhortations to purchase round bales (marshmallows) instead of square bales. I give my girl's good quality hay and they show it.
    He finally prevailed and I agreed to buy a round bale from the goat dairy we bought our babies from last winter.

    This is the same hay these folks feed their goats.

    They told me, the first inch or so will be spoiled from the condensation, just peel it off and you're good to go.

    DH bought TWO bales, and was thrilled (less expensive, less time-consuming to move).

    I opened one. I was not thrilled. Smells like apples fermenting under a tree. Peel. Peel some more. Keep peeling. Where's the "good" hay? Speckles of white mold throughout.

    Told dh I am NOT feeding this hay to our goats, and furthermore, I want it OFF of our property immediately!

    I bought some square bales off my neighbor for that night and morning and we had to get a load of square bales that day.

    I wouldn't feed that stuff to any critter, not even a beef cow! It's junk! Plain and simple!
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    My sheep eat them with no problems. They will eat 4 small bales at $3.25 each in 2 days, or one 5 ft round bale at $15 in 2 weeks. ( 25 sheep) There is some waste from the outside layers, but next year Ill get it when its baled and store it inside. Next time get it from someone who at least wraps it in plastic if they dont store it indoors and it will be as good as any small bale.
     

  3. Sher

    Sher Well-Known Member

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    I've seen that Jillis. And must say my reaction was the same. We use small alfalffa bales for the goats. And the last two or three years..we came across a fella not too far from here who has the large square bales. They are all kept inside at his place and then moved here and put inside. They are GREAT!

    They have NO spoilage whatsoever. They are just like the small bales..only waaaay larger. They flake off the same. I tear a flake into forths and feed each goat a fourth..it'd be in the neighborhood of a regular small bale flake.They do cost more..but then again..there is no waste..

    Hey Jillis...I've been wanting to thank you! I put Ora .. the extremely skinny goat girl on BOSS and it has done wonders for her. I think about ya every time I feed it to her! Thanks so much...Ora thanks you too!
     
  4. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    you just got a bad bale or two, if they are selling old hay that has been out in the weather and not properly baled then yes it will be bad, but if its properly baled and not too old then its no differint than squair bales, and if its that rotten i would take it back and let them know
     
  5. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    These were wrapped in plastic...

    Well, that's great to know! Tell her "You're wlecome!" for me! :)

    I'll open the other one and check it out, but I'm not willing to play "round bale roulette."

    I think after this I'll stick with sqaure bales. I have way too much invested in my goats, plus love, to take any chances.
     
  6. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If the hay is put up the same, there should be no difference between the square and round bales. Some farmers just choose to bale it differently and you can sometimes get the large bales for less because they are cheaper to bale. Where the problems sometimes occur is when a farmer puts up hay in good condition in the small squares to sell for horse feed and then bales the rained on hay in large bales for beef cattle. There are actually farmers who advertise their poor quality hay as "goat hay" because they assume goats can eat anything. Those are the ads I avoid.
     
  7. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Round bales are wonderful and cheaper *if* they were kept inside a barn on top of a pallet. I feed exclusively large rounds unless I'm feeding large squares. There is simply NO way I can afford small squares. I never buy hay that wasn't barn-kept for my goats. Also, if it wasn't put up dry, it *will* be speckled with mold, the same as improperly harvested small squares. Its ALL in the handling of it.
    Cows can handle and will eat some mold no problem and that is why so many rounds are stored outside. Our Jerseys eat round bales that have been outside since we had it cut. We don't have enough barnroom to keep the cows hay inside as well as the goats.
    We like to have our outside cow bales net-wrapped. That saves almost all the outer layer.
     
  8. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

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    some farmers like to bale 'white mold' for their cows. Say the cows eat it better and it must be sweet to the cows.

    You got a hold of some really bad bales. Have the guy that you bought them from see them and get your money back.

    I have folks that BALE FOR GOATS and horses and never have problems. Great hay, great storage, good long-term feeding.

    Don't give up and get your money back.
     
  9. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    I agree, no one should pay for moldy hay. It's dangerous for goats, and even if it were okay for cows, you don't invest in mold. The times I've come across some moldy patches in round bales, the farmers have always been more than willing to bring over another at no charge. But I have to say, I've gotten round bales from a variety of sources, and except for maybe three that had some bad areas, the rest have been great.
     
  10. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    If they wrap them before they're sufficiently cured, they're going to be moldy. I buy mine unwrapped but they're inside. Usually its just the ones stacked on the bottom of the pile that have moldy bottoms. Cows will eat the moldy bales, but they'll eat silage too, yuck. Round bales are just too hard for me to handle alone anymore, I'm back to 100 lb squares.
     
  11. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    My father who has beef cows insisted he needed to buy a round baler. Even though he had a square baler, he kept seeing all the other farmers doing round bales. So he bought a round baler.

    After the barn was filled with square bales, he then started making round bales. Round bales are a great labor saver - much less time to bale, alot less labor (no square bales to put on a wagon, take off a wagon, stack the in the barn). Once the baling is done with round bales, you just take your tractor out with the "spear", spear it and put in in storage. (My Dad's storage was stacking them on top of pallets and putting a tarp over them.)

    Instead of my Dad having to move several square bales to fill the beef hay feeder, he simply brings a round bale into the barn and "unwraps" it. Even though the bales are on pallets and under a tarp, the first foot or so of hay is bad, nasty, moldy stuff. Even on the inside of the bale is mold here and there - I want nothing to do with round bales for my goats!!!!

    Perhaps if the hay is truly dry when round baled, and moved from field into an enclosed building - the hay might be alright. But from what I have seen of round bales with the plastic wrap, or the bales stored under a tarp even on a pallet, you are better off buying the square bales.

    What really freaks me out is the farmer who round bales and then leaves the bales out in the field all summer, or moves them to a "storeage" area which is beside the field. Those bales are out in all kinds of weather - hot sun, rainy damp weather, sitting on the ground drawing damp. And then they feed these hay to their cows. :rolleyes:

    Yeah the cows eat it - they have to - 'cause it's the only food they get!
     
  12. AllWolf

    AllWolf We love all our animals

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    I have seen people around here with that round bale of hay and gosh some of it I wouldn't even want to feed to a horse or cow it looks so black under it. I do not see how in the sam he** a cow would want to touch stuff like that. I would never attempt to feed a round bale of hay to goats ever. I buy the square bales of hay never none of that round bale of hay.
     
  13. dbarjacres

    dbarjacres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Okay, were these bales truley "wrapped" like shrink-wrapped in white plastic or were they just under a tarp? If they are under a tarp, there should NOT be spoilage that far around the outside, maybe just one corner if they sat on the bottom and the the edge of the tarp didn't cover them, if they were under a tarp and that bad, they were baled wet and basically fermented (rotted!) under the tarp in the hot sun. If they were the shrink wrapped kind in the white plastic, those bales are made for "silage" bales for cattle, and yes, most of those have mold, as they are in their own little sauna.

    My parents put up roundbales here, well over 1000 a year and they are hauled off the field via trailer asap, set on pallets, stacked 4 high and tarped after a week, or sooner if rain is expected. They rarely get mold in theirs, unless there happened to be a big clump of red clover. We feed the timothy bales to our donkeys and never have a problem and we feed second crop grass/alfalfa/clover mix to the goaties and the problem there is dust cause it's toooo dry!

    You shouldn't have to pay for that second bale. The first one you opened, so some people won't take that back, but the second should be refunded. Good luck!
     
  14. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

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    The round bales I'm getting for my horses and goats are good from about 1/2" in to the CORE.

    If you are a square baler, you have to make mental and physical adjustments to round baling. You need dryer hay (it'll be compressed in a 1,000lb bale) and bigger (hence, more moisture).

    You can't just salt the bale to dry it if it's too wet like you sometimes can with square bales.

    I have some hay that I get that is the finest hay ever. Correctly baled and stored, round bales are as fine as squares. This hay is mid-mature orchard grass, some clover, a little alfalfa, and off and on browse (raspberry/dewberry vines). The goats eat ALL of it, including the grass.

    Again, get your money back and tell your baler that you want horse/goat hay, not cattle. One of my baling guys had to re-structure his thinking to get me non-moldy hay. His cattle LIKED white mold, which meant they would eat MORE and thus stay warm and pudgy for the winter.

    My bale supplier NOW knows what I'll use and what I won't. I got an entire load delivered last winter that was exquisite. But the horse hay person that originally wanted it saw damage on the OUTSIDE of the bale and wouldn't accept it.

    1,000lb bales for $20 is quite a bargain, IMHO, when your animals will eat ALL of it.

    Just don't put round bales in with goats. They are knee-high (relatively speaking) and will eat the bottom of the bale until it's unstable and it can topple over and crush them. They don't make good eating after being crushed.
     
  15. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some of you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Round bales are *wonderful* if you buy the right ones!! Same as square bales. I can buy small squares and pay $5.00 per bale for good grass mix....or I can buy a 1,200 lb round bale that is barn-stored grassy alfalfa for $30.....which is more likely to keep me in business??
    I feed round bales either by unrolling them and throwing the hay into feeders or by sitting a bale on a pallet, wrapping a panel around it and letting them at it. Never feed a bale just by itself as it can collapse on goats and calves.

    As for cows eating moldy hay because the *have* to.....our Jerseys can have hay with mold and hay without mold sitting right in front of them and they'll eat whichever they fancy at the time. They simply don't care. Cows are a whole different world than goats. One reason why its hard to explain goats to cattle farmers and vice versa. :)
     
  16. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the input.

    These are wrapped in white plastic---what they call marshmallows around here.

    It was a BAD year for haying as we had an excessive (even for this rainly region) amount of rain throughout June and July. A lot of the square bales have some amount of dust and even a little mold.

    I am using first cut square bales where I usually get second cut. There wasn't much second cut, and a lot of farmers shipped a lot of hay to areas where they could get a premium price due to drought in those places causing hay to become a golden commodity.

    I pay about $2.60 for a 40 to 50 lb. square bale.

    A round bale goes for $25.00. A round bale consists of about 17 square bales. That translates to about 1.50 per 45 lbs. of hay, a savings of about a dollar a bale, quite considerable and the reason why I was willing to try this hay. Of course, if you have to peel off a few inches of the outer layer, which is a large amount, you have to factor that in and that raises the price per 45 lbs. maybe to about 2.00.

    I am willing to eat the loss as I want to maintain my good relationship with this particular farm. This man does my disbuddings and is a wealth of connections. They are also very nice people.

    However, he also says things like "EVERYONE has abcesses! If they say they don't, they are BSing you!" So you know he tolerates things a lot of us wouldn't...hence the hay he feeds his goats. He also feeds a LOT of all kinds of discarded, outdated breads, cakes and etc from the local bread distributor, I mean a LOT. This replaces a huge portion of his grain bill. Entemanns cakes, lots of white bread...old donuts...

    His goats simply are nowhere near as healthy as mine. Mine have shiny coats, bright eyes, and thank the good Lord, have not been sick since last year---when I brought home a pnuemonia from his farm after leaving 2 of my does there to be bred.

    When I brought back some babies he had sold me, to be disbudded, (I bought them before he made the crack about abcesses), he exclaimed, "My God! I've never seen babies so well grown out!" He wanted us to raise some babies for him. I believe his management comes from the fact that he was originally a cow farmer. His goats give birth in the huge open barn crowded with almost 200 goats. They fall nose first into all kinds of bedding and muck, depending on how recently he skidsteered the place.

    So I've learned...but still, they are good people. They truly love their goats, they are highly regarded in this area, and sell lots of milk to the VT Butter and Cheese Company. They were featured in the magazine "Vermont" a few years ago. They love animals. They just believe that they are doing it the right way, and I have different management methods.

    From what some of you have stated, I am thinking if I can find a decent source of round bales, it would be a good choice. I will keep that in mind, but for now, I only have 25 goats. And they now eat so much alfalfa pellets that the hay has been lasting a lot longer.

    Maybe next year I'll shop around. But we live in such a rainy area, I have the feeling it is not like Texas, where the grass dries well and fast. Sometimes the farmers have only a day after cutting and then there are sprinkles ans such---lots of times they have to ted the hay and redry it. It might bve difficult to have really good round bales around these parts.
     
  17. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We bought two round bales this year, out of desperation. It was this year's hay, and the neighbor who sold them to us delivered them into our barn, onto pallets. We have done fine with them. They are good hay.

    My only complaint would be that I have to go over there every evening and pull off a load to take back to the hay rack in the goat barn. That's more trouble than I thought it would be. But, like I said, the hay is fine, and there is the advantage of not having to pick up and stack all those small bales.
    And, since the small bales were scarce and VERY expensive, it was a good deal for us.

    mary
     
  18. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If that is the case, you might do better to stick with small bales. My goodness, if I could still get them for $2.60/bale, I'd be glad to!
     
  19. TC

    TC Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was thinking, I would love to get 2.60 square bales! I pay at least 5 dollars a bale, and that's if I load it myself in the field.
     
  20. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    Hay is a major crop around here. Aside from some organic garden vegetable farms, most farmers grow hay and cow corn, some sweet corn too. Aside from the rain and the short growing season, most farmers manage to get in at least 2 cuts, sometimes 3. Last spring, everyone was running out of hay as the first cut was delayed over a MONTH by continual rain.

    That actually drove the price of hay up. The farmer I buy from went up 10 cents a bale. But a lot of others went up to $4.00 a bale for second cut. I got some excellent hay for $3.00 a bale by getting it from the field as it was baled. But it was a little damp and some of the bales weren't as good as others. Still, nothing was a bad as these round bales.