Storing Hay

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Zuiko, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

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    We just got a farm at the end of april. I now have 6 pygmy goats, and I'm looking at 2 miniature donkeys/horses. How do you store hay for winter? It will be in a 3 sided shed. How do you keep it from getting moldy? We were going to buy 100 small square bales, probably at an auction, unless I find somebody. I was thinking pallets would work well, they would let ventilation through the bottom. Do most retail places destroy pallets? We return ours to dc and recycle them. Otherwise I was thinking it wouldnt be too hard to make with a few 2x4's on edge, and a 1x4 every so often the other direction. If I stack them 5 high, I figure I 9' wide (3 rows) and 12' long, I could fit 120 bales (100 hay, 20 straw). Right now we dont have a way to handle round bales, and I think they would be a pain since I use so little at a time. What do you think of my quantities/plan? I can always buy pine shavings, and for the right price I could buy hay if I need it, but I think that will be pleanty.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your plan is fine. If you buy hay that is not moldy when you get it and keep water from getting into it either from rain on top or ground moisture from underneath it will keep for years. I would try very hard to locate junk pallets or old boards to save money.
     

  3. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have 5 pygmies and no barn to store hay in, but I stack hay onto pallets and cover them with tarps, making sure they are leak-proof as I can get them. One big tarp works lots better than several smaller ones. Tie down the edges really good. The hay will last about a year this way, but I make sure I use them up before I start over again the next year. It's not the best way, but it will do.
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    When you tarp it use a good quality tarp. Those cheap ones can blow apart with one good winter storm.
     
  5. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking I will put it in the machine shed now instead. It has dirt floors instead of concrete, so it will asorb moisture instead of collecting it. I will also keep my eye out for pallets. I think they would be much stronger then anything I make too. The machine shed also has all 4 sides closed. I am definatly getting the donkeys, I looked at them today, and am putting down a deposit tommarrow. So I will probably up my numbers a little. Every week there is an open consignment for straw/hay nearby. We will go there tommarrow and see how it works, how much it goes for, etc.
     
  6. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    salt the ground under the pallets thick.
    then dust the layers of bales with fine salt.
     
  7. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ask around to find a hay grower. 4-H people would know, the mailman would know. If you can work directly with a farmer that has a good reputation, you will know the quality of hay you are getting. This past winter hay was scarce because of the drought the previous summer, and our hay guy let us know we needed to buy all of our hay at once, and did not gouge us. Usually, he lets us buy twenty bales at a time because we don't have a barn. We had 100 bales of hay under a large tarp. I wouldn't want to do that again.

    We have gotten many lovely pallets from the recycling center. Speak to the person in charge and offer to take them off his/her hands.

    I love our miniature donkeys. :cool:
     
  8. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

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    The salt idea seems to make sence logically, but I don't know if it would absorb that much moisture, plus I think it would make a mess, maybe its worth a try though. I will be going to several local county fairs (ours plus at least 2 more, depending on work schedule) and I am sure I can find somebody. Also I think by going to the auctions, I can meet farmers who, instead of chancing what they get for their hay at an auction, would rather sell direct. I've been keeping my eyes open at bulliten boards, problem is, the one that seems to turn the most ads sells hay, bad hay... And I'm not sure if they would screen it. We have a loft above one corner of the machine shed, and the people we bought it from used to store a lot of stuff up there, so it should be strong enough, I might put it there if I dont find pallets, or I cant find the room. We are buying a few more tractors. (at least 2) So I am not sure how much storage space that will leave, but I know we arent parking tractors in the loft :) Thanks for the help
     
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I have been salting and I didnt do it to absorb moisture, but rather to inhibit mould growth, which it is doing well.
    the salt under the hay not exposed to air stays crusty dry, the salt exposed to air gets damp.

    its been a few months now and I pulled up a few pallets, and the dirt no longer smells "musty".

    its workin well for me!

    under the pallets i used rock salt so it wouldnt "dissapear" like the fine salt does... the larger rock salt stays intact.
    I'm pretty impressed, my haybarn stunk like musty hay, now its gone... just the smellof fresh hay.