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Whether you feed in a hay ring or just by setting the bales on the ground, there will be a good bit of waste. What basically happens is the cattle start eating in at the ends and eventually the top (which is where most of the weather spoilage has occurred), collapses on the bottom (which is where the ground spoilage has occured).

I went by a farm the other day and notice round bales of hay looking somewhat like mushrooms in his pasture. Occurred immediately to me what they had done. When it bale was set on the ground it was tipped so one end was upright. The cattle had no choice then but to start eating the sides, working their way into the better hay in the middle.

What I plan to do is to make a needle like spear out of probably 1/2" rebar about 2' long. A 1/2" rope will go into the end. When the bale is set on the ground with the tractor, I can then go around the back, stick the needle into the middle, toss the rope over the top of the bale and connect it to the hay spear bracket. By driving forward it should tip the bale upright fairly easily. To hold the spear and rope, I plan on welding a bracket to the side of the hay spear bracket.

Am open to a better idea as it will be a couple of days before I can get to this. The guys putting in about 5,000' of french drains in a field are keeping me humping to get in the pipe before they backfill with gravel. Guy I had hired to help didn't show up. Surprise - surprise!

Ken S. in WC TN
 

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I fed this way for along time and then switched to putting them on the side :) . This was with hard core bales. It seemed that they couldn't reach or tear apart the remaining center portion, so I always ended up with an upside down cone shaped leftover.

For tipping them over maybe you could replace the top link with a hydraulic cylinder. You could tip the spear down and then use it as a lever to tip the bale.
 

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I can tip bales with my tractor. I'm not sure if I can explain how. I'll have to go tip some bales and think about what I'm doing when I'm doing it.

Of course, with the loader it's easy, but when I have the tractor with just the spear on the back, I can still do it. Forks make it very easy, if you have those. Just get about halfway under the bale, lift while reversing and there you go.

Jena
 

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You all must have different types of machinery to make the bales, the ones here I grab and tip over by hand, but remember I weigh 260 and go gator rideing bareback!! :p
 

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Geez, Ken, what size are your bales? Ours are 5x4, netted wrapped, tightly wound, square edges, about 1000 pounds. We either tip them by stabbing them slightly below center, just barely in and lifting the hydraulics a bit. Alternately, two of us can tip them over by hand, only one person if they are stronger than me, not many women can tip a round bale by hand by themselves so I don't feel so bad!
 

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Well, I took my tractor out to get hay today....

I almost got it stuck in the mud. Good thing for me, I got it out. I'll have to tip bales some other day. I had to go get the front wheel assist tractor to do hay. It has the loader.

Our bales weigh 1500 pounds. I have never tried to tip one by hand, but I don't think I could do it, not even with help.

Don't forget...round bales kill a number of people every year. Whatever you do, do it safely and THINK before you try it!!!

Jena
 

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For those readers who may not have the experience to think of it, round bales kill a number of smallish animals a year too. May even be relevant to cattle (think calves). If the bales get eaten out and top-heavy, they can eventually come down on whatever's underneath, squashing and pinning them, leaving them trapped to die.
 

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Ohh , yes

The very first winter we switched to round bales , oh so many years ago ,
I lost a new born calf overnight , when the cow decided to choose next to the bale to calve .. I knew she had calved couldnt find the calf , finally decided it might have been coyotes .. found the little body under the frozen hay after the cows had eaten off the bale that got tipped over the calf .. sad I invested in a bale hoop after that
Now.. I dont use bale hoops anymore .. because of a tragedy in teh steer lot
when a fresh bale was pushed over enough by the other steers to pin and snap the neck of another in the hoop ...you dont think about it till it happens
I would also caution people who have horned cattle , that bale hoops can be the source of much grief .. I have a friend over in Penna who many many years ago, lost 7 beasts in one night, it was during a murderous snow/ice storm , the ground is quite hilly ..
he came out to hay cows in morning after storm , found 7 young beasts hanging in teh bale hoops, they had lost their footing on the ice! It was a horrid tradgedy!!!

paula
 

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i cover or barn store my round bales when i can then there is no visable waste when i feed them just a small pile of coarse weedstems/brush totaly inedible when hay is left outside and uncovered there is a lot of the outside of the bale that is deteriorated and no longer edible i count the labor and expense of stacking and covering as money well spent just baught some hay last week that had been stored outside it was chhep enough but a far lower quality than what is left in the barnwell the outside 5'' will make a good organic compost/bedding....... i unrolled some moldy bales on the ice pack last winter for bedding and was suprised at how much of it they ate it was bad enough i would have felt cruel if i had forced them to eat it they had good hay in the feeders so it was thier choice.the feeders realy cut down on hay waste just look at what is left and determine if it looks edible if i put out good hay they clean it up compleatly unfortunatly most of the hay i deal with is not good enough without grain to over winter stock but i am working on that ..... fed my first balage yesterday could only find the strings left in the feeder when i got home i dont like the extra plastic to despose of but last spring it would have been worth it to have saved the quality of the first 50 bales ,rained on it a week before it was baled. the balage had a good silage smell i think the expense would have been about 5$ a bale more i was given this one to try,i think it would be worth the expense for earl hay during rainy weather
 

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We have rolling hills on our place here in KY. What we and everyone around here does is to drop the round bale at the top of the hill and push it over so it unrolls itself down the hill. The cows will line up at the row of hay to eat. No waste and it's not deep enough to get moldy or for the cattle to bed down in and soil.
 
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I like this round bale unroller/carrier on wheels that I use behind my pickup. http://www.geocities.com/quik_roll/QuikRollHomepage.html
I never did like hay rings but till I found this unroller there wasnt much choice. I dont like using my tractor in winter much cause I have to boost it off alot in cold weather so the tractor mounted unroller was out of the question. I really like being able to drive in my warm pickup cab than that tractor also. Waste is nill if I dont put out more than they can eat in a day. If im going to be gone for a few days I just set the bales out and throw rings on them (one hayring per 10 cows) then resume unrolling when that is gone. I like how it controles manure buildup and keeps the grass from being damaged.
Paula made a great point that I never even thought of. For once im a step ahead of the game.

Rodney
 

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You know they are going to outlaw round bales.....

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scroll down...

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because the cattle can't get a square meal. :haha:
 

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Actually, square bales are still my favorite way to bale hay, but those are a thing of the past cuz you cannot get the help you need to put them up anymore.

For round barrels, you can get a wheelbarrow wheel, mount it on a bracket to the front of your truck or tractor, take the string off your bale, and push it to unroll it.

There are also hydraulic clamp-style bale unrollers that go behind tractors. And I have seen one guy just drive two sharpened truck axles into each side of the bale, then use a chain looped between them to pull it with his tractor drawbar.

Or you could make a round bale feeder out of an old utility trailer, so you load the hay into the V-shaped feed trough, then pull the trailer to the feeding area.

Minus any feeding equipment, unrolling the hay is the best way to feed it without much waste and without creating a winter mudhole, that's for sure. But tipping it on its side with no feed ring is the easiest way, since you don't have to feed every day.
 
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