Thursday, March 3, 2011

Farm Friend Friday: Hay There!

Is there a 12-step program for hay hoarding? I have about 40 bales left of the 125 we picked up in September. (Click here to see the post)  I am feeding up to 15 pounds/day/horse. If the bales weigh 45 - 55 pounds each that should mean my 40 bales will last.... OK, children, the answer?  Wait, sorry, I'm not teaching Math any longer!
But, what if we can't find more hay? What if they find a way to convert hay to fuel and it becomes very scarce and expensive? What if all of the hay in the US is shipped overseas to feed starving horses in China? What if we don't get another flake of snow or a drop of rain and our pasture doesn't grow? Although I'm not serious about these scenarios, both my husband and I begin looking for hay deals each year as our pile grows smaller. We also have to consider that with Pippin's problems with laminitis, he doesn't get much pasture time in the spring and early summer. I did buy a grazing muzzle, but he can get a halter or bridle off in a skinny minute!
So, the hay hunt began near the end of January. We would occasionally check Craig's List. We would notice loads of hay going past us on the road, and take note of a phone number if listed. Or, we'd jot down numbers from crude 'Hay 4 Sale' signs along the road. There is a nursery between our current home and our project home. We drive by the nursery twice a day. Since there isn't a lot of nursery business in the winter, they have been selling hay. After seeing the nice looking hay for several days, we finally stopped in to ask about the price. $8 a bale, we were told. $7.50 if you take more than 50 bales. $7 if you take what's left on the flat bed. Incredible prices for prairie grass hay that looks and smells great! The going price is usually much more than that if you pick it up.

So, how many bales are on the flat bed, I ask?
Father and son look at each other,
shrug a bit, and tell us they think
there are about 200 bales.
Can we split the load among neighbors, I ask?
Father and son look at each other,
shrug, and say, "Sure, why not."
Does that price include delivery?
Father and son look at each other and nod.
And then add that they will stack it, too!

We leave the nursery, make a few phone calls and stop by on our way home. Sold! This is too good a deal to pass up.

Pippin spots the truck and trailer coming down the driveway.

 Hubby helps stack.

  Pippin calls Doc into the stall so he can see the hay as the pile grows.
(Normally the boys don't have access to each other's stall,
but occasionally I open a gate in the paddock so they can
'play' with each other...and not over and through the fence.)

Thing 2 (looking like a spook kitty) approves of her new perch.

So, are you a 'hay hoarder' too?
What kind of hay do you use?
Do you grow your own?
What size bales do you buy?
What are the prices like in your part of the country?
Do you have great pastures so you don't have to feed hay all or part of the year?

Head on over to Verde Farm to join others in Farm Friend Friday!


  1. Wow! $7 a bale and I thought $5 was horrible. This last batch I paid $4 but it had gotten a little rain. For my goats it was fine. I usually have a source I can buy like 30 bales at a time but this fall they sold it all at once so I've had to scrounge around.

  2. It's amazing how hay prices differ around the country. I've paid from $6.00 to $10.50 per bale locally and let me tell you, price doesn't always reflect quality. The $10.50 hay looked fine and smelled alright, but Misty was clear that it was not tasty (probably a very late cutting). I've not purchased from that feed store since. I was working from home yesterday when I saw a big semi-trailer loaded with hay pass by. From my dining room window the hay looked very pretty. I wanted to hop in my car and follow that truck. Yes, I'm a "hay hoarder". I start to fret this time of the year when I see my stack dwindling and I'm not sure I have enough to last until the first cutting. I hope our temps stay above freezing so we can make our hay last a little longer.

  3. Well deserved! I really enjoy your blog and am impressed by your finds. Keep it up!
    Sweet memories.
    Titanium Necklaces Titanium Necklaces

  4. I used to be a hay hoarder. I payed $3 - $4 for a bale like that. Now I have enough pasture I'm a hay maker. I might have to call you if you want to come buy some for $7/bale.

  5. Oh I feel for you - i remember those days...

    We have about 60 acres in hay ground now, in SE Montana. And I now feed round bales; roughly one bale can last a month or so for two critters. Mold is not a problem here as precept annually is 13 to 15 inches. Yes, I live in hay heaven lol

  6. Holy crap, $8 a bale! Around Here $5 is expensive. We mostly pay around $3 a bale. Wow. It amazes me how different prices are around the country...because they certainly are different...

  7. Wow your prices. We sell hay to horse people at a much lower price. Round bales. $20. they are equivalent to about 15 square bales. This is Canada. I just sold some squares for $2 a bale.

  8. Holy Smokes! Around here it's $4.00 a big bale for lovely stuff. I think the track folks get their bales for around $2.50 or $3.00 because they buy so much. I hope that the horses like it and eat every scrap!

  9. We use the same hay guy every time. We pay $4.50 a bale for 1st cut (chubby mare) his second cut is $5.50. The hay is consistantly gorgeous, the 1st cut not "as gorgeous". He not only delivers and stacks for this price, but brings lots of goodies from his veggie garden. Have approx. 30 bales left, with one horse that should do for a while longer. Should mention, he makes a point of calling when he's running low to his regulars. Love the pic of the boys watching and waiting from the stall.

  10. That is very expensive,we pay $2/60lb bale of horse quality second cut.
    We have enough pasture for all our critters from May until November.
    We also rented a field last year for hay and by the time we payed for manure to be spread,cut,kicked out and baled our rounds,4x5,cost $9, if we hadn't rented the field we would pay $18-20/round.
    We also feed alfalfa haylage,4x5, they are $25.

  11. Well, the neighbors spoil us, and we try to spoil the neighbors. After selling their cow herd, they began selling good horse hay. It's been very inexpensive by comparison. The bales are about 33-35 lbs. each. My husband and boys help put the hay (that is not delivered from the field) into their barn every summer. Our prices just went up, but it's still lower than all around us.

    We are increasing our pasture size this summer and will be able to split the new area into 3-4 separate pastures. So I am hoping to feed less hay.

    I DO need a grazing muzzle for our pony. <3 I'd rather that than lock her away.

  12. Oh duh it was $2.50 a bale, $2.75 out of the barn and not the field (even though 'WE' loaded it INTO the barn, haha) and now it's $3. a bale. Prices around here go $4-5 a bale, 1st or 2nd cut, and some of it that I've seen looks more like mulch hay than anything I'd feed to ANY animal, much less a horse! Northwestern VT, USA.

  13. Four our cows it's a totaly different ballgame but for my spoiled stud:
    hmmm, 3.50 a bale, small square bales (so i can lift them), it's a nice grass hay with some alfalfa and clover and nope we don't grow it ourself we get it from a neighbour farmer.


  14. It appears that our area has some of the most expensive hay in the country. Hmmm, maybe I should consider moving ;-)

  15. I don't have any animals that need hay - I cringe buying straw! Since it's just bedding for hens and ducks, I've even been known to rake up the field when I mow. I'm actually considering asking for a scythe for my birthday, but I'm still not sure.

    I had no idea that horses ate so much hay per day. I'm amazed!

    -Laura at TenThingsFarm

  16. We don't have horses, but our Amish neighbors often buy hay by the tractor trailer load for their horses and mules...I think it comes from out West, but I have no idea what they pay.

    We bale our own alfalfa hay for our's so much work...recently, though, we had to buy some hay at the auction for our heifers (doesn't need to be quite as good quality for them) and paid $125 per ton. I'm not sure what that comes to per bale...

  17. Wow--hay is definitely a good business to be in. It’s hard to get here and you have to be careful to get good quality. It runs around $7 a bale and that isn’t good hay--it often has weeds and mold. I end up getting my hay from Lexington, KY and it is way expensive but great quality and lasts longer due to that quality. I so wish I had enough land to have my own hay growing.

  18. PS-thank you for sharing with FFF!

  19. Definitely a hay hoarder here. I like to always have a least a month's worth of hay on hand. If it gets much lower than that I go into panic mode and the only thing I can think about is getting more hay!

    I pay $3 for 65-75# bales for a beautiful soft, leafy timothy, alfalfa, clover mix. My horses are convinced it's candy.

  20. We pay $8 - $9 a bale here at the feed store in NE Texas. Altho we have a hay pasture, we allow our neighbors to round bale it for their beef cattle. Our horses winter on it during the day, but I feed square bales of "horse-grade" to them during the leaner cold months. We've been lucky - the last few years have been good hay years so you can find it pretty easily.


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