Now more than ever with inflation and prices rising it’s important to conserve as much hay as possible. Large hay bales are often a good choice when looking to save on your hay costs if you have the equipment and storage to keep them. When feeding your horses outdoors you will want to make sure to use a hay feeder that will contain your hay as much as possible.
Why Use Large Hay Bales
For bigger farm operations, larger hay bales are often the most economical choice as they feed more at a lower cost. They also have an advantage over smaller because they ferment naturally keeping mold and rot from impacting the hay; therefore, you can keep them for longer. In addition, using a larger hay bale can be used to feed more horses at one time, making them more efficient for feeding.
Round or Square Hay Bales?
There is a difference between large round and square hay bales. Square hay bales tend to have a higher density than round. Square bales are also easier to carry so require less manpower. They also store more effortlessly as they can be stacked without any issues of rolling.
Round hay bales, however, typically tend to be less expensive as they are more highly produced. In addition, because of their size, round hay bales can provide more protection from the elements, helping to keep them fresh for longer. Both round or square large hay bales have the advantage of saving you time and money.
Klene Pipe’s big bale hay feeders including the H-8 or H-10 Horse Hay Feeders can hold either large square or round hay bales and are designed to help keep your large hay bales in place to avoid loss of hay. Our no-waste hay feeders prevent hay from scattering and blowing, saving you time and money.
It may be warm enough for the snow to have melted, but the springtime is still too damp and cold to jump right into summer practices. This makes spring one of the most tedious seasons to care for your horses, preparing them for the warm months of summer.
Luckily, we’ve put together a short to-do list so you can start preparing for the summer now.
- Schedule Your Check-Ups
The spring is the perfect time to schedule your horse’s annual wellness exam. It’s especially important to get them vaccinated for mosquito season as mosquitoes and other insects oftentimes carry preventable diseases.
- Check Your Fences
Once the snow and ice melts, you may notice that some things have shifted a bit during the cold weather – like fences for example. Freezing and thawing of the ground can cause fence posts to “heave,” resulting in downed rails, loose mesh or high tensile fences, which no longer have high tension. It’s important to make note of this now so you can tighten any fence posts that may have become loose over the winter.
- Hay and Grass Intake
When the first sprouts of grass begin to pop up, it’s common for horses to overindulge in the beginning. To prevent overindulgence, grazing muzzles can help to monitor grass intake. In addition, the use of a hay saver hay feeder can assist in preventing horses from overeating. It’s also important to keep a steady supply of forage for your horses as this is what will help to keep them warm through fermentation. The threat of laminitis due to over consumption is at an all-time high during the early spring.
- Hoof Care
Do not neglect regular trimming and resetting of shoes during the winter, even if your horses are not working. Letting horse hooves get overly long increases the chances of them chipping, cracking or other major changes in hoof angles. That’s why it’s important to keep up with hoof care during all seasons.
Summer is only right around the corner, so start gearing up for busy season while you can!
When it comes to finding the best hay to feed your horses, there are actually a select few choices for you to pick from. Generally speaking, however, hay will fall into one of two categories: legumes and grasses.
Legume hay has higher protein content, higher energy content and higher calcium levels than that of grass hay. Higher protein is especially important for young, growing horses and/or working or performance horses. With protein levels ranging anywhere from 15 to 21 percent in legume hay, horses are getting the nutrients they need to grow properly. However, it’s also important to understand that legume hay typically has more calories per pound than grass hay, so horses consuming these particular types will need to consume less to maintain their body weight.
Grass hay has its benefits, too. Lower in energy content and protein, grass hay is oftentimes preferred – especially for older horses as it is much easier on the kidneys and easier to chew and digest. Grass hay has high fiber content, which makes it a convenient solution to horse feeding as it satisfies their appetites without adding extra calories or protein. The lower nutritional values in grass hay is also a plus, not to mention, it’s less dusty than legume hay which makes it a smarter choice for horses that may have respiratory issues.
Every horse has different nutritional requirements. Age, activity level, breed and size all contribute to finding what hay is the best choice for your horse. Since there is no cut-and-dry answer to which hay is the ‘best’ generally speaking, it’s important to become familiar with your horse and your options to pinpoint the best choice specifically for you and your horse.