Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Round Bales or Square Bales... hmmm...

Yesterday, we discovered that we need to find a new "hay person". Our neighbor, Valerie is running low on her supply and needs what she has left for her farm. She recommended a new source for us (until the weather really turns and the field grows) named Betty. This is a blessing, to find local bales of hay to use, but Betty uses round bales, which she will deliver for the fee of $45 each. Sean ordered two.

I will admit, I kind of freaked about this. In my opinion, round bales are too large for us to use them efficiently and therefore, there is too much waste. We were buying bales for $4/square bale. So, now that I can see straight, I guess this will be an experiment and/or a learning experience. Why are those always so unpleasant??? I am hoping it works out well. $90 is a lot of money around these parts for feed that may not work out well for us!

On the bright side, we have never had a very efficient way of feeding the bales of hay. This is what we do. We open the bales, remove the twine, and toss the goats' portion into their yard at the top of the hill, near their stall. The 'left over' hay invariably gets walked on through the day and spoiled by the next morning. Goats will not eat spoiled hay. So, this gets raked up and either spread over the field outside the paddock (we are attempting to raise the ground level eventually, or used as bedding for the goats for the evening and fresh hay is put out for feed. The hay used for bedding is raked out and either goes to reside in the aforementioned field (This field is not currently in use by the animals, by the way.) or goes into the compost pile for use down the road in our gardens. In this manner, it is not strictly wasted, but as it is not nourishing the goats, the result is very nearly the same.

The new round bales are easy to roll up to the outside of the fencing. Here, it is accessible to the goats by them pulling out hay in mouthfuls and eating it. When I went out to check the goats tonight, there was not much wasted and the bale was still fresh. I guess we'll see how it goes. 

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