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 Caring and Owning Horses
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 Round vs Square
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Red Hawk

5092 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2015 :  6:02:30 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just read in the last few days about a woman who gave her horse free choice hay via a round bail and didn't realize it was filled with, if I remember correctly, fox tail. I didn't realize what this weed could do to a horse until I saw the pics of her horse's mouth and gums.

A friend of mine some time back didn't know the round bail her horses had been eating was frozen in the middle during the winter months. Her personal favorite horse ate the frozen hay, ended up with severe colic, and died.

I can't help but think that if these people had found something like this in small square bails, both these catastrophes could've been avoided. Regardless, I doubt if I'll ever feed anything but square bails that I can see what's in it before I give it to my horses.

Also, it's hard to haul a round bail when camping with horses, which we do several time a year. Squares are so much easier to handle whether you're on the road or have to rearrange your barn for whatever reason.

I don't mean to be running round bails down. I'm just making conclusions from observation and the disasters some horse owners are running in to when it comes to feeding round bails. Anyone who would like to contribute to this discussion, pro or con, please feel free to do so. I'd love to know what the rest of you think on this issue.


"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown

Trail Boss (Moderator)

6117 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2015 :  6:59:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Whenever you buy hay it is "Buyer Beware". Take extra time to make sure the hay is fit for horses.

A properly cured round bale should be as good as a small square. Small squares are easier to handle for most if you don't have the equipment.

We do our up our own hay in small squares so we know what we have which makes it a bit easier but every flake still gets checked before it is fed.

My personal preference is small bales.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Trail Boss (Moderator)

5303 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2015 :  9:43:40 PM  Show Profile Send PaintGal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I prefer small square bales too for the same reasons.

Karen ~ Trails & Joe Paint Gelding Paoli, IN
"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night." ~~~~~~
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Advanced Rider

215 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2015 :  09:45:19 AM  Show Profile Send walkinthewalk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I was a kid on the farm, my family never fed rounds or stacks. We always fed small squares.

My main reason for never feeding rounds to horses is the mold and botulin issues.

Waste is right up there, as well.

That said, I had to get another 125 small squares of hay this Fall. It was from the same grower I have been buying from, the last three years but was second cut, rather than first cut which I always buy.

Neither he nor I was happy there is Foxtail in it. My pastures have been inundated with Foxtail this year and I have never seen it before.

When the vet came to do chiro and float teeth, she said it has been a big problem in our area this year due to our weather pattern and the tremendous amount of rain we have had; we are 3+ inches over our average, to-date.

I can't find every piece of Foxtail but I do get what I can. When the vet floated teeth, there weren't any traces of thorns.

I give their mouths a quick visual once a week and watch for any unusual mouthing. I have one horse that has always been very oral in the barn so I watch him in the pasture for unusual mouthing.

One year we had an over burden of Hop Clover. It seems there is always some new thing to worry about, every Spring
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3785 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2015 :  12:23:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit EZ2SPOT's Homepage Send EZ2SPOT a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I did try round bales once, years ago, and you can't regulate how much hay each horse gets. It was an interesting experiment, but I'd not do it again.

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