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Hay Storage
#1
I'm new to horse property management and have always wondered about hay storage and why most hay shelters permit rain to hit the bales from the side. Isn't this hazardous for development of mold? I wonder why these structures aren't enclosed on the sides with canvas or plastic.

If I go with a closed, waterproof shed, is it necessary to have any vents?

Also, since I will have to have delivered hay stacked, should I have a completely open front so a truck/tractor can just drive in?

My previous experience is of Dad, a truck and a garage, so I'd appreciate any tips on doing this for myself finally. Thanks so much!

Thanks
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#2
Ideally hay should never be stored where it can be exposed to the elements but as long as the hay is stored so the any rain that gets on the side can dry up them only the outside bales get damaged.

Hay should never be stored directly on the ground unless you plan to use the bottom row as a sacrifice because it always molds.

Hay should be stored in an enclosed area off the floor at least 8" to allow for good circulation. (Yes, it needs more than one wooden skid, you might get by with two but a full floor support is really required to make the sure the bottom row does not mold.

Our ideal is a a hay loft with good air circulation, yes you will need vents and the roof will need insulation under the tin to prevent condensation dripping on the hay.

If you have any specific question as you get closer to making some final decisions let me know and I will try to give you the benefit of our experience with storing hay in the high humidity of southern Ontario
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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#3
This year I stored our hay in an otherwise well ventilated and dry barn, under a canvas tarp, but on top of a waterproof tarp over a gravel floor. The condensation on the lower tarp from the moisture in the hay itself spoiled the bottom of nearly all the lower bales. And this was fairly dry to begin with - no fermentation heating was ever observed.

Not a huge deal though because the horses will just pick their way thru it and ignore the bad stuff which will be used as garden mulch.

Next year I will either get it on some pallets or up in the loft, but either way no more waterproof tarps.
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#4
Hoopski; You must be very lucky with your horses. Horses will eat moldy hay. I've seen it happen even with my own horses, and my best friend's horse died of colic due to moldy hay that was inside a round bale. They had no idea the bale was moldy since there was no indication of this on the outside of the bale.

So, please be careful when feeding horses hay with any mold on it, folks. Some horses will eat anything, and it could cost you your horse's life.

"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
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#5
I always stored my hay in a loft and added a folded tarp across the top bales to collect and prevent any scat contamination from resident barn cats and other animals (opposums, raccons, skunks, birds, etc.)

When feeding, I would inspect each and every flake of hay to make sure there was no spoilage and/or mold before feeding. As RH advised, horses will eat moldy hay. Even if they do root through it, there are most likely to ingest some and even minimal amounts of mold can cause great harm to horses.
Appygirl

Man does not have the only memory,
The animals remember,
The earth remembers,
The stones remember,
If you know how to listen, they will tell you many things.
- Claude Kuwanijuma - Hopi Spiritual leader


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#6
quote:
Originally posted by Red Hawk

Hoopski; You must be very lucky with your horses. Horses will eat moldy hay. I've seen it happen even with my own horses, and my best friend's horse died of colic due to moldy hay that was inside a round bale. They had no idea the bale was moldy since there was no indication of this on the outside of the bale.

So, please be careful when feeding horses hay with any mold on it, folks. Some horses will eat anything, and it could cost you your horse's life.





Thanks for the tip.

Maybe its just the kind of spoilage we have here in Oregon. There is usually a very noticeable musty odor associated with it. and the hay turns a bit darker. Sometimes no signs at all to our human noses. Horses seem to know even when we don't. We do attempt to pull it out when we notice it.

Our guys are on pasture nearly full time, and we don't even have to feed hay from April till late October. Maybe the availability of pasture just allows them the freedom to turn down anything that isn't quite right to their nose.

Up until this year we were growing our own and storing it loose. This was the first year we purchased bales. In any case I don't like letting hay spoil. I need to do a better job of preserving it this year whether we buy or grow our own.
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#7
Thanks so much, Hook, Red Hawk, Hoopski & Appygirl, for the advice. I never even thought of condensation. I guess a wood or fiberboard enclosed shed with a floor and vents would be best. Does anyone know how many small bales to a 1/2 ton or a ton? I saw a nice tall enclosed wooden shed that is 12' x 12' that would fit right into an alcove that would work perfectly space wise. I'll only have one or two horses to feed.

One of my horses will eat literally anything, so I really need to use care to avoid any mold.

I just wanted to mention that I'll be eternally grateful to all of you for sharing your invaluable experience when it comes to horse property management, horse care and training. Thanks sooooo much for always being willing to help!
Linda
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#8
quote:
Originally posted by LindaOz

Does anyone know how many small bales to a 1/2 ton or a ton?

Just take 2,000# divided by the weight of your bales. For an average 40# bale that would be 50 bales. If 50# bales, it would be 40/ton, etc.
"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A man’s soul can’t be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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#9
quote:
Originally posted by hmeyer

quote:
Originally posted by LindaOz

Does anyone know how many small bales to a 1/2 ton or a ton?

Just take 2,000# divided by the weight of your bales. For an average 40# bale that would be 50 bales. If 50# bales, it would be 40/ton, etc.



Thanks HM. It will be nice when everything is finished and I can get my horses over here.
Linda
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#10
Our hay mow is six feet exactly under the joist and we can go five bales high.

[Image: Hay-mow.jpg]

and we can get 62 bales on the pick-up stacked like this.

[Image: 62-bales-of-straw.jpg]


And don't forget a place to store bedding, Straw or shavings ( loose or baled)
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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