Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Counting Bales

with 4 comments

The way I view it, managing the inventory of hay bales to feed horses is an imprecise science. Whether guided toward serving sizes by weight or “flakes” from the bale, there is widely varying uniformity of both and an uncertain outcome of which horse will eat it and when they do, how much they will consume. Horses we’ve had all seem content to spill and waste as much as they actually eat.

I was once told that if horses get hungry enough, they will eat whatever is served. Given that ours are recovering from a variety of levels of neglect, we’d rather not put them in that level of desperation. Not sharing the same sense of smell as a horse leaves me wondering when they are ignoring a serving because they don’t like the smell.

Cyndie is much quicker than me to declare a bale as “bad” because it is musty, moldy or smells dusty. That hay gets tossed for some other purpose, usually, landfill somewhere on our property.

All that makes it hard for me to judge if we have enough or how urgently we need to bring more in. Today we are basing it on the space we have for storage. As the stock in our hay shed has dropped to a single layer, we have put in the call for another delivery.

Of course, in order to reduce it to one layer, I needed to move 42 bales into the barn. I also ended up rearranging the scrap lumber stored on the right side of the hay shed to create more space for stacking new bales.

The floor of the hay shed is dirt and we put down pallets under the bottom layer of bales, hoping some air beneath them will reduce mold development. It doesn’t really work. As we ended up doing in the past, we’ve decided to leave the bottom layer of old musty bales in place this time and stack the new incoming bales on top of them.

It’s a treat that we don’t need to do the work of lifting and hauling the hundreds of new bales that will be arriving but it is not lost on me that I will be lifting and stacking them all five-high in the shed.

Yesterday was just a warmup for a much bigger upper body workout to come. Hopefully, these bales will all smell perfect to Cyndie and the horses.



4 Responses

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  1. A horse’s perception of a stale bale seems relatively uniform to me. We have had such bales and all the horses refuse to eat them. They have been conditioned to know that getting this wrong leads to death – you probably know that a horse can’t vomit so there is no return when eating something bad. Cyndie is wise to be so discerning.

    Ian Rowcliffe

    January 8, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    • P.S.: I don’t envy you stacking up those bales so high: it is hard work and I might even apply the word ‘chore’ to that backbreaking task at our ripe age:-)

      Ian Rowcliffe

      January 8, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    • Good point. I suffer the gray area between bad as in “unhealthy” and not as desirable because it isn’t the sweetest premium grass bites.


      January 9, 2022 at 11:21 am

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