Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hay after the rains

I was able to get a good supply of alfalfa hay this summer in spite of the extreme drought we had but I still needed grass hay for the alpacas. I was reading the craigslist ads and I saw an advertisement for some round bales from Arkansas. Farmers don't make round bales around here but whenever I drive east I see them in the fields. Our little squares are getting more and more expensive and harder to come by, so I am always looking for an alternative. Out of curiosity, I decided to call him. He would deliver them free of charge but wanted to sell a full truckload to make the trip worthwhile. I agreed on 10 providing they would fit in my barn. In September, we had record rains, a couple of inches at a time, and heavy flooding, although nothing so bad as Colorado and other parts of New Mexico. My arroyo/lane near the barn flooded into a river twice  last month so that I had no access to my barn for a while. 

The next photo is looking the other way. We had new ponds everywhere.

Even on the main roads.

 And the barn area was a complete mess! The water all drains downhill into my pens.

They didn't even have dry stalls.

I had to walk along the road and into my neighbor's field once and through my ankle deep arena another time. I was worried with all the rain that we wouldn't be able to deliver it up to the barn. 

Fortunately, it stopped raining for two days before he arrived and  the arroyo/lane partly dried up enough so that he was able to deliver the bales one at a time using a spike on the back of his truck.

I called my son and, fortunately, he had just finished work and was able to come and help. My daughter was over for the day too. Hooray! I had helpers.

He'd back in as far as he could and then, using a hydraulic jack, he'd lower them. We'd pull them off and roll them into place. 

Rolling a 1200lb bale is not easy and it took the three of us to move it. And these are actually small round bales!

In the end, I was only able to fit 9 but he had sold 2 others and thought he'd be able to sell the extra one. You can see more of the bales in the background at the right in the next photo. 

Afterwards, my kids got feeling a little rowdy although it was all for show

and photo ops.

There was even time for a  quick sit on dear, old Nadia.

I've been feeding off one bale for almost three weeks now, although I still give them some alfalfa at most meals. This is nice grass hay, GMO free, but my horses don't appreciate it. I guess it's like going from a steak and dessert diet to plain gruel. It fills the belly but it sure doesn't taste the same. I tell them it's good for them and they sigh and pick at it. I haven't had any problems feeding it from the roll. I just pull off what I need, roll it up, and carry the roll (or armfuls) out to them. When I got about a third of the way down, I had my kids help me roll it over and then I pulled from that end. I feel so good now having a FULL barn of hay.

Just wondering, does anyone else use rolls of hay?

Also, it just occurred to me that I called a phone number listed on the internet and had a strange man drive miles and miles across country to my house to deliver 10,000 pounds of hay I'd never seen and I never worried or felt uncomfortable. Isn't that crazy?


Dan and Betty said...

We got a lot of rain on our side too, but fortunately our back lot rises up so the standing water was just along the front of our stable. We feed Sugar and Morgunn in their stalls and then they could go out to the middle/back of our lot where it was dry. No room for round bales so we're stuck using the two-strand bales.


cdncowgirl said...

Rounds are very common here. Some people will feed off the round(usually with a fork, it's easier) and some people put the entire bale out for the horses/cows.

fernvalley01 said...

we feed mostly rounds as well, as for calling a stranger to come to your place? he wasn't a stranger, he was a farmer! LOL

achieve1dream said...

I feed round bales. I do it exactly like you do. Pulling it off the bale, load it into the wagon and take it to the horses. Then just roll the bale over and pull from the other side. When it gets down really low a lot of the time I'll just give them the center out of it. They love that lol. I'm glad you have a barn full of hay. It is definitely a nice feeling!