Sunday, April 20, 2014

What About Using Round Bales?

My mind is open enough to learn but sometimes it takes a lot of force to get that mind wide open. For years I viewed round bales as a perpetual threat to a horse's life. Mold in a round bale was a ticking time bomb for me.

I have come to learn differently. Quality round bales, of a size to be consumed within about a week by those horses eating from it, can be cost effective, labor saving, and safe. Bales must constantly be inspected to make sure that they are not molded, but I have found that my horses simply do not eat any spoiled portions of a bale.

However, I do not promise that yours would be as particular as are mine. My horses eat 10,000 pounds (ten thousand pounds) of hay each week. I have not had a horse colic from eating round bales a single time in the past decade.

Round bales have some serious disadvantages. A horse that can stand still and eat from the top of a round bale for hours on end will loose muscle tone in its back if the horse is not exercised. When the horse cannot be ridden because of weather the exercise can be accomplished by lunging the horse on an incline with a 20 ft rope or placing the round pen on a slight slope and getting the benefit of the same exercise.

The second problem is waste of hay. Round bales standing alone are subject to a great deal of waste. For years I combated that waste with the use of cattle rings around the bales. That helps but is not the best way to go.

I have come upon hay nets that fit round bales that are completely superior to the cattle rings. Hay waste is reduced to nearly nothing and the horses find it much more difficult to soil their hay with the nets.

I will put up some pictures and ordering information for these nets in future posts.

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