Chances are that your hay bill is one of your highest bills in caring for your horse. The last thing that anyone wants to do is to waste hay, especially when the cost of hay is so high. Luckily for you, we’ve got some great tips to minimize hay wastage in your barn.
Store Hay Correctly
Did you know that before you even feed hay, you may be wasting it? Storing hay properly in your hay loft is important to preventing mold or wastage. Your hay should always be placed up on pallets to keep it directly off of the floor. As you stack hay, alternate the orientation of the hay on each level to promote air circulation.
Additionally, make sure that you inspect each hay delivery before accepting it. Break open a few bales of hay and inspect the quality throughout the entire bale. Look for mold or darkened spots toward the center of the bale. If you find that the hay is poor quality, it is better to discover this before loading the entire delivery so that you can still easily send it back.
Use Hay Nets or Hay Feeders
Much of the hay that you feed in your horse’s stall may be wasted when it is trampled down into the bedding. To reduce the amount that this happens, use hay nets or corner feeders in your horse’s stall. The net or feeder holds the hay up off of the ground, requiring that the horse pull just a bit at a time out. This lessens the amount of hay that falls, uneaten, onto the floor, and it reduces your stall cleaning time as well.
Use Hay Nets or Bags in Pastures
Pastures are another area where hay wastage occurs. You may opt to use hay nets or hay bags in your pastures. If you are feeding round bales in the pasture, consider using a round bale feeder. Remember that the bale needs to be protected from the rain, so a specially designed hay feeder may be well worth the cost when it comes to keeping the hay protected and in edible condition.
Feed Only What Your Horse Will Eat
While it’s healthy for your horse to always have access to hay, remember to adjust your feedings so that you are only giving your horse about as much hay as he will eat. Overfeeding your horse will only result in uneaten hay, so adjust your feedings to how much hay your horse actually consumes.
Hay is a precious commodity in the horse world, and isn’t one that you will want to waste. Try these tips to keep your horses happily in hay all year.