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I am a 42 year old woman that is about as happy and content as one person can be. My husband of 21 years and our 15 year old daughter live on five and a half acres out in the country. We moved from the city four years ago and never looked back. I homeschool our daughter. We also love our animals. Our daughter has a miniature horse and two rabbits. We also have a border collie, two cats (again), two pot belly pigs, four peafowl, three emus, 2 llamas and an undetermined number of chickens, lets just say ohhh about 200. I have many breeds, from layers to fancy chickens. I love poultry shows, I love fowl in general as I have come to find out through having more than just chickens. Chickens will always be my first love though. I do show some of my birds occasionally.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hay, Hay and more Hay

You learn things when you move out to the country. Things you never even considered or thought about as a city dweller. Take hay for instance.

There is fescue, bermuda, alfalfa, orchard/fescue mix, wheat straw, peanut hay, lordy the list goes on and on. Something called Tiff, I dont even know what that is.

Having livestock in winter makes hay a necessity.

The bermuda hay is getting scarce, but I found some yesterday in Cartersville at Ladds. Wow that place is loaded with 'stuff'. It was an old establishment though, and so things were really packed in on shelf after shelf, from nuts and bolts, to toy tractors, to feed and water bins, horse vitamins, poop scoopers, hammers and rubber shoes...you name it they had it. That was just inside. Outside they had any kind of fence building materials, huge watering troths, and yes, they even had chickens, guineas, and turkeys for sale! I resisted, I kind of wanted the red frizzle bantam cochin roo...he was a cutey pie. Cause thats what I need is another house chicken! ;)

So anyway, back to hay. Alfalfa hay is rich, and horses love it, but Derby cant have it, cause he is still a bit overweight, not like he was, but he has to stay on a leaner hay. So I use a lot of bermuda.

Then there is wheat straw. This is a must for ground cover in winter. With all the rain there comes mud. Mud equals hazardous walking, chances of me falling and busting my rear goes way up. The pigs have to have wheat straw for bedding...and they have to have it for their penned area. It is nothing but mud now. In the summer it is dry, no problems. So I spread a good two bales of wheat straw in their pen. They grab up mouthfuls of it and drag it into their house to make the perfect pig bed. Pigs are great housekeepers. Their house is always clean and neat. You thought pigs were nasty? Nooo...they prefer to be clean! They have a corner they go pee and poop in, they get as far away from their living quarters as they can to do their business. Even when it is raining and cold, as much as they hate it, they will go as far out as they can stand it to poop and pee.

Wheat straw is good for layering the bottom of pens and chicken houses too. It is good for bedding Derbys quarters. He thinks it makes a good snack too. I really wish he wouldnt eat it though.

Wheat straw is needed for the laying nests for the hens too. I have to spread it out around the entrance to the fence, in the chicken house area...it can get pretty messy with rain and mud.

As winter goes on, it gets harder and harder to find hay, so yesterday I loaded up as much as the truck would carry. Four bales of bermuda from Ladds, dropped that off, then to Walmart for four bales of wheat straw.

With all the rain we are having...I am going to need that wheat straw.

So that is something I never even thought about buying or needing when I was a city dweller.

Hay...it is indeed a necessity!

Thought I would add one hay experience since Browney (Debbie) mentioned  the big round bales. It made me think about the big round bale I got from a neighbor that sells them. It was a fescue orchard mix. Derby didnt like it at all, but I managed to use a lot of it for bedding, so it didnt go to waste, except for one thing.

We had no shelter for this hay. For hay, rain equals mold. Mold equals inedible hay for the horse. Even though he didnt like it, he would occasionally nibble at it. It was in his fenced off area. I had it covered with a heavy duty tarp, but it didnt keep the moisture out like I had hoped. It is so much more economical to get the round bales when you can, but my first and only time I got a bale, it didnt work out too well. Simply because I just had nowhere to put it. It was cool having Jim deliver it though. He had the big spike on the front of his tractor to spear it and brought it right over. That was cool.

 

6 comments:

madcobug said...

You have really learned a lot about hay and it's uses. It is a rainy day here also. Ken ventured out first and got a haircut then I ventured out and got mine cut. We had homemade beef stew for lunch which hit the spot coming in out of the rain and dampness. Hugs, Helen

browney44 said...


Isn't the country fun!  My dad use to get his hay for his cows in huge round bales, we stacked them outside the barn then dad would use his forklift to stack them.

We were lucky our barn never burned, you know how center smolders then catches fire.  The older the hay the more likely it is to catch fire so he always used last years up before started on the new years.  

We were city folk too moved to the country and started asking lots of questions!

bhbner2him said...

If you had more horses or some cows to feed the hay to when It got to funky for the horse it'd still be very economical.  But then having more animals wouldn't be very economical.  -  Barbara

rdautumnsage said...

Even growing up on a farm I wasn't aware of all the different hays. We primarily used the Alfalfa hay. I think it was easy for us because my stepdad was able to get it discounted when they got it from the dairy he worked for. (Hugs) Indigo

schoolgal040 said...

Hi Kelly~
Yes, that hay can be a complicated thing. Hubby and I have talked a lot about what were going to grow on our property when we get there. It looks like it will be Bermuda and Alfalfa. He would be so good at growing these things! And he is constantly watching RFD TV station (www.rfdtv.com). Lots of great shows on their and their website offers so much information on all things agricultural.
Hang in there----winter will soon be over and here comes spring!! YIPEEEE

Huggers,
Gayla

plieck30 said...

I'm sure missing going with John to put out hay. My job was the easy one cutting the string and winding it up. He made lots and lots of hay this year but he is already making a dent in it. Those cows are hungry this cold weather and nothing green to eat. Paula

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