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.