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Old 05-25-2010, 06:08 AM  
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Question about wet hay

My neighbor cuts his fields for hay, and this year told us that he would sell us enough hay at a cheap price to last us through the winter. After he cut the hay and baled it (large bales), we had rain for over two days straight. The hay bales were in the field at the time (uncovered). On the first clear day, he came over and asked us how many bales we wanted for our horses. My husband told him that we didn't want any since the bales had gotten so wet. My neighbor said that he would sit a few bales out in our pasture to see if the horses liked it. My husband still said no. Would hay like this be safe for horses? I've owned horses for 35 years and always thought that wet hay was a big no-no. I don't understand why he would still want us to take the hay after it had gotten so wet.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:43 AM  
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I feed my horses round bales and they are stored outside (and fed outside) without cover and I have never had any issues.
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:17 AM  
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I, personally, would look elsewhere.
I wouldn't want to feed my horse wet hay.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:11 AM  
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I personally wouldn't take it either.

Even if you had to pay more somewhere else for hay that you were sure was never rained on, it's still worth it...think of how much it will cost you to medicate a horse with heaves, or how much the value of your horse(s) will decrease if they develop COPD, and then think if you want to risk it
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:42 PM  
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I wouldn't feed it either. NOT worth the risk.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:55 PM  
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Well I see where everyone is coming from....but I use to be at a barn where they use to put the bales (like 7 cause of the amount of horses) just out in the pasture uncovered....while I was there (about 5 years) not one horse got sick from the hay. And of course it rained while the hay was out...
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:04 PM  
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I had never heard you weren't supposed to feed bales like that. I feed mine out in the open in the pasture and they get rained on all the time. The outside hay gets weathered and the horses pull it off to eat the inside.
Never had any problems, but if you aren't comfortable with it like that don't buy it. Hopefully before winter we'll have our hay shed built so we can store ours. We'll be cutting our own for the first time this year.

Are you planning on storing it in a barn? I mean otherwise its going to get wet anyway.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:07 PM  
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The only time big bales are no good for horses is when they are baled wet. By the time they get to the middle there will be 9 chances out of 10 mold! If baled dry they are fine even if they get wet in the paddock. Baled wet and stored inside will still result in mold in the middle. Alot of people here feed big bales that are baled wet and they end up having to throw about 1/2 away. Its ok for cows!
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:31 PM  
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Thanks for everyone's input. Yes, we were going to store the hay in our barn. I was afraid that since the hay was wet, it would mold while it was stored. I've had some wet hay that was stored start smoldering and get so hot that we were afraid it would catch on fire! I also know that hay is fed outside (large bales), as we do the same thing. The horses eat it so quickly that it doesn't have time to get really moldy on the inside. We were going to store it and weren't going to use it until this winter. My husband and I were afraid that, since it had gotten so wet, that it would not be good by the time we were ready to use it. We just didn't want to take a chance.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:51 PM  
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If you feel there's a risk no point in taking it... however I think the main issue is whether or not the bale was made when the inner layers could still be wet or not. If just the outer layers got wet there may be no reason for concern at all. But then again... I know I am hearing lots of 'its no problem' or 'I never had a problem' but geez, big as horses are they can be really delicate when it comes to feed. I'd not take a chance with my horses.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:48 PM  
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My understanding is as long as the hay was properly cured when it was originally baled, it should be fine. Having said that, I wouldn't buy it either.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:58 PM  
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If it's 'freshly' wet as you have described and you feed it to the horses, the horses should be just fine. But, when it's thoroughly wet and stored, it will mold and that is where the problem arises. So yeah, the horses will probably like it now and eat it, but come winter, I'd not chance feeding any of it to them.
Round bales are kind of an exception, they are thick enough that what gets moldy can be peeled off, over looked and the innards are still good and mold free, not so w/ small square bales, they generally mold through.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:43 PM  
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Here's what I just recently learned (along with learning that hay is a lot heavier than it looks!)....
If stored on their side, the rain should just roll right off the bales (if round). Like someone else said, the outside fo the bales may not be edible, but horses are good at picking through the bad to find the good (I was taught to pull the outside layer off and then it can be tossed into the pen away from the good hay being tossed in - the horses will just end up walking on it and working it back into the ground).
If stored standing up, that's another issue......the rain gets into the different layers of the bale and not only begins to rot, but an exothermic reaction can be triggered from inside the bale and before you know it you can end up with "great bales of fire" (I know, corny....almost can't believe I said it).
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:15 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leli View Post
If stored standing up, that's another issue......the rain gets into the different layers of the bale and not only begins to rot, but an exothermic reaction can be triggered from inside the bale and before you know it you can end up with "great bales of fire" (I know, corny....almost can't believe I said it).

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