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Old 04-03-2011, 06:33 PM  
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round bale feeder help/advice

When my hay supplier ran out of square bales this winter, I switched over to his round bales. I started out rationing out the round bales like I'd rationed out the squares, but I've had them eating free choice for a couple months now, which is working out rather well.

I'm looking at round bale feeders to cut down on waste. (I'm atually spending more on the round bales because of waste than I was on the small squares.) Of course, all bale feeders advertise they cut down on waste, and I don't know how to determine which are the best designs.

What's your experience with hay waste using round bale feeders? What design do you recommend to reduce the most waste?

This cradle one really interests me (the top one, with the video):
http://www.redriverarenas.com/feeders.html

I like that it keeps the hay off the ground, and that it can be loaded by hand (which will save me from buying a bale spear right away).

Has anyone bought one like it? If so, what do you think of it? Does it really cut down on waste, or do your horses still spread the hay out?

I'd rather go pick up than have it shipped, so has anyone seen one similar selling local in the Northern/Central VA area?
If not, has anyone ever purchased anything from Red River?

My second choice is a hay "basket" that I saw at the local Tractor Supply (I can't find it on their website). I'm not sure it's large enough for the round bales though. It's a red metal frame holding a hard plastic tub. Yay, found a picture of it:
http://motsa.org/sitebuilder/images/...et-262x216.jpg

For the "standard" equine round bale feeders, like this:
http://www.tractorsupply.com/livesto...-horse-2168032
I understand the upside down Vs help prevent injuries and pulled hairs. Do the solid skirts prevent more waste? I've seen ones with and without the feet - what's the pro for having the feet?

Thanks!

Last edited by Marjael : 04-03-2011 at 08:56 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:28 PM  
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Your always going to have a fair amount of waste with free choice round bales. My horses pull quite a bit out and lay in it. I feel it is an acceptable loss as they are outside 24/7 and we have times of -30. We actually have the last feeder you listed. I think it is in it's last legs this year though... hubby dropped one of the round bales on it and it isn't quite... straight... anymore.


how are you moving bales now if I may ask? We don't have a bale spear. Kind of pointless. We use the bucket with grapel forks. We also use the same tractor for snow removal...
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:53 PM  
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The farmer I get hay from is just down the road and he loads two bales to my trailer for me. We drive the trailer into the field, and I roll off one bale in a high area, then we park the trailer and I tarp the other bale on the trailer to keep it dry. When they eat the first bale, we roll off the second bale and then get two more from the farmer. Kind of keeps the trailer out of use for other things, but we rarely use it for anything but getting hay anyway. The door to the shed I store square bales in is too small to get the round bales in, so two at a time is all we do for now.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:04 PM  
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MiniHorse - approx how much would you say your horses pull out? Right now without any feeder, I'd say they're wasting 1/4 to 1/3 the bale, maybe more. They get it to about 1/2 the bale, and then the bale just falls apart and they spead it out, lay in it, soil it. I'm willing to accept some waste to feed them free choice, which I feel is better for them (and the only reason I didn't have them free choice before was one of my horses is a pony, but vet and I discussed before I worked them up to free choice, and the pony is doing really well self-regulating herself.)
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:03 PM  
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We have a tombstone feeder, similar to the last one you posted but not the same. Compaired to no feeder at all having a feeder makes a huge differance! There is a little waste but nothing like just letting them spread it all over the field.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:13 AM  
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I have a feeder like the last one, without a solid skirt. I find having a feeder SIGNIFICANTLY reduces waste, they may pull some hay out, but maybe my horses are gluttons, it's not much. Without the feeder, they strew it around, use it as a bed, and as a convenient place to pee without getting splashed.

I never used round bales for feeding horses until I moved to the South. In the Northeast, it was just too rainy and wet, bales would get moldy too fast. I also didn't know of any farmers who baled round bales that were suitable for horses. In SC, I've had little difficulty finding horse-quality round bales. I've also had groups of horses large enough that a round bale is usually finished in a week, so even if it gets rained on, the wet hay gets eaten before it can go bad. We bought one of those el cheapo (I think it was $100) "tent" carports that we used for storing round bales, and it was AWESOME. We put pallets on the ground, and actually got 20 bales into the carport. They overwintered beautifully, we really didn't have any storage loss on those bales. Previously we've tarped, with bales on pallets, and invariably there was a leak somewhere that made moldy sections of the bales. I also move the location of the round bale feeder as each bale is finished, to avoid getting the ground around it totally torn up.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:54 AM  
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Sorry, just now seeing this to respond.

It really depends. I don't think they waster more than an 1/8 of the bale at most, but that varies from bale to bale and it depends on the weather. Sometimes they waste way more and sometimes less.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:27 AM  
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I'm curious as to how those round bale feeders work in areas that get heavy snowfall. I can see them getting stuck in the snow, and the snow slowly building up around them until the horses are much higher up beside the feeder than they are supposed to be.

Knowing a couple of my horses *ahem Finnegan and Keegan ahem* they'd start climbing in the stupid thing once they got high enough
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:11 AM  
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Sonsee - I am in a high snow area... We do have the problem where unless we clean the snow out from around the feeder, they are standing level or above it.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:26 AM  
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We also have the last feeder - typical round bale feeder. We also do not have a spear. We roll the bale into the lot and then rock it up onto a wood pallet and then put the feeder on its side and roll it to the bale and plunk it over the bale. So the bale moves around the lot. The waste is probably about 1/8th at our house too. When we have had bales sitting the field (waiting to be rolled into the lot) and the horses have access, they just destroy them by pawing, rubbing all over them, waste a ton so I can imagine how much hay you are going through w/out a feeder. We do use the wood pallet to keep the hay from sitting directly on the ground.
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:13 AM  
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Feed rings can greatly reduce waste but given how you unload your hay you would be better off with a light weight ring that you can easily maneuver over the bale once you have it in place. Steel rings are heavy. I know a farmer that uses a plastic ring and he can't sing higher praise over it. I found one online that is being sold here on the east cost and it looks affordable. It's the last pic down Made from Schedule 80 Oil Pipe.
http://www.leesfarmsupply.com/rb_feeders.htm

My neighbor uses a metal hay ring. He flips it up, drops his round bale off the pickup and drops it back over the bale. The ring is under an 18x21 metal carport keeping both the bale and the horses dry. The round bale had been stored inside so he has very little waste. As for me if I feed a round bale I do it the hard way. I flip it on end and unroll it by hand. Thank goodness hubby took pity on me and went out and bought me some more square bales. If I were to use square bales in a round feeder the one with the solid skirt works great. The second one you picked for example would be a good choice. But I wouldn't use it with round bales that have been stored outside and you have to have a way to lift your bale and place it inside of it. Cattle hay rings with slant bars are the worst. Not only do they rub off their mane but if they spook they can get a head injury from a hasty retreat.

You'll have to let us know what type of feeder you choose and tell us how you like it.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:57 PM  
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Found another feeder ring and this one is high class!
http://westmd.craigslist.org/grd/2234992265.html
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:13 PM  
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I have the metal tombstone round bale feeder.

We drag a round bale into the paddock with the truck.
Snip off and remove the baling strings.
Roll the feeder over to the bale.
Tip it over the bale. Either I can do this by myself with a grunt, or me and hubby do it together.

There is some waste but not nearly as much as when you don't put any feeder around it at all. Then they paw it around, lay on it, dirty it up, etc.

You could also wrap plastic snow fence (it's green or orange and the mesh is diamond shaped) around the bale and lace up the open end if you don't have a commercial bale feeder.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:39 PM  
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I have this type of round bale feeder:
http://www.fleetfarm.com/catalog/product_detail/horse-supplies/barn-stable-supplies/watering-feeding-equipment/dura-built-round-bale-horse-feeder?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping%2Bs earch&utm_campaign=google%2Bproduct%20search

We have very little waste.
We use my father in law's skid loader to put bales in or if that is not available, I unwrap the hay in sections and fork it into the feeder. That takes a bit of patience and skill in how to unroll it, but it's not that bad.
We also use large squares and then I also just flake it off and throw them in the feeder.
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Old 04-19-2011, 06:14 PM  
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I've seen one of these being used in my travels. I found it online and it is made in the USA Cut a door in it and it could have other uses too.
http://www.hayhuts.com/
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:39 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonseeahray's_girl View Post
I'm curious as to how those round bale feeders work in areas that get heavy snowfall. I can see them getting stuck in the snow, and the snow slowly building up around them until the horses are much higher up beside the feeder than they are supposed to be.

Knowing a couple of my horses *ahem Finnegan and Keegan ahem* they'd start climbing in the stupid thing once they got high enough
We move ours everytime or every other time to a new spot. They'll freeze down a bit but nothing a front end loader won't pop loose.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:42 PM  
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I use cinchchix.com hay net then put a tombstone style round bale feeder around it. There is zero waste. And was worth the investment to me.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:43 AM  
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Bayrider, how is the net holding up? My small nets are doing fine altho they've only got a months use on them. All those feeders at Lee's allow the horses to be very wasteful. Horses will grab a mouthful and if it's not quite what is wanted, will drop it and grab another. Do they later clean up what was dropped, nope, because it's used as a toilet. It also makes a nice windbreak which encourages the horses to hang around it.

Last edited by Slim Pikkens : 04-20-2011 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:12 AM  
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Overall...pretty good. The few holes that the horses make I'll mend as soon as I see it (with baling twine) so they don't get any bigger. But..I only feed the rounds in the winter, for the rest of the year I feed squares with all kinds of homemade slow feeder contraptions.lol. I've had the nets in use for two seasons now, I just just put them away a few weeks ago, but I love em.
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:19 AM  
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I was feeding round bales (and will go back to them soon) and I never had a feeder.... I would just go out to the pasture everyday with my pitch fork and pick up the waste off the ground and make several small piles. My horses are like OH BOY FRESH hay... we all know that this piled up stuff is SOOOOO much fresher than what is in the bale... they gobble it up and go right back to the bale. I usually dont have that much waste doing it that way.
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