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Old 11-04-2006, 09:26 PM  
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Round bales or square bales

I have the opportunity to get some round bales for 35 dollars vs 2.50 for square bales and I am wondering which are better. I have always heard the square bales offer more nutrition than the round bales and that the round bales should only be used for cattle. So horstopians which do you prefer and what is your advice on this?
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Old 11-04-2006, 09:33 PM  
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I use both and they have the same nutritional value. One is just larger than the other.

Make sure they are horse quality, not old, brown or moldy.
This years cutting would be best, unless last years was barn kept.

Also a round bail holder so they dont waste it. Horses can waste more of the round bail than you can by feeding square bails.

I use the round bails when I have mustangs in and they tend to stomp it down if I cut the mesh off. More gets wasted.
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Old 11-04-2006, 10:00 PM  
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I get both at the same time , so im not much help...
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Old 11-04-2006, 10:30 PM  
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We use mainly round bales only using squares for trail rides, shows or when we can't get a new round bale into the pasture. I also supplement my babies and pregnant mares with alfalfa squares.

The hay should be the same quality as what's in the squares. It should not be moldy or dusty if it was baled right. Sometimes the grass may be a bit more mature because it has to be a bit longer to round bale, but not always. Most rounds stored outside will have a bit of wasted hay around the outside and where they sit on the ground but are still much more cost effective. Mine are all stored outside but they're net wrapped and very tightly wrapped so they shed water pretty well. We're still feeding last years second cutting (we over estimated on our hay needs and had a warm/easy winter last year) and there's only about 2 inches of weathered hay around the outside that isn't very edible.

But if you don't have a way of cleaning up the wasted hay you will quickly have a pile of wasted hay. No matter how good the hay is or how neatly your horses eat there will still be wasted hay.

If you only have one or two horses it may be easier and less messy to just feed squares.
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Old 11-04-2006, 11:09 PM  
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Right now I have two horses, a 3 year old gelding and a 5 year old pregnant mare. My mare is due soon and there isn't much edible grass in their pasture since it was basically a dump for trash and in pulling out things that aren't horsey safe I took some grass with it. I am using 14% Vitality sweet feed, my gelding gets 2 pounds and 2.5 ounces twice a day and my mare gets 3/4 of that twice a day along with 1/2 a bale twice a day. So they get a whole bale a day and they clean that up and usually looking for more before there next feeding. I have never had to choose for myself what they get at feedings since they were always boarded with someone else feeding so I don't want to screw this up.
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Old 11-05-2006, 12:02 AM  
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A 1500 lb round roll should last them a couple of weeks or more
One thing to make sure is they drink enough water or they can colic on eating hay all the time if they are not use to it. They can become empacted.
I have one that will. Doesnt know when to leave the bail of hay.

If they dont have much grass, I suggest the round roll.
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Old 11-05-2006, 09:25 AM  
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I use round bales. my horses all have to stay seperated so I have to throw them hay everyday. I use a big wheelbarrow. Round rolls are most cost effective. There are about 17 bales of hay in a round roll. If you bought 17 squares bales at $2.50 each thats $42.50 verses the $35 for the round. yes it can be inconvient having a round roll and having to throw them hay but I save about $40/month.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:58 AM  
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I do not use round bales. For us there is too much waste[do to raining and spoilage] and we have no place to keep a bale under cover and strip it off to feed it.
I just prefer the squares for my horses.
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Old 11-05-2006, 12:56 PM  
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I dont have a barn ect.. I just put a couple pallets next to each other roll the bale on top and cover it with a large tarp. Keeps it nice and dry.
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Old 11-05-2006, 01:35 PM  
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I mostly use round bales, but have inside storage and a tractor to move them. They are obviously considerably cheaper than square bales, but the main reason I like them is I don't have to mess with feeding them every day and don't have to mess with loading, unloading, and stacking. There is very little waste if you use a hay ring, and 1 bale lasts my 6 horses 5 - 6 days depending upon the size and how tightly it is rolled.

I do keep about 80 or so square bales on hand all the time in case I need to stall one of them for some reason and to throw in their hay ring if I don't have time to put out a round bale.

The worst part about round bales is they do tend to mold easier than square bales, so it is much more important they be baled properly - hay dried thoroughly and baled in the afternoon after the dew has evaporated.
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:59 PM  
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We are using 1500 pound round bales during the fall/winter for a broodmare, yearling and 2 older geldings. The round bale lasts them about 2 1/2 weeks.

We buy ours from a farmer who keeps them stored inside and when we bring them to our place, we also keep them stored inside.

We also feed them out of a round bale feeder. I saw the neatest thing one year at the Mid West Horse Fair...a covered round bale feeder. What a great idea!
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Old 11-05-2006, 07:49 PM  
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We only feed square bales. Around here the quality of rounds just isn't usually that good, and I feel it is better for them to eat from the ground (less chance of hay getting in their eyes, and more "natural" eating position).

There are some days I am tempted to feed round bales...particuarly when my wheelbarrow is stuck in mud and I am hauling all the hay bales by hand!

Either way, try to get hay that is less then 6 months old. There are certain vitamins that are lost when hay is stored past 6 months.

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Old 11-05-2006, 08:02 PM  
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I use square bales because I find them more cost effective because of waste and I also have nowhere to store round bales and no tractor. I have 5 horses and each gets 4 flakes plus a little under 6 lbs of strategy a day and no grass in winter and only a little to nibble on in summer. They all keep their weight on and I have two that are actually chunky. I have used round bales with a hay holder and they still waste about 1/3 of the hay. Of course my horses are slobs too. I could never understand why people used the squares until I tried them and I would never use the rounds again unless I had too.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:11 PM  
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I've always used squares, this year to both help out a friend who needed to move some and to save some $$$ we elected to give round bales a try. I'd say it's working out OK, even though I'm having to haul it out in chunks to them daily to feed. It's messier in the shed where it's stored and feeding takes more time, but my horses are cleaning it all up, very little waste, it's well worth it for the $$$ we've saved.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:16 PM  
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I have used both round and square bales. For me square bales work better. With the round bales I ended up with a lot of wasted hay. I also liked knowing how much hay my horses were getting by feeding out the square bales.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:26 PM  
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I use square bales as well because.. there aren't any round bales around hereanyways! Plus, I don't think my little tractor could handle a huge 1000+ pound bale of hay. They make giant small mesh haynets for round bales - I use small mesh hay nets for haying and I love them! Small mesh hay nets have much smaller holes that the traditional size, about 1x1 inch. The small holes slow down consumption so the hay lasts longer, prevents wasting, and the horses cant step through it (although if your horse has shoes he can get a shoe stuck on it). There shouldn't be a difference in quality between square and round bales from the same field. The nice thing about round bales is you don't have to feed hay every day- only every week or two! Make sure you check the round bale for any twine, birds, rats, etc., each day as they can get caught up in the mowing machine.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:54 PM  
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I use square bales and have 8 horses. I like that there is very little waste and I can monitor the amount that they are eating. My horses do not live in one big herd. I match them up as best as I can according to the way they like to eat. I have some horses that eat a little walk away and come back for more. Others never leave the food pile until it is gone. If I fed round bales a couple of my horses would be obese. I also like that feeding square bales I get to go out to the horses 3 times a day and check up on everyone and give some them some loving. Especially the weanling and yearling. This keeps them use to humans everyday. We have been able to treat any injuries quickly this way as well, as we are with them 3 times a day.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:42 AM  
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When I saw this thread, my heart leaped thinking that Shiloveshorses was back. Darn!!
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:33 AM  
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I can't help with the round vs. squard advice, but my comment is the price.
Here in the pacific NW, timothy, and orchard grass can go from $15 to $18 a bale. Alfalfa is more.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:43 AM  
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I got all excited and thought ShiloLovesHorses was back.
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