I have two horses and a mini donk (who wears a muzzle so she doesn't really count) they have a 24x12 shed that I've started putting a round bale in. I don't have much hay storage and I can't drive to the barn, I have to go across a small lawn (that my landlord doesn't like to get torn up!) so it's much easier to roll a round bale down than carry a bunch a square bales.
However, the run in has become their toliet. It's SO gross and I have a hell of a time keeping it clean, ESP when it's below freezing. I'm having a guy come out to strip it with a tractor, but what can I do from here?
A round bale holder won't fit inside, and I don't want to keep it outside because it will get rained on.
If you need a cheap easy option, have a Lowes or Home Depot, a hammer and nails, 4 screw eyes, and a drill, you can make a round bale holder from plywood.
I do it and my holders, even though originally meant to be temporary, have lasted quite a few years now.
With a shed that size, I would roll the round bale up into the corner of the shed, and tip it over on it's flat side. Then put the homemade holder around it. With it being in the corner, you only need two sides for a holder, but you'd need to put 2 screw eyes into each side to fasten those sides to.
To make the holder:
Buy a sheet of plywood or particle board and have them cut it on their big saw at Lowes/Home depot into 4 2 foot high sections (ie the short ways across the board). Get an 8' 2x4 and have them cut that into 2' sections also. Come home and take two of the plywood pieces and one of the 2x4 peices. Nail the plywood ends into the 2x4 piece so that it forms an "L". Take your drill and drill two holes in the outside ends of the "L". Wrestle that up to and around your round bale in the corner. Line up your screw eyes with the holes you drilled on the ends and screw them into the walls. Tie your new hay holder to the screw eyes with bale twine.
If you don't want your hay in the corner or can't put screw eyes into the run in shed wall (like if it's metal), make two "L"s and instead of tying them to the screw eyes in the wall, tie them to each other around the bales.
It's a little redneck looking, but like I said, mine have lasted years and years now (like close to 7 years some of them!) and we have some really playful horses! Total cost in this area for building one to totally enclose the bale was only $10 for the plywood, $3 for the 2x4, and I already had the nails and screw eyes.
Chestnut Run Stable www.Zeltt.com
Standing "Tiz Brian" at Stud, 16.1 h bay TB by Tiznow
Hay cradle that needs no tractor, that fits in a stall: http://www.redriverarenas.com/ - Watch the video to see how easy it is to roll the round bale into it. With my rounds, I can (in a pinch) do it by myself.
Friend of mine used one of these: http://www.bigbalebuddy.com/bigbalebuddy.html and it seemed to keep things reasonably well contained. She put the round bale in the Big Bale Buddy and the whole thing on top of a pallet to help keep it neat, and told me that by and large it worked pretty well, except that her Haflinger kept sitting on the round bales and breaking the pallets!
The bale containment suggestions should help reduce wasted hay. However, IME, where ever horses have a round bale (especially if you thoughtfully put it inside!) becomes the toilet. Especially in this weather. <sigh>
My run in its totally matted and I keep the bale in the twine. Do you mean another type of rope?
I meant the Cinch Chix net, which others have linked.
Sorry to hear your run in is has mats and they still use it as a toilet. I always assumed the reason mine don't is because the mats aren't absorbent. Do you have bedding/shavings/straw in yours? I don't; just the bare mats; and they never go on them.
ETA: Mine don't pee on the round bale either. I guess I should count my blessings.