Feral Cat in Hay Shed and Horses Not Eating Hay ??
I have something weird going on and I'm curious if anyone has ever had something like this happen. My horses are not picky hay eaters. They gorge themselves on a rough roundbale. I have square bales in a shed for emergencies. Lately, they have been off and on eating and refusing to touch the square bale hay. Some nights they clean it up completely and don't leave as much as a stem. Other nights it is untouched. I'm thinking its something to do with the feral cat who is living or hanging out in there. The hay smells fine to me, but what do I know?
Could be both and then some. If it's not tomcat pee, it might not smell too bad. But I would think that in this, the starving month for every critter, rodents, rodent excrement, maybe even rodent murder/crimes scenes courtesy of the feral cat...all that might contribute.
The other thing - is the round bale the same type of hay as the square bales? Even same field different cutting? Is the hay they aren't eating coming from the same section of the hay barn? We have a critter crawl space under our hay barn and a skunk shoved itself up there one night...didn't spray but the hay over the corner where he had dug under was funk-o-lacious and got tossed in the far woods.
If mine weren't eating it and something was funky, I'd sell it for goat/cow hay and clean out the shed so you're ready for first cutting.
I would find it strange that you would not smell cat urine if it was there.
I would guess more likely the horses and you have different opinions on what is a great bale of hay. I know mine sometimes leave me scratching my head on why a certain bale was ignored.
I really have to agree with this for sure. Especially this time of year my horses are alternating between cleaning up every single strand of hay and the next night, from the same bale, pushing it around the stall and crapping on it. And, I don't even have a feral cat or other critter in the barn (mice probably but they wouldn't be 4 rows up in the hay area). I know my boys want green grass and it's not growing yet...
Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!
OK, that makes sense about it being a rodent thing, I was conjecturing about the feral cat. There has always been a groundhog living in the shed, could it be the groundhog causing the pee/excrement/smell that the horses won't tolerant?
The round bale is a rough-as-heck first cutting timothy, and the square bale is a beautiful, soft, 2nd cutting orchard grass (not to mention pricey!!) Normally the square bale hay is a special treat that is gobbled up like candy. Its so upsetting to see it wasted and strange to see the rough round bale being devoured instead......
If you have ever been in an outbuilding or an old house with mice or opened a bale completely fouled by mice, you'd understand. Only thing ranker than mouse spoilt feed is the stuff rats with antlers destroy. Yep nothing smells quite like a bale soaked with deer piss.
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These two types of hay taste so different that their pallets might not be used to the orchard taste and find it not as tasty at the moment. I know when my hay guy couldn't come down for a few months we swapped over to Timothy. When he finally came down with beautiful 3rd cut O&A that the horses had been eating for years, they turned their noses up at it for awhile. Shocking to watch given how they had always inhaled it.