This is my first time doing self-care boarding, and my first time purchasing hay. The horses are pretty easy keepers, so I went out and bought the cheapest hay I could find, only criteria being it was stored inside, no mold, and no dangerous weeds.
After switching to this hay... I had to add grain into their diets. But the hay's only $5/bale! And then I had to add more grain, and alfalfa pellets... but the hay's only $5! Then I had to add oil... but the hay is ONLY $5!!!
Then the hay guy started selling weed-ier and stick-ier hay. I'd throw out 1/3 of the bale because it was literally nothing but weeds and sticks. But WHAT A DEAL, ONLY $5!
I got tired of all the grain, oil, alfalfa pellets... and picking through all the weeds every day... and abandoned the discount hay.
Now I'm paying $9/bale for GORGEOUS alfalfa/grass mix. Not a single speck of weed, no twigs, smells great. I'm feeding way less hay with happy horses, and I've been able to eliminate the oil entirely, back down to just a handful of Safe Choice, and a few handfuls of alfalfa pellets.
Dang, that $5/bale hay ended up being more expensive than the $8/bale good stuff!
Just thought I'd share.
Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!
I've found that buying grain is still cheaper per day than buying more nutritious hay. Though my mare will hoover anything I buy, so stemmy or sun bleached doesn't matter as long as it's mold free fiber.
I can get good hay here for $3-$5 a bale, so sometimes it isn't the cost but what they are cutting. With the shortage of hay many people took advantage of the "need" for hay and cut fields that they didn't normally cut and sold it. Here we had a drought that enabled many to cut lowlands for hay. I bought some supplemental hay that was green, weed free, fine stemmed grass and smelled good, but that my animals did not want to eat if they didn't have too. I mixed it with some hay they like and didn't waste it, but you can see they didn't do as well over the winter as normal. You are lucky to find the better stuff so late in the year.