• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Calculating in bulk hay purchases per horse

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Calculating in bulk hay purchases per horse

    I am trying to crunch some numbers and would love some feedback.

    Horses: 2 out 24/7, one semi-retired Appendix, one eventing OTTB with enormous metabolism. Grass available during spring/summer/fall, overseed w/ rye in winter. Mild climate.

    I'd like to buy the hay a year at a time. We generally need to feed hay every day in winter (Nov-Feb ish).

    I know when I travel for training/shows, big horse eats a TIGHTLY packed heavy timothy bale in 2-3 days by himself. In the winter, the two will eat a bale of fescue in their shed in about 24 hours ish, but are currently on VERY little grass (hopefully will be moving home in fall)

    Maybe I know what I need to know already, but would really like to hear other people's averages for a year's order so I can look into costs. Again, they are not stalled unless injury requires (please heavens no) and pastures are rotated and maintained.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by wildlifer; Apr. 8, 2013, 11:39 AM. Reason: spelling
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
    We Are Flying Solo

  • #2
    It is an art form isn't it, to determine how much hay to buy!

    I start with a half a bale of hay per day per horse year round 180 total; one bale of hay is 4 feedings for a horse, 15 bales is one month of hay per horse.

    I have a small place and the grass paddocks are used for controlled daytime turnout from April to October. In last years drought the paddocks were toast by July and not used. Otherwise the horse live in a very large sacrifice area with hay given twice daily. The "art" part comes in next because the bales are big and I sometimes I can get four+ feedings for one horse from one bale- this is especially true when the paddocks are good so I'll knock it down to 150 bales per horse per year.

    Bottom line 150 bales per horse for year round hay. I'll tack on another 20 bales on my order which gives me wiggle room for extra hay for my two horses. My horses are small and easy keepers.

    *A mega "whoops" on my part which others have correctly piped in with- bale weight and percent of horses body weight. I've been using the same hay guy for 10 years so the bale weight doesn't change/isn't random. The bales are 60# plus in weight.
    Last edited by SLW; Apr. 8, 2013, 04:12 PM.


    • #3
      I will be watching this with interest. I contacted a hay supplier about small bales (grass alfalfa mix) for when they cut this summer. She estimated 450 bales is what I would need for two horses turned out 24x7. I have grass from May-Aug or Sept., but their paddock is just over an acre and would supplement with hay.

      I thought 450 average sized small square bales seemed really high...
      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


      • #4
        I've just recently started in a rough board situation, but based on my past observations and my hay use so far, I'm planning one half a bale per day per horse. Our horses have no grass turnout, and they're actually large ponies, so smaller than the average horse. I'm estimating 200 bales/horse/year, to add in a little extra for the inevitable spoilage, spillage or stall rest needs.


        • #5
          When I started, I calculated exact values, overestimating a bit to cover my behind in case of a hay shortage and to compensate that straight coastal bermuda hay is the only thing available here. If it were timothy or alfalfa mix, I wouldn't overestimate so much. 2-3% bodyweight in feed per horse per day, I went with 3% to pad it. So, my 1300lb TB would get 39lbs/day. I decrease that a bit because he's not necessarily a hard keeper, and some of that weight is in grain and soaked store-bought hay cubes, and some is pasture turnout. My calculations for my three horses based on their weight worked out to just under 2 bales/day if they were to get only hay. Assuming 50lb bales (and that is never accurate!), 60 bales/month or or 1.5 tons if your hay dealer sells it by weight.

          I overestimated, but as I said, I'd rather overestimate than get stuck with nothing. I order as much as I can fit.


          • #6
            I just had to do this for the first time this past Fall, nice to have a place to store hay instead of buying it "as needed" for sure. I went with the standard 2% of body weight per horse to start, I have two a QH and a Clyde. Knowing that November until April 1st they eat nothing but hay and factoring in cold so I would give them more than 2%, figured I needed about 80 pounds per day for 5 months, once April comes around I should have been able to put them out on grass, but Mother nature had other plans and it has just started to warm up around here this past weekend so they are still on all hay. Once they do go out, next week PLEASE, they will then only get supplemental hay at night in their stalls so hay consumption goes way down and a bale will last about 3 days, so again 1 bale every three days for April - October. Now that is if we don't have a drought. You will need to know average weight of a bale from your supplier in order to do the math. Then buy some extra for padding, maybe 10-20 bales. I occasionally do "inventory" to make sure usage is on track so I know when I may need to buy some extra.
            "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

            "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"


            • #7
              Work it in pounds as already suggested and don't buy by the bale but by the ton - not all bales are created equal, even with the same baler and on the same piece of land. When I used to do my own, I tried for 55 pounds but dammit, just changes in ground speed to account for terrain, lighter or heavier swaths, and slightly different grass mix would make bales run from 40 to 70 pounds. IF you buy on a per bale basis, you can get royally ripped off, so by the ton is the best way as the load is weighed rather than counted.
              Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

              Member: Incredible Invisbles


              • #8
                I'm feeding two geldings hay all year round, less from May to September (limited pasture) but all their forage the remaining months. I buy "big bales" weighing 120lbs. on average, but I always buy by the ton. 5 tons of hay (this is an orchard/alfalfa mix) covers an entire year, feeding 20lbs. per horse (roughly, I haven't weighed it out for a few months) per day. Regardless of size of horse/type of eater, this ratio has stood me in good stead for 11 years. I feed twice a day, hay outside in AM and inside in PM. I am now supplementing my aged TB with alfalfa, and purchased 1/2 ton of 3rd cut back in July of 2012 and am on my last bale.
                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                • #9
                  Don't use my method. I buy by the year and am such a chronic overestimator I'm pretty sure I will have 200+ extra bales this year. I am buying less this year, but only 100 fewer bales. Why? I don't know, I just don't feel comfortable coming "close" which to my warped mind seems to mean "loft is less than half full." My name is fordtraktor and I hoard hay.....

                  The good thing about hay is that it lasts for several years without significant nutrient loss, so I just make sure I feed out all the previous year's overpurchase before I start on the new hay.

                  There is no real "buying hay by the ton" around here from your average hay guy -- that is a regional thing. Seems like out west it goes by the ton, in the midwest and much of the East by the bale. You can get it by the ton at a feed store but there is a significant markup -- I prefer buying from a trusted farmer and cut out the middleman.

                  FWIW, I have 4 horses and feed free choice year-round. I also have 10 acres of grass so they rarely eat much hay during the summer -- but on rainy days they like to park themselves under the horse porch with hay, so they can stay dry.


                  • #10
                    BTW, TrotTrotPumpkin, I think 450 squares sounds really high for 2 horses unless they are really small squares. I seem to feed about 400 average 50-60 lb. bales for 4 horses a year free choice, with my grass reducing intake in from spring to late fall (though I feed in NibbleNets/Cinchchix nets so my waste is minimal). I wouldn't say my grass is out yet but there's a faint tinge of green and they are already eating less hay as they nibble the sprouts in my winter pasture. They are all fat.

                    Dec. to March they eat at least 2 bales a day, sometimes 3. The rest of the year considerably less, sometimes basically none.


                    • #11
                      Yep, go by weight, not bales. 3% of body weight a day should be enough for most horses plus a little extra, but you could use that number, add maybe 10% more to account for a really cold spell, or some moldy hay, or some other loss. It's always nice to have some hay left over this time of year in case you 1) need it for stall rest or something, or 2) cuttings are delayed or reduced and you can't quite get enough for the next year.

                      I go through roughly 1000lb (large round bale) for 4 horses, each week. They range from about 1100lb (growing 2yo) to well over 1300lb, total body weight about 5000lb. That puts me averaging about 35lb/horse/day, with some eating a bit more, some eating a bit less.
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                        Don't use my method. I buy by the year and am such a chronic overestimator I'm pretty sure I will have 200+ extra bales this year. I am buying less this year, but only 100 fewer bales. Why? I don't know, I just don't feel comfortable coming "close" which to my warped mind seems to mean "loft is less than half full." My name is fordtraktor and I hoard hay.....
                        Thanks, now I have to clean spit off my desk! I have a distinct feeling my OCD planny-ness (oh, it's a word now) may predispose me to hay hoarder syndrome!

                        This is GREAT, thanks so much. I see a rough pattern here, so gives me at least a number to start with! My current BO always gets good hay, so I'll have to chat with him too -- he is feeding about 80 horses though, so a load comes about every other week--one truck of rectangular bales for the barn and one of round bales for the field! 0.0

                        My big TB gets a bunch of feed too -- due to his chinchilla metabolism, plus being in heavy work in eventing training, the Appendix only gets a bit since he's not working much these days.

                        JB, my almost neighbour, haha (I live just up 85, right N of Raleigh), do you get your hay from a private supplier or is there a larger scale producer you use? I believe ours now come from VA since Granville County touches the border.

                        Keep it coming, this is super helpful!!
                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                        We Are Flying Solo


                        • #13
                          I buy based on weight as well. Even if you buy by the bale, as many of you seem to, you can still get a decent estimate of weight, I'll bet. When I buy the small local bales here, I can pretty much guess at the weight by handling a few bales or the seller might know (although most here seem to overestimate, I have discovered). Since I weigh out what I feed, I can figure out what I'm feeding per day in winter and use that to calculate what I need for the year (I cut back in summer with pasture available, but if I use my "winter" number, that gives me some cushion for loss or waste).

                          For me, I'm limited on what I can store, so it is a balancing act that I haven't totally perfected. And since we put in an arena and my horses are getting some work now, that has changed the requirements, so having to adjust to that. My 3 are getting 17 to 21 lbs. each daily right now, or <60 lbs. total daily. That's going to be around 11 tons for a year. Since I will feed less in summer with pasture (not much less as one horse is IR so no grass for him, and the others share a fairly small pasture area) and might feed more when cold in winter, that's a pretty safe figure for the high end of what I will need. I can probably get 10 tons for the year and be all right...long as I don't get a bad batch like this winter when I discovered a huge chunk of it molded.

                          Anyway, that's kind of my process. YMMV.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                            JB, my almost neighbour, haha (I live just up 85, right N of Raleigh), do you get your hay from a private supplier or is there a larger scale producer you use? I believe ours now come from VA since Granville County touches the border.
                            *waives* Hi almost-neighbor! LOL

                            I get mine from a private farmer. I have 2 sources, actually - my original and longer-term guy who is literally just 1 mile down the road, and another I've had to use the last 2 Winters who is 4 miles down the road. The 2nd guy is who has the 1000lb bales. The 1st guy, who I really hope to get back to this year, has 600-700lb bales, usually. Pros and cons of both guys.

                            Since you currently have this particular source, you should talk to him about supplying your hay, or perhaps ask your current barn if you can buy off them maybe. If you buy all your hay at once, the current barn's supplier might not have a problem delivering to you

                            It's hard in this area to find farmers who sell by the ton, unfortunately. Even the bigger suppliers around here sell by the bale. Square bales seem to be more variable in weight than rounds, but you can still get what you need, though for sure you could end up paying more per pound because of it. I'd personally figure on an extra 20% if you're having to rely on small squares.
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks, horsepoor, I'd have to measure out the storage area to see how much I could store, good point.

                              JB, that's definitely part of the plan -- I'm about 15 minutes down the road, so maybe could get in on the deal! I guess it depends on how many trucks they have, he buys so much!
                              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                              We Are Flying Solo


                              • #16
                                Well, not great at math either! I buy all my hay at once in July. I buy the lovely montana grass hay by the ton, the smaller square bales. So, depending on the year, I put up 17-20 tons which is usually fine for my three horses. I think they get on average 30lbs a day, but more if its really cold. They are fed hay all year round and two get additional supplements. I hate running short and hvaing to buy by the bale. I have a regular hay guy (seven years) and for sure that relationship is like gold. Last year had it delivered and stacked and that is what I will do from hereon out - other wise Mr. LT and I stack it out of the field, haul it home,t hen stack it again. Not so fun and, as he says, brings out Mr. LT's character defects!


                                • #17
                                  We normally have pretty good grass from Easter to Thanksgiving though, like fordtracktor's, my guys like to hang out inside when it's too hot/buggy/rainy/sunny/whatever and nibble a little hay during grass season.

                                  I figure 40#/day/horse for 6 months (roughly 3.5-4 tons each). That's not enough when we have drought (like last year) and is a bit too much when we have a great forage season. But, I have room to store and feed out the leftovers the following summer/fall, and an empty loft makes me really nervous.

                                  It's hard to buy hay here by weight, so I estimate and then buy a few extra tons. And then maybe a bit more because second cutting is lovely and I have an extra corner... A hay hoarding problem--I haz it.


                                  • #18
                                    I have a section on my website that deals with hay storage and calculating hay consumption/storage per horse. I weigh my hay but buy by the bale because that's how it's sold up here. You have to scroll down a little to get to the hay consumption part-it's right below the pictures of the small mesh haynets.



                                    • #19
                                      thanks for the infomation!!! Wow...40 lb bales!! Those are true ladies bales!! Ours are easily 65-70 lbs. We tarp ours and so far (7 years here) so good. Still looks good 8-9 mos later (we use pallets). I should measure the space but whatever it is its where the delivery guy dumped it! But you are right; people have to think about space, proximity, storage and ease of feeding. As much as I bitch about the hauling and stacking every year, I would rather that than have to do little bits every month. Back east, we get 3-4 months worth at a shot but then back to stacking and hauling!


                                      • #20
                                        It's funny- no one that sells hay ever admits to the bales being 40 pounds-they always tell you they are 50 pound bales!! Like sk pacer says, it is really rare to get the bales to all be the same weight. I figure a 40 pound bale is the average-some are a lot more, some are less.

                                        When we get the deliveries, we are responsible for stacking the hay after it is unloaded from the tractor trailer. Since my husband doesn't like the horses anyway, I give him the easy job of driving the bales from the back of the truck to the storage shed. I'm glad they are ladies size bales because I have to put them away in the shed!!

                                        It's scary how much broader my shoulders have become in the last 5 years.....