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SCORE! Farm Cart on Sale at Home Depot! Least Messy Ways to Handle Hay

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  • SCORE! Farm Cart on Sale at Home Depot! Least Messy Ways to Handle Hay

    Now that we have our beautiful mats down in the barn, we have cut the barn dust at least in half. I hope to regain entry, but still have to wear a dust mask when I am out there (for those who don't know -- we are trying to cut the dust in our barn enough that I can get back to spending time in my favorite place, respiratory difficulties have severely curtailed my barn time).

    Does anyone have suggestions for ways to handle / store hay that will reduce the amount that becomes airborne and/or lands on the floor?

    I am already looking to move the main hay storage to another building, but we still will have 10 to 15 bales in the barn. So, any ideas on how to reduce my exposure to the stored hay -- as well as how DH can open bales and deliver hay to the horses without launching as much of it into the air and onto the ground?

    I realize it's hay and it's going to get airborne ... but to the degree we can reduce that, it all helps. Any ideas appreciated!

    Thanks to everyone for the great ideas!

    PSA: I scored the Rubbermaid Farm Tough cart at Home Depot over the weekend. Marked down to $139 -- no shipping! By far, the best price. Previously, the best price I'd found online was $179, plus $150 shipping!

    Last edited by King's Ransom; Apr. 29, 2013, 09:42 AM.

  • #2
    I remember when I was storing a heap of it in Dh's shop and he was getting all upset about the mess (as well he should be, it's a fire hazard).
    One option was to buy the pre shrink wrapped palletized hay from Tamara. I guess you'd cut the shrink and unload one layer at a time, there'd be a bit less chaff getting loose and what there was would be easy to sweep/rake up.
    As far as our place I ended up plopping it on a tarp and sort of diapering the stack, most of the loose material stayed inside the tarp. Unfortunately I don't have any good ideas about handling it for feeding, except perhaps loading it into those solid canvas bags (can't remember the name), we got them at TSC and they just didn't work out for us - mostly because our horses tend to snap at their haynets and really beat them up.

    Not too long ago I'm thinking it was Bearcat that took credit for a novel hay feeder using a blue plastic drum with net on the bottom - if you were to plop your flakes on a sheet, wrap them up and then dump them out of the sheet into such a thing you could minimize your exposure to chaff with some practice.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    • #3
      I'm not sure about the feeding part, but as far as storage goes you could use the cotton drop cloths that are supposed to be used by painters. Mine are HUGE, somewhere around 20'x20' or more. I actually use them for the opposite reason - to keep the dust off the hay, because I can't adequately separate my grooming areas from my hay storage.

      As for getting to the horses, I'm just throwing a couple ideas out here, but what about the rolling hay bags that hold an entire bale? Or something along the lines of what we use to bring in wood from the wood shed (nylon carrier with handles... it would hold enough for one horse)

      Alternatively, can you or your husband wet the hay before feeding it?


      • #4
        I use muck buckets, one for each horse. I position them right next to the bale, peel off the required number of flakes, put in the bucket, carry to the stall/feeder and dump in. Really keeps drippy hay bits from going all over.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          We use a Rubbermaid cart, holds one bale. You can roll it from the stack, down the aisle, into stall,then put the hay into the corner. No dribbles, no dust until you pull the hay from the cart.

          You might also check with some barn people, increase your air circulation with fans. Setting up such a system could move the air to remove dust hanging there, faster. Could also be helpful to the horses, getting dirt out of the air quickly has to help anything that breathes!

          We have a lovely flow-thru breeze in our barn, which we built to take advantage of that prevailing wind. Dust moves thru the barn, but dust seldom hangs in the air with these breezes. We have ridge venting too, will leave one side door cracked open to the outside in winter, so there is moving air when the end doors are closed off to the winter cold. Even when the hay is not putting up dust, horses moving inside can create dirt in the air with bedding dust. So again, moving air is desireable in a barn, though drafts on the animals are to be avoided.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for all the ideas! Goodhors, is this the cart you use? http://www.cleaningstuff.net/cleanin...Cart-5642,.htm

            Any ideas on where to buy this without ordering online? Like TSC or Home Depot?


            • #7
              I use a muck bucket cart with a rubber feed bucket in it, but a muck bucket would also work and pull the cart to where I am feeding.
              Wonderful method when you have one arm in a sling:
              Attached Files


              • #8
                I've got one like the one in the link. Bought it from Home Depot in 1996 and it's still going strong. Had to get it new tires a few years ago. It's held poop, hay,
                had concrete mixed in it, pulled weeds...worth it's weight in gold!


                • #9
                  Can you have someone WET or STEAM your hay before it comes into the barn? As in, hay is stored outside of the barn, and each bale, before it's fed, is soaked or steamed, and brought into the barn only after that has happened?

                  I imagine soaking a bale before it's fed, even if it is stored in the barn, would also drastically reduce your airborn particles.

                  I suppose that really only works if you feed a bale at a time. You could peal off flakes, submerge them, transport to the horse and feed?


                  • #10
                    Feed outside the barn and splurge on complete feed/hay cubes for when the horses are in?

                    Are you bothered by all hay types or only some? What about the dust from bedding? Other reducible sources of dust?

                    Breathing is a MUST - I hope you figure out what works for you quickly and without setbacks
                    Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


                    • #11
                      I've found that stacking my open bales vertically, rather than horizontally, keeps the chaff down. Basically, I cut the strings and then flip half of the bale up on end, then do the same with the other half. They stay nice and contained (although you do need a wall to push them against) and do far less "spreading". I also use a firewood sling (got it at an Ace hardware store for $9) to weigh my hay and sling portions to stalls and put it into hay bags/nets. Helps keep it from going airborne, and reduces that amount that goes airborne when I'm putting it in nets / bags.


                      • #12
                        You might look into hay alternatives to help you deal with your allergies.

                        There are the new compressed bales that you drop into water to expand.

                        There is the option of cubes or pellets - not maybe quite as great for the horses, but realistically most horses do fine with them.

                        There is haylege, if someone makes it in your area.

                        There are the new fodder systems, where you grow hydroponic grass for your horses.

                        If I were in your situation, (and assuming no pasture), I'd seriously consider a Fodder system + cubes and call it done, and I think I'd feel pretty good about the quality of my horses' diet besides.
                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by UrbanHennery View Post
                          I've found that stacking my open bales vertically, rather than horizontally, keeps the chaff down. Basically, I cut the strings and then flip half of the bale up on end, then do the same with the other half. They stay nice and contained (although you do need a wall to push them against) and do far less "spreading". I also use a firewood sling (got it at an Ace hardware store for $9) to weigh my hay and sling portions to stalls and put it into hay bags/nets. Helps keep it from going airborne, and reduces that amount that goes airborne when I'm putting it in nets / bags.
                          Expanding on this, for a while, I feed by standing a bale on a dolly and wheeling that around dispensing flakes.
                          Mine looks like the standard dolly here:


                          You may try that also, it does cut down hay dust considerably.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for so many good ideas. DH and I are considering all of them and will come up with a plan. Right now, we are going to give away what's left of our winter hay, as the boys are all out on pasture and we won't need to feed hay again until late fall. Then, we can clean up and make a plan. Talked to our hay gay yesterday and he will sell us first cutting, and store it for us instead of bringing it for delivery. At least this way we will have 5 to 6 months of a hay-free barn. Then, we will just pick up 20 bales at a time when we need it.

                            He also suggested we might consider switching to prairie hay instead of brome, said people tend to have fewer problems with the prairie hay. But I don't anything about it -- thoughts on prairie hay vs brome?

                            I realize that I did not have these problems when I just had two horses, King and Eli, and King did not eat hay. We kept him on a complete feed, and gave the same to Eli with just a little hay. But now that King is gone, and we have three who eat hay -- we have a lot more hay around. Plus -- we started getting first cutting and having it delivered in June, so we ended up with hay in the barn year-round.

                            I don't think we need (or can) ELIMINATE dust in the barn, but reducing it by as much as possible will hopefully solve my problems.

                            I also am being religious about coming inside, disrobing in the laundry room, and heading straight for the shower, including washing my hair. This, along with the dust mask (which I don't really mind) is working pretty well so far.


                            • #15
                              FWIW: Another vote for that Rubbermaid Farm Big-Wheel Cart. Ours is 8 years old and still going strong. Highly maneuverable, even one handed, either pushing or pulling it. Can hold & haul even the heaviest items.
                              <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                              • #16
                                I always wanted a 'laundry cart' for hay bale to sit in/haul to from stalls.....looked into some online, and they're too pricey, so it'll be a Rubbermaid, probably.
                                "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                                --Jimmy Buffett


                                • #17
                                  The seller of these at National Western Stock Show and I now know who they may help: http://www.porta-grazer.com/. They were expensive, but if your hay was stored outside of the barn and your DH put the hay in them outside of the barn and brought them in, there should not be much dust from the hay.


                                  • #18
                                    we put open bale in big Rubbermade trough and use Cashel Hay Handler to deliver flakes.


                                    • #19
                                      We use a two wheeled wheelbarrow for our hay that we have drilled holes in the bottom. Place bale in, bring to wash stall, wash bale, allow to drain, feed.


                                      • #20
                                        I would store all hay out of the barnin , maybe keep a few bales in a lean-to outside the barn. Wet it before you feed it. I would also be wetting down any bedding (shavings) or switching to straw.

                                        I love a clean barn and be get a little bit over the top cleaning things sometimes, but I would sweep the stall fronts/walls and sweep/shop vac the windows. It is amazing how much dust and dirt and other stuff collects there.