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Squares vs Round bales for 2 horses

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  • #21
    I found plunking a round bale out for just 2 horses wasted so much hay.
    I tried a net (very expensive) and it was great until the bale was half eaten, then they just tromped the sagging net into the ground.
    If you live with snow/sleet/freezing rain and frozen ground,the net will eventually freeze to the ground. And stay there until spring.

    I now keep my round bales in my hay loft and peel the hay off and then stuff my nets. I stuff enough to last a few days.
    If you don't have any indoor place for round bales, you can put it on a wood pallet - away from the horses - and keep it covered/wrapped with a heavy duty tarp. A friend has done this for the past 2 winters and it's worked out well.

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    • #22
      My two were pretty consistently going through a round bale in ten days last winter. It was my first experience with a net and no feeder and I did have freezing and flattening issues once.

      I built four panels 5' long and 2' high and tied/double ended snapped them together around the bale which was placed on a couple of pallets. They weren't always quite long enough and I had plans to build a couple of 2' long panels to give me a little extra room and roundness.

      The bale was out in the middle of the paddock and we had no mold issues - because it was too cold for anything to grow! The one bale that had a chunk of frozen nasty they ate around it and I got rid of it before they were tempted to eat it.

      One of mine has heaves and he does just fine on netted round bales because the net prevents the tunneling. Of course the human needs to check for holes in the net and tie them closed as well. I can usually tell just by how they eat if there's a hole, and I keep a bit of string in my pocket so I can fix it as soon as I find it. I think most nets come with a hank of string for fixing holes.

      If you live in a warmer/wetter climate setting the bales out standing up (the same way they come off the baler) allows them to shed the rain rather than soak it up, and also makes it harder for the horses to eat tunnels. A feeder of some kind is necessary to prevent the horses rolling the bale though.

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      • #23
        Option D. As others have stated, I peel and stuff in nets. I do this one day a week, generally Sunday, I peel and stuff enough nets for 3 horses for 8 days, so the rest of the week I can grab n go. Takes about 2 hours for me, but I'm getting slow in my old age.

        A 4x4 bale generally lasts around 17-20 days with near zero waste (I keep my rounds outside on pallets, covered in waterproof breathable horse blankets, but the bottom few inches gets lost to unavoidable dampness).

        Feeding appx 2 rounds of excellent quality hay per month, at around $65 per round, is pretty cost-effective for 3 head.

        I also put up 10 rounds of marginal hay (dry, clean, mix of good quality 2nd cutting heavily mixed with stemmy stuff they have to root through) that is kept in a large shed with a wall that opens to the horses. I roll a bale up like a dispenser and they stand at a window to eat. This keeps them busy and from getting too overweight when the high-quality forage is consumed.

        The stemmy chaff left over makes wonderful bedding straw for the winter, and terrific compost.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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        • #24
          I would go with option D as well.

          I feed round bales to three donkeys right now (two minis and a large standard yearling) and one bale lasts me several months at least. I keep the bale clean and dry, and peel off hay to fill their small hole hay nets.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by gahorseygal View Post
            My vet told me to never get round bales since I only have 2 horses. He said they wouldn't go through it fast enough before it would start getting moldy. I did have a trainer keep a round bale like candyappy suggested in her option D.
            I agree with this. My vet told me he has seen a lot more respiratory problems since people started feeding round bales.

            I have four horses and only use small squares. They are easier for me to handle and I have better control of what they are eating. Mine are only out during the day. They come into their stalls at night and have a Nibble Net.

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            • #26
              I have 4 horses (I keep two per pen). My mare is prone to respiratory issues. I feed rounds to all of them and love it.

              I use Hay Chix hay nets with a Bale Buddy and set that in a small roofed structure I built. Works fine. The net keeps them from burying their heads in tunnels and I have had NO problems with her breathing issues since I started this.

              My rounds are stored indoors and not exposed to weather. The quality is excellent and not dusty, though we do find occasional sticks and things.

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              • #27
                In the past, when I didn't have a way to keep a round bale out of the weather in the field (i.e. under a run in), I tied a make shift roof frame made from PVC to a hay ring and used a tarp as the roof.

                4 - 6' long PVC pipes ( If you are using the larger hay rolls, you may want you PVC pipe to be taller)
                6 45 degree elbow PVC pipe connectors
                4 - 4' long PVC pipes

                I used the thicker grade of PVC.

                I attached the 4 6' long pipes evenly around the hay ring. I placed a 45 elbow on each one. I attached the 4' section of pipe to each elbow and then attached a 45 elbow to connect the pipe structure together. I didn't glue the PVC connections together, although you could. I found I could tip the ring to fill it with a new hay bale, or roll the ring to a new location without the parts coming apart.

                I would then attach the tarp over the roof structure and tied it to the PVC and to the hay ring. If I had extra length of tarp, I would cover the side of the roll that was most exposed to blowing rain. This kept the hay protected. If you place the hay on a pallet, you are able to keep the moisture from the ground soaking the bottom layer of the hay.

                I would rake around the roll every few days to keep the waste cleaned away.

                If you add a net, you could attach it to the roof structure and to the bottom of the hay ring. This would combat tunneling, reduce waste and make the placement of the net easier since its attached to the ring and it won't need to be cinched up as they eat the roll.

                I was able to flip the hay ring by myself to place a new roll and then flip it over the new roll by myself. It would be easier to do with 2 people or with the forks/spear attachment on a tractor.

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