Since we first brought animals to the farm, we've always fed them with small square bales of hay.
Measuring approximately 3.5 ' wide by 2' by 2' and weighing between 40 to 50 lbs, they're easy to move around and use as we simply break open the bale and peel away the number of flakes needed. We've also found the hay stays fresher longer and there's less waste.
Last fall we thought 215 bales would be enough to get us through the winter, as the equines ate less than that in 2009. What we didn't anticipate was that as we were buying hay this year (versus using our own that we hired a farmer friend to cut and bale for us) the bales themselves would be much, much smaller, or at least less densely packed. And we have equines who love to eat. All the time. Total gluttons.
So there we were, nearing the end of February and rationing the last of the hay. Our hay guy was sold out of small bales for the season. We needed to take drastic action.
We needed to get a 600 lbs round bale.
Having not experienced a round bale on our farm, the equines weren't sure what to make of it.
When they realized it was food, their instincts kicked in.
Cinder got this crazed look in her eyes and started chewing along the top like it was a cob of corn.
Lee rubbed up his head against the side of the bale while making these deep guttural, ecstasy-induced sounds.
Gall, usually the most respectable one of the bunch, shoved his whole head into it.
But alas, a day after bringing the bale into the barnyard, we discovered there was a big rainstorm coming. We didn't want to leave the bale uncovered as we knew it would get ruined in the rain, especially as it was tipped onto its side.
Lucas moved it into the barn's first run-in, hoping we could salvage most of it. The equines had other plans.
The barn now has a lovely communal bed/snack bar/depository of poop/duck roost.
And I'm shopping for more hay... and a cheap used round bale feeder. Or maybe we'll just go back to small bales.