Who wants to think of winter while we are in the middle of summer?
No one, but the fact remains that winter will come and I live in Wisconsin which means winter lasts for 6 months! I have to feed hay out to the animals for an additional month after that until the grass has grown enough to support them. That is 7 months worth of hay!
Over the years I have calculated exactly how much hay I need to make it through the winter months.
- 30 days in a month X 7 months of winter = 210 days of feeding hay.
- 1 horse and 3 goats will eat about 1 small square bale of hay a day.
- I need 210 small square bales to feed out through the winter.
- An additional horse will add 105 bales to my usual amount.(Yes, there is an additional horse in our future)
- I need 315 small square bales for this winter.
An additional horse means more hay. Horses are big animals and it can be a bit of a hassle to haul small squares out to them every day. Round bales are more convenient because one bale will last them two weeks or more, but if you do not have a feeder to hold the bale a lot of hay will be wasted. This summer a horse round bale feeder was given to us, Yay! Trenton did a little welding on it and it is now ready to go.
Here are a few more figures:
- 1 square bale = about 50 Ibs
- 1 round bale = about 800 to 1000 Ibs
- 16 to 20 square bales per round bale
My dad has been baling hay and so far we have brought two wagon loads of hay home. We have approximately 155 bales put up so far. Halfway there only 160 left to go! Or (hopefully) a few round bales.
Lucian gets very excited when it is time to do hay. He loves the whole process and would ride around in the tractor with papa all day if he could. My dad took Lucian with him to bale the last wagon we brought home and he maniacally giggled each time a bale kicked out. His job this year when it was time to unload the wagon was to stand at the top of the elevator that runs the bales up into the hay mow and push them over when they reached the top. For some unexplained reason bales sometimes stick at the top and the twine holding the bale together breaks. He was a big help making sure the bales didn’t get stuck while I was stacking hay.
Fiona was also a big help when it was time to get the loose hay off the wagon. My dad uses a kicker baler which is nice because you don’t have to stack the hay on the wagon but is also bad because sometimes bales break when they are kicked out. There is usually a fair amount of loose hay left over on the wagon when we are done unloading the intact bales. We haul that hay into an empty stall in the barn and feed it out first. Fiona did her part in helping this year by grabbing handfuls of hay and bring them into the barn.
Grandma Linda has also been a great big help watching Fiona and Penelope while we unload hay. Fiona is 2 and not quite big enough to be up in the hay mow yet. She would want to help which is great but she would also probably get wacked with a bale of hay in the process, which is not good. Penelope is 5 months old and needs a person’s full attention, so Grandma “da” came over to watch us work and visit with the wee little gremlins.