July 21st, 2022
Hey, This Is What You Need To Know About Hay
When you run a farm, many livestock species consume hay in their daily diet. Hay consists of leaves, seed heads, and stems that get cut and baled. It’s mainly used for feeding livestock, offering a vital nutritional resource.
But, for first-time farmers, choosing the appropriate hay mixture can become overwhelming. So, let’s look at what you need to know about hay and picking the correct feed for your livestock. You want the result to be happy, healthy farm animals that get proper nutrition.
Understanding Hay Types
Each type of livestock species on your farm has different dietary needs. For example, horses, on average, consume two percent of their body weight in dry foods per day. Remember that all hay is not the same and offers differing levels of nutrients.
There are various types of hay: timothy, orchard, alfalfa, bermudagrass, oat, clover, and grass. Timothy hay, for example, is a popular pick for horses. Hay contains high protein, calcium, vitamin A, and energy levels.
Hay-Eating Farm Animals
If you don’t specifically raise horses and have a wide variety of animals roaming your farm, many species consume hay regularly. The most common animals that eat hay besides horses are chickens, cows, rabbits, sheep, and goats. Ducks and pigs also consume hay, just not as much as other farm animals. Regardless, it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals for pigs or ducks if you raise them on your farm.
When purchasing hay, find a reliable hay producer and stick with them. Some commercial producers will provide bale weight service and hay analysis to give you the nutritional makeup of the hay mixture. Between purchasing smaller or larger hay bales, purchasing larger-sized bales will save you more money in the future. The costs reflect many aspects, including stacking, hauling, dealing, and handling.
While throwing hay on the ground for the animals to gather might be easy, it can result in waste and bacterial infestation. So, consider using other methods of feeding hay that reduce waste and sickness.
You can provide your livestock with portable hay feeders for durable and easy transportation. They are built on top of skids, which makes them more portable and easier to refill or clean. Additionally, portable feeders won’t risk hay waste or allow bacteria from the ground to infest the mixture.
Keep the hay you’re not using in a sheltered location to avoid sunlight and rain. Proper ventilation and keeping it off the ground will prevent mold growth. The longer hay remains stored, the more the nutritional value deletes.