How to Use extra Hay.
It never fails, sometimes we end up with some hay that is not fit to feed to the animals.
- Maybe it got left out in the rain
- Maybe the tarp protecting it from the snow blew into the next county
- Maybe you bought a trailer of hay and a trailer of bales weeds, sticks, and mold was delivered
- Maybe you didn’t get it in the barn in time
- Maybe the guy you hired to paint your barn didn’t put up a tarp and all your hay bales are red
- Maybe your 4 kids built the pyramid of Giza behind the barn
Whatever the reason, sometimes you end up with some hay that is destined for something other than food.
This post is for all the old, moldy, destroyed hay that is past it’s prime.
What to do with extra hay:
- Bedding & Nesting material for nesting boxes, coops, hutches, and run-ins.
- Filler for the pool the pigs built. Once the pigs move out of the yard and into the freezer they will leave you with a giant swimming pool filled with pig sewage – at no charge. I suppose I could leave it for the next batch of pigs, but goodness, just think how huge it could get if they could just pick up where the last batch left off. So, I fill it with hay every fall when the pigs leave.
- Seeding. We do not buy sod. We grow grass. A bag of grass seed cost $50. Growing from seed saves bundles. To optimize your grass growing success from seed, we always cover the seed with something. You could use grass clippings, or straw, or hay. We think hay is the perfect choice. Not only does it prevent the seeds from washing away, it retains moisture and even multiplies your seeding efforts. Since the “hay” is complete with seed heads, as we spread it over our seeded lawn we are in essence seeding a second time. Bonus! To see how we grow grass go here.
- Mulch for garden, around trees, or in pumpkin patches.
- Entertainment – chickens and pigs LOVE to scratch, roll and play in fresh hay.
- Seating – whether you’re hosting a bon fire, party or an outdoor wedding, hay bales make the perfect seats.
- Games – We host many parties with dozens of children. I use hay bales for several games.
- Hay Rides!
- Building pyramids or forts.
- Decoration – In fall it’s festive to add a few hay bales and pumpkins to the house, barn, or porch.
- Create a barrier to stop summer storms from washing all the gravel out of your driveway.
- Start a new garden! A super thick covering of hay is a great beginning for a new garden. Just spread on a thick layer. It will kill any grass, weeds or other life forms. It will also put a nice layer of grass seed on there – so it’s not perfect! I use old hay to “fill” raised beds & put a nice coat of compost (how I turn my manure into soil here) on top of the hay. This prevents too many of the seeds in the hay from germinating. Be sure the ‘hay’ wasn’t sprayed with a herbicide while growing – this could kill a garden and/or add unwanted chemicals (thanks Scott!).
Old hay is never wasted at our farm.
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