ALL ABOUT HAY – Stocking the Barn without Breaking the Bank

All About Hay.

If you have animals or are planning to get animals someday, you will most likely, eventually,  have to deal with hay.  It’s pretty much unavoidable.

Even if you only get a couple of chickens you will probably end up with some hay in your life.

Once you cross the bridge into the hay-ownership you’ll be glad you have it.  Whether you have 3 or 300 bales of hay stored on your property you’d be amazed the uses you’ll find for it.

  • Bedding
  • Food
  • Nesting
  • Mulching
  • Seating (think bonfire seats)
  • and More!!

I’m sure you’ll think of even more once you have some extra hay bales laying around.

If you don’t ‘make’ your own hay, you’ll have to buy it.  Or work for it.  Or trade for it.

The old saying holds true whether you are buying or making it.

“Make Hay While the Sun Shines”

To get the most bang for your buck it is best to buy hay in summer.  It is plentiful, typically excellent quality, and cheap.

You do not want to run out of hay in the middle of winter.  During winter hay is usually hard to find, lesser quality and expensive.

Tips for Buying Hay

There are a few options when it comes to buying hay.

  1. Go to the local feed store.  You will be paying the farmer who raised it, baled it, and delivered it to the feed store.  You will also be paying the middle-man (the store).  This is the most expensive way to buy hay.
  2. Buy direct from the guy (or gal) who raises & bales it.  This cuts out the middle-man and will be less expensive than the store.
  3. Go fetch it from the field where it was baled.  If you know the farmer and can go get the bales from the field you will save big.  In this scenario the farmer doesn’t have to load it onto his trailer, store it, or sell it (since you already bought it).  It is the least expensive way to go, but also the most work.

You can probably guess which camp we’re in.  We’re cheap.  We don’t have tons of money to give to middle-men or anyone else for that matter.  We fetch our bales from the field and boy is it work.

hay Collage

The good news is that we have 2 giant teenage kids who are learning the vanishing art of hard work.

hay Collage 2
We have a streamlined system for loading hay.  The boys (DH and my oldest son) grab the bales of hay from the field and toss them at my daughter who is on the trailer.  She precisely stacks the bales.  Stacking is very important.  If you stack the bales wrong you will not make it home with all your bales and the cars behind you could be in trouble.

I drive the truck (which is very important).  I must make sure to keep up with the boys tossing the hay and keep the trailer moving.  I like my job.  I don’t have to toss or stack hay, and I get air conditioning.  I won the hay-job-lottery.  Both my kids want the driving the truck job.  Too bad, it’s taken.  

hay 5

As the bales get tossed onto the trailer my oldest daughter goes farther and farther up.  Every time a new layer of hay is complete she’s another foot and 1/2 off the ground.  Wee!

hay 17

Once the trailer can’t hold another bale, it’s time to take it home and get it in the barn.  If the kids look younger, that’s because this pic was taken a year ago.  Time warp!  

hay 9

If you thought getting the hay out of the field was hard work, you ain’t seen nothin’!

It is 96 degrees outside.  It is 102 degrees in the barn.  It is 116 degrees in the loft.  Just standing there will give your pores a sweat-induced deep-cleanse.  hay 10

We drink lots and lots and lots of water on Hay day.  hay 11

Yes, I help.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never been this hot before.  Like, I’m sweating, profusely, my clothes are soaked, I need oxygen, so, so, so hot.  

If you are wondering about the awesome look I have going with the jeans on the outside of the work boots……  it is a must.  This is preventing hay from falling into my boots.   Hay in the boots is not pleasant.  Tucking my jeans into my boots would be a better look, but if I did that I would have 5 pounds of itchy, scratchy, lumpy, seedy hay in my boots.  No thanks.

hay 15

The leaning tower of hay is not what you want…… this is a stacking failure.

It’s not done until ALL the hay is stacked properly in the barn.  

hay 13

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Now, if you’ll excuse me,  I’m going to go get in my outdoor shower and then sit in the air conditioning for the next year.

Candi

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