Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking for Hay - Please Respond if You Can Help

We've been having a severe drought in our part of the country - Northern Illinois - and as a result hay is in short supply, if it's available at all.  Many hay farmers will not get a second cutting this year.  To help out our barn owner, I'm putting out a request to all of you - if you have the contact information for sellers of good quality grass hay - squares or rounds - please e-mail me privately.  Our barn owner is willing to buy large loads from whatever distance - the whole middle of the country is fair game - our barn is large and we use a lot of hay.

Also, on a personal note, if you have experience feeding horses when access to hay is limited, please let me know what you fed, how much and what your experience has been.  I've used Purina Senior as a complete feed in the past, either with or without beet pulp, but I'd like to find a lower NSC option.  For now, since hay at our barn is still available but not in the unlimited quantities we're used to, I'll be starting my horses on Purina Ultium to provide extra calories.

Hope some of you have contacts to share privately or complete feeding strategies to share in the comments on this blog . . .

34 comments:

  1. I've fed hay cubes, both soaked and dry (my horse is such a Hoover, he'll eat anything). I've also fed pellets. Out west we get Secate brand, which soak to a wonderful "mush" and horses with dental issues (or no teeth at all) get along quite well. I don't envy you your situation with the drought, and of course our hay prices won't go down because of the demand. Hard times for all, but the horses gotta eat ;o)

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  2. I have fed hay cubes....you can get alfalfa or a mix and soak it. Expands like crazy and the horses loved it. A good thing to have on hand in case you get in a pinch. Hay is going to be a problem all over the place...and very expensive.

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  3. I had to use timothy pellets when Pippin had his tooth extracted. I soaked it, as Lori mentioned. After he recovered, I began to use a small amount of timothy pellets (without soaking) to expand the evening feed ration for my Haffies. They were such easy keepers they didn't need anything, but they thought the pellets were a special treat! The other plus about the pellets/cubes is that their nutritional value is much more consistent than hay you may get from one supplier or another.

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  4. We are in a hay crisis too, and we are stocking up. We have to feed certified timothy because of my horse's allergies. It is $13.50 a bale right now, and expected to hit $19 this winter. Very scary times.

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  5. Oh man! I'm so sorry. The situation must be dire to create this post. Here in New Mexico, we've been under a drought for a few years now, so I can totally sympathize with you. Most of our hay comes from out of state, usually Colorado and California, and we pay high prices for it. Currently were paying $13.00 for 2-string 50-60lb grass hay and $25.00 for a 3 string bale.
    So, far I've been very lucky and not had to switch over to non-hay feedings, but it's something I do think about a lot.

    Hang in there,
    ~Lisa

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  6. We have the opposite problem here, the wet summer has saturated the ground making it hard for the cut hay to dry. I won't be able to use my usual supplier, so I'm looking around too. I hope you find the hay you need.

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  7. Ditto here in Colorado. People are talking about hay like I imagine they talk about drugs. We are a small barn of only 16 horses and we can't compete with the bigger barns.

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  8. i haven't had hay either since april - it's bad here but not as bad as in the states. i've been feeding a ration of 2:.5 beet pulp and rice bran to keep weight on my old horse. (with care for the calcium:phosphorus) i think it's funny that the rice bran is, so far, the only feed i've seen in germany that is marketed "low starch." yah that would be no starch, i believe: ) our problem this year is too much rain so far, spoiling crops. i believe there will be more haylage than hay this year. the difference here is that our pastures are not drying up to nothing like in america. my horse has been getting along pretty well on just pasture for the first time ever.

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  9. I wish I could help you. Proper forage is so important. We have trouble with consistency of quality around here. We have had some really scary situations with bad hay. "No hay" would qualify as scary.

    When our hay quality was very poor, I was feeding 50% Ultium/50% unmolassed beet pulp shreds (wet) at each meal. This wasn't a perfect fix, as my hard-keeper still needed weight, but it was our mainstay for several years. I have also fed wet hay cubes to older horses and horses with allergies with great success. "Hay-stretchers" is another product offered in our area. I know some people swear by it, although I have never used and do not know what it is made of.

    Ultium has a little bit lower NSC than Purina Senior, by the way.

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    1. Val - I've had good luck with Ultium and beet pulp as well - the beet pulp is a hassle because of the soaking, but it gives them that full feeling like hay.

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    2. kate, i totally agree with the full feeling because after baasha's beet pulp mash he always just stands there dozing, digesting. sadly he won't eat more than 1 kg at a time, or else i'd feed him even more of it. we still have an empty hay loft and i'm flying to america in 2 days. i have a backup but it's getting close. i cannot imagine having a dried up pasture right now and no hay. scary.

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  10. This hay shortage is going to effect a lot of people this year - including Ohio. I'm seriously considering going to Chaffhay (haylage) if hay becomes astromically expensive. I know some people who fed it through TX's drought and sware by it.

    Check out this blog for some very good information about it: http://draftswithdots.blogspot.com/2012/07/chaffhaye-and-what-makes-it-so-good.html

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    1. That's certainly an option to consider - might work for my 3 horses even if the barn itself didn't want to do that.

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    2. Yup, was going to recommend that exact post. She does some awesome articles! Good luck, Kate, and the rest of you - northern CA seems to be ok so far.

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  11. I'll "ditto" the answers on hay cubes - might not be a long term option due to cost, but it might help supplement and stretch the hay ration out. Beet pulp is good too, but the hay cubes are top notch. I'm sure the price/bag on that stuff will go up quickly as well though, with a lot of typical hay producing regions(and Canada too!) having drought issues. :-(

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  12. We've had the opposite problem with weather this year: Thunderstorms every three-four days (unusual around here, as it's usually pretty dry). the last two days I helped bale probably 400-500 TONS of iffy quality Timothy-- 'cause it had been rained on, tedded, dried, rained on, tedded, dried, and one more time, rained on, tedded and dried, before we could get it up. All of the storms were pretty brief, but intense--the last one, my feed buckets all had about 2 inches in them in less than an hour! The hay doesn't look as bad as I thought it would--might make for decent "filler" along with a good protein supplement...

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  13. We just secured 150 of really good grass hay (1st cutting) typically $3.50 a bale, it's up to 5.75 a bale. I would give you info but he's OUT. The 10 other resources, are all out. We are hoping to get 2nd cutting as it comes in...GOOD LUCK. I also, in winter feed Laz a combo of no molasses BP mixed with Standlee products of Timothy hay cubes or pellets as a 'green' stretcher.

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  14. Well we have lots of hay here in Alberta, but getting it there would be outrageously expensive. I was also gonna suggest looking at Drafts with Dots blog. She has lots of experience with alternative feeds. I have used hay cubes as well and they are nice as they are always a consistant quality and easy for us when we traveled.

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  15. I'm in mid-Missouri. We have also suffered from the lack of rain. We have several open fields that we cut for hay. My husband hasn't been able to get a second cutting this summer and may not get a fall cutting either. We have 4 horses in our barn and have held on to the hay we will need to get through the winter and already sold the excess locally. We even had bales left over from 2 years ago that have been snatched up. I don't remember a year when hay has been so scarce. I wish I was writing to tell you we had a bumper crop of hay but that's just not the case... :(

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  16. The worst nightmare in a drought--no hay. I am sending out good hay thoughts to all the midwestern horses seeking hay for their bellies. We too are very dry so I know the fear of not having enough hay. It would be nice to have a year where everything worked out perfectly.

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  17. My friend in Michigan is feeding Hay cubes/pellets and grain along with the limited hay. :( Other than that I'm no help here as I'm in CA

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  18. Purina Strategy, Healthy Edge is low starch/carbo, high fat. It has a better ratio than the Senior.

    My hay price has gone up too--out of New York State. Not too sure what New Jersey hay is.

    Hay cubes out of Canada have not gone up in price so far this year. I'd use that as an option if you can't get baled hay.

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  19. Oh Kate this is when it is a shame I live in New Zealand. Although here we pay a lot of hay.This year hay is $8 -10 a bale but there is plenty around. Normally I try to pick it up off the paddock so I get it a bit cheaper. But of course all this is useless as I'm here and you are WAY over there.
    When hay is not in vast quantities I feed eezy beet. It is a wonderful beet product that soaks quite quickly, especially in hot water. Haylage products are also good to feed

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  20. This is my worst nightmare, I really feel for you and everyone else affected by the drought.

    If you don't mind driving, you could check Craigslist in every area of reasonable driving distance and then haul out a trailer and pick some up. I think you can fit 100 bales in a stock trailer. My area is super dry and my hay source is currently out, but I know that there is hay in other parts of NY.

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  21. Kate, I don't know if this would help you, but I can give you a list of hay suppliers that are listed in the regional publication Virginia Horse Journal. It has just ceased publication, but is still out there online, so I wrote down 17 names (and contact info)of hay suppliers from their directory. I'll be glad to send this info to you- email me at jswisher568@peoplepc.com and I'll email you the information. Possibly several of them still have hay. The barn where Buckshot lives gets hay from local suppliers but I don't know which ones. I hope that maybe, just maybe, you might find some from here, if you are interested (I know Virginia isn't all that close to Illinois). Good luck. From Jan, from A Thousand Pounds of Fragile Horse blog (one of your fans!)

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    1. Jan - please do, we might need it. Kate

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  22. Check with Production Acres in east Tennessee. They hay about 2,000 acres plus they are hay brokers as well. As long as your BO is willing to pay $$$$$ they will sell you hay by the semi load. The one thing I like about them is they sell by the ton and not by the bale so you KNOW what you are paying for. http://productionacres.com/

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  23. I know what you are going through and it's scary. I bought Triple Crown chopped forage in big bags and also fed Triple Crown lite feed to my girls. It was a little more expensive, but good quality and they loved it.

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  24. Im really scared about the situation - no matter your location. Fortunately in Western WA, drought has not been an issue, but what is most common is the wet summers where the cut hay just cant dry. My boyfriends family used to cut grass hay locally (at the time, I didnt buy my own hay - too bad!) but every summer just seemed to be harder and harder to get it cut and dry between rains, they sold all their equipment.

    I am very picky about hay, as Milo is too, and fear not having the $ to afford the high quality, in demand hay. I have considered the options of needing to go to timothy cubes, hopefully though I wont be forced to, but you never know whats around the corner.

    Kate, I really hope someone can help you. The blogosphere is so huge, hopefully there can be a connection made.

    Thinking about you all.

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  25. I hope you can find good hay. I went to a local feed store a couple days ago (I'm down to a few weeks left) and they have NO hay and are hunting in other states too. I'm worried this year. Our pricers are going to stay high and I hear the growers will release only half, hold the rest and release it in the winter for even higher prices. It is sad. Some of us will still be able to feed our horses, but it will hurt in the pocketbook. What scares me is those who won't be able to feed at all, and the horses that are going to starve. The rescues can't absorb them. Scary times.

    Good luck with your hay search.

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  26. I live in the Southwest corner of Mississippi, I know it's a long way from you, but I have hay. I grow 007 Hybrid Bermuda. I sold quite a lot last year to the horse people in Texas. I sell it for $5.50 a square bale....same price I sell it locally. The drought will hit here one day and I hope no one tries to take advantage of me. I will be glad to answer any questions.

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    1. Teena - please e-mail me privately with your contact details. I will pass them on to my barn owner. Thank you.

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  27. I'm soo thankful that I have horses at a friends house and he cut and baled 17 acres of his dads land for his sheep and will have more than enough for me to buy from him for my horses. Had a few days I thought I was gonna have to make a very hard call cause my suppliers here in south Dakota aren't selling any hay this yr cause they need all they got for their own stock. I'm paying him going rate right now which is working out to 75.00 a 1500pound round bale. 2 yrs ago I was getting grass/alphafa mix for less than that. If we don't get some relief soon, I'm not gonna be able to feed them next fall/winter cause all his pasture/hayland may not come back
    Hope you find hay soon.

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