Round bales

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Well-Known Member
Jun 3, 2004
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Brandon Manitoba
This is the 2nd year that we've fed all round bales. Last year I was trying to fork it out to all the horses twice a day, but it was a lot of work after we got a big dump of snow & the bales were down in 3 feet of snow. Then the end of January the mares started walking over the fence to get into the hay yard--it was so much easier once they started helping themselves to the hay--way less work to let them pull it out themselves rather than me having to fight with the bales when they were in all that snow.

This year we set most of our winter supply of hay out in the pastures--30 bales for the 10 mares and 30 bales for the 9 geldings. The bales are in rows of 5 and we put them 6 bales deep. These bales weigh about 800 lbs a we figure that one bale should last the mares 6 days, 6.6 days for the geldings. The geldings are doing well--they're right on schedule, or even a bale behind. The mares are using more hay than they should--some is wastage, some is overeating, but none of them are overweight. (The bales are a mixture--some are timothy, some are grass/alfalfa, and some are straight alfalfa.) I go around morning & night & cut off any loose plastic (they are net wrapped) and pick up any scattered hay that hasn't been pooped or peed on. I pile up the scattered hay & set it further away in piles & generally the end up cleaning it up.

I don't have a tractor so cannot move the bales in one at a time--I have to get them set where I need them to be at time of delivery--and so there is no point in trying to use a slow feeder or any sort of feeder--with 30 bales out there the horses are going to eat at multiple bales anyway & I can't put rings or nets over all of them.

Our horses eat the bales up fast enough that even in summer time in the rain the bales don't spoil. Our hay guy does store the bales inside up until they are delivered to us, but once they are here they sit out. They do shed water very well as long as they are in rows with the sides not touching other bales--and these net wrapped ones shed water better than the ones with twine do. They can sit out in a lot of rain and will be discolored on the outside, but really not spoiled--if there is some mold it will be in the outer couple of inches only. There are some farmers here that I wouldn't buy rounds from--they simply don't know/don't care about making good horse hay. They bale for cattle & don't care if the hay doesn't keep--their bales will be musty or just plain moldy right through. The bottom of the bale does spoil when it sits on the ground for awhile, particularly in wet weather, but really it doesn't amount to a lot of spoilage--I let the horses eat the bale down to that point & then drag the bottom spoiled portion out of the pasture.

These 800 lb bales are quite safe for the Minis--they aren't real big, and if the horses do tip one over I have no concerns that a little horse will get crushed or smothered by it. I wouldn't put one in with mares & foals--because foals very easily could get crushed or smothered by a bale (or partial bale) if it were to tip over onto a foal. I also buy bigger bales from a neighber--his bales are around 1200 lbs and much bigger than my 800 lb ones. When the horses eat them down enough that they start to feel unstable--that's something I take notice of when I go around to cut netting and pick up scattered hay--I push them over so that they won't tip onto one of the horses. They are big enough that I feel they could injure or kill a Mini if it happened to be laying against the bale & it fell on the horse.


Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2004
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Quebec, Canada
I feed round bales and have round bale feeders to put them in. We bale the hay ourselves and it is stored indoors. Pictures enclosed. First photo has a few square bales in it as my hubby was not available to put a round bale in and I cannot drive the tractor.




Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2010
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Ontario, Canada
I use round bales only for the horses that can handle it (winter only) I am finding that the shetland/mini's are easier that way than the smaller mini's.

I put 2 skids on the ground, the bales on top of them and then I use a hay hut---plastic house made for round bales, it has a total of 8 openings

2 on each side. Putting the bales on the skids keeps them off the ground as well as helping the mini's reach all the hay. You have the initial

cost of the huts but there is no waste of hay so IMO cost effective in the long run.

In a situation where they cannot free feed I keep it in a different field and then just let them in when I want them to eat. For the rest and for young

horses I use square bales. Works for me

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