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Is this just a old wives tale??


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#1 Bill

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 02:00 PM

I have heard that after putting up square bales for horses they should "cure" for a few weeks before feeding? I cannot see any difference with horses eating fresh pasture hay vs. dry baled. Is there any difference? Should it be fed only after being in barn? Or is this just another Urban Legend?
Regards, Bill

#2 mlappin

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 03:23 PM

I've heard that before actually.

Have a steady customer that buys 250-300 round bales a year for his horses, won't feed it till ten days after its been cut.

Kind of a pain actually, when I start cutting I move enough for a few weeks for him outa one barn and into another so I can start stacking.

#3 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 04:13 PM

Horse people have some strange notions.
Some time or other there may have been a coincidental happening and they thought that is a cause and effect.
I do not like to sell hay from the field because I want the hay sweat, if it is going to, in an open pole barn rather than a tight chicken coop.

#4 BCFENCE

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 04:41 PM

My hay buyer allways likes to have the hay go through a sweat, He says it takes 14 days for it to take place.He says after that it wont mold.

#5 Vol

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 05:11 PM

I have heard that fresh baled hay can make a horse colic, whether this is so I don't know for sure. About anything can make a horse colic. Equine are not very tough animals as compared to others(bovine) and if sick are much more apt to " give up the ghost" compared to others.
Regards, Mike

#6 mlappin

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 05:53 PM

I have heard that fresh baled hay can make a horse colic, whether this is so I don't know for sure.


And there yah go, that's what my customer said. Colic is the problem and after ten days it isn't...

Course he also told me once that hay hardly ever causes colic, it's a lack of water that causes it, so go figure.

#7 hayray

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:41 PM

There is a little bit of truth and a little bit of false information in these post. I will try to clearify some of this as I know it. For starters, hay that needs to barn cure, usually legume or legume mix type hays take a lot longer then 10 to 14 days to cure (sweat), acutally this would be a good topic for us to look up, I have seen these numbers in articles published before, seems like it is well over a month. Horse do not have sphincter (sp.) muscles and therefore cannot burp gas out of the G.I. tract like cattle. Horses also have a very long lower G.I. tract. These combinations make any forages-feed stuffs that are prone to gut fermentation in high doses a potential problem for horses as long as it has been baled within normal dry hay ranges. In most cases feeding hay directly from the field is not a problem at all. Horses with a compromised health, older age, carbohydrate intolerance, etc. are problem animals. I think in most cases gut issues and lameness are the demise of most horses naturally as in most cases they are too large and fast of a animal for any predator to be a controlling or limiting factor.

#8 rjmoses

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:37 AM

There is a little bit of truth and a little bit of false information in these post. I will try to clearify some of this as I know it. For starters, hay that needs to barn cure, usually legume or legume mix type hays take a lot longer then 10 to 14 days to cure (sweat), acutally this would be a good topic for us to look up, I have seen these numbers in articles published before, seems like it is well over a month. Horse do not have sphincter (sp.) muscles and therefore cannot burp gas out of the G.I. tract like cattle. Horses also have a very long lower G.I. tract. These combinations make any forages-feed stuffs that are prone to gut fermentation in high doses a potential problem for horses as long as it has been baled within normal dry hay ranges. In most cases feeding hay directly from the field is not a problem at all. Horses with a compromised health, older age, carbohydrate intolerance, etc. are problem animals. I think in most cases gut issues and lameness are the demise of most horses naturally as in most cases they are too large and fast of a animal for any predator to be a controlling or limiting factor.



Your post is right on with everything I've heard.

From old-timers, I've heard alfalfa hay needs to cure about 30-45 days before being fed. I would guess this is because of the bacterial activity going on in the bale during the sweat.

Hay directly from the field, e.g., busted bales, isn't a problem.

Horses cannot burp like us. Their digestive tract is strictly one way. Colic is often caused by an imbalance in the bacterial activity in their intestines causing a build up of gases. I usually get an upset stomach/diarrhea about 24-48 hours after changing drinking water, like going to some other town. My stomach feels bloated, then gassy, then....

BTW: I heard a few weeks ago that researchers now believe our appendix is used to store "good" bacteria! I had mine removed when I was 13 and now I wonder if that is why I feel more susceptible to environmental changes.

Horses only live an average of 7 years in the wild. Just like people in 3rd world countries only live to be about 30.

Ralph

#9 saltwater

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 10:24 AM

Could it be that this theory was started because of Prussic Acid. This is found in the plant in times of stress such as drought or frost mostly sudan and johnson grass type feeds. If harvested right with the right curing the prussic acid leaves the plant. In alfalfa letting it cure just makes it easy to see which bales were baled too wet. This could be accomplished with a good hay probe and some common sense. Somebody probably fed a new bale that was baled too wet and had already started getting hot. If buying by the ton there is an economic benefit to letting it set.

#10 hayray

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 04:33 PM

Yeah, if it is going to happen it will be with hay that is too wet to bale and has gotten hot. For those of us that cater to the horse market and own horses most of our hay does not sweat because we make sure to bale at low moistures and most of us bale small squares and that helps a great deal. Dusty bales won't sell and make customers happy. Most of the time my hay does not increase in temp in the barn, when it does then I know I will most likely have some dusty bales. I just baled a couple thousand bales of first cut alfalfa and checked it a couple days after baling and the temp and moisture are un changed.

#11 farmer0_1

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:44 AM

i sell my my to horse , goat sheep, cow market and i like to see it stay in the barn for 3 to 4 weeks to check for mold issues. and i have rechecked the hay after a couple of days in the stack and most always see alfalfa go up in wettness. have watched for hot bales but never seen any. but i have made my share of dusty bales.

#12 tnwalkingred

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:27 AM

I have been a horse trainer/breeder for over ten years and I can tell you that I have never had a issue feeding hay as soon as it was baled. At one time I had 15 horses in my training barn and when hay got in short supply due to a very dry summer we were buying hay wherever and whenever we could find it and feeding it immediately. "Colic" is a term most people use for pretty much any problem that their horse may have in the digestive system. It can be caused from any number of reasons but I don't believe eating hay that had just been baled would be the cause.

Kyle

#13 Mike120

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 07:13 AM

"Colic" is a term most people use for pretty much any problem that their horse may have in the digestive system. It can be caused from any number of reasons but I don't believe eating hay that had just been baled would be the cause. Kyle


I agree with Kyle! I usually have over 30 of the hayburners at my place and most of them are high-$$ warmbloods. I'm watching the weather right now because I've got a Tifton 85 field ready to cut. With my current hay inventory it won't sit long before it's fed.

I'm pretty picky about what I feed but that has to do with nutrition value, weed content, and type of grass. I like it to look nice because it makes my customers happy....the horses really don't care. When we bring in hay from the outside, I'm usually dealing with people I know. Coastal Bermuda and Bahia is less digestable than Tifton 85 and we shift to those bales gradually to let their digestive systems accomodate. I can count the number of "colics" we have in a year on one hand and it's usually the same horses. It's probably been three years since I called the Vet out for a colic on an adult horse. A change in the weather can cause some to colic. It's easly treatable and life goes on.

Aging bales is a good practice to keep from selling moldy hay to picky customers, but that's really the only value. I had some high moisture bales earlier this season. We salted them, spread them out, and they've all been eaten.....No colics.

#14 rob_cook2001

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 11:56 AM

Mike, I totally agree with you. My dad and I Raise some running quarter horses. I don't think we have ever had colic due to hay. It is almost always related to to much sand(getting fed on the ground). A large amount of my hay is sold less than two weeks after being baled.
Robert

#15 Mike120

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 09:57 PM

Thanks Robert! In the time I've been on this board, I have seen a lot of myths and wives tales about what constitutes "horse hay". I've written some long post on it 'cause I get some real stupid questions from some of my customers and I've sold some really rank, first cut, round bales to some backyard breeders, which I guess made it "horse hay". At any rate, I've suffered in silence (well, not always) while others made derogatory comments about "horsey folks" because I seemed to be the only one here (I'm really shy).

Now that there are more of us, maybe we should start a forum on "horsey hay" and try to dispel some of the insane notions that some people have about what a horse will eat (damn near anything). For you guys that have to deal with the "horsey folks" at least we can probably give you some real-life examples and advice so you might be able to sell more hay. Any interest???????

#16 tnwalkingred

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 11:43 PM

I like the idea of a forum realted for us horse folks. Just let me know where to sign up!

Kyle

#17 saltwater

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:04 AM

Don't be offended at the comments about horsey folks because you don't fall into that class. I know that because you are on here learning. I have ten of the horse burners myself and have had them for twenty years but after producing hay for fourteen years I can tell you some stories about horse people and some of the ideas they come up with and just ungrateful and rude they can be. They are not all like that, some of them are as good as gold.

#18 hayray

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:10 AM

Anyone thinks horse hay can be difficult to sell just try to sell dairy hay. A customer has the right to pay for the hay they want. Sure, alot of buyers could use a wide variety of hays that would make no difference one way or the other, but by all means not only unique to horse owners.

#19 saltwater

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:27 AM

hayray, you are right on there about once every two years I have a dairyman show up and want to contract my whole field. Of course he always offers a good 40 to 50 dollars a ton less than I am already selling it for and he wants to test it himself and pay according to the tests. I always tell them that any testing done will be by a third party lab and they usually back up. They also want to pay buy the ton but won't accept anyone's scale ticket but their own scales. HMMM? Then they want you to carry them for 60 days. I had an old timer tell me that you can't out trade a dairyman because they are just to good at it. The only way I have been able to out trade one is to out run him.

#20 mrjata

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:52 AM

I have heard this myth so much... As best I can trace it..

the "sweats" related to the old timers putting up hay in loose stacks where they would throw loose rock.course salt on the stacks to "cure" the hay. It would actually sweat as the moisture and the heating reacted with the salt actually forming a crude preservative.

The sweats today, I think relate to hay that has beem baled too wet. If it is too wet, it will go through a heating and maybe a carmelization(sp). There is a microbial and a chamical change going on at those heats and it usually takes about a week or two for it all to settle down. But now you possibably have moldy hay that will cause horses great problems!

I have sold hay to be fed the day of baling, a week later, a month later, a year later. My customers tell me that they can't tell a difference. So I go back to the hay actually being baled dry enough to avoid the "sweatting" problems.

I live with moisture tester!! We NEVER bale above a certain moisture level, PERIOD! The weather controlls all of us.

Hope all this rambling helps.




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