How To Make Hay Stretch

messybun

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There have been some great suggestions already. We went through similar a few years ago and couldn’t hay from anywhere! I just learned about winter forage like two weeks ago, but I don’t know if that’s a possibility for you. Anyway, what we did was get straw, and trees for the goats to strip. The thinking was basically anything to keep the rumens moving and we could supplement nutrition from there. We even ran out of local corn, which like never happens, and ended up having to buy some from tsc. But corn, straw, bark, and a tiny bit of hay (it was whatever we could get in the green bags from the feed store, super expensive) got our goats through the rest of winter. But I would not suggest it unless you have no other options!
 

Beekissed

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Dang @Beekissed . Those are some cool sheep. Maybe they think it's silage or have more "refined" tastes like people with wine or cheese or bread, lol.
Personally I think they are just contrary beasts. The first year I had them I paid big money for the best hay around and oh, that hay was beautiful and green, soft and fragrant, full of leafy goodness! They pulled it out, stepped on it and pooped on it.

Meanwhile, over along the fence line I had a massive stack of hay bales that were~and this is true, as hard as it is to believe~almost 40 yrs old. They had been in the top of an old barn that an old guy was wanting to get emptied out, so I got them to put on the garden as mulch. Couldn't believe the twine wasn't too dry rotted to even move them, but it wasn't. The hay looked like old straw by then, moldy and extremely dusty. Couldn't have had an ounce of nutrition in it.

Covered it with a tarp and left it there all summer, fall and winter. About mid-winter I saw a sheep standing out there with it's head stuck up under that tarp, so went to investigate. Those sheep had eaten a huge shelf out of that stack! To top it all, the neighbor's cows broke down our ancient fence to also get a chance at that stack and were eating on the other side of it all that time. ICK.
 

Grant

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I went to get my winters need of hay before It was too late. I have a good supply as long as they have some. I didn’t get a chance to work mine off this year. Had to pay up. But if we get no more growth, getting more likely everyday, I’ll be feeding until spring. I’m feeding hay now due to drought. I brought everything I need to the house today. I’ll supplement with grain and protein lick tubs.
 

rachels.haven

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Nope. Some areas of the country had a drought during the growing season for what seemed like most of the growing season this year. Plus my personal area's soil is thin, rocky, and doesn't hold water well, which made it worse. Our lawn is not a hay field, but to illustrate the point this year we mowed our lawn once TOTAL and it was thin, scraggly, and more to even it up. I'm just glad the east didn't catch fire (very much) like the west did this year.
 

Beekissed

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Why the upcoming hay shortage? Is it because of the virus? Or the drought? I'm new here.
Due to both, I imagine. Many people, in a kneejerk reaction to supply line disruption in stores of meat, dairy and eggs, hurried into getting small livestock this spring, so now there are more people buying hay and feed this fall than there were before.

Then, we've had an ongoing drought for most of the summer and now extending into fall, so a lot of areas that grew hay and sold it didn't get as many cuttings as they normally do.
 

rachels.haven

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Unfortunately in Mass (and VT and NY I'm told), it's not because of the virus. We got first cutting late because of late spring, then lack of rain and most sold out of what they got fast. Second cutting wasn't even made by many farmers this year because it would not grow without consistent moisture, so we effectively have right about half as much hay produced here as normal. Now it's cold and has frosted in some areas already by a week or two. Things will need to be trucked in, but other neighboring, and some not so neighboring places droughted too, so things will probably not look good and will run out even at the higher, brought in prices. Haying appears to be a fairly safe profession here as far as covid goes. Wish that made a difference to drought.
 

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