Rabbits and Hay Bales... question

Nao57

Loving the herd life
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
270
Reaction score
115
Points
118
So when I look up on google or other search engines for, 'how long does a hay bale last for rabbits', I get confused because there's more than one type of hay bale.

There's the rectangular small ones...the big huge round-ish ones, and then I think there's another big huge type also.

So when I look up these articles, which ones are they talking about?



But there's a lot I wanted to ask.

Is it too much of a fire hazard you think to have hay bales against your garage? (I have known people that have had fires from the hay getting wet in hot season.)

And is it worth it to do hay over a bag of pellets? And is it cheaper in the long run?

And it seems like a lot of people are charging a lot extra for hay bales by saying its 'certified', or a special name, BS...
 

promiseacres

Herd Master
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
4,322
Reaction score
7,940
Points
513
Location
NW Indiana
Certified hay has been tested and proven weed free. Some grasses like Timothy may require extra fertilizer. Fertilizer, equipment and land is not cheap.

Hay isn't an easy crop, lots of factors and labor intensive. I have seen and heard of hay (last few days) going for $2/bale to over $13 at auction for your typical 50ish pound small bale.
We just baled 205 bales, started Monday last week, mowing, then most was tedded and then it was raked and baled. Spent over $70 in fuel and well probably close to 30 hours between my dh, ds and I to get it in the barn. We are cleaning the fields up and some bales the horses aren't going to eat well but that's part of the process. We'll put lime on the fields this fall. Not sure how much that will be and part of the fields will be plowed and reseeded. It was 12-14 acres even laying fallow for the last few years with decent rains we should have gotten 600 bales.... but we have enough. Only because we own the land and already had the equipment are the fields worth our time. Our 40ish rabbits get about a bale 40-60#) twice a month, so if I was buying I think even $8-10 of quality hay per 50# shouldn't break the bank.

Also don't keep hay outside, moldy hay will kill your rabbits. Try to find a local farmer or hay guy to get your hay from, you'll save $ over a farm store. But do be prepared that they won't want to sell a small quantity, so it may take time to find someone and then make sure the hay is the quality you want.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
20,212
Reaction score
50,251
Points
823
Location
Northeast Texas
There are many types of grasses that make the hay. Here in the south, Bermuda is high quality hay and in demand by horse people. Then there is what is loosely called "cow hay" which can be anything. Cows are not as finicky and will eat rougher hay than horses. You can probably get good quality hay at the local feed store and keep it DRY inside a garage, barn shed or something. Don't store on a dirt floor, it will wick up moisture, same with a concrete floor. Lay down wood pallets and stack hay on them.
 

Nao57

Loving the herd life
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
270
Reaction score
115
Points
118
Certified hay has been tested and proven weed free. Some grasses like Timothy may require extra fertilizer. Fertilizer, equipment and land is not cheap.

Hay isn't an easy crop, lots of factors and labor intensive. I have seen and heard of hay (last few days) going for $2/bale to over $13 at auction for your typical 50ish pound small bale.
We just baled 205 bales, started Monday last week, mowing, then most was tedded and then it was raked and baled. Spent over $70 in fuel and well probably close to 30 hours between my dh, ds and I to get it in the barn. We are cleaning the fields up and some bales the horses aren't going to eat well but that's part of the process. We'll put lime on the fields this fall. Not sure how much that will be and part of the fields will be plowed and reseeded. It was 12-14 acres even laying fallow for the last few years with decent rains we should have gotten 600 bales.... but we have enough. Only because we own the land and already had the equipment are the fields worth our time. Our 40ish rabbits get about a bale 40-60#) twice a month, so if I was buying I think even $8-10 of quality hay per 50# shouldn't break the bank.

Also don't keep hay outside, moldy hay will kill your rabbits. Try to find a local farmer or hay guy to get your hay from, you'll save $ over a farm store. But do be prepared that they won't want to sell a small quantity, so it may take time to find someone and then make sure the hay is the quality you want.
Wow.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Its really neat to hear how stuff works and how reality is.

Growing up I often envied a little bit my cousins who grew up much like you are describing. I like the real stuff and how people can live well and don't need all the extravagance and excess of the cities, and how people outside of towns are generally nicer better people.

Oh, forgot to ask...

Isn't it also true that if you have a pretty good water table that you may get 2 crops of hay a year? (Or is this generally mostly the people back east around Mississippi tributary areas that get this only?)
 

promiseacres

Herd Master
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
4,322
Reaction score
7,940
Points
513
Location
NW Indiana
Grass hay here in Indiana averages 2-3 cuttings and alfalfa is around 4-5 cuttings (I know some that cut it more like 6x a season for years but a couple of years ago we got 50 bales off of their 10 acres for the season. Fields needs time in the fall to regrow and fertilized. My sister and BIL can only get a single cutting due to moisture, they are in the UP of Michigan. Their land is better used as pasture for their cattle. So yes off our own fields we got about 900 bales of poor quality grass hay, with 8 horses/ponies plus the bunnies it'll be used. And we'll go through about 150# a day, or 2-3 bales. I've already fed quite a bit so down to 600 bales until next May/June. We currently don't have enough pasture to make that work but it's in a process. But still only plan on 4-5 acres of pasture that will be rotated (currently have 2) and keep on making hay.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
20,212
Reaction score
50,251
Points
823
Location
Northeast Texas
@Nao57 you have come to the right place if you want to learn. There is no stupid question, so ask away. You might want to join Sufficient Self, a sistervsite, link is on every page.
 

secuono

Herd Master
Joined
Oct 16, 2010
Messages
6,227
Reaction score
6,646
Points
513
Location
Virginia is for Pasture Farmers!
They should have hay available to keep the hair moving, otherwise, you risk higher chances of impaction.
Hay just needs to be stored where it will remain dry. Yes, it should also be away from houses, power lines, animal buildings, in case it does light up. Especially if anyone smokes.
Hay from a farmer is far cheaper than the pet stuff. Quality depends on you checking it & the hay guy being honest about what he made. The larger the bale, the cheaper, but it's pointless if you can't store it safely.
How much a rabbit goes through depends on the hay, how its fed & the rabbit's size & personality.
Hay cubes can be used instead of loose hay. But some rabbits hate them.
 

Nao57

Loving the herd life
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
270
Reaction score
115
Points
118
They should have hay available to keep the hair moving, otherwise, you risk higher chances of impaction.
Hay just needs to be stored where it will remain dry. Yes, it should also be away from houses, power lines, animal buildings, in case it does light up. Especially if anyone smokes.
Hay from a farmer is far cheaper than the pet stuff. Quality depends on you checking it & the hay guy being honest about what he made. The larger the bale, the cheaper, but it's pointless if you can't store it safely.
How much a rabbit goes through depends on the hay, how its fed & the rabbit's size & personality.
Hay cubes can be used instead of loose hay. But some rabbits hate them.
I had no idea that some rabbits don't like pellets? Is it a breed thing, or totally random? Any way of avoiding those? (Just because I don't have a hay storage figured out yet.)
 

Nao57

Loving the herd life
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
270
Reaction score
115
Points
118
If I could get hay bales for like less than 5 bucks...wow that would be sooo much cheaper than the bags of pellets.
 
Top