Wet Hay

Babushka Blue

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Hello everyone. I have 2 small goats. I bought 8 hay bales the other day to sit on for a Thanksgiving parade. After we took them off the float they got rained on. I had a tarp on them it it blew off. I ran out and covered them back up and they have been outside in dry conditions for about a week now. I have a couple of questions.

How can I tell if it is bad? I dont see any mold in it.

Do you really have to worry about mold when it is freezing temps all night and part of the day? The high had been about 45-50 this week.

If I cant feed it to my goats, do you suggest using it in compost?

Thanks.
 

greybeard

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What kind of hay?
How were the bales stacked...strings on the sides or strings on top and bottom?
On the ground or on top of something?


I do not ever re tarp wet hay if the weather is decent enough to help dry it out....tarping wet hay creates a sauna-like condition and can actually promote mold growth. Keep them off the ground and allow space between the bales so air can circulate.

Break one open and see how far the moisture penetrated.

It's the internal temperature that matters most, not the ambient temperature. Hay bales is a pretty good insulator.

To be honest, (speaking strictly regarding hay fed to cattle) there are several million rolls of hay sitting all over Texas with no covering on it at all, some over a year old that will be fed to cattle with no ill effects, but rolled hay sheds water significantly better than sq bales..
 
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Athena2344

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I have to agree with mr @greybeard break it open look for wetness, and if needed take a handful from the middle of it and smell it, if it's smells like hay it's fine
 

farmerjan

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I would take it and store it with the strings on the sides, on end so to speak, and put it on a pallet. Cut one open, see if it smells "off". Spread it out for them and they will pick through and eat that which is decent and ignore/lay on/walk on/sleep on the rest. Make sure they do not "HAVE TO EAT IT" and they will pick and choose that which tastes good. You may lose some more than if it was all good, but you may be able to salvage a fair amount of it. Yes it can be used in a garden, it will make good mulch. Some weed seeds will grow but they will be easy to pull if the mulch is thick enough. If you use it for the goats, and they do "waste" a fair amount of it, it will make very good mulch/compost with the goat manure and urine mixed in it. There is never any reason to "waste hay"; it is great organic matter to be added back to the soil.
 

Athena2344

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For my show heifer I store mine in a shed raised off the floor on a pallet, it's just somewhat easier to access is all...
 

Sheepshape

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If there are white flecks or plaques, it's mouldy....throw away. If it smells 'musty', it's mouldy.....throw away. If it's slimy, it's mouldy....throw away.

Sweet smell?....it's OK.

Always remember that the animal that you are feeding the stuff to has a MUCH better sense of smell than you.....so, if it doesn't smell quite right to you, it will small awful to them.

Real nasties like Listeria lurk in mouldy hay/silage and you don't want to be going there.
 

greybeard

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For info, the sweet smell Sheepshape mentioned usually means a form of fermentation, which
enhances taste/palatability and keeps the nutrient levels up.
 

Sheepshape

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For info, the sweet smell Sheepshape mentioned usually means a form of fermentation, which
enhances taste/palatability and keeps the nutrient levels up.
Yes.....sweet, caramel-like NICE. Strange that over here there is a term for halitosis 'Silage breath'......because silage has a lovely smell....or maybe I'm just a recycled ruminant.
 

mystang89

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A person down the road from me who raises sheep places round bales out in his pasture without cover for the sheep to eat where it is rained on when the weather feels like it. When I asked him about this..."technique" he asked me if I knew what penicillin was meaning that it was mold. He said it helps the sheep.....

Let it be known I do not subscribe to his style of raising sheep. All I can say is that he still has sheep that he mates lol.
 

Sheepshape

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Let it be known I do not subscribe to his style of raising sheep.
Wow....just how are he or his animals still alive? Over here fodder rapidly becomes mouldy ....and, as you say mystang89 it ain't penicillin....it's probably Aspergillus and means the farmer could be asking to get farmers' lung if he happens to be sensitive.

His sheep are probably hoovering up Listeria too.......mouldy silage TERRIFIES me.

Personally I have just about shaken off a two month episode of atypical pneumonia and family doctor issued me with dire warnings about mould spores from the silage (lots of mould this year) whilst ordering a CT scan. So.....mould mask it is.... I look and sound like Darth Vader on a bad day. My strong advice.....hay/grass/silage/haylage mould is not good for man nor his beasts.
 
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