IF you’re doing a grass hay, make sure it is green. The less pink the better. Pink=sugar. Blue or green blades are good. My horses like the thicker blades better.
And it doesn’t matter what cutting. 1st cutting just tends to be thinner stemmed, but still has the same nutrients as 2nd or 3rd cutting.
If you buy it from a farmer, I would ask if they had an open bale you could check out. We made the mistake of not asking once when we bought some alfalfa and it ended up being really crappy on the inside, where the flakes would shatter when pulled away from the bale. Most legit, honest farmers will have no issue showing you their bales.
Make sure it’s been covered and not rained on. Ask when they cut and baled. Perfect time for cutting and baling is early morning when there is still some dew on the ground.
If you buy from the store, most places sell Standle hay, which is very good hay. but for the most part it’s cheaper if you buy from a local farmer.
Depending on where you live hay can get pretty pricey. We pay $200 a ton here in Boise, for average sized bales.
"Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
"Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."