After boarding for the past 11 years, my dream of having a barn to call “my own” has come true! Well, for the most part; I am now leasing a barn. I’m moving my horses there November 1st, and I’d like to know where you buy your hay from? Is there any source that is more reliable than the others (such as a farmer vs a dealer, etc.)? Also, what should I look for to ensure the best quality hay? I know the basics (no dust, good coloring, no mold, no weeds, etc.), but is there anything else? Thanks!
I would call your local veterinarians and ask for a reference from them. They will know what your horses need and where to buy from. Also, if there is a local equestrian center or club in your area, they may have references, too. They can also let you know if you need to supplement, for instance, here in the Northwest our hay is completely void of selenium. Had I not discussed this with my vet, I may have learned the hard way.
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."
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