Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hay baby

So the last time I fed my own horses was in Memphis, where everybody bought local bermuda hay. If you wanted, you could buy overpriced alfalfa in the feed stores, but very few people did that. I became a pretty good judge of good bermuda vs. shitty moldy cow-hay bermuda. My horses always ate their hay cheerfully, and I never really understood yall in other parts of the country talking about your weird hay.

In Ohio, the barn owner fed pretty hay that the horses liked. Then out here, S fed half grass and half alfalfa - I didn't pay a lot of attention, but the grass hay wasn't bermuda. It was some of that mystery non-southern hay. Dixie liked the alfalfa better, but she ate the grass hay pretty fast too. When I moved Dixie to Lemmon Valley, I got to re-enter the world of hay buying.

So I went to a hay yard (Mendez, for the locals) and bought a $10 bale of mixed grass/alfalfa hay. I thought it was really pretty hay, and there wasn't much alfalfa in it at all. It was green and leafy, not dusty or moldy or full of tree branches or kudzu or blackberry canes.* Dixie kind of picked at it, but she ate it. I went back and bought two more bales... and she decided it was horrible. She nosed it around and sulked for two days - there's a really impressive pile of rejected hay in her pen.

I decided she wasn't just being picky and bought her different hay today, from the feed store in Lemmon Valley. (Greens?) I got an even bigger bale for $11.50, and it's completely different. There's like five different species of grass in it! It smells better, and most importantly - my horse is eating it!

*Actual things included in hay in Tennessee.


  1. That's pretty much my experience, except backwards. I took my horse from California to Oklahoma for three years while I was in college, and all they fed out there was bermuda! My horse hated it. She ate it because that's all there was, but she was definitely not excited about it. What I feed now (in California) is a forage, also called three-way, and most horses love it, though it does depend somewhat on the particular bale. You can have two bales that look exactly the same, smell the same, everything, and the horses will eat one and not touch the other.

  2. I love the hay from Greens Feed, their is also Daves Hay Barn, the hay is grown over near me in Sierraville and is really good.

  3. We generally feed an orchard grass or orchard grass/alfalfa mix. The horses prefer the alfalfa, of course--that stuff must taste like candy!

    But too much alfalfa isn't good for endurance horses, so I try to get orchard grass and then add small amounts of alfalfa from a separate bale for Fiddle (aka "Miss Skinny Pants").

    It's amazing what you can find baled up in a haybale. I found a plastic machine gun once. Another time I found several slightly-mangled pages from a (ahem) magazine for gentlemen, smashed between the flakes of hay.

    Sort of the equine equivalent of getting a toy in the breakfast cereal box?

  4. LOL, Aarenex! I've found dead critters in my hay before (snakes and mice) but never magazine pages. That's too funny!

    My NC horses are pretty picky about their hay. They used to eat coastal hay (bermudagrass) but didn't really enjoy it. The BO where they are now trucks in hay from New York that is just gorgeous. I'm not sure exactly what kind of grass is in it, but they eat it with gusto!

  5. LOL! I have found not one but TWO dead turkeys in the hay at my last barn. TURKEYS. And misc pieces of trash... EVERYWHERE. At least the hay that comes now has been from fields that were actually RAKED before they were cut and baled...
    And $11.50 for a bale!? Or do you mean those GIANT out west bales, not your typical 50lb square bales?


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