Or not really hay I guess. My chickens have been eating loads of plants I have been mowing in the yard. Is there anyway I can save some for winter? I know we're like way early on this. I just wonder how to keep it from rotting and stuff. Maybe the plants need dried in the sun before they get bailed up?
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I have never done this...but thinking of how the farmers bale their hay I think it could be do able.
I think they leave it out for a while to dry they also stir it up to help it dry out. Then they bale it after it is all dry. Or it could start the barn on fire as I recall.
I know people keep the leaves from fall and their grass clippings too to help with the cost of the bedding.
You would need to cut it, leave it to dry then gather it. You also need a dry place to store what you gather. Bales are more for ease of storage since they are compact and equal sizes. The main thing is keeping it dry. There is also judging the "perfect" time to take off hay. When it is ripe but not over ripe, it has a certain moisture content. I don't think you need to worry about that though. The reason for the perfect timing is quality of nutrients. Hay is a huge part of a farm animal's diet in the winter.
This may be too technical for what you're after, but have you thought of making silage?
See this link for instance:
I haven't tried it myself, as I'm in a warm-temperate zone. But some day I'll give it a go, and report back.
yes!! This is what I'm talking about. Makes me feel like a real farmer. I don't care to have my birds eating just a $15 bag of purina when there's plenty of good clover, bedstraw and whatever out in the yard.
What's in that 'layer' feed that they need so bad anyway? I was just down by the lake and found loads of shells I'm sure they'll love too ;)