Hay - what kind?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by katharinad, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Just ordered a ton of hay (17 bales) for my duckies for winter. I plan on using it in their run so they can keep their feet warm as needed and for wind protection. I called a local farmer who sell hay for livestock. The variety is mind boggling. Alfalfa, oat, rye, not to mention first cut, grassy mix, you name it. It can be very confusing. What do you guys get for your ducks?

    I went for the rye hay, because it was the cheapest and is not being used as feed so much. The guy was really nice and he will deliver on Monday for only 15 dollars. That is quite reasonable considering he has to drive at least 30 minutes to get here. So one ton with delivery will cost me 95 dollars.
     
  2. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    HI--I'm just curious as I have no claim whatsoever to knowing anything about ducks (except I think call ducks are adorable!), but as a horseperson in the midwest I was wondering if it is common for ducks and their people to utilize hay instead of straw for bedding/warmth,etc.? Straw (the stalk from the harvested grain-oat, wheat,etc.) is used for bedding for livestock and other animals, but where I'm from hay is part of the animals diet since it's from a grass and/or legume...
    Again, just wondering!
     
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    It's a straw/hay mix we are getting. Was the cheapest he has and he said most of his buyers use it as bedding, since it does not have much of a nutritional value. It will be only used outside so they can stay off the snow. In the duck house I use pine shavings. We don't get to much rain up here, its mainly snow in winter, plus the cold temps. We also plan on cleaning up daily so it will not get loaded with duck poo. The main reason for this is to prevent frost bite to their feet. I've build a couple of a-frames using compressed pellets and it will be put under them as a warm wind shelter. I bet they will have fun digging in it for some seeds etc.
     
  4. aduckstolemyheart

    aduckstolemyheart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most of the time I never use hay for bedding, mostly because it molds so easily and my horses in particular will try to eat it. I only give alfalfa to the horses occasionally in the winter for extra nutrition.

    I usually use straw or pellets for bedding for the horses and a straw/shavings mix for the ducks.

    That's a REALLY good deal on the hay Katharina! I think I paid $5 a bale for mine and I have to pick it up!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    In my duck/goose house we use pine shavings in the summer..
    And in the winter we use pine shavings on the bottom and straw on top for warmth...

    We dont give them any thing on the ground to walk on because they use my whole yard..so.. they have to walk on the snow and ice..
    But i do always worry that their little feet will get frost bite or something... but so far..they have been fine every year.
    Heck..they even swim in the freezing cold.. crazy things!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  6. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    We are out here in the boonies, plus the Klamath Basin is known for alfalfa and potatoes. That is pretty much the only crops that grow here, due to crazy summer freezes we can get. Forgot they also grow strawberries, because they like the cool nights. Nobody worries about mold here, due to the fact that our humidity runs around 15%. It is that dry here. We also have over 300 days of sunshine, which means 8 months of no rain whatsoever. Our main source of water for the basin is snow pack in the mountains. Again a very dry snow. They already had 3 feet at Crater Lake this year. They get about 30 feet per winter.

    I know my ducks will be outside in winter and I need to protect their feet. Better safe then sorry. It can get down to 0 degrees at night and the ground just stays solid hard as a rock for the entire winter. We also have lots of sunshine in winter, which means they probably love to sit on the hay and soak up the sun. I just spoil them so much. They already get upset, if I'm not on time with the salad greens for a treat.

    Anyway hay/straw runs from 50-150 dollars per ton depending on what you buy. There are just so many growers out here competing. Most of the stuff grown here goes to farms down to California.
     
  7. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's so interesting to hear about the west side of the U.S.! Here in central Ohio we get all four seasons but not usually too extreme, except for the tornadoes that hit two days ago (6 so far officially in the state) and 77 degrees yesterday, then in the 50's today...hay is not usually a problem to find around here unless we've had a drought season, but hay is still more costly than straw. I get grass hay for my horses, not alfalfa, and pay, usually $2-4 per bale, depending on who I buy from and when I buy it. Straw is usually $2-3 a bale but I too use sawdust/shavings or paper shavings ( really like them but almost twice the cost--with four horses it adds up quickly!) for stall bedding and in my chicken coops, straw in the nestboxes. We usually get plenty of rain so mud and dampness is a problem at one point or another.
     
  8. aduckstolemyheart

    aduckstolemyheart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh lucky you! We have such bad humidity here in the mid west. It's always so sticky feeling!

    I worry about our ducks in the winter too. It can get below zero here too and I just can't believe they walk on that cold ground! I bought a stock tank this year and heater for it, so at least their water won't freeze and they can still swim if they insist.
     
  9. jellybean

    jellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It depends on when it was cut also. I got some grass hay that was seeded out and the ducks loved it- picking through and eating the grass seeds. They also love oat hay that was just cut and baled. If it's thrashed the oats are gone and it's just stems. But anything should make ok bedding as long as it's not moldy. Haven't tried alfalfa, I bet they'd find a lot to eat in it though.
     
  10. critterranch

    critterranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i just bought alfalfa 1.50 bay first cutting 2010. i had to pick up .main for feeding goats . it is really nice hay but so cheap i am using for bedding for ducks too. i bought 100 bales for 150.00. had to stack and load myself no help sadly. 3 trips in one day i was tried tried tried. there is no shortage of hay around here they had a good season most people got 3 or 4 cuts of hay this year from there fields.
     

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