question about hay storage?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by animalcrazy31, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. animalcrazy31

    animalcrazy31 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2009
    VA
    what size building would you use to store 30-40 square bales of hay in? I'm getting my first goats and horses and need to through something together for there hay i know it needs an open side and vents at the top anything else i should know?
     
  2. Sunny the Hippie Chick

    Sunny the Hippie Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2008
    Brookings Oregon
    You might get more answers if you join the sister site to BYC.

    Its called.

    www.backyardherds.com

    Im going to watch this. Im curious too. I dont have big livestock yet. But plan on it in the near future.
     
  3. bheila

    bheila Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    Well to give you an idea...I can stack 43 75lbs of hay on my dually truck. I have a lot of hay customers who use those tarp carports for hay storage because they're cheap and fast to put up. They hold about 150 bales.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    It depends very much on what size your bales are. I assume you're talking small squares (?) but even so, it ranges from what's sold as 50 lb bales in the Northeast (that often *really* weigh only 35 lbs, some of them, ahem [​IMG]) to 120-lb monsters out in California.

    If you google "hay storage space" or something similar, you will find a lot of websites with good info on space requirements (dimensions) for storing different volumes or weights of hay. As a reasonable ballpark rule of thumb, though, you will need approximately (very approximately) a 10x10 x 6' high space to store enough hay for one horse for half a year. Ish.

    The most important thing is to put the structure somewhere that will never, ever flood at all. Then put down a heavy duty tarp, put TWO layers of good strong pallets down, and stack your hay on that. You can put down plywood, temporarily, on the parts you will be walking on, if you are concerned about walking on pallets -- but the hay is far less apt to mold if it is sitting directly on the pallets so there is ventilation underneath it.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. animalcrazy31

    animalcrazy31 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2009
    VA
    thanks, they say there 75 pounds all though they sure dont feel that heavy. If i go to one place and get alpha hay then they weigh them so i guess they are true 75 pounds. I had gotten 10 bales a couple weeks ago and tried to but them under a tarp with tires ontop and all they all molded from a weeks rain [​IMG] i didnt want to make the same mistake again. Also is it ok to store a years of year at a time or only 6 months?
     
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Grifton NC
    I had gotten 10 bales a couple weeks ago and tried to but them under a tarp with tires ontop and all they all molded from a weeks rain i didnt want to make the same mistake again. Also is it ok to store a years of year at a time or only 6 months?

    Set the bales on pallets and put some boards on top, UNDER the tarp, to allow air to circulate.
    If you keep it DRY, hay can be stored for years and still be fine​
     
  7. bheila

    bheila Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    Yup, as long as moisture, rain, leaks can't get to the hay and air can circulate around it you should be fine. Keep the hay off of the ground and keep the tarp from touching the hay [​IMG]
     
  8. BroncoHollow

    BroncoHollow Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2008
    Mariposa, CA
    With correct stacking and dry storage you can store hay for a year or longer. Tarp carports are popular, but know your snow load or wind conditions.....Metal carports are popular or even a lean too shed will work as long as you can keep it dry, and stack correctly for air circulation.

    We put in over 512 bales year before last and a little less this last year [less horses to feed] We are still working on last years buy made in June and July.

    We store some inside the horse barn on pallets...the rest go into a hay barn...hubby stacks 12 bales on a pallet then stacks that on a stacked hay pallet... we just have to grab a pallet and run it into the hay barn... no handling it twice by hand. We never had really good luck tarping hay, there was always some loss.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you must store hay under a tarp, keep the tarp off the actual hay by stacking pallets on top (watch they don't hit you in the head when you get hay out [​IMG]) and rigging the tarp so it is not too closely against the sides of the pile.

    You just WILL lose a significant amount of hay (ranging from 'some' to 'all') when it's stored outdoors under a tarp, though, so I think you are very smart to be thinking in terms of constructing an actual structure.

    If you are very sure of your storage conditions there is no reason not to get a whole year's supply at once; if storage is a little iffier and you are pretty sure you can still get future deliveries (w/r/t availability, price and seasonal condition of the barn driveway, sort of thing) then it is smarter to buy less at a time.

    Even if hay is stored indoors, IMHO it is smart to rig a large tarp as a suspended 'tent roof' over it, allowing several feet of clearance between top of hay and tarp, and a good overhang to the sides. That way, if your roof turns out to have leaks or condensate-drips (as many, many roofs do) you will not be farming mold all the way down through the stack of hay.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Hay will start to lose nutritional value after a year even if stored properly. It may look fine but nutrition has lowered. Do not rely on hay more than a year old for at least horses no matter how it is stored. Hay that old I usually just toss out in the pasture after we quit relying on hay for the year so they have something to pick apart and entertain themselves with while mostly eating fresh grass for their daily nutrition. Also sunlight will break hay down quicker than anything. Just tarping hay does not properly keep out sunlight. I would not keep tarped hay more than 6months even if you do a good job of it. The fat soluable vitamins will be gone within 4months but those can be gotten from feed or fresh grass. The rest of the vitamins and minerals will start to break down after that if the hay is not kept in a dark, well ventilated building. After 6months in conditions that allow some sunlight and weather like tarping the fiber itself will start to break down. That doesn't happen until the one year mark if your storing it in a good hay building. The less sunlight and more ventilation hay has the better but trying to provide the ventilation tends to provide more light. The hay may look fine but if you have it tested it will be nowhere near the values it was when it was cut.

    My information comes from 2 semesters of horse nutrition classes taught by the best equine vet in our part of the country.
     

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