5 Ways to Minimise Hay Waste

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Hay bills are often some of the largest bills you’ll have when it comes to your horse’s care and upkeep. But hay is also something that horses readily waste. In order to keep your hay bill under control, these five tips can help you to minimise hay waste.

Store Hay Correctly

There’s nothing worse than having to throw away hay because it’s gotten wet or mouldy while in storage. In order to minimise waste, start by evaluating how you’re storing hay. Placing hay up off the ground on wood pallets can keep moisture from permeating the hay on the bottom layers of the stacks.

Ideally, investing in a separate building for your hay can help to minimise the amount that is wasted. Your shelter should be dry, but allow for ventilation during hotter temperatures. Stacking hay in alternating orientation can also help to move air through the bales.

Use Hay Feeders

If you have a horse who’s a messy eater, he may be leaving more hay on the ground than he’s actually consuming. Investing in hay feeders can minimise wastage in the long run.

There are many options when it comes to hay feeders, including racks and hay nets. The right option will depend on you, your preferences, and your horse’s preferences.

Maximise Horse Turnout Time

When your horse is stalled continuously, you need to provide feed throughout the day and night to keep his digestive system moving and ensure that he has enough to eat. Simply maximising your horse’s turnout time can reduce the amount of hay that you have to feed and, in turn, the amount that is wasted. If you have decent grazing pastures, take advantage of them to lower your feed bill.

Install Mats in Paddocks

Do you find your horse tramples his hay into the ground or grinds it into the mud? Put some rubber stall mats in the paddock so your horse has a cleaner surface to eat off of. There are also a variety of hay structures designed to minimise waste while preventing hay from blowing away or being strewn about when fed in the paddock.

Feed Multiple, Small Meals

Changing the way that you feed your horse may result in less hay waste. If you give your horse just one or two bulk meals of hay each day, he may become disinterested when he’s full, spreading the hay about, sleeping in it, and even pooping in it. However, if you can adjust your feeding style so that you feed more frequent, smaller meals, there will be less extra hay sitting about and your horse may waste less.

Hay is expensive, so the more you can do to minimise unnecessary waste, the better.

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