I was getting low on hay last week and called around to a few hay people. The going rate in our area for mixed grass/alfalfa square bales is between $5-$6 per bale. The bales usually weigh anywhere from 45-60 lbs, with most of them being closer to 45 lbs. I lucked out last year and earlier this summer by getting hay from a former employer for $3 per bale. That's incredibly cheap and I should have bought more when I had the chance this summer.
I decided to go with a round bale this time, because it was cheaper than getting small squares. I got this bale from my former employer. They usually round bale their hay and only do enough square bales to feed any cows they need to bring up to the barn to calve. They aim to do all the calving out in the fields, so they don't square bale much. They do usually have plenty of round bales though. This round bale cost $40 and it weighs about 1400-1500 lbs. That makes this hay incredibly cheap compared to buying small squares!
The only thing I don't like about round bales is the inconvenience of feeding them since we don't have a tractor capable of moving them around. I debated putting the bale directly out in the pasture, on pallets, so the animals could just eat directly off the bale. I knew there would be a ton of waste if I did that though, and I didn't want to deal with the mess. Instead, I wanted to try to put the bale in the metal hay shed. The shed is 8'X10', and the bale is about 6'x6'. We knew it would be a tight fit.
We backed the trailer up to the front of the shed. It was pretty obvious that the bale wouldn't fit through the door, so we decided to flip the shed back like it was hinged to the ground. A few weeks ago the shed blew over due to high winds, so we weren't worried about denting the shed since it was already dented.
It just barely fit!! David's dad was standing at the base of the trailer holding the shed and keeping it from flipping all the way back. I pictured the bale rolling off the trailer and wiping him out, but he assured me he could jump out of the way in time. Luckily, the big bale was rather sluggish when it rolled down the trailer ramp, and kinda just stopped right in the perfect spot. I'm glad poor [Big] David didn't get smooshed! You'll notice the right side of the shed has 2 blocks under it instead of 1 like the other corners. That's because the bale is so big the shed supports were resting on the top, so we had to prop the corner up higher.
For now I've been peeling hay from the front of the bale to feed. I can't really reach the top yet. Hopefully once I dig into it we'll be able to rotate it or something so I can reach the other parts. Round bales of hay are made by rolling layers of the hay together, so they unpeel fairly easily. I just take a couple pitchfork fulls of hay to the sheep instead of carrying several flakes out to them. It's a little more work, but I don't mind since it saved us so much money!