Sunday, January 23, 2011

Round Bale in a Square Shed

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!

7 comments:

Becky said...

Oh my goodness! It made me laugh to see how little that shed looks compared to that big bale! What a great deal for hay though! I'm glad Big David didn't get clobbered by the shed. I'd like to see your layers get in there to hide nests now! LOL

Verde Farm said...

Hi Katiegirl, I just found your blog on Our LIttle Farm. Glad I did as I love farm blogs. Can’t wait to read more :) If you get time to visit us, we would love to have you at Verde Farm .
Happy Sunday, Amy

Jennifer said...

Woohoooo... it fit! lol. We just bought some hay or maybe it was straw, I'm still learnin (are they the same thing of different?) anyways, we bought 5 big bales for around 20.00. Is that good or bad? I'm thinkin bad now that I see your HUGE round bale, lol

katiegirl said...

Jennifer, straw is what's baled after wheat or another small grain is harvested. It's usually cheaper and used for bedding. Hay is grass that's been mowed and dried for feeding. Usually hay is greener (but not always) and straw is gold and coarser.

And your price is probably good. I may have gotten a discount since I used to work on the farm! ;-)

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

wow, you got that huge thing in the shed! that is funny looking! just found you and love that little puppy in a previous post. so sweet! looking forward in visiting again, come on by when you have some time!

Jennifer said...

Thanks Katie... Thats what I was thinkin. Ok so we bought straw :)

Deb said...

How funny is that picture of the round bale filling up the shed! Remember when we got the round bale and Chance would just stand there and pig out? Then he would stand up on the hay? I know what you mean about the waste! Cute Katie!! Love you, Momma

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