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  • Constance Wilmoth

Forage Fiasco......

Our animals are absolutely slamming through hay this year. I think this may be for a number of reasons. One, we normally purchase all of our hay at the same time, however, this year, half of what we buy was rained on, so we only brought home 120 bales of hay instead of our normal 250. This made unloading it and managing it easier, but it also meant by the time October rolled around we knew we would not have enough to make it through until September of 2023. Thie meant Rob and I purchased about 70 bales from our local auction thinking this would be enough to get us through. Well, low and behold, our increased number of goats is consuming MUCH more hay than we anticipated. Meaning by mid-December we were again in a situation where we knew that our hay stores would not get us through until September. This meant with a 2-month-old baby, we had to rent a trailer, because ours is in the mines, and purchase several lots of hay again from our hay auction.


We were fortunate to again be able to purchase about 70 bales of 2nd and third cutting alfalfa mix hay. Brining our total up to 260 bales of hay purchased for our 2 horses and 14 goats. I usually estimate about 1/2 bale of hay per day for our herd, but this varies wildly from season to season. For example, on a day like today I am regularly using 1 bale to 1.5 bales, but once the grass comes in, we will be lucky to use a bale in 3 days, So I figure it all evens out.


But, as I looked at my hay stack this morning, it is quickly dwindling and I am concerned that we may not make it until September of this year. We are very fortunate to have a local hay auction where we can spot buy hay that is affordable and of good quality. It seems like I need to figure on purchasing at least 300 bales of hay next year! We have also considered getting a spike for our tractor and buying hay in large squares or even small round bales. Have any of you had any success with these hay types?


How are your hay stores coming this winter? I hope you all are staying warm and you and your animals are remaining happy and healthy! Happy Goating everyone!


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