Advice on feeding haylage for 1st time please

LisW

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Nov 13, 2007
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Help! Haylage advice needed please.

As we simply can't get any hay at a reasonable price & my asthma gets bad with dusty hay, We're thinking of feeding hayalge this year.

Our ponies are 2 x 14.2hh HW cobs (1 poorer doer & i good doer), 2 x 11hh LW ponies & 2 x 32" Minis (we drive in pairs!)

Feeding haylage, rather than hay would be new to us. There seem to be different types of haylage & different sizes of bales. Would we need different types (ie. low sugar?) for our little guys to our bigger cobs?

How long can we use a bale for when opened?

How do you work out what weight of haylage we need daily? They will have it twice a day, plus a small feed.

Can we simply feed it on the floor (ponies live out 24/7 year round - in 3 fields, so sizes not mixed) or would it need to be in nets?

How manageable would bales of 125kg be, with no machinery to move it?

Any other advice greatfully received! I've kept these ponies for many years, but feel like a total novice feeding them now! We rent our land, so are not on a yard to share bales, or get advice from non-novice-haylage-users!

Thank you.
 

popularfurball

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Jul 18, 2005
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Between six you will get through bales before they go off I think.

You can see and smell the ahylage when it goes mouldy - they advise within 7 days but in reality it normally lasts longer than this if kept dry etc :)

just feed off the floor like hay, not to sure about weights though!
 

nat17

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I have 2 x 14.2 ponies, good doers... with average grass in winter. My OH makes me 185 length square bales, which I feed 1 slice a night. These bales last me 10 days ish depending on the weather...:wink:

Each slice is maybe just under a noramlly bale of haylage so maybe 20kgs?? It would be hard to move these around without machineary for sure, so I would get them delivered as near to the field as possible. I get mine put next to the bottom of field and then pull of what I need into a wheel barrow and cart it to the field. I also keep the old plastic every time I put a new one out, to cover the new one from rain etc.


From November you should not have any issues with going off, maybe October depending on the weather again. Dont feed if black, or has white fluffy mould on it. You tend to get used to the normal smell very quickly.

For fatties I would say Rye grass/Timothy haylage is best but you may struggle to get that in big bales really. We make it but its sold off the field to a massive livery yard.

If you get square bales I would have thought an easy, 1 1/2 slices am and pm, but round ones you will just have to peel a layer at a time and weigh it.....

Sorry... going on a bit..! Hope it helps:giggle:
 

popularfurball

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as for moving them, round bales easier. My oh can roll one by himself, but i can do it with another girly help lol. I'm not sure about the feeding but you could bulk out with straw :)
 

Luna Corona

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Sep 7, 2009
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I was using Silvermoor haylage last winter for one of my (15hh) horses, and found that a bale of that will last four to five nights, mixed roughly with a section of ordinary hay each night. He has mild COPD and I've got asthma, too, but even with using hay, he did not cough once all winter. Haylage keeps good condition on your horse/pony, too, so beware of feeding quite as much concentrates. Once a bale of it is open, I just cover it over with an empty plastic bag and weigh it down to keep most of the air out of it, and I've not had a mouldy one yet of this brand.
 

tubby

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Sep 30, 2003
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Bloke I bought haylage off a couple of years ago said that once opened it's best to spread leaves apart as it doesn't go off then just goes dry. Small bales you are advised to use within a week after opening ( ie horsehage ).
 

Claire1605

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Apr 25, 2008
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The white stuff is yeast I believe and not mould. It is I have heard OK to feed the yeasty bits, although I always pull them out.

You should feed more haylage than hay because it has more water content than hay.

Having said that, your good doers and minis might not need as much haylage as it has a higher sugar content than hay.

Once opened use up in a week or just over.

When you open a bale it should smell gorgeous like a brewery or something like that LOL. If it smells a bit vinegary then it is off.

To be honest I have fed haylage for the past 3 years and have not had one bad bale. As long as the bale has no puncture holes in it the air has not been able to get in so the bale should be fine.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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I can only feed ours the Craven Bale stuff which is suitable for ponies at rest or laminitics. We fed our pair hayledge from a local farm one summer and Joe ended up with lami and Storm got really fat, it wasn't easy to shift either! The bales that we buy (are small anyways) keep for 5 days, but as others have said they probably will keep longer. Hot weather I would assume, would make it sweaty and go "off" quicker? Yes, you are meant to feed more, hence our pair ending up like balloons............!!!! I wouldn't give it to a good doer as sole feed simply cos its just to tasty for words and they gobble it up quickly!
If it ever feels warm when you put your hand inside the bale - make sure you spread / shake it out properly to dry off, otherwise it may "turn" and can start to smell rather strong. Thats just my experience of it anyway. I don't know about the huge bales you see in the middle of fields are we don't buy that, it would get wasted with just the two eating at it.
 

Luna Corona

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Sep 7, 2009
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We are vaguely thinking about doing this as well, does anyone know if it actually works out cheaper or not?

Although the bales of haylage tend to be quite pricey, there will be no waste! It's not like hay where they pick out the bits they want to eat and leave the rest messing up the stable or field, you'd find that all the haylage is eaten up.
 

Claire1605

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Apr 25, 2008
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It would be cheaper to feed hay.

Although the small bales of hay and haylage are similarly priced, the small hay bales have a lot more hay in them compared to the small haylage bales, and, as you need to feed more haylage, the haylage doesn't go as far.
 
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