A big problem that many people have is when they first start homesteading they jump on getting animals before working through all of the problems first. I am really talking about cattle and horses, horses don’t bring money so pure homesteading may not involve them but anything that involves grass is similar. In the past I have always fed half a bale of hay and some grain for feed each day. Over the years I have tried to switch to round bales of hay because that seems a little more natural.
We had a bad drought this year however, I had the normal amount of hay stored but it wasn’t enough. Using a small bale of hay 4×5, would normally last 2 weeks in the past, right now it last less than two weeks, actually it lasts less than one week.
That was a big wake up call to me. As I commented earlier it is good to have multiple resources for hay. The drought was worst in other places but that still means that many of the local suppliers sold out because people would buy several tractor trailer loads at a time and locally it would all be gone.
One of my hay suppliers doesn’t like to sell many at a time, I understand his logic, he has between 100 and 200 cows and if he sells 4-5 bales at a time he can feel out his needs, 50-75 at a time cause him stress since he doesn’t really know when spring will come. So guess what I did today?
It was hay getting time! The horses seemed to like it though.
When it gets cold I figure I can only do two things, make sure they have food, and make sure they have water. Yes the have a wind break but otherwise one of the worst things you can do is lock them up so they can’t move, they have dealt with very cold temperatures for thousands to millions of years but there is no reason for them to not have food or water!
One of the big things that I wish I had was excessive storage for hay, it could be sold for at least what you have in it if you had too much. Fluctuations in rainfall is something that is hard to predict, at this point I would much rather have more than a year out in storage than only a year and have a shortage because the fields just aren’t producing enough grass.