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Old 05-02-2013, 09:06 PM   #1
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Default What's the best way to keep a bale of hay fresh?

I'm going to be getting a bale of hay near the end of this month but I'm not sure where I'm going to keep it yet. I know quite a few people on here buy bales for their rabbits so I thought I might ask you guys how you make it last?
I have the option of keeping it inside a shed, or outside under a carport. It rains pretty often where I live though, so keeping it under the carport might cause mold? What do you guys think?

Forgot to ask, first cut is the best to get right?

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Old 05-02-2013, 10:13 PM   #2
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It is important to keep the hay dry. A car port probably isn't best since it does rain a lot where you are. The shed should be ok. Keep it off the floor, you can use some 2X4s to raise it up, you could use something else as well as long as it provides some good ventilation.

I keep full bales in the garage on some 2X4's and they are stacked about 3-4 high. I do store for some other people, so it's not all mine. When I need a new bale, I put it in a big rubbermaid tub without the lid and keep that in the house. A bale only lasts about a month now. For day to day use, I have another bin that holds a couple flakes and it easy to move around the house.

You can get bale bags that will fit a full or half bale. They are made out of a nylon type material, so the hay can breathe and there are some holes as well. They are easier to carry and will hold the hay even after you open the bale without too much mess. They can be a bit pricey to buy, but can be worth it especially if you can find a good price.

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Old 05-03-2013, 01:07 AM   #3
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Yes, it's important to keep it ventilated and dry. I think keeping it in the shed is much better than under the carport. We keep ours in a patio bin in the backyard. A rectangular bale fits perfectly. The bin sits on a piece of plywood, off the ground on bricks. There are some vent holes in the plastic bin to let air in. We've kept hay fresh for up to 6 months in it. I've never used bale bags but I know others who've used them. I guess you get them at a feed store.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:14 PM   #4
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Turns out I might have to keep it under the carport :/ Not much room in the shed. Hopefully if I keep it off the ground & covered it will be alright.
Is first cut hay the best to get?
Thanks for the help!! :]
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:20 PM   #5
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As long as it stays dry, it shouldn't be a problem. Protecting it from the sun would be good too, but keeping it dry is the most important thing, as moldy hay can kill rabbits.

Is it timothy you're getting? With the cut, that just depends on what your rabbits like. First cut timothy tends to be thicker stemmed and less protein. Second cut tends to be the softer stems(though there are also usually some thicker stems too) and higher protein. I have rabbits that like the thicker crunchier stems, and other rabbits that like the softer stuff better. So it really depends on if your rabbits have a preference and are picky about their hay.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:07 PM   #6
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We use orchard grass and keep it in a gigantic plastic bag inside an equally large cardboard box. Never too worried about moisture here, though.
Sometimes I feel like I'm running a fertilizer factory.
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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I keep mine in the shed on a pallet (so there is air flow underneath) I would keep the hay covered by a tarp if there is a chance of it getting wet. Also keeping it out of direct sunlight is a good idea as well.

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