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Looking for Alternative Hays

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erinmoveit

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I've been buying 9lb bags of Oxbow Timothy hay for about $26. I've been shopping for quality hay that would also help me save some money. I would love to use Sierra Valley, but it is out of my price range ($10 more than Oxbow).

Sweet Meadow has Timothy hay for about $10 - $12 for 9lb

KMS hayloft has some EXTREMEMLY low prices (I could buy 25# for $25)

Any other suggestions would help. Any cues to look for to determine whether or not the quality is good...
 

LakeCondo

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I have used both Oxbow & Sweet Meadow & found the SM is much greener & less thick pieces than OB. Both are called 2nd cut, so obviously there is quite a variation. Honey rejects nearly half the OB & virtually none of the SM.
 

erinmoveit

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WOW! SM is charging $15 for shipping for a 9lb bag. That makes it $28 for 9lb. From reading their site, FedEx charges them for over sized shipping based on the size of the box not the shipping. Back to square one.

Seems like overall, shipping is where the cost jumps
 
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whitelop

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Could you go to a feed store or a horse barn that sells good quality hay? You'll probably find something cheaper than buying oxbow. I see that you're in Michigan, so it might have to wait until spring/summer because of the weather.

I got a good quality bale of coastal hay for $6.75, a 50 lb bale.
 

erinmoveit

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I live a in a small farming community. I've checked with local farmers and variety of feed stores within an hour radius. NO ONE has hay that doesn't contain alfalfa. This past growing season was really bad around here. My next door neighbor owns a horse farm and he had to go to Indiana to get hay for 3x the cost.
 

Korr_and_Sophie

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Even if a bale is expensive for a bale, it is still a lot cheaper than buying from a pet store or ordering online. If you only have a few rabbits, you don't need too many bales a year, so it is still affordable. Would your neighbour be willing to pick up a bale or 2 for you the next time she goes or even sell you a bale that she already has?
A little bit of alfalfa can be ok for adults. You don't want a lot, but under about 10% can be suitable.
 

erinmoveit

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Even if a bale is expensive for a bale, it is still a lot cheaper than buying from a pet store or ordering online. If you only have a few rabbits, you don't need too many bales a year, so it is still affordable. Would your neighbour be willing to pick up a bale or 2 for you the next time she goes or even sell you a bale that she already has?
A little bit of alfalfa can be ok for adults. You don't want a lot, but under about 10% can be suitable.
There IS hay around, it just contains alfalfa. As does my neighbor. He has offered to me plenty of times to just take what I need but I'm pretty sure it contains Alfalfa. He has raised horses and animals for years and I don't want to insult him by asking. His normal resource for hay DOES contain Alfalfa though.
 

erinmoveit

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I did look at Sierra Valley and in the future I will definitely be using them. Right now their quality is much better but the cost is slightly higher. I just transferred to a college that is 2 hours away and I'm trying to cut costs without cutting quality so that I have gas to get to school every day. :D thanks for the input!
 

ldoerr

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So are you commuting the 2 hrs each day of class?? If so that is rediculus. My college is 1.5hrs from my parents and I got an apt so that I could be close to school. I know that a lot of the people that go to my school commute 30-45 minutes each way, but 2 hrs is rediculus. I think that you might actually save some $$ my moving closer to school. As far as hay goes, there are LOTS of feed store where I am that sell good quality hay and have it year round, so I do not know of any good brands of hay out there. I am trying the sierra vally hay because I have a REALLY picky hay eater (who managed to get on my bed for the first time ever while typing this and can not seem to get down, even though the jump is under 18").
 

erinmoveit

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I own and operate a dog boarding facility with my dad. We are a small, family owned business, so moving wasn't an option. It is a passion and we take great pride in the one on one care we provide so I wouldn't want to see my dad taking on that full load of a 14/7/365 job alone.

Yeah, I do phone calls daily to different feed stores further and further away trying to find any without alfalfa. They either say they don't have any without alfalfa or they don't know what's in it.

Btw, I only go to campus 2 days a week because of the commuting time
 

mochajoe

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I would also recommend horse hay...per pound it is the most cost effective! I am a horse owner as well and I have always fed horse quality hay to my bunnies, since 1992 when I got my first bunny. I have never had any issues. FYI, most feed stores offer hay analysis (for bales of hay) for free or a minimal charge...and if you have any questions they and or your county extension office can help you interpret the results...the "crude protein" of grass hays is usually less then 10...while legume hay is usually 15 or greater...Good luck!
 

wendymac

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I would ask your neighbor. Horses aren't generally given alfalfa hay (except babies/nursing mares), so they probably have some regular timothy/grass hay, too. And you can tell by looking whether it's alfalfa or not. Alfalfa has a lot of little leaves and thicker stems. And I'm fairly certain your neighbor wouldn't be offended if you came right out and asked what kind of hay it is. :)
 

erinmoveit

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I'll take a look at it. I know I've bought a bale of hay before and threw it out because I wasn't sure what it was and didn't look at green. I will look for thicker stemmed, green leafy Alfalfa lol. I'll climb in the loft and take a look.
 

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