Urgent: Is this hay moldy?

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Liamallory

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I had to rush-order some timothy hay due to my rabbits' sudden growth in appetite going through my stock of hay before my orders of new hay come in, but I noticed this in one of the packs I've ordered. Can anyone tell me whether this is a sign of mold or not? I opened the pack and I don't smell any sour or musty smell like some guides on identifying moldy hay say, but this strand makes me anxious. Note that there are unfortunately quite a number of brown strands in the pack, so I admit the hay isn't the freshest and a part of me thinks this might be very dry hay just "flaking" apart, but I don't have enough confidence to be able to tell signs of moldy hay and at least want to learn whether I'm judging right. (Don't worry, I have set this pack aside and have not fed my rabbits anything from it.)

20220104_201249.jpg
 

Preitler

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Hay is a natural product, there will be strands that died off, or even from the last cut. That doesn't mean the batch is bad or that it was not stored properly.

I sometimes wonder what my rabbits pick in the garden, some stuff looks pretty rotten...
 

Liamallory

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Hay is a natural product, there will be strands that died off, or even from the last cut. That doesn't mean the batch is bad or that it was not stored properly.

I sometimes wonder what my rabbits pick in the garden, some stuff looks pretty rotten...
Does this mean that my hay in the photo is okay? I have noticed a lot of brown strands in the same hay, but that one strand has been making me extremely anxious, though also I acknowledge that my clinical anxiety can tend to blow things out of proportion. I'm still honestly very inexperienced with many aspects of rabbit care, and handling their hay is one of them, and I really don't want to put my rabbits in potential harm's way due to my ignorance. Should I chuck this hay, or am I overreacting?
 

Preitler

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Single strands aren't a problem, I buy bales from a farmer and that is absolutly normal.
If hay gets moldy all in a certain spot is affected, like when a bag is on a cold floor or leaning at a cold wall and condensation happens where the bag touches the wall (can be a problem with pellets too). Or if something is wrong from the start and the whole bale is off. Signs are smell, excessive dust, damp spots or overall too high moisture etc.
 
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Single strands aren't a problem, I buy bales from a farmer and that is absolutly normal.
If hay gets moldy all in a certain spot is affected, like when a bag is on a cold floor or leaning at a cold wall and condensation happens where the bag touches the wall (can be a problem with pellets too). Or if something is wrong from the start and the whole bale is off. Signs are smell, excessive dust, damp spots or overall too high moisture etc.
Hmm. Given the issue with condensation I'm wondering where I should store the big bags of Oxbow hay I just bought. We just put them in the garage but temps drop to freezing at night so condensation might end up being an issue.
 

Preitler

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No, not so much if it is dry to start with. The big problem is when you have different temperatures, like, I have an old house with stone walls, if I lean something against it whatever is it will cool more than the ambient air temperature, causing moisture gather there - even in a closed bag the spot where it touches the cold wall will get moist enough for mold. Summertime is way worse in that regard than winter, much more water in the air. Badly ventilated stuff in a cold corner is at risk. I store my bales in the shed on pallets, not touching a wall, the bag of pellets sits on a chair in a cool room in my house.
 

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