Wednesday 5 December 2018

Hay security

With the droughty summer seriously impacting on grass growth, I had to resort to commencing feeding the sheep with hay earlier than usual. I currently put out the hay twice a day rather than a large quantity for them to eat ad lib. This is because of the problem of too much wastage. Sheep, mine at least, won’t eat hay that’s been spilt on the ground or if it’s too wet. This way they will clear the hay rack completely, which I replenish again later in the day. I also give a small amount of coarse feed, enough to keep me in their good books for when it comes to rounding them up or moving them. I’m pleased to say that the flock is looking in good condition so it looks like they are getting enough to eat.

The other day I needed to replenish hay supplies so that there is enough to see us through into the new year. I picked up 30 more bales to stack in my small barn. That’s three trips as my trailer can accommodate 10 bales at a time. Fortunately I do not have far to go, barely half a mile. A friend, Sheila, buys in a large quantity of hay each year and factors my requirements into her order. This is very convenient for me as I know there is ready hay supply stored close by. It’s good quality hay too and smells summery when a bale is opened up.

Sheila is not a smallholder but keeps thoroughbred horses. (Newmarket race course and associated stables and studs are not far away). They are either retired race horses or horses that did not quite make the grade for racing. They are nevertheless beautiful, majestic-looking creatures. Her daughter uses two of them for show jumping and eventing. 

If you keep livestock, a barn full of hay engenders a feeling of security in the same way as having a full tank of heating oil, or when the wood shed is full or having well stock food cupboards.


  1. Full woodshed, feed for the animals and food put by for us. So much to be grateful for. Thank you for the reminder, happy holidays everyone, Joyce

  2. Is hay expensive this winter Philip? Large round bales are making forty Euros over here.

  3. Large round bales of hay are generally around £45 each here. You might get them bit cheaper if you shop around but it’s getting a bit late for that.