Poll Recap: Winter Hay Stores

Poll Recap: Winter Hay Stores

Of the 748 voters, 257 (34%) said they order and store more than 6 tons of hay for the winter.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Last week, we asked readers how much hay they order and store for the winter months. More than 700 readers responded, and we’ve tallied the results

Of the 748 voters, 257 (34%) said they order and store more than 6 tons of hay for the winter. Almost a quarter of the voters (183) indicated they store 3 to 6 tons of hay for the winter, while 151 (20%) said they order 1 to 3 tons. Only 81 voters (11%) said they order and store less than 1 ton of hay, and the remaining 10% indicated that they do not order or store hay for their horses.

Additionally, more than 100 readers left comments about the amount of hay they store for the winter. 

Many readers commented on the amount of hay they ordered in terms of bales:

  • “(I store) 2,000 bales at 30 pounds each.”
  • “I buy by the bale. I got 50 bales of grass mixed hay and 75 bales of alfalfa this year for two horses.”
  • “I don't measure hay by the ton, but by the amount of round or square (large or small) bales.”
  • “I use 150 square bales in winter and pick it up myself; I don't know the weight.”
  • “I go through about 40 round bales a winter, not sure how many tons that equals.”
  • “(I need) 500 bales delivered and stacked to last at least until next summer.”
  • “It takes about 10 large square bales per horse in Ohio.”
  • “I figure a bale per day through the winter months.”
  • “(I use) over 300 bales for my two horses. That lasts until June when we get fresh hay cut again.”
  • “Not sure about tons, (but we) fill loft with as many bales as will fit and then order 100 extra for late winter.”

Poll Results

Some readers responded that they do not or cannot store hay for the winter:

  • “I am in Floridawinter is mild and (I have) no storage for hay!”
  • “I don't have the means to do so.”
  • “I live in Hawaii. (My horses) graze year-round and are supplemented with alfalfa cubes.”
  • “I buy hay from farm only a mile from home so don't (have to store).”
  • “I have no room to store large quantities of hay. We get our hay locally from a farmer who stores it.”

Others bale their own hay:

  • “We don’t order because we bale our own hay in the summer. We get about 1,500 bales for the year.”
  • “We have our own hay.”
  • “Grow our own12 tons a year.”
  • “We don't order hay as we bale our own.”
  • “I grow hay and store (it) for 15 horses”
  • “I do not order hay; I bale it myself and put it up, usually around 12-15 tons.”
  • “We have our back 2 1/2 acres to hay by ourselves. This year we got about 400 square bales.”
  • “My pastures are cut for hay during low-NSC hours and hay fed year round.”

A number of readers buy enough hay to last the year:

  • “I try to store enough for a year.”
  • “I buy a years supply.”
  • “I order a year's worth at one time for my only horse.”
  • “I save all year long to buy hay only once. Hopefully by doing that I can get a better price.”
  • “We contract hay for the whole year, but can only store 3-6 tons at home. Our grower stores the rest.”
  • “I order a years supply and get a huge discount.”
  • “I buy and store enough for four horses for one year.”
  • “Store more than a year's supply, because, once in a while, it has been hard to get all the hay I need.”

A few said that their boarding facility takes care of ordering and storing hay:

  • “I'm at a boarding facility that orders the hay.”
  • “(We own a) 35 horse boarding farm. We order and store over 100 tons of hay. About 3 tons per horse.”
  • “I board my horse so am at the mercy of where I board. Hay quality that is fed to my horse is poor.”
  • “My boarding barn does and they fill a good size, two-story hay barn.”
  • “My barn manager takes care of this.”
  • “I board my horse at a small private stable that makes their own hay.”
  • “My boarding barn houses about 30 horses, so we need lots of hay for the winter.”

A handful of readers talked about ordering and storing more than 6 tons of hay:

  • “I have 20 tons of hay barn-stored for my seven horses. More if a bad winter happens.”
  • “Ninety tons feeds 50 horses here for the year.”
  • “(We store) 12.5 tons for ... 4 horses.”
  • “(We order and store) 10 tons, which will carry me for a year. This year only 8 1/2 tons so far due to flooding in Colorado.”
  • “(We get) 15 tons; hay analysis actually works when I'm not buying it every two months”

Several readers responded that they buy more hay than they need:

  • “Always store enough that you can feed for 2-3 months after the fresh hay arrives next year."
  • “Depends on how many we are feeding but we get more than enough in case of poor weather.”
  • “I always buy and store more than I need. I ran out one winter and learned that lesson the hard way!”
  • “We fill the hay loft as full as we can get it, I would rather have some left over for the next year.”
  • “Always get plenty in case there is a drought the following year.”

Get some tips for storing hay and feed to prevent mold and contamination on TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: Do you body clip your horse during the winter? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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