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Is normal farm hay ok to use?

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Teanite

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#1
Were are currently just looking around for different hays to use at the moment we use P@H hay, and timothy hay.

We would like to know if is is ok to use just normal hay from the farm, we have been told that we shouldn't use is as it vastly increases the chance of mites, fungal spores an mould being in contact with the GP's and creating more problems than it's worth.

Is it bettter to spend the money on a higher quality hay even just for bedding? we understand that a better quality hay for eating is good but just don't want to skimp and cause problems.

Thanks
 
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#2
I use bales of farm hay for my lot (50+) at £4 a bale and *touch wood* I rarely have any problems with running lice etc. Mites are not caused by hay.

I find the farm hay is better for their teeth too - many of the 'processed' hays are softer and don't wear the teeth down in the same way. Mine get other hays as treats but the bulk of their hay is farm hay

Sophie
x
 

Doeylicious

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#5
Depends where it comes from overall.

I feed my pigs the same hay we feed our horses, both animals are anatomically very similar and equally prone to gut and breathing issues (yes, really!) so the way I see it, if it's good enough for the neddies, it's good enough for the guineas. However we know where the hay is cut from, and it's decent stuff.

Some hay is not suitable for feeding to horses and is only suitable for cattle and other rumerants (sorry probably spelt that wrong - I mean animals with multiple guts!). Thus we would NEVER feed that to guineas.

There is only a greater risk of spores if the hay has been stored incorrectly. Mine stays in the hay barn under our horse's old rug, kept off the floor by a wooden pallet - perfect storage conditions really.

So I would ask, where does your hay come from and what else is fed with it, and what storage would you have for it?
 

katiepops

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#6
I have just discovered a great farm only 10 minutes away from me which do a big bale for £6. (it takes 12 bin bags to split it up)
It makes great bedding and I can then afford to buy a nice selection of other hays for them to munch on. Orchard Grass and Timothy Hay are favourites.
Where abouts are you? Maybe a member near you can recommend somewhere?
 

Teanite

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#8
thanks for all the advice given so far, i'll answer the questions in one post, i can get free hay as much as i want as i do alot of pest control for a few farmers round here, they do there own hay so i'm pretty confident it is good quailty. One of the farms rears top quality show cattle so i'm pretty sure the hay would be of a good standard. the farms are really close so storage not really a problem as i'd just get what we needed as an when, although i'll have a look at his storage.

Is there anything in particular i should be looking at when getting hay? what makes it good/bad?
 

katiepops

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#9
It should smell right, fresh and sweet, anything musty or dusty has probably got damp and is not good.
A nice bright colour as well.
You'll be able to tell if it's not good.
 

Teresa J

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#11
I'm a bit concerned of the farm hay will cause the mites.
I use farm hay and always have done without any problems at all :)

Best way to check it's ok is to give it a good sniff - it should smell lovely and fresh. Then break open a bale and shake some up vigorously - if you get clouds of dust then avoid it and also it shouldn't be stuck together in clumps or appear greyish in olour.

Guineas can get lice from hay but not mites......................

Teresa xx
 

Doeylicious

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#12
thanks for all the advice given so far, i'll answer the questions in one post, i can get free hay as much as i want as i do alot of pest control for a few farmers round here, they do there own hay so i'm pretty confident it is good quailty. One of the farms rears top quality show cattle so i'm pretty sure the hay would be of a good standard. the farms are really close so storage not really a problem as i'd just get what we needed as an when, although i'll have a look at his storage.
Not necessarily - we do our own hay but it isn't good enough to feed to horses and guineas, only cows, due the the time it is cut/grass quality (fine when moist, not so good when dry), etc etc. Also you will need to be aware of the plants used on the field, if the field is full of ragwort then no bother if you're feeding it to cows, but slow painful death if you feed it to horses or guineas! Cows need different hay to guineas and horses, because of their guts they can take a much lower quality hay and tend to eat it all in one go, whereas guineas and horses forage and prefer a courser hay. Cows can eat silage, for example, whereas if you feed this to a non-ruminant it will get colic (and when a guinea gets a dodgy gut, it's basically guinea pig colic)

As our hay man says, anyone can make hay, but it takes a lot to make good hay.

For more info on hay, have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hay particularly:

Unlike ruminants, horses digest food in small portions throughout the day, and can only use approximately 2.5% of their body weight in feed in any 24-hour period. They evolved to be continuously on the move while grazing, (covering up to 50 miles per day in the wild) and their stomach digests food quite rapidly. Thus, they extract more nutrition out of smaller quantities of feed.[5] However, when horses are fed low-quality hay, they may develop an unhealthy, obese, "hay belly" due to over-consumption of "empty" calories. If their type of feed is changed dramatically, or if they are fed moldy hay or hay containing toxic plants, they can become ill; colic is the leading cause of death in horses. Contaminated hay can also lead to respiratory problems in horses. Hay can be soaked in water, sprinkled with water or subjected to steaming to reduce dust.

As I said above, guineas and horses are anatomically very similar :)

(When you have a 27 year old horse who has a funny tummy now and then, hay geek is the term to use...)
 

Romily

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#13
I buy hay from my local equestrian feed merchants and I have always been delighted with the quality. Never thought of the risk of running lice.
 

Doeylicious

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#14
The risk of lice again should be reduced if your hay is of a decent quality.

Us horsey types want the bestest bestest stuff for our ponios too, so as long as your feed merchant is reputable, you should be fine. The way to find this out is, take a look at how many people cannot see out the back of their cars cos they are full to the brim with hay bales (did you know you can fit three bales in the back of a Ford Ka?! hahaha!)
 

Romily

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#15
I had horses for years and that is why I use them. The risk of lice from hay is so low that it was never a concern for me.
 

Doeylicious

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#16
:) I see I am preaching to the choir then, lol :))

I firmly believe the reason I love guineas so much is cos they really are just very, very, VERY small horses...I even bank and deep litter their beds to an extent...
 

Romily

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#17
:) I see I am preaching to the choir then, lol :))

I firmly believe the reason I love guineas so much is cos they really are just very, very, VERY small horses...I even bank and deep litter their beds to an extent...
I think the same :)):)):)) I think that is why I love the hay and shavings it takes me back! Mind you a guinea pig kick is far easier to take!
 

Doeylicious

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#18
I think the same :)):)):)) I think that is why I love the hay and shavings it takes me back! Mind you a guinea pig kick is far easier to take!
~touch wood~ escaped being kicked so far, our mare is a total softie bless her, we have a photo somewhere of me lying underneath her poking her tummy while she just stands there like 'oh God what are you doing now?!'...bombproof doesn't do her justice!

Been knocked flying and dragged 6ft down the barn floor though by a 17hh Hannovarian (he ripped my BRAND NEW jodhpurs, stoopid hoss), and had my toe broken by being trodden on in wellies...makes a guinea bite seem completely insignificant hahaha!

(If you ever come dawn sarf let me know and you can come visit our girly :) )
 
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#19
Hi

There are two things that you have to watch out for with UK supplied hay

1. Mites and Lice

2. Fungal Spores

A lot of shop bought Hay is suseptable to both, not because of the shop, but because of how its stored on the farm. Ever seen rolls of hay in the fields covered in black plastic, you can just imagine what growing in those loverly dry and warm conditions.

Oxbow Timothy hay is heat treated to kill off both Mites and Fungal Spores but sadly it costs a fortune. You can take small amounts of normal hay put in a bag and then zapped in the microwave, this also kills Mites and Fungal Spores. If you have access to a Microscope you can check you batch of hay for any hangers on, and treat accordingly.

Regards

SGP
 
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#20
I have just discovered a great farm only 10 minutes away from me which do a big bale for £6. (it takes 12 bin bags to split it up)
It makes great bedding and I can then afford to buy a nice selection of other hays for them to munch on. Orchard Grass and Timothy Hay are favourites.
Where abouts are you? Maybe a member near you can recommend somewhere?
Which farm do you get it from? I live in Newbury too! Does it store well in bin bags? I've only got three piggies and one bin bag full lasts nearly two weeks.
 
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