Now store it for maximum use and nutrition.
Don't let mold, mildew, rodents and weather ruin your hay! Indoor Storage: 1.
Keep hay dry.
If you're storing it in a barn, be sure there are no roof leaks or water drainage problems.
Be sure condensation doesn't accumulate on the inside of the roof.
A surprising amount of water can drip on your hay from a sweaty roof! Use a plastic tarp to channel water away from bales.
Keep an eye out for rodents.
Rats and mice can contaminate your hay.
Plug any entrances with steel wool.
If you can't keep them out, cats and black snakes are great mousers! 4.
Keep the hay off the floor.
Used wooden pallets are available from many local businesses.
They're often free for the taking and work perfectly! 5.
Stack your hay for maximum air flow.
Square bales should be stacked on edge with narrow gaps between rows.
Be sure to check for heat in the bales by driving a metal rod into the centers.
Use older hay first.
Pull old bales to the front or side before stacking in new hay, and feed older hay first before starting on the fresher supply.
As much as possible, keep bales in their compacted state.
Broken bales expose the hay to air which will cause it to degrade in quality.
Break off flakes to minimize air exposure.
Special considerations for outside storage: 8.
When stored outside, hay must be stacked on pallets or some type of ventilated platform to keep ground moisture from infiltrating the bales.
Be aware of seasonal wet spots! 9.
Bales should be protected from sun and rain with tarps.
Stack the bales in a pyramid formation to encourage water runoff.
Tarps also protect your hay from sunlight which causes rapid nutrient loss.
Hay needs to be stored properly for maximum safety, nutrition and usability.
But no matter how carefully it's stored, always check each bale for mold or foreign objects.
Never feed a horse hay that looks or smells moldy!