Our cows have not tasted hay in years. I think it has been 9-10 years since we put up hay, and we no longer even have a baler so we could not do it if we wanted too! But then again they do not see pasture either. They stand and look out the window and wonder what the heck that green stuff is. But don't feel sad for them; everything they could ever want is 400 feet away. That is the ideal distance between the milking parlor and their beds and feed. This is what the cow behaviorist's say is ideal for a cow. Keep in mind they actually bed down on pillows; a comfortable cow makes more milk after all, and these cows are catered to well.
My sheep are pretty fussy as well, as they do not like stemmy feed and just refuse to eat it. They have smaller mouths and can actually separate the grain from the stalks, so they are quite well adapted to eating and sorting only what they want, that is why I have so much waste. A lot of the fields around here are timothy grass and that means a lot of stems.
After trying to stuff hay into their new feeder this afternoon, I can honestly say I think I am going back to feeding silage. I have to feed that out more often, but it is a whole lot easier!
NoSmoke wrote:There was a weird bartering system going on here this fall and as it ended up, I am feeding out round bales of hay because of a three way trade. I like how my sheep look as they do better on hay then silage, but the waste factor is huge. I went out and built a hay rack to cut down on the waste, but I am not sure it is down to acceptable levels. I know that it is free, but waste is waste to me. I have to do something as right now the waste is hoovering around 50%. That is a lot!
I've noticed that the cows pull the hay from the big bales in the hay racks and if they have more than a mouth full the just toss it around and it falls to the ground and stomped on then they use it for bedding and lay on it,and if you don't feed them hay till it's all eaten up, they just go to the meadow and eat grass.Some how you need to pull it apart and fluff it up some so they don't get too much at a time,witch is more added work.