Bought a round bale, now unsure of quality

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by romanad, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. romanad

    romanad New Member

    Sep 22, 2012
    Hi, I'm new to goats. I have an Alpine, an Alpine/Togg mix, and will soon be bringing home a bred mini mancha.

    I had this bright idea to get a round hay bale and set it up so they could eat off it whenever they want. I planned it out, how to enclose it but still let them get their heads in to it, and though I was all ready. I sent my husband out to get the hay. He brought it home and dropped it onto my pallet I had set in place, and then he came up to watch the baby while I went out to inspect.

    Now, I know the top is usually brown and needs to be picked off, but one whole side of this things is moldy. It is covered in this white dust. I started kicking at it with my boot and picking some of the moldy parts off, but dust was just flying and I got worried I was breathing in too many mold spore standing there trying to see what was under that part.

    They goats don't have access to it yet, and I'm not sure I should let them eat it. Trying to research this, I've read so many different things that my head is spinning. I have no idea what to do. I certainly don't want to risk the health of my goats.

    Will this bale be ok if I pick all the nasty off? I didn't think it should be moldy, even if they top was weather worn. Should I just roll it over the hill and try again with another round bale, or should would sticking with square bales just be safer? What has worked for you?

    Thanks for your help. Like I said I've been trying to figure this out, but I keep reading such different things and now I'm totally lost. :confused: And someone told me goats and cows can eat moldy hay, but another person told me that is wrong and goats will get sick. ACK!
  2. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    You could try pulling all the moldy stuff off and see what is underneath. I know round bales are a bit different than square bales but really don't know much about them. It is important that the goats don't get any moldy hay. With only having 3 goats myself, I think square bales are much easier to deal with and if I find a moldy bale, I can just set it aside and move on to the next one. With round bales, You won't know anything until you pull it all apart.

  3. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    The moldy part is likely what was resting on the ground.... what you can do is to cut on either side of the bad part with a good sharp blade and pull that section away.

    And moldy foodstuff of any kind is bad for a goat... it can lead to a number of illnesses such as Listeria, Polio, Mold Toxicity etc.
  4. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Be sure to smell it before you feed any of it , if when you pull it apart and it has mold dust spores do not feed it. Your nose will tell you, if it is good or not.
  5. romanad

    romanad New Member

    Sep 22, 2012
    Thanks, I will try to cut that part off and smell it before I do anything. My square bales smell so good and clean. They looks really green and nice too. I don't want to waste this, but if I have any question I think I will just push it over the hill and feed square bales. The round are just so much cheaper. If they aren't healthy though they just aren't worth it. Has anyone had luck with round bales? Can you buy good, clean bales, or are they just not good for goats?

    I was worried moldy hay was bad for them. Some of these people who sell it think goats can eat anything. I guess they just don't have any experience with goats. It makes it difficult though because since they sell hay they seem like an authority.
  6. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Round bales here are usually priced at $30-$40 depending on type of hay and wether it was stored inside, yes you can get good quality round bales...just depends on who you get them from.
  7. TiffofMo

    TiffofMo New Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    SW Missouri
    Its hard to find sq bales here that i could afford. Most are running $8 to $10 a bale, my dad keeps promising me he will supply my goats hay. So this yr i took him up on the offer. I had the round bale set in a area the goats cant get to on a pallet and keep it loosely tarped. The first thing i had to do was pull a good 2 to 3 inches of moldy hay off to get to the good stuff. Know i feed them of this bale daily and fill ok about doing so.
  8. Arkie

    Arkie Junior Member

    Sep 25, 2012
    North Central AR
    Look for the bales put up with more modern equipment that wraps it in plastic, leaving only the ends uncovered. Much less waste. With only 2 milk nannies we'd rather give $15 per compressed bale of alfalfa at Orschlins.

  9. romanad

    romanad New Member

    Sep 22, 2012
    Thanks for the tip, Arkie! I didn't know they had newer ways of wrapping the bales. That's great to know! I'll keep an eye out for that.

    TiffofMo, the square bales here are expensive too. One farmer I talked to said her prices would go down after she did her second cutting, so I might check back with her soon. Glad your round bale is working for you! I might dig into mine a little deeper and see if I can find anything good in there.

    Thanks, Liz, I will keep looking around. I payed $25 for mine, but now that I'm checking into it more, that seems to be cheap for my area. It is a slightly smaller bale, so maybe that is why it was cheaper, not sure. I only picked that one because it is closer to me and we didn't feel good about driving a long way with 800 pounds of hay in the trailer. My husband said it was fine, though. I hope I can find a good quality round bale. It just seems so much more economical. Well, not they way I'm doing it I guess. Right now I feel like I could have spent my money better just getting the square bales. Oh well, lesson learned I hope. I'm going to find a way to go too next time so I can really look the hay over before we haul it.