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Haylage - quick question

(20 Posts)
frostyfingers Tue 13-Nov-12 15:34:39

My horses are on livery at a local farm and it's going fine. I had the offer of haylage from the farm at £15 a bale, or small bale hay at £5 each (!). My horse and pony have always had hay, but that price is crackers for me so would like to move them on to haylage.

Dpony is 19, recently had a bout of colic (now on D&H Safe & Sound which suits him) but has to be in at night so needs more to munch on, he's been having a slice of hay. I had thought of mixing haylage with hay to start with so that it's not full on straight away, but want advice on whether it should be soaked or not. One person on the yard does, the other doesn't!

I was going to do the same to dhorse by way of introducing it, as he feels that all new food is poison and spends a lot of time snorting at it for the first few days - but as above, should it be soaked? He's a nearly fit 10yo TB who has a tendency to drop weight over the winter.

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Nov-12 15:43:02

haylage is damp in itself, so doesn't need soaking to stop dust. On our yard, haylage is part of the package, so everyone gets it, and no one soaks

goralka Tue 13-Nov-12 15:44:43

well if you don't soak hay I don't see why you would soak haylage.
what I do not like about it is that sometimes it has white mould in it in which case I suppose I might shake it out as I was stuffing the haynet and then rinse it off once in the net. tbh I think soaking leaches the goodness out of hay. Haylage round here does seem to be of variable quality depending on when and where it was cut, if there are any punctures in the wrapping etc. Yesterday I was stuffing nets with it and had to shake it out carefully and discard some to give to the cows cos it was too nasty for the precious ponies.

goralka Tue 13-Nov-12 15:45:56

sometimes it is hot and fermented in the middle. would be v careful about changing over.

frostyfingers Tue 13-Nov-12 15:58:51

I did wonder about the need for soaking, but don't dare ask the person who does, why she does it (scared newbie!). Luckily there are lots of hungry cows next door so they can have the grimy bits - I presume the best way of knowing if it's ok is by smell? The stuff that I've seen the others using seems good quality and neither of them have thrown much out - how long should/does it last once opened roughly?

goralka Tue 13-Nov-12 16:06:13

yes smell and look - have just consulted DD and she says it should be OK a couple of weeks, and once you have used one slice pull down another to be ready and not heated but that's only if it is a square bale - if it is a round bale pull it out as it comes and shake it out and feed any mouldy looking bits to the cows.

goralka Tue 13-Nov-12 16:15:07

should smell sweet not dusty or fermented or nasty

Abbicob Tue 13-Nov-12 16:23:06

I have never known anyone to soak haylage before - hay yes but not haylage

frostyfingers Tue 13-Nov-12 16:46:07

I knew I'd get good information from you - thankyou. Unsoaked, sweet smelling haylage it is then!

horseylady Tue 13-Nov-12 18:45:33

You can tell when it's gone off.

Just be careful changing over if you've had a bout of colic!! Do it gradually but he should be fine!

Butkin Wed 14-Nov-12 14:50:46

Ours love haylage (unsoaked - never heard of soaking haylage anywhere) and have to be restrained or they would gorge themselves.

We only have 4 ponies so can't justify it because we'd not use it before it went off after opening bag. Always check bag for holes by the way because even small pinpricks will ruin the bale.

Alameda Wed 14-Nov-12 15:16:09

have also never heard of soaking haylage

mine are getting through about 350kg a week, lucky it is all included, but they will have to freeze their Podgorica off which seems mean

Alameda Wed 14-Nov-12 15:17:06



excess weight


frostyfingers Wed 14-Nov-12 17:25:11

The first bag was opened today and I've mixed about 1/3 haylage to 2/3 hay- I suspect that greedy pony will love it so will have to watch closely for the next week or so. He's not so impressed with his Safe & Sound - he leaves the chopped up bits til last and then looks at me as if to say "do I have to eat this healthy stuff?"

Love "podgorica" Alameda - I think it's very descriptive!

Alameda Wed 14-Nov-12 17:35:57

oh it's the capital of Montenegro, thanks iPad, you are so educational

hope the transition goes well. I LOVE inhaling the fumes from haylage, wish I could eat it too

Booboostoo Wed 14-Nov-12 18:05:13

No need to soak haylage as it's not dusty, but it will go off very quickly in 5 to 7 days depending on the weather. The white spots are probably yeast from the fermentation process and fine to feed. What you want to avoid is rotten haylage which is usually green/black and stinks. You will know it immediately if you open a bale that's had a hole and has gone off as it does really stink and it's a horrible green/black colour you just can't miss!

Mirage Wed 14-Nov-12 18:18:56

Dpony does not like haylage,she views it with suspicion as a new fangled thing and will not eat it.She isn't keen on Safe and Sound either.Her fave is CountryStore value pony mix at £5.99 a bag.Classy-like her owner.grin

Butkin Wed 14-Nov-12 20:25:32

Ours love safe and sound - staple part of their diet being Welshies.

frostyfingers Thu 15-Nov-12 12:10:32

Well Dhorse thought haylage was delicious, he went straight for that rather than his hard feed, dpony picked out the haylage and ate that and left the hay - he is a bugger! He also blotted his copybook this morning and barged past me out of the stable and headed for the field, luckily caught by someone before he set sail around 20 acres! DH loves his "character", quite frankly there are days when I could murder the eye, bruised foot and kicked thigh are all a result of his "character" over the past 6 weeks - and an expensive vet bill for his colic from which he'd just about recovered by the time the vet got to him (although begrudgingly I shall forgive him that)!

I think I'm going to use "podgorica" as a description for dpony - and I expect knowing that it's the capital of Montenegro will come in handy one day.

I rather agree with your dpony Mirage - if I could get hold of reasonably priced hay I would stick with it, but needs must!

Buildabetterworld Thu 15-Nov-12 12:17:27

I've been on several yards where people have soaked haylage, not for the spores but to get some of the richness/goodness out of it. Friend's farmer husband thinks it's criminal to soak haylage.

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