Monday, May 16, 2011

Where's the hay?

For the past month or so every time I thought I'd sit down and write a post I'd think: What should I write about today?

And the only answer I ever was able to come up with was rain and mud. And those posts, quite honestly, have been getting rather old and tedious. I'm tired of rain. I'm tired of mud and I'm tired of complaining about the rain and mud.

I'm ready for summer to truly be here and these torrential downpours and weeks and weeks and weeks of nonstop storms and rain to just slow down. Not stop, mind you, my pastures depend on the rain, but at least slow down enough so the mud pits have a chance to dry out a bit.

I have run into a problem I didn't anticipate. Going into winter I had plenty of hay to get me through to the first cutting of the season and I timed the number of bales with my ability to turn the horses out on pasture full time.

I didn't anticipate the massive, nonstop rain we've had. All the hay producers/sellers I know have empty barns and no one has been able to get out to bale. I haven't been able to turn the horses out much at all due to the swampy conditions of their pastures.

And I'm out of hay. I panicked. I made a gazillion calls and could find no hay. I found one hay producer who was contacting HIS clients trying to find hay to buy back so he could feed his cattle...he is in the same boat I am and I imagine there are more than a few of us.

I found some hay — two-year old rained-on craptacular hay/straw/weeds that is better suited as bedding than feed. I bought 10 bales just to give them something to keep them busy.

I haven't fed hay as an actual main staple in their diets for about a week now. Don't worry, I'm not starving my darlings, in all actuality they are probably consuming MORE calories now than when eating hay!

Beet pulp and hay/alfalfa cubes have been my lifesaver. Granted, I'm going through A LOT of it and it is more expensive than hay, but when in a pinch, you gotta do what you gotta do and they really don't seem to mind. They haven't been eating the craptacular hay, they pick at it, then pee on it and sometimes sleep on it. Guess they're telling me exactly what they think about that crap. The goats seem to like it though. Odd ducks they are.

Here's hoping, praying, begging, pleading for a good solid two weeks of dry, warm weather. I need to start re-stocking my hay shed and the horses sure would like to be back out on pasture ASAP! The grass is up to their bellies...nom nom nom!