I thought I’d share a little bit about how we feed our horses big bales in the pasture with no waste. We don’t use a tractor, either, until the snow gets too deep, when we either blow the snow out of the path or fork loose hay over the fence.
First we start with a chain that has a hook on each end. It’s got to be long enough to go around the round bale, plus at least six feet to the truck. We’ve tried nylon tow straps in the past, but they don’t work because they slip off.
Hook the chain into the hay bale in the middle, and wrap it around the bale, then took it together. The chain should be as snug and as close to the middle as you can get it.
Hook the chain to the truck or tractor. When you pull the chain, the hay bale may roll forward. That’s ok — if the chain is snug enough, it should hold the bale. If not, just back up the truck, and reattach the chain.
The bale should pull easily. If it catches too much snow as it drags, you may need to stop and shovel the snow out of the way.
Once we have the bale where we want it, we remove the chain and the netting or string holding the bale together. Then we cover the bale with a hay net from Hay Chix which slows down the horses’ consumption rate. It also keeps the hay from blowing away or getting trampled in the snow. We have very little waste feeding hay in the hay net.
Satisfied “hay burners” — although I’ve noticed that they grumble whenever they see they have to deal with a hay net. It takes them twice as long to eat the hay with a net as it does without one.