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round vs square/conditioned vs non-conditioned hay

MabelIn ya'll's oh so humble opinions ;-)...

Which do you think retains more nutrients longer?  Conditioned hay or
non-conditioned hay?

And, of the winner in that catagory...which do you think retains nutrients
longer: round bales or square bales stored in the barn?

The reason I ask is, about a month ago we started to run out of our barn
load of square baled, conditioned grass/alfalfa mix.  Now, this hay is the
hay that we grow so I know about  it from the time is begins to grow till
it's baled and stored.  Pretty, green stuff it is...gets fertilized
regularly, etc..  The horses seemed to love it..and we would feed about 4
bales a day to the 3 adults, 3 two yr olds, and pony which was about all
that they would eat in a 24 hr period without wasting it.

So, we began to run out of that and the oportunity came up to put out some
round bales...just grass, nothing fancy...that were grown in a pasture 2
doors down from me.  Since the price was right, and he was delivering for
free I bought 5 of them.  Well, it only took the horses 4 days to completely
eat the first bale!!  And these are 5 1/2 - 6 ft tall bales!  This was my
first experience with round bales, but I just might keep on buying cheap old
grass rounds instead of killing myself with squares!  Not only do they seem
to like it better, but they are all getting pudgy again (something that
NEVER happens to them in the winter dispite wormer, 850 lb grain q 2 wks and
grass/alfalfa hay pretty much free choice)

So, what has been ya'll experience w hay this year?

Another reason I'm wondering is because I hear tips about packing your
horses grain for these long rides in baggies and giving it to them on the
trail, at vet checks etc.  Here I am over here feeding mine (5 yr old 15.2HH
gelding) 12lb a day of pelleted grain wondering how in the heck I'm supposed
to pack along 12 lb of grain in baggies!  So, how is it that endurance
people seem to get away with feeding so much less grain when the horses are
working so hard?  I'm apparently doin' somthing wrong here :-)

Any tips?


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