Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time to cut hay...

It's time to make hay for the goats winter feed. A couple of weeks ago I thought I would have a good opportunity to cut a bunch. Then, after only three days of cutting, it started raining. And it rained, and rained, and rained. The last bit that I had cut didn't get to dry fully, so it ended up in the goat's shed for bedding.

Now last year I thought we had stored a ton of hay but it only lasted 2 months and we had to buy some bales to last the rest of the winter. I'm hoping to get even more dried this year.

We don't have a big farm, so we don't have large tractors, or big haying equipment. All of our hay is cut by hand with a scythe, dryed, and piled into our hay shed to store. My husband bought his scythe at: https://scythesupply.com It's an american company, located in Maine. They custom make the snath (handle) for your height and have a big selection of blades.
Hubby made this video a fews years ago showing the scythe in use. It's a little tougher for me to use because I'm much shorter than he is. One day I'll get one made for me.

I cut a couple rows each day, cutting for about an hour each time. The same amount probably takes hubby half the time. After it dries for a day the rows are flipped. A few hours to a day later (depending on how warm and dry it is) I rake the rows into piles. To dry it even quicker the rows can be spread out evenly across the ground and then raked back into rows once dry. We've done it both ways. 

 We use our UTV to transport the piles to our hay shed and stack it as high as we can, using some boards to retain the edge of the pile. 

We even get the kids in on the fun (fun?). After each layer is added the kids get to climb on top to stomp everything down well, making room for more hay and, essentially, making one big bale of hay. This video was made over 5 years ago before our youngest was born. I love looking back at these old videos!

To feed this loose hay to the goats I use a pitch fork to grab hay and load it into a large storage tote. You know, those big plastic ones:
It gives me something to carry it in without just walking around with a huge pile of hay in front of my face, leaving a trail as I walk :P

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