During the winter months, it is extremely important to make sure your livestock and farm animals have enough to eat. Even though a bale of hay seems pretty boring, after pasture, hay is one of the best things you can feed your cattle, goats, sheep, or horses. With a bale spear tractor supply stores carry, it is easy to maneuver either the round or square bales of hay in and out of a storage barn. However, there are different types of hay, and if you want your animals to be healthy and strong, you should learn to know the difference.
There are several different categories of hay: mixed, cereal grain straw, legume, or grass. Within each of these categories are additional options. The more common grass hay choices are brome, timothy, bluegrass, or orchard grass. Depending on where you may live, you might also have access to reed canary grass, fescue, Sudan Grass, and ryegrass. If you reside in the northern parts of the US, you may be using timothy grass because it is tolerant of the cold weather and will start to grow well in the early spring.
Alfalfa is a popular hay choice for those with a more eclectic farm animal collection. Llamas and alpacas thrive off of legume-based hay, including clover and alfalfa. This form has a little bit higher level of calcium, digestible energy, and vitamin A than regular grass hay. Alfalfa is said to have twice the protein levels and three times the calcium of regular grass hay. This is good for animals in the winter when more protein is needed.
The bulk of nutrition from hay comes from the leaf content. Grass leaves have more nutrients and are easier to digest when the plant is still growing. In alfalfa har, the leaf-to-stem ratio is what helps judge the nutritional quality of the play. The younger the plant, the better it is when it comes to nutritional value.