Hayledge is, for those who don't know, hay baled into round bales at 40 - 60 % moisture and plastic wrapped. The plastic must be air-tight and the moisture content within limits in order to create the right conditions for fermentation without the development of mold. It is very rich in nutrients
As we face another wet summer in Maine and it becomes increasingly difficult to dry hay for horse feed, A local hay producer who makes hay for horses and hayledge for cows has been researching the fact that hayledge is fed to horses fairly commonly in UK , Ireland and other European countries. He is working with two area Vets to examine the pros and cons. While waiting for the developing story, I am wondering if anyone on this forum has any information and or experience to share regarding feeding hayledge to horses.
I asked the ECTRA chat list got several responses including what she called a mini lecture from Elaine Larson; published with permission:
"Haylage and silage are made with the moist plant matter, rather than dried like hay. Because of the moisture they will support the growth of microbes - ie mold etc. Left out in the air, these microbes would gradually consume all the nutrients in the plants for themselves, leaving behind their waste products and toxins which is not a good feed.
To make haylage or silage, the plant material is put a place that can be sealed from the air (a silo, silage pit, or the white "marshmallow" wrappers). Once sealed, the aerobic microbes run out of oxygen and stop growing. The anaerobic microbes keep going for a while, and their metabolic byproducts are organic acids such as acetic, proprionic and butyric acids, so the pH of the material decreases. Eventually the pH falls to the point that the anaerobic microbes can't grow either. So you now have a feed that is "stable" - it can be stored in this condition for a long time without further microbial growth and deterioration. Sort of like pickles.
The catch is that when the material is fed, it is exposed to air and oxygen again. Since the material is still moist, the microbes are happy to start right back up again. So, care must be used to store the material properly, minimize exposure to air when taking out material to feed, and feeding only enough to be consumed in a fairly short amount of time so that microbial growth is minimal. If that can be done, it should be ok to feed for horses, although they will probably have to become accustomed to it gradually as with any change in feed."
There is some concern over botulism in the moist environment of the hayledgebale I hear. Cows can process it when they encounter it, horses cannot, But I also learned that there is a botulism vaccine available for horses.
(Check out the comments for additional information)
Dan got a new box blade for the tractor (I will add picture soon) and I got my own brand new girlie size chain saw:
It is much lighter weight than the one with the 18 inch blade that I have been using, it has a 14 inch blade. I feel much more in control of it which means I am able to do more. I ran it for 5 hours Sunday. I cut down trees and processed good burnable wood and made piles of limbs and pine for the burn pile. A couple small trees I cut down have been standing dead for quite some time. They were perfectly ready to burn. I brought some in just before the rain on Monday night. It was very satisfying to have done it all myself! It was so hot we had to open the windows all night, it was 40 degrees F outside, so a fire was not really necessary.
I paid 58. and change, for it last year! I always use the natural stuff as long As I can in the spring and start mixing in the heavy duty stuff gradually. By this time of year only the full strength will work all day. I try to go two days. But I can't always. The label says "up to 14 days". NOT.
The deer flies are so think in the woods right now that Lucy and I really have book right along to stay ahead of them. They bite hard!! and they hunt by sight not scent, and they bite first worry about chemicals later. One of my boarders brought the red jug Absorbine Super Shield I think. It seems to work equally well. They were out of it. I will keep my eyes open for it in case it's cheaper.
I really want to create a magazine. I know there are so many all ready--how many more do we need?
I want to call it: Grade Horse News
Grade horses are most excellent and are out there doing lots of cool things and getting very little attention!
I will collect news and photos of the accomplishments of Grade Horses at Endurance rides, Dressage shows, Events and back yards all over the US. I would compile them into a nifty little package with few advertisements and lots of product reviews.
What do you think?
Got any stories and photos to share? With gas prices so high I am not likely to get out of New England this year, So I NEED YOUR HELP.
I vow to create a first run for November 2008 distribution even if it is tiny and I don't make cent one.
Features I love: Waterproof--rain snow ice proof. Extra length on the sides and tail flap for added wind protection. Easy open swivel snaps at the chest and Velcro to keep it closed. This blanket has the most adjustable chest system I've ever seen. Nylon straps that adjust with a buckle and two sets of rings to snap to. Lucy's is set to the narrowest opening choice. Belly straps that close easily (unlike the ones with the little rubber ring) and stay closed (like the ones with the little rubber rings). Easy open leg straps that keep the back from slipping or blowing open in the wind. It stays put even though it has a smooth interior finish. Roomy enough to add a liner to when she happens to be wet when I put it on. And because of its smooth interior I can pull the liner out in a couple of hours from the rump end without taking the outer blanket off--just undoing the leg straps to flip it up a tad to get a good grip on the liner. It's not a heavy as the purple Rambo Wug. But the Wug is way too warm for wucy unless it's below zero fa-wenhiet. Lucy is not clipped but did not grow a luxurious coat like Willie and the ponies. She wares her Passoa when it is below 10 degrees F and stormy, and sometimes I put it on at that temp when it is not storming--just because she isn't very wooly. I bought this Pessoa from Longhorn Horse and Pet Supply store in Buxton Maine for ~ $120.00.
I bought These from The Geeks for an incredibly good price. (If you don't know about Tack of the Day sign up right away) These tights have some caveats however: The full seat is made of a vinyl like fabric that if not 'paint on peel off' tight will stick to the leathers on an English saddle creating tiny folds that somehow-it's hard to investigate while you are trotting--pinch you when you post. The large is too big for me which is unusual for tights--which say they come in small, medium, Large, and XL but really come in extreme skinny, semi skinny, skinny, and not quite as skinny. Also I want to warn you not to attempt to wear them indoors in normal temperatures because your seat and thighs will be slick with sweat in minutes and your skivvies will become extremely uncomfortable very fast. These tights do stick to the saddle seat though if that's what your after--but don't try to slide off during dismounts, you'll end up on your head for sure.
I stole this exquisite photo (with permission) from Karen at Karen's Easycare and Endurance Musings I just love it! She has a bunch of neat pictures from rides out west. There are lots of easyboot tips and other interesting things there as well. Check it out. I am hoping to keep my soon to be newest gal Laney barefoot.