It think that was Fat Albert’s most famous line, but it is that time of the year again. We trek to our favorite hay grower and pick up bales from the field, very much like we did last year.
The only difference this year is that we only have to move the hay from the trailer into the barn. Not to a pallet, cover it with plastic & a tarp, and move it every time we need to feed. We tend to have a lot of hay loss with the pallet & tarp method. The hay sweats out the little bit of moisture it has left while under the plastic. Then it gets slimy and moldy where the plastic touches the hay bales. Strangely enough the animals do not like to eat the slimy and moldy hay.
While we had eliminated the plastic tarp problem we now had the issue of condensation. If the metal of the building is the only barrier between the the outside cold and the warmer, moister air of the barn, we will have condensation on the inside. If the hay is stacked up against the barn wall, which it is the safest place to stack it, we will have wet hay, leading to slime and mold.
The solution? Sheet the walls with plywood. Well, Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) was cheaper since they currently had a glut of it. The box store had stocked up in advanced of the hurricane season in the south and was not yet needing it. The season hadn’t really started yet, but I guess they were getting their stock secured. I really don’t care why, but it was cheaper and it works.
Several hours later, this is what my dear sweet husband had done. The concrete will not get poured this year. Perhaps I can swing that by next year. We put down a plastic vapor barrier and the pallets to keep the hay up off the ground and allow air flow. We put in 200 bales of orchard grass and the barn is about half full. We have them stacked 8 high and 4 deep. We figure that we can get about 500 bales in and still be able to move around. We are waiting for the pasture to re-grow and we will get our second round of hay in. That should hold us for most of the winter.