effects of 18month old hay (some mold) on horses on dry lot

Asked January 27, 2017, 9:47 PM EST

I have a chance to buy prairie hay round bales that are at least 18 months old and have been stored outside in weather and rained on. Some of the bales look like they may have molded on outside. How will this effect the horses that are on large drylot
no pasture?

Pawnee County Oklahoma horses

2 Responses

When evaluating hay supplies for horses, you must consider safety as well as nutritional content. In general, nutrient availability, especially vitamins, does decline with time. While feeding older hay is sometimes necessary, it is wise to ensure that the horse is consuming a suitable concentrate or supplement to cover the deficiencies that may be present in the hay.

The second consideration is safety. While all round bales stored outside will have some wastage due to weather conditions, it sounds like these bales may be considerably moldy. Moldy hay should not be fed to horses, therefore you may be wasting a substantial part of the hay through the horses not consuming it, or through manual removal until the "good" part of the hay can be reached. Prior to purchase, try to determine how much wastage there is. If it is substantial, it would be best to pass it by. It may be cheaper in the long run to buy hay of a higher quality.

thank you for help,Thinking it is best to buy only afew round bales and more square bales since I can store them in the barn and have alot less waste. I was told the horses would not eat molding hay that they would pick through and only eat the good hay. But since moldy hay is bad to a horse it is not worth taking a chance.