A bale of Orchard Grass or Timothy Hay here (Northern California) is around $25. I know, INSANE.
Although I’ve noticed the Standlee Compressed Hay Bales at our local ranch retailer, I never really considered them because at only 50lbs and $15.99, they seemed expensive…. (no affiliation)
But now that a 100lb of hay is $25, I decided to give the Standlee Compressed Bales a try – especially because they sent me a coupon!
MY INITIAL THOUGHTS BEFORE TRYING A COMPRESSED BALE
My initial thoughts were that these compressed bales would be great for traveling but too expensive for my every day feeding with 12 horses.
However, if I had only one or two horses, these bales would be very manageable – and of high quality, consistent stock.
I also thought these compressed bales would be great for someone of my size to bring home a few ’emergency’ bales without having to struggle with the beasts to get regular sized bales out of a truckbed and into the hay room.
Previous to a few weeks ago, I really hadn’t given these compressed bales a second look.
SKY HIGH HAY PRICES… needed tide-me-over hay.
I found myself not able to buy as many bales as before, and I needed a few bales mid week to get by.
So, I remembered about the compressed bales and thought I’d try one – it sounded easy to just buy one on the way home from work and throw it right in the Jeep. No fuss, no muss.
While reading the labels, I found this information:
I bought two compressed bales with my two coupons. One was Alfalfa/Timothy for $14.99 and the other was Timothy Grass for $17.99. Both bales were almost too heavy for me to lift with their square bulk, but I did get them into my Jeep fairly easily using the handydandy handle and some body leveraging. I didn’t weigh them, but I doubt they were only 50lbs. They felt heavier, but I’m not sure.
Anyway, I brought the bales home and set them in the hay room lickedy split.
I then opened the plastic wrapper with a hay knife – easy. I cut the bands holding the bale tight and the sigh of relief from the bale once uncinched was palatable. I could feel and hear the POP as I cut the final band – as if the bale was in a too tight corset. A slight mist of hay powder poofed up and landed on the bale. The powder looked very yummy. I thought the horses would go for that first!
The bale eventually eased up and relaxed a bit. The flakes were easily identifiable. I picked up two flakes and much to my surprise, they felt like… 2 flakes! They were heavy! I was quite surprised. So, I added another flake and walked up the the upper pasture with the usual 3 flakes to feed Wrigley, Finn and BG.
And, I gotta tell you, carrying the three, compressed flakes was much, much easier than carrying 3 regular flakes. I didn’t leave a trail behind me and I could manage the flakes on one arm, easily.
The color was good, the hay smelled fresh and the horses didn’t bat an eyelash. They dug in like normal.
THE HORSES’ OPINION
I tried these bales on Wrigley, Finn and BG for a week. Not only was it physically easier for me to feed them using the smaller, compressed flakes, but the horses didn’t seem to note any differences.
It took just as long for them to eat the compressed flake as it would a regular flake. They didn’t drop any weight and they seemed quite happy.
So, I bought 4 more compressed bales and continued for another week.
The horses loved it and I loved it because it was so much easier for me to buy, offload and feed.
COULD COMPRESSED HAY ACTUALLY BE LESS EXPENSIVE here in California than regular baled hay?
I know our hay prices in California are ridiculous. So, this might not apply in other parts of the country.
Weightwise, it doesn’t feel like it makes sense… but these 50lb compressed bales feed less expensively than regular bales – in California. I still don’t believe it. In fact, I will continue to test and run the numbers to make sure…
The instructions for the compressed bales say to feed 1.5 lb per 100lbs of body weight – whereas a non-compressed bale says to feed 2 lb per 100lb of body weight.
So, for my horses that weigh 1000 lbs, with a regular bale, I would feed 20 lbs a day. So one 100 lb bale would last 5 days. To feed a horse for a month, I would need 6 bales of regular hay. (6 x $25 = $150)
With the compressed bale, it says to feed 15 lbs a day. With a 50 lb bale of compressed hay, one bale would last 3.25 days. To feed a horse for a month, I would need 8.5 bales of compressed hay. (8.5 x $16 (average) = $136)
You see, one regular 100lb bale gives me 16 good flakes and 2 flimsy end pieces. The 50lb Standlee compressed hay gave me 12 solid flakes – no puny end flakes.
I’m still not sure how this all works out… and why a horse only needs 15 lbs a day of compressed hay – but it is working for me.
And I love the ease of feeding with these tiny, compact and powerful flakes!
Try one and give me your results! I’d love to compare.