- June 23, 2013 at 5:35 am #80006Donn HewesKeymaster
Hi George, Kristan seems pretty game for mowing and other stuff. The truth is stacking bales on the wagon is pretty fun. My wife usually claims it as her own and kicks interns and others off the wagon unless she has to make cheese or something. I have not tried it in years (as the only driver of the four on the baler), but I remember it as a very fun job. The pace of the bales is just perfect.
I also refer to Maryrose as my “BaleBabe”; better than a kicker any day! The wagons can be slippery and any slop makes it take a little practice to keep the bales from falling off. We had baler problems yesterday also. The knotter – a neighbor came and baled a large wagon load, but now I have to help him unload three or four of his wagons, ugh.June 23, 2013 at 8:19 am #80009Dale DParticipant
I was finally able to get my first cutting in. I used the horses to rake on Friday, with rain coming I had it round baled, good thing we got 2.5″ on Saturday. It was my first time raking hay with horses, I really enjoyed it. Here is a picture of us enjoying a shade tree. I have just bought a sulky plow now I am going to learn how to plow.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.June 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm #80018JeroenParticipant
If you look closely in the video, the mower is actually chained to the 6×6 barn post. The horses aren’t going anywhere:). I like this system b/c it saves a lot of time not having to unhitch/hitch the horses.
If they spook and panic something will break, maybe the chain makes it even worse. I seriously think you should unhitch and the part in the video is a bad example for others. If you have the routine it only takes a few minutes to unhitch and you and your horses stay safe.June 24, 2013 at 5:57 am #80034Does’ LeapParticipant
Thanks for your concern about the safety of my horses. I like to strike a balance between safety and efficiency with a strong emphasis on safety. In the winter, I use this same system when I am logging with my horses. When I am felling trees, I back my logging arch or sled up to a tree and chain them to it. My horses have jumped a few times in the past, but there is no place to go. When they realize this and the stimulus that spooked them has past (i.e a falling tree), they continue to stand and relax. In this case, I think it is safer to chain them in this mannor compared with tying them with a halter a lead rope. Aside from being able to brake the lead rope and run away, they are more vulnerable to injury when tied at the head.
In the case of chaining the mower to the a 6×6 barn post buried 4′ in the ground, I agree that it would be safer to unhitch the horses and tie them individually in the barn. However, I do not think anything will brake if they were to spook. They are not going to brake the post, nor the 5/16″ logging chain, nor the steel axel of the mower. Worst case scenario in my mind would be that they would spook and be stopped. Unless something continued to scare them (I can’t think what), they would stop and settle.
All this said (or written), I would be interested to hear what others think about this situation as I am always open to changing/refining my work with horses.
GeorgeJune 24, 2013 at 8:57 am #80040Billy FosterParticipant
I use a Timothy and red clover mix in our hay able fields. I try to cut whatever I can for hay in the spring even if it gets rank, the Haflingers will still get fat on it. This year was perfect I was able to get some cut and dry between thunderstorms. I really don’t feel like I ever have the grass under control in the spring, I always feel like I am playing catch-up.June 24, 2013 at 11:24 am #80042Billy FosterParticipant
About Horse safety and parking horses.
I had a situation last week that could have been REALLY bad if luck wasn’t on my, or a couple of my horses side. I routinely drive my team into the barn and clip them to the wall to rest or while I do other things like take lunch. If they have one on I leave the yoke and butt rope, I always felt it helped keep them organized and out of trouble. This past Friday I put them inside like I have done so many times, after an hour or so I saw the head of one of the horses loose and going after some hay in front of the other horse. Before I could get there the loose horse got down in front of the tied one and ultimately pulled that horse over on the floor as it lost its footing. The one on the floor got stepped on a couple time, I tried to get the nose of the loose hose but was not able to. I found myself in the barn between the horses and a wall while trying to stop this. When I finally got the loose horses head, the other one had his foot wrapped in the trace of the loose horse and everything was pulled tight. Thank goodness that horse on its back with one foot wrapped in the others trace was not flailing, he just stayed still. I finally got the foot loose and he got up, both horses still had one leg over the yoke, I got that off and they were still. I was shaking like a leaf! When I got my composure back I got everything reorganized checked them out and drove them for about a half hour. In the end only the one horse on the bottom got a couple cuts, It could have been so much worse, obviously. I feel bad since I think I didn’t clip the tie all the way to the barn wall on that one horse. The lesson I took from this is I will be taking the yoke and butt rope off the horses before leaving them for any extended period of time. Like a lot of people I was trying to get hay in and I was tired and working as fast as I could to beat the weather, I let myself be complacent. Crippling myself or a horse would be way worse than some wet hay.
BillyJune 24, 2013 at 11:56 am #80044
I think Billy points out the balance we all strive for…. Unfortunately, safety seems to be a function of the degree of risk you are willing to take.
I hitch my horses in a similar fashion to George when working in the woods. In fact, I don’t want to be too presumptuous, but he may have followed my example. However, I want to be clear, I do not take off bridles, nor give them any food…. this is purely a parking brake for when I am away from the cart cutting trees.
I could see doing something similar in other situations, as I did the other day when I needed to work on the baler, took a chain and “parked” the horses and cart to a tree in the shade of a hedge-row. My horses are conditioned to standing quietly when working in the cart, from hours in the woods waiting with hitches behind them, so I feel comfortable leaving them like this, although not entirely unsupervised…. I’m usually within easy sight, and check on them regularly.
I will admit I get the same feeling that was expressed by Jereon when I see horses without bridles still hitched to an implement…. truthfully it probably is not any less safe than what I just described, other than the distraction of the food, and having no way to control the heads in case of emergency.
That being said, if I am going to take off bridles, and if I am going to offer feed, then I always unhitch, unbridle, halter, and tie off.
CarlJuly 4, 2013 at 5:41 am #80211Ed ThayerParticipant
Looks like some sunny weather finally, but high humidity and chance of thunder storms each afternoon. Not great hay drying weather for sure. We may have second crop and first cut in the same bale soon.
Hope you all have a happy 4th.
EdJuly 4, 2013 at 8:59 am #80213
I’m mowing this afternoon…. If good weather prevails we’ll be picking it up. Otherwise I’ll be letting it mulch back into the ground. Either way it’s going down, or we’ll lose any chance of a good later crop. Bed straw is in full bloom, grasses are still green, but definitely mature… luckily there is a good proportion of Timothy which has just barely matured.
Could cut this haze with an axe….. really doesn’t feel like hay, but I’m sick of waiting. It’s all going to depend on how Saturday turns out….
CarlJuly 4, 2013 at 11:56 am #80215near horseParticipant
I like Carl’s point that safety is really how much risk you’re willing to accept. Sometimes it’s more and sometimes less. On Monday I was mowing hay and it was pretty hot (upper 90’s for the high). In 21st century fashion, I got a call on the cell while I was resting the horses and a delivery of some parts from Pioneer was headed to my place within the hour. Since the temps were only going to get worse the later it got, I wanted to squeeze in all the mowing I could and sure enough I looked up and there’s a 40′ semi in my drive trying to get turned around. To drive out of the field to any place I could tie off meant squeezing between the front of the semi tractor and my old farm truck. Horses did great with the end of my cutterbar clearing my pickup by 6 or 8 inches and my near horse brushing his shoulder against the fender of the semi. Drove them to the hitching rail and tied them off with halters/lead ropes – still hitched to the mower. Not something I would normally do but I was 40′ away, it was for 5 minutes max and the horses were really sweating and glad to have a blow. So I “gambled” and it was all good.
We’re finally in full on hay season here with Sun – Wed temps near 100 but now dropping back to mid 80’s for the next 8-10 days and ~ 25% humidity. Hay is pretty ripe though. Got to use an 8ft kicker tedder I scored for $100 when I went to Minnesota to pickup a wagon.
I’ve got ~ 25 acres to cut so better get to it. Happy haying.July 5, 2013 at 7:26 am #80219
Mowed 2.5 acres of heavy hay last evening, with clouds darkening and thunder rolling around the hills. The skies unloaded on my last swathe, which the horses seemed to appreciate as it had been damn close 90° when I started at 4pm. Really only grazed us, and the sky is clear and the sun is hot this morning. Going to toss it over this afternoon, and see how long we can hold off the rain. At least my wife is always looking for mulch hay on her gardens, although I’d really hate to put all 125ish bales into that…. we’ll see, CarlJuly 5, 2013 at 11:41 am #80223Does’ LeapParticipant
We were hoping to cut hay on Thursday but the forecast kept getting progressively worse. I have gone to grazing some of my hay land. I set up fairly large paddocks, hit them with the goats and horses and clip the rest. Hopefully this will set us up with a decent second cut although I expect it will include some trampled, clipped trash from this grazing session.
Carl, if you can’t bale what you have down as hay or mulch will you leave it? Do you plan to take a second cut? If so, any concerns about baling what you have on the ground now. I am curious to hear more about this approach.
GeorgeJuly 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm #80224near horseParticipant
I’m wondering how long does your hay stay laid out before tedding, tedded before raking and finally raked before baling? In other words, on a relative scale, which stage does it sit the longest? I ask because my last bit of hay was ready faster than I ever recall it being after swathing – even with a conditioner on.July 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm #80228
I usually don’t let my hay lay longer than 24 hours without doing something to it….. Ideally I mow, ted 3x, rake, then bale within 3 days.
Bottom line on this field is I want the baled feed from this cutting, or I would brush-hog it. I have found that grass cut with a sickle bar is still there under a second cut, clogging cutter bars, and coming up in the bales anyway. I cut this field to get hay, but I also couldn’t wait any longer… who knows, maybe a few days from now things would be better, but I went with intuition.
However, if it gets wet too often, or stays wet too long, I will bale it up for mulch because it is too heavy,and at this point will just complicate re-growth and second cut hay.
Brush-hogging will chop the heavy grass into smaller bits that get closer to the soil and break down faster…. like I said, if I didn’t want this feed, I would have rather just mulched it with the brush-hog…..
Anyway, I went out about 2 pm to ted hay that was mowed from 4-7pm last night and lightly rained on. It had wilted pretty well by 2, but had been too wet earlier. Thunder started about 20 minutes into the field, and by the last two rounds we were getting rained on….. I have made hay over many years, but that was a first… tedding hay in the rain.
It rained lightly for about an hour and then the sun came out hard and hot, fog set in now, but I’m sure we’ll have a bit more drying before the day is out. I will probably try to ted it twice tomorrow and wind-row it before dark to protect it from rain tomorrow night. Then if it is hay, I’ll roll the wind-rows a time or two during the heat on Sunday and bale it….
Can’t watch the sky when making hay….July 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm #80229minkParticipant
it is so wet here in new york that even mowing the lawn the mud comes up in back of the lawn mower. carl you must be in a lucky spot in vermont as the channel 3 and 5 news has been showing rain for the last month and this morning it showed rain for the next 7 days… theres only a few places in this ellenburg area that a few dairy farmers have chopped hayledge on the high spots. looks like i might be taking the first and second cut in one swipe middle of july or later.
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