How To Store Hay

Many of us know that feeding hay to bunnies (and other small animals) are good for them. Although, a lot of our customers don't have a place to put those huge, horse-sized bales of hay! Hay storage can be a huge, messy problem for the average bunny owner, so they in turn go out and buy those little bags of "Rabbit Hay" at the pet store. This gets expensive very quickly! This is also the primary reason we started making 8-pound bales, which still last a while but can be stored conveniently. Contact us to get yours!

Some hay customers will buy one bale of hay at a time for their bunnies. Many of those one-at-a-time customers have told me that they won't buy more than one bale at a time because the hay will "go bad." In truth, properly stored hay will stay fresh and nutritious for nearly a year. Those that come to the farm in January to buy "fresh" hay are surprised to learn that the hay has been in the storage barn or hayloft since July!

Since most of the problems with spoiled hay seem to be due to improper storage, this article will give a few pointers on how to keep your bunnies' hay fresh all winter long.

Hay is, simply put, grass that is cut, dried to less than twenty percent (20%) moisture, and then stored in order to keep a sustainable feed for livestock. Hay is best stored in a barn loft. Haylofts are dark, dry, and airy. This environment keeps the hay from becoming damp or bleached by the sun. The design of a hayloft allows for plenty of air circulation so that the hay will not become mouldy or dusty.

So how does one store hay if they don't have a barn with a loft?

The three criteria for storing hay is that the storage place must be dark, dry and airy.

DO NOT attempt to store your hay in your basement! Basements are dark, but many are humid with poor air circulation. A bale of hay is sure to mould if left on the floor in a damp corner! Many basements are also dusty. Dusty hay can make horses cough and bunnies sneeze.

DO NOT wrap the hay tightly in a tarp. While this is dark and dry, there is no air circulation. Wrapping hay in plastic will also cause mould.

One particularly good place to put hay is up on a wooden pallet in the garage or garden shed, away from the windows.

It is also important to keep pests out of the haystack. If you have a cat, make sure that the haystack does not become Fluffy's new favourite napping spot! I wouldn't want cat hair in MY dinner!

With any luck, you can find a creative solution to your hay storage needs. Properly storing your hay will keep your feed costs down, and if you have just a few feet of space, storing several bales at once will keep you at home with your pets instead of running to the pet store!