Earlier this year, when we built the coop and run for our urban chickens, we dutifully went to the local feed store and picked up a bale of hay. We wanted to have a layer (heh, see what I did there?) of hay on the floor of the run.
Being almost exclusively "city folk" we had no idea just how much hay was in a bale.
"They look heavy on TV, you know, the sweaty farm hands throwing them around... Maybe 40 pounds? But I bet they have smaller ones for us," I guessed when my wife left in her minivan to go pick it up along with the cat litter and a few other pet-related goodies.
My wife returned a short time later with a car FILLED with bits of hay. Apparently hay bales start to break down once they get in your car -- some sort of radioactive half-life thing. Anyway, interesting side note, it took her hours to get the little bits of hay out of the carpet in her car...
But back to the hay story. I pulled the bale out of her car and it was big. I called it a regulation size bale. Jokes about buying in bulk seemed a bad idea.
We wrestled it into the backyard and realized that it would not fit inside the run in the nifty little space under the coop. Long story short, we had to leave it out of the coop and eventually it got rained on, turned moldy a bit, and started to decompose.
And we had used about one quarter or so of the whole bale. Now I have a huge pile of hay in the staging area for our compost bins. I'll need to mow a LOT of lawns to get enough greens to get the hay turned.
And so this weekend we had to go buy new hay. But this time we'd be ready!
We brought a tarp in the car, to limit the bale-shedding.
We set up a place where we can keep the hay out of the rain and up off the ground, so it might last through the winter. If it does, we figure we will literally have enough hay for two years. Unless we find a neighbor who needs some.