Hay Bale Grabber
That tractor has what is known as a hay bale grabber on the front lift arms. It is very handy for loading, unloading and stacking the round bales of hay we get each winter. John, the farmer we get our hay from, makes very nice hay. He brings his tractor up when he delivers his hay to make the process go quickly and I appreciate that he is then able to set the bales right where I want them out in the fields. I have my bucket and chain bale moving technique but the hydraulic grabber John has is faster and well appreciated.
This year we received 136 of these 800 lb bales. The pigs love it, chowing down about an average of one bale a day. Last year we experimented with letting the pigs free feed themselves the bales and they did a great job, opening the bales at just the rate they needed which was the same as I would have done myself for them. This saved me time. I just have to pickup the plastic in the spring.
Part way through last winter I reorganized the bales so they were better wind block creating several sheltered places. Again we put them in a bit of a different configuration this year based on what we learned last winter. The pigs tend to sleep out under the stars and open sky, even when it snows, even though they have places under roofs. This year I’m going to setup more roofs – pieces of the old hay shed we tore apart for the butcher shop. These will good temporary winter shelters. Smaller pigs appreciate the shelters more.
During the really wet mud seasons they use a bit more, wasting some into building up a bedding pack. This year we have more pigs now than we had last year too. With that in mind I have ordered more hay. Last year we had 125 round bales and they just barely lasted until spring pastures opened. So in addition to the 11 extra bales we have already bought I have a lead on another 14 round bales from another nearby farmer who’ll deliver in the coming weeks. We’ll also get a few hundred square bales from him. Ideally I would like about 200 bales which gives about a bale per pig per year.
Outdoors: 46째F/40째F Rain all day
Tiny Cottage: 62째F/59째F