Winter Hay Composition

Sample of Hay
Click for Big Picture

I often get asked about the exact composition of hay we feed. Since we don’t cut our own hay but rather buy it in from several other farms I don’t have control over the species of plants used for the hay however the sample above will let you check a handful from a bale for yourself.

This is one handful of one bale out of about 150 tons from this year, just a little of the hay from one of the farms but not all the hay from all the fields or farms looks like that so don’t draw too many conclusions.

Outdoors: 22°F/-12°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 64°F/58°F

Daily Spark: Pasture is not all grass.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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4 Responses to Winter Hay Composition

  1. Andy says:

    Looks like good quality feed Walter. In NZ we talk about supplementary feed in two terms “Dry Matter%” (DM) or “Metabolisable Energy” (ME). The DM is simply the weight once all the moisture is removed, which is really what the animal eats, for grass it is normally 13-18% and for hay 85%.
    ME requires a lab analysis and is expressed as Megajoules per Kg of DM but is probably more important as it tells you the nutritional value of the supplement. Hay made from a short pasture with mostly leaf and very little stalk will have a much higher ME then old stalky pasture.
    Most of the research has been done with cows in mind, but I think it applies equally well to pigs et al.
    I am constantly surprised your pigs eat hay, and can’t wait to do this myself.

    • Thanks for the links. I’ll check them out. I figure things in dry matter for routine thinking as I don’t have the time or money to be doing the lab analysis. See the Pig Page for some numbers based on DM weights of how much different things make up our pigs’s diet. Those numbers are from the last couple of years of data. Basically pasture comes to about 80%. Pasture is made up of many different things though, not just grass which mostly what is in our winter hay. Fresh pasture is a lot better than winter hay and the pigs are always glad to be getting back onto the pastures in the spring.

  2. deb says:


    Your latest picture of a hay sample is great – thank you for the visual, always appreciated. Another feed question, while we’re on the topic. Do you have any experience or advice about feeding spent brewer’s yeast? I have an unlimited supply of spent barley and now the liquid yeast as well, from our local brewery. I have read it must be deactivated before being fed to the pigs, which I can do by heating. I am looking for additional advice about value, quantity to feed, etc…

    As always – thanks for your wealth of information and inspiration!

    Pig 0n!

    • It is not a highly appetitive food for them but the pigs will eat the spent brewer’s years poured onto their hay. When we’ve gotten it we have not done anything to ‘deactivate’ it nor have I ever read of that being necessary. My understanding is it does have some good vitamins. I unfortunately don’t get it from the brewer on a regular basis as they save their yeast.

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