Oxbow hay alternative?

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Bellie

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
12
Hey! So my chin loves Oxbow Timothy Hay, but recently the packaging of the hay has changed. By the packaging, I man the way the hay is compressed into the bag. The hay is now just a bunch of short pieces and pretty dusty, so I'm not sure what to do...Does anyone know a Timothy hay brand that sells hay that is packages with long pieces? Like--when you pick up a bunch it stays together in long pieces really well (and doesn't fall into a million pieces)?
Also, I've been wanting to start growing hay myself, so I was wondering if anyone had some advice/tips/products that would be good to start with :)
Thank you <3
 

Lucretia

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Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
23
I don't think this is just an issue with oxbow Timothy hay, I've had this problem. Ive tried several different brands recently but to no avail....they all appear to be the same.
 

Amethyst

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May 7, 2012
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Alberta
Yeah, like Lucretia said I've heard from a lot of people it's just been a bad year for hay this past year, no matter what brand you go with. I normally grow some hay myself but didn't get any this past year because of flooding. Your best bet would be to go to the pet store and actually look at the bags, see if you can find one that looks good, or at least better. The only real difference between hay brands is where it's grown and how it's sorted, so brand doesn't matter as much like pellets do. Chins definitely have preference but any of the brands sold in pet store are safe for chins.

As far as growing hay, depending on how much you plan to grow it's a lot of work. Do you live on a farm or acreage? Also how much are you hoping to grow, all your chin needs or just some so the chin gets something different. You will need to pick an area on the property that is not near any neighbors and also not near the road so you don't have as much risk of dogs peeing/pooping on the area, trash ended up in the area, as well as anyone spraying anything near the area that can end up on your hay crop. My hay field is just a one acre area near the back of the property, I don't harvest anywhere near all of it but it gives me a large untouched area to harvest from. The best thing to do is plow (a rototiller works if you don't have too large of an area) the area remove all the vegetation and rocks, then plant hay seed (the area should reseed itself year after year after the first planting). Ideally a swather is best for harvesting larger areas, but I cut the hay by hand (so I don't harvest much). Then you need to sort (get all the non hay things out), rinse (to remove any dirt or bugs), and then dry the hay. You will need a large area to lay the hay out to dry (size of the area needed depending on how much you plan to harvest) in a warm dry place, and make sure you flip and fluff the hay as it drys to help prevent any damp spots and mold growth.

That whole process I think helps explain why hay sold as "small pet hay" costs so much more then buying a bale from a farm. Most farmers just grow hay for livestock, so they just grow, cut, and bale, no rinsing or sorting so you never really know what other things might be in the hay, things like sticks, weeds, bugs, bits of trash, and even dead animals commonly end up in the bale.
 

Bellie

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
12
ahhh i see. i guess it’s just a bad year for hay harvest then.
also, wow! i had no clue growing hay was so intense and difficult...either way, thanks for all the info! ^_^
 

schmittre

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
20
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone has found a brand of hay since this was posted that they’ve had good luck with quality? I typically feed a mixture of oxbow and small pet select. Oxbow has the issues mentioned above and is recently of even worse quality than normal (multiple lots and packages). Small pet select, which is usually great, has also had horrible quality hay the last few batches I’ve gotten even with assurances from the company that it is just fine. Even my one chin who will eat anything won’t touch it. Anyone have any thoughts?
thanks!
 

Amethyst

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
2,871
Location
Alberta
I had luck going with hay from my local feed store, which I realize is no help, lol. I think the biggest problem is hay is a crop, and in North America mostly grown in the West to Midwest area (which has the most fertile soil for growing), so if we have bad growing conditions, like the drought, record high heat, wildfires, etc that we have been seeing the past couple years, that can cause bad crops for hay in those areas regardless of what company is growing it. For example, both Oxbow and Small Pets Select grow their hay in the west. I'm in the west (Alberta) and again last year (summer 2021) I was unable to get a worth while crop of hay, we were hit with horrible heat in the early summer that killed a lot of grass and not a lot of rain, causing drought, so the grass didn't grow much. I think the only upside for me was I didn't have to mow the lawn more then a couple times the whole summer.
 

Jawramik

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
267
Yeah, the last box of hay I got from Small Pet Select was not good at all. Very dusty and very little of the nice long crunchy strands that my girl loves. Normally their hay is great, but this last box was just awful.

I just ordered a box of 2nd cut timothy from Farmer Dave's, I'll let you know how it is once I get it. If it's not good, I'll see what my local feed stores have to offer. At the very least, I'll be able to tell if it's crap before I buy it.

I've heard that hay crops just haven't been great for the last couple of years for various reasons. I hope Farmer Dave's is better than what I've had recently! The only thing I have on hand that my girl will eat with any enthusiasm right now is a box of soft-cut timothy that I normally just use as treat hay. :(
 

Jawramik

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
267
I received my shipment of hay from Farmer Dave's yesterday, and it's MUCH better than the other brands I've tried recently. Pretty sure it's grown in a different part of the country. It looks and smells great, and so far my chin seems to like it.

I also picked up some Oxbow meadow hay a few days ago, and that was much better quality than their timothy has been lately, so that's another possibile option. My chin doesn't seem to like meadow hay as much as timothy, but your mileage may vary.
 

schmittre

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
20
That’s awesome! Thank you so much for the update! I’ll take a look into farmer Dave’s and maybe some other hay types from oxbow. Thanks guys!
 

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