How to feed round hay bales in our automatic horse feeders.
Here is a simple solution for those of you that would like to feed round bales without the large bale size handling restrictions and problems.
To feed the round bales to the horses, they need to be cut into manageable clips that can then be easily loaded into the horse feeder. The old timers used to cut the hay out of a haystack with a large handsaw which was called a hay saw. Today this can be archived much easier, and faster by using a modified chainsaw. Any size chainsaw can be used to cut a round hay bale, of course the longer the saw bar is the deeper into the hay bale you will be able to cut. First a simple modification to the saw chain needs to be done with a grinder to prevent the hay from plugging up the saw. This is an excellent way to use up an old chain that is too dull and worn to use for cutting wood. What you will need to do is grind down the raker and hook on the cutter of the chain. In the picture below the areas that need to be removed or ground down have been shaded in red. The second picture shows what a finished modified chain looks like.
After your chain is modified you can carve up your bales quickly into what ever size is easy for you to handle. To prevent the hay from balling up and stopping the saw, it works the best to have your saw revved up with the chain spinning before sticking it into the hay. Always be aware of chainsaw safety and use common sense. If the saw becomes plugged up, turn off the saw and then pull the hay out from around the sprocket of the saw where it is wound up. Also drain the oil from the chain oilier to prevent getting oil in the hay. The saw chain will not require oil for cutting hay like it does when cutting wood.
As you can see in the pictures the chainsaw does a terrific job of cutting the round hay bale into manageable size clips. Round bales are cheaper in our area, the saw makes short work of cutting up hay to restock the automatic feeder. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or need help with it.
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