Moldy hay for cattle : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

This year has been crazy for putting up hay here and I've ended up with third cutting hay that has mold. It goes against my nature to just throw it away and I had a question for cattle owners. Can I feed this hay, after I sort out the really bad stuff, to a beef calf through the winter? Could supplement with some good first cutting. Will this cause bloating, etc. in a cow or listeria in a feeder calf resulting in death as with sheep and goats? Haven't had cattle here on the farm in a LONG time so I can't remember what we've done in the past. Thank you.

-- Betsy K from MI (, September 19, 2001


Hello Betsy,

I'm sorry this post won't completely answer your question, but I have had a goat very ill from moldy hay. Last January, we purchased some 1st cutting grass hay from a local farmer. The goats loved it and were fine for about a week. My largest doe, about 225#, got one flake that had the smallest bit of mold, and the next morning she was down. This is a goat that has survived everything, she's a army tank, but one flake of hay made her sick. She has recovered but I am extremely careful and examine each bale carefully. It's not worth the vet bills and the guilt. Hope someone can answer your questions for you. Best wishes to you.

-- Charleen in WNY (, September 19, 2001.

Betsy, I don't know exactly what this would do to a cow or calf, however, while I don't believe it would kill them, they wouldn't do well on it and you wouldn't get the growth out of the calf for the winter. If you feel you must use the hay, why not give the calf good hay to eat, but use the bad hay for bedding. That way if they felt like it they could pick at it. I don't recommend feeding it, though, if it's just a matter of not wanting to waste it and you can afford better hay for them. Look at it this way: it was wasted before you baled it and put it into the barn.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, September 19, 2001.

Betsy, we don't keep cows here anymore, but we have a gentleman farmer who buys all the moldy hay we have and feeds to his cows. Evidently, this works for him. (he's feeding beef cattle) We've sold to him for about 13 or 14 years.

-- Judy in IN (, September 19, 2001.

Listerosis (listeria) is a disease of ruminents, cattle are ruminents. If you can afford to treat Listeria, and afford the loss it may/will cause than feed it. Loss may not include death, but loss of production, pregnancy, growth. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, September 19, 2001.

there are different types of mold and some hay showing very littlemold will not be eatten while some white with mold will be licked up like candy .i would place it where they could pick at it and use the picked over as bedding ,also alternating with the better hay.moldy hay from sweet clover can cause sunsensitivity so that is another consideration beding is not wasted hay but i have seen a lot odf bedding that looked better than some hay i have had to feed . i use a lot of newspaper and cardboard as bedding it soaks up the liquids and i just dont have enough hay to udse as bedding

-- george darby (, September 19, 2001.

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