Flakes of hay are small pieces of dried grass that are created when hay is processed. These flakes can be a byproduct of feeding animals, creating bedding for animals, or simply discarding leftover hay.
Depending on the species of grass and how it is processed, flakes of hay can be any shape or size. Some flake sizes are so small they look like dust, and others can be as large as a brick.
You probably have seen a flake of hay before, but did you know what it was called? If you have ever heard someone mention a flake of hay, then you know what this is!
Having the ability to identify what a flake of hay is will help you in your everyday life. For example, if you are at the zoo and see some animals getting excited and running around, but then they start lying down and appear to be sick, it could be a case of fleashy footedness syndrome. Or if your friend says their cow has diarrhea, tell them to check for fleashy footedness syndrome to fix it.
Importance of flake hay
Flake hay is very important for your guinea pig’s diet. There are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, flake hay is easier to digest than whole grasses. By having your guinea pig munch on hay, it helps stimulate the gut and aid in digestion.
Secondly, it provides valuable nutrients such as Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C and E, Zinc and Copper. These help with overall health and antioxidant protection.
Thirdly, it helps to keep your pet occupied. Since it is readily available and easy to eat, your guinea pig will spend some time chewing on it. This keeps their mind focused on something other than their surroundings which reduces stress.
Lastly, it provides physiological benefits such as improved blood circulation in the intestinal region which aids in digestion. It also helps to clean the gut by eliminating old cells that need to be replaced.
How to make flake hay
Flake hay is made from grasses that are cut at a longer length. The length varies depending on the species of grass and what animal will be eating it. For example, cattle prefer hay at a shorter length than horses, who prefer it longer still.
Making flake hay is similar to making grass hay. The only difference is that the grasses are left longer and are not dried as much. When dried, flake hay can be mixed with wet grasses for better nutrition for animals.
Like all types of hay, flake hay provides valuable nutritional content for animals. It is especially useful in winter when animals need more nutrition to keep warm. It can also be used as litter in cages or enclosures to help maintain clean environments and avoid allergies in animals.
Using the right grasses
When choosing which grasses to use in your hay bale, consider what animals you will be feeding it to.
If you are making a hay bale for small pets like cats and dogs, then alfalfa and orchard grass are good choices. These have a stronger scent than other grasses, so the animal can smell it better.
For grazing animals like sheep, goat, and ponies, meadowgrass is a popular choice. It is fairly thick and stiff so it holds up to chewing well.
If you are making hay for livestock to feed in winter when there is less available outside, then secal rye or winter wheat are good choices.
Mixing the grasses together
When bailing hay, you must make sure all the types of grass are mixed together. If you do not mix them, the animal will pick out the grasses it likes and leave the ones it does not like.
This can be difficult to do while baling hay due to the way it is done. The grasses are layered on top of each other as it is rolled up. When rolling it up, it is hard to tell if some grasses are hanging out at the bottom or not.
Animals tend to feed from the top down, so they would probably get enough of all the grasses this way. However, your animal may not get enough nutrition from just one type of hay, and that can be harmful.
To prevent this, mix in some inferior quality hay with higher quality hay to make what is called “inferior superior” hay. This way, all the animals get enough nutrition and there is less waste.
Know the moisture content
Moisture content is the biggest factor in determining if hay is flakeable or not. The drier the hay, the less likely it is to flake.
When grass is dried out, the cells are unable to hold as much water as when it is wet. So, when you try to press it down, some of these cells will break and release the water inside– making a flake.
If the grass is very dry, then there may be no water left inside the cell and it will not break when pressed down. In this case, there would be no flakes!
The best way to test if hay is at the right moisture content is to pull a handful and squeeze out the water.
Know the seed size
Next, you need to know the size of the seed. If you know what kind of seed you are trying to remove, this is easy. If not, you will have to do some guessing.
Small seeds like grass or wheat seeds will result in a flake of hay that is small and almost scaly in appearance. These are usually easy to pick out if you know what grasses produce these seeds.
Medium sized seeds like corn or sunflower seeds will result in a flake of hay that is larger and rounder in shape. Again, if you know what plants produce these seeds, then it is easy to tell what type of seed it is.
Large seeded plants like cotton or soybeans will have a very distinct shape and are easily spotted when removing the rest of the plant material. Again, knowing what plant produced these seeds will help identify what they are.
Understand the wind conditions
When flaking hay, it is important to understand the wind conditions. If the wind is blowing hard, it is best to wait until it dies down to flake.
Waiting also gives you more time to check your field for weeds and weed seeds that may have drifted into your hay as it was being harvested and baled.
Weed seeds can survive being processed and stored if the conditions are correct. These must be removed before feeding to livestock to prevent weed growth in the animal(s) or offspring.
When flaking hay, take note of how the flakes are hanging off of each other. If they are hanging loose and falling apart, then your hay is not well-dried and cured and may need to be re-dried or replaced.
Choose the right location
A flake of hay refers to a small area where you will be hunting. These can be areas like a field, a pasture, a farm, or even a neighborhood.
If you are looking to get more involved in hunting, finding a hunting group on social media or in your local area is a great way to get started.
They will usually have the necessary information you need to join and how to start scouting for the area you want to hunt in.
Scouting is an important part of hunting and something that most groups require before letting you join. They will check if you are capable of safely scouting the location and if you can find the animals there.
You also need to be able to identify any potentially dangerous animals that may reside in the area and how to avoid them.