Difference between Hay and Straw

Mar 13, 2012 by

Difference between Hay and Straw

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  1. daniel

    Straw and hay are terms that people commonly mistake to mean the same thing when talking about the feed given to farm animals. However, these two are different and serve different purposes on a farm. Simply put, hay is for horses, while straw is used to make roofs on houses and animal beddings.

    1. Hay

    Hay is essentially the clover or alfalfa that is cut and then dried. It is then later used for feeding the farm animals. Examples of the farm animals that fancy eating hay include horses, sheep, rabbits, cattle and horses. It is usually given in cases where there is insufficient pasture. Hay is just a mixture of several grasses such as rye, orchard and timothy among others. It involves a procedure of cutting the grass, processing them and then finally storage.

    The grasses used to make hay are usually of high nutrition and they are cut before maturity. Hay demands a completely dry period to prevent any moisture collecting in it. That is why hay is usually created during the summer, when there is adequate sunlight.

    2. Straw

    Straw is the grain stems that have been dried and it is largely used for creating weaving baskets and animal beddings. With less nutritional value, straw is not given to animals as food. Once grains have been harvested, the residues after threshing are considered as straw. It is usually fluffy and better absorbing, which makes for an ideal bedding material. Animals use them as beddings due to their insignificance to be eaten because of their poor nutrition and taste.

    Straw is got from the stalks of oats, barley and wheat. Actually, straw bales have other uses in the construction of housing structures. They are also used as a source of bio fuel, packaging material and making ropes.

    Both straw and hay are dried sufficiently and stacked in bales in farm barns. In comparison, hay bales are heavier than those of straw.

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