The placement of the stacks that are next to the manger need to be far enough away so the bigger cows cannot reach their long necks in to tug bits of hay out of the stack. There have been many occasions where beautiful stacks were toppled during the fall and winter when a cow could work enough spears of hay out of the stacked bales to weaken the stack and topple the pile. Who needs wooden blocks when there is a game of Cow Jenga going on in the barn?
On this first load we could see that the bales were a little soft (the tension on the baler could have been tighter which would have made each bale more solid) and the end bales were a little tilted. Once the bale wagon pulled out of the barn the stack leaned slowly toward the manger, we propped a couple of boards between the manger and the stack and hoped that it would hold together long enough for me to guide the wagon back into the field for the next load before coming back to re-stack this mess. It wasn’t meant to be.
Before I got back to the barn, six of the top bales fell over the top of the stanchions and landed at the feet of the two cows and two calves that stand at that manger to eat. The critters made a mess of those bales as they happily munched and shredded their way to full bellies.
Seven or eight more bales were jammed between the stack and the metal bars of the stanchions and we had to pull apart and re-stack, by hand, most of this load in order to straighten and salvage what we could before bringing in any more hay from the field.
This was a very disappointing start to a busy season. But I am determined to turn my thoughts around and consider the newly stacked column as a more solid pillar to tuck the rest of the hay around as we bring loads in. Now each load, even if it is leaning a little, will be held fast by a stout column.