How We Grow, Harvest, Pack and Ship Our Premium Pet Hay
When we started our family dairy farm more than twenty years ago, we had no idea we’d be shipping our hay all across Canada to feed thousands of hungry pets!
If you’re not familiar with farms and farm operations, you might be wondering what exactly “hay” is and how we grow, harvest, pack and ship it to you.
But first a little background…
Our family farm is in southwestern Ontario in an area known for its rich, sandy loam — the most fertile soil in Ontario! With 110 acres, we have enough land to grow hay to feed our dairy cattle, plus extra to sell to our friends and neighbours to feed their animals.
Our hay was always admired for its quality, and it wasn’t long before it was suggested we package it for smaller animals too.
So, what is hay?
Quite simply, hay is grass, legumes or other leafy plants that have been cut and dried to use as animal fodder.
The type we use is called orchardgrass, which is a quick-growing, cool-season perennial grass. It has a soft texture that small animals like to munch on, and is high in fibre. It’s also low in protein — reducing the risk of your pet becoming overweight if they eat too much! If you’re interested, you can find an analysis of our hay on our website.
We often receive questions about the difference between Orchardgrass and Timothy grass.
Timothy grass is a bit thicker and coarser than orchard grass, and also has a higher proportion of protein and fat. While most people don’t have a strong preference, those who do are always welcome to request this blend, as we have a few fields where we mix the two grass types.
How do you harvest hay?
Harvesting hay is a process that needs at least three or four days of nice, sunny weather — so it can be tricky, considering the accuracy of most weather data!
But once I’m convinced the weather is going to cooperate, this is how the harvesting is done:
- The grass is mowed and left to dry in the sun for at least a day. The mower we use is quite wide, allowing the grass to get as much exposure to the sun as possible.
- We use a hay tedder to aerate or "fluff" the hay. This speeds drying time and helps prevent mildew or fermentation.
- The hay is then raked to form long lines of grass that are the same width as the baler.
- We go over the lines of grass with the baler. Our bales are rectangular, two-string hay bales, which are 14” high x 18” wide x 35” long.
Individual bales are grouped together in bundles of fifteen and loaded on the truck, where they’re headed for storage and packing.
Do you really pack the hay by hand?
That’s a resounding yes! Once a week or so, I’ll grab about 10 bales from the storage shed. My wife and I, along with a few of the kids, will then go to the packing shed and start packing hay into individual boxes. Weighing it on a digital scale for accuracy. We sell our premium pet hay in 5, 10 and 15-pound boxes.
Once it’s packed, it’ll either be shipped immediately or stored to fulfill future orders. Because a lot of our clients like the convenience of our subscription service, it makes it easy to have enough packed and ready to go!
Your hay is there when you need it
As you can see, we have acres of hayfields that we harvest at least three times each season, so there’s plenty to go around!
And because we ship for free across Canada, there’s no reason for you to have to drive around from store to store trying to find one that carries good quality hay!
Hayday premium pet hay is sent straight from our family’s farm to your doorstep, packed in a convenient box — just when you need it!
If you have questions about our farm, want to place an order or just want to tell us how you feel about Hayday, give us a call or shoot us an email — we love hearing from you!