Hay! What’s Straw?

If you’re confused about straw and hay, you’re not alone. A lot of people think they are the same thing…or at least interchangeable, but they’re not. Hay and straw are two distinctly different plants that are used for very different purposes. And, sometimes, the terms are used incorrectly, which only adds to the confusion. For example…if you’ve ever gone on a hayride, you’ve more than likely been sitting on straw. Hay would not do well in an open wagon, as you’ll see later on, but we guess “strawride” just doesn’t sound like quite as much fun.

Let’s talk about hay

Hay is a crop. It is grown and harvested primarily as feed for farm animals. It can be yellow or green in colour and is made from dried grasses or legumes like alfalfa, and it can include seeds and leaves. It’s very nutritious and absorbs moisture quite easily. So, you can see how a “hayride” could become a very uncomfortable soggy mess after just a light drizzle! At Carroll’s, our residents enjoy a lot of hay throughout the year with our grazing animals eating more of it during the winter months.

What about straw?

Unlike hay, straw is not a food source. It is a by-product of harvesting grain crops like wheat. It has no seeds and does not readily absorb moisture. Being very dry and with almost no nutritional value, straw is used primarily for bedding. It provides a nice, soft and warm surface for the residents to sleep on. The straw in the residents’ stalls is changed every few days so we go through a lot of straw!

You can help

Hay and straw are both very important for the feeding and comfort of the residents at Carroll’s. A bale of hay costs us $9.00 and a bale of straw costs $5.50. This year alone we’ve already spent $7,619.93 on hay and straw, and it’s not even winter yet! A donation to cover one or two bales for your favourite resident at the Sanctuary would be so appreciated!