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3 Affordable Ways Of Storing Hay Even If You Live In The City

Hay bales are iconic of farming, but one of the limitations of keeping animals on a city lot is figuring out how to store them.  Whole hay bales are easy to stack  in the corner of a garage, shed, or coop, but once you open it up a hay bale or straw bale, it will be everywhere unless you have a plan.   We fortunately have an attached garage that has worked fabulously as a wood shed, rabbit barn, and hay bale storage area.   The kids and the cats seem to think that loose straw is a great toy, but the goats and rabbits really don’t appreciate previously used hay, and I prefer not to track it all into the house.  So what’s the best way of storing hay without a barn?

Storing hay bales in the city takes some creativity but small space hay storage is possible for urban farmers. Here are 3 ways to keep it clean.

Related Posts:

3 Ways of Storing Hay Bales on a City Lot

My first hay storage idea was a re-purposed leaky wading pool to keep all the loose hay from spreading everywhere.  With a tarp on top it stayed clean, and I can carry out serving sizes in a five gallon bucket.  This works well until the kids decide to jump into the hay, and the cats still manage to find their way under the tarp.

A neighbor mentioned they purchased small bales of alfalfa for their rabbits, put it in garbage bags and stored it in the crawl space above the garage.  That got me to thinking about a new use for some large garbage bags we had leftover from some home improvement projects.  I don’t buy alfalfa because I don’t have a non-GMO source, so I use larger bales of orchard grass.   Heavy duty black contractor bags are just the right size for a bale of hay.

The straw bales are slightly larger than the hay bales and one bag doesn’t quite fit a whole bale.  I tend to split the straw up between some bags, but I recently upcycled an old garbage can as a more permanent solution.  I like this a lot better than the garbage bags because the can has a lid and it also is on wheels.

What’s the best way to store hay?

Anything that keeps your hay off the ground and out of the rain is going to be an excellent choice.  Using a plastic can was the easiest and cleanest method for storing hay I have found.  If you have the space for a large manger, make it big enough to store a full bale.  We made one big enough for the goats, and that was great.  I still preferred the can for the rabbits though!

How do you store hay and straw for your animals?  Do you have an official hay barn or does it have to share space?  Do you have little critters that like to play in it too?  Share in the comments!

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Friday 14th of April 2023

Hay can absorb any toxins in plastic. If you are using the hay in your garden, for pets ( food or bedding) I wouldn't recommend plastic bags


Tuesday 18th of April 2023

Thanks for the tip!


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

I like the idea of the trash can. Portable, water proof, mouse proof. Could you say what of trash can you used? How many gallons? Thanks in advance!


Thursday 26th of January 2023

Honestly, I just used an old one someone gave us for free. I think it held about 32 gallons and had wheels and a lid. I like plastic for hay storage, although I do keep my chicken food in a metal can from Tractor Supply to deter rodents.


Monday 21st of November 2022

When I camp with my horse I use canvas haybale bags, tough, waterproof and ventilated. They zip up and last for many years.


Monday 21st of November 2022

Great tip! Thanks!

Layde Montana

Monday 7th of November 2022

I built a large plywood chest/ box. With a hinged lid and two clasps to lock it. I can easily place two condensed straw bales in it lengthwise, I only cut the ties on one at a time. Clean, dry, kept in the shade to avoid any heat, on our covered porch. Absolutely gorgeous.


Wednesday 9th of November 2022

What a great, beautiful solution!


Tuesday 26th of July 2022

I keep 2 hay bales in hay bags on a table on my carport I cut the twine ..I have a horse and a barn, but I do not like animals getting n the hay. I buy 2 to 3 bales at a time .... The feedstore I get them at are close by ..I take hay to the barn in a cart and fill her hay bags every morning and evening ..I keep her oats in a Gamma vault in the house pantry ..I protect the food from bugs and animals ..

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