Upright hay storage?

I have been around horses for 20 years now but I don’t think I have ever seen what I am looking for. Is there any storage option for having a bale of hay stand on it’s end? So it has a small foot print on the ground with most of the space taken up is literally up? Needs to be easy to access by barn staff to feed extra hay for me. I thought about a bale bag strapped up but having never used one I don’t know if the upright would make flake removal a pain.

I visited a barn once where each horse owner had space in a large feed room and a vertical wooden container for hay with three sides that held it upright as you say. If your horse needed a flake you take one off the top. Very neat design!

Where will this live? Is containing the mess part of the goal, or is it simply a space requirement?

I would probably go with the biggest trash can I could find and possibly also pre-fill hay bags for the staff to use so they could just dump the hay and hang the bag on the front of the stall.


A barn I was at in AZ also had a three-sides-and-bottom plywood box on a dolly for use with the large three-string bales. The dolly had a kind of kickstand, so it would stand partially reclined, and the hay bale would stay in the box instead of falling out forward.


It’s easy to get flakes off the top of a bale standing upright. Every once in a while the hay broker delivery men wedge one last bale into my loft on end. Obviously they are very unstable. If you have a container you’d need to be able to open or unzip it as the bale diminishes to get to the bottom. A zip up hay bag or Christmas tree bag attached to the wall in a non permanent way would work fine.

A handy person/carpenter would have a pretty easy job making you a wooden box with 3 full sides and the final side being 1/3 width on either side and an open slot down to the bottom.

Imagine a kleenex box stood on its short end, but instead of the oval hole in the middle, that hole would run the entire height of the box.

Making one of the full sides hinged would allow super easy re-filling - open the whole side, ram the bale in, cut and pull out the strings, easy peasy.

Please note, I am NOT a carpenter lol Talk to someone who knows what they’re doing before building something that’s going to fall apart in a week :smiley:


And think about the size of your bales. I get 2 string 60 lb bales, 120 lb 3 string bales, and 60 lb compressed bales that are about half the volume of a regular 60 lb bale. I can wrangle a 60 lb bale if needed but the 120 lb bales stay right where the delivery crew drop them until they are used up. Around here most alfalfa is in the 120 lb bales.

Thank you everyone. I felt a little crazy for having the thought but upward space is more available than floor space. I do love the simplicity of the idea of a trashcan until I think how impossible it would be to get to the very bottom flakes. But if I get a big one I might be able to tell them to just ignore the lowest flakes and take them out myself on occasion and get rid of all the hay debris. It would also make it so I could store two bales one in front of each stall so that ups my storage of hay too. Bales are 2 string and 50-60 lbs so that just might work out. I am handy and could build something but being able to buy something ready to go is always appealing.

What about cutting out a portion of the garbage can from top to bottom so you could put your hand in the slit, Han a flake at the bottom, and pull it up? This would cause a bit of a mess, though. So if it’s not in an area that is frequently swept, I agree that you can clean out the bottom periodically.

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During the Christmas season, shop for a large plastic storage crate large enough to hold a hay bale. An example is shown, which even has wheels, for $75. Discard the lid, prop the box portion against the outside of the stall in the vertical position leaning back slightly so gravity keeps the hay bale in place, and pull off hay flakes from the top end to feed as needed. I use Standlee compressed bales, which fit this size box, but for a standard horse bale you’d need something longer. Christmas is a good time to find overly large storage crates in the big box stores.

In lieu of this, a basic carpenter-skilled person could make a wood crate structure which sits vertically.

You could put a ratchet strap around it so it can be reconnected after the flakes are pulled, if you leave the strings on they would be easy to retie after a few flakes too. Strap it to a post or panel if that’s available too maybe. If you put it back together with the strap/strings after feeding you should be able to lean it pretty well depending on how well it’s baled. Could also strap it to a dolly so you could move the whole bale easily too, as someone upstream mentioned I believe. If it’s a loose kind of bale could put it in a big garbage type bag so you don’t loose any scraps as you work your way down too. Random thoughts.

For one or two bales or even a larger number, you could install a raised platform made of heavy duty pegboard, then stick wood dowels or metal rods in the holes spaced to fit between your bales. You could put one removable dowel/rod in front to keep the loose flakes from toppling forward. The dowels/rods could be repositioned to fit different sized bales. Not having shopped various types of pegboard, you may need to drill your own larger holes in a heavier sheet of plywood.
(If you’re as klutzy as I am, capping the dowels/rods would be wise…)

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