We went and got some hay for the horses this morning. Got Bermuda grass hay at $21.50 per bale and they are the 3 strand bales that are about 130 pounds each - that's a heavy bale. Each will last about 5 days since I am adding alfalfa hay with it for the horses. No, I don't even try to pick one up. The boys at the store load it on my truck and hubby unloads it. With all my back problems I don't even unload the smaller 60 pound bales any more. Because hubby is so good to help with the hay I have to find some way to pay him back. Cookies or a cake usually works.
I have plenty of alfalfa hay but asked the price to see how much it had gone up - $12.99 a 2 strand bale that is about 75 pounds. In December alfalfa was only $9.50. Hay for any kind of hoofed critter has gone up drasticly in the past year and especially this winter. I was actually surprised the Bermuda hadn't gone up from the last time I got some. No, I hope it doesn't as it is all I can do to afford it now. Because of the drought that has hit New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma so hard the hay farmers are going out of business rapidly. And if they aren't going under the certainly haven't been able to grow enough hay to supply those that need it. Those that have hay are charging more and more.
Because of the hay shortage there are more and more people that are having to try to sell their horses. Or even give them away. Especially if they only have a few backyard pets. Many people are unable to continue feeding large dogs and horses are starving in many places. I hear of more and more horses being turned out onto the desert and in the mountains to fend on their own. Just as many people are just tossing out their dogs and cats into the same area. Needless to say most of these thrown away pets are dying a long, slow death from lack of food. I can't believe how many people don't know that their pet cat won't be able to find enough food if no one is feeding it. No, most cats are really not that good at catching mice or birds. Some have no idea how to catch anything. the more hungry, the more they arn't in good health and they get the less able they are to hunt. This is even more true of tossed out dogs. Many dogs end up staving, if they don't get hit by cars, and at the most all they can do is scavenge through someone trash for a few rotten bites.
As for the horses - they, too, are staving. Most of them are used to good hay and grain to eat and suddenly find them selves with only a few sprigs of grasses along road ways, or some of the bushes that are eatable. Many horses get so hungry they start eating the plants that are poisious to them and end up in worse shape.
There are lots of rescue groups trying to help unwanted pets - horse, dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, and birds, as well as the wildlife rescue groups. I hope no one finds theirself having to give their pets away but if you do, don't just throw them out thinking they will manage on their own or someone will take them in. It usually doesn't happen. Check with your local rescue groups and humane shelters.
And if you can, give these groups a helping hand. They need food, beds, toys, old towels, blankets, and of course they need money donations.
I have adopted a puppy and 2 kittens in the past 2 years. No I really can't afford to feed any more mouths, but I wouldn't be able to live with my self if I didn't try to help as many animals as I can.