Remembering and Documenting The Loose Hay Loader

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Remembering  and Documenting The Loose Hay Loader
From Celeste ReisingerAbandoned – Ottawa/Gatineau & The Valley

Comments from The Tales of Almonte

Ken MacDonaldIt’s a loose hay loader towed in behind the wagon it carried the hay up and it fell on the wagon deck where a man or two, transferred the hay to the back possibly with children tramping and packing it so they would get a bigger load.originally pulled by horses

Darlene MacDonaldKen MacDonald I remember tramping the hay for Florence and Wilbert. Horse drawn wagon.

Stuart McIntosh–Helped Edgar Hudson loading hay with one of these. Hard to keep your balance on those old narrow bunk wagons.

Steven CurrieStill have ours in Clayton

Stuart McIntosh
2h  · 

Kept ours too Steve

Laurie PrettyBin there done that!

Kevin CurrieGot one at my place too.

Marion MacDonaldThank you for posting this.

Stan CarterCan remember as a young lad loading the wagons with pitch forks, no fancy self loaders…..

Stephen BrydgesStan Carter that we did and in the hay loft helping spreading the hay and adding salt.

Stephen BrydgesRemember the coils of hay.

Bryant CougleStan Carter stan the man

Stuart McIntoshHelped Geordie Pretty coil hay.

Bonnie Farrellymy Dad had one, remember those days

Interestingly, they followed the wagon they were filling — I can’t think of anything else that normally does that. Usually the thing doing the filling is in front of or to the side of what is being filled. Driven by the wheels and a chain, hay would be picked up from windrow and then moved up the loader by the wooden bars with steel fingers.

Hayloader in action — it was quite a work out for the pitchfork men on top of the load during the hot, sunny days best for making hay.

If you drive around you’ll see barns built as late as the 1950s still setup for loose hay work — the dead giveaway is an extension of the roof over a beam from which a pulley used to (or still does) hang.

This is an outside haystack being made. Properly made a haystack resists rain quite well — same principle as using straw to thatch roofs.

Inside a barn you would see a similiar operation, though. A device would grab hay, be hoisted up the pulley either by a team of draft animals or a motor vehicle, and then slide down a track in the barn to where the farmer wanted to dump it. Since the track was in the center, the hay would still need to be pitched to the sides.

Today dry hay is normally baled. Even in Amish country, where horses will draw forecarts with a motor on them to drive the balers. It’s less labor intensive for man and beast, and the hay is packed denser so more will fit under the barn roof.

Most large farm operations make large bales — typically around 1200 to 1800# depending on size and how densely packed the hay is. These are much more efficient to handle with machines, and labor to handle small square bales is scarce. Small squares remain popular for small farmers without much equipment — they’re typically around 45# when being sold to “horsey” people, or 75# when baled for “cowey” people. Remember to ask how much a bale weighs when pricing them!

In my area many dairy farms do not make hay — they “greenchop,” cutting the grass into fine pieces that are ensiled. When packed tight and air limited, usually by covering with plastic held down by old tires, the grass pickles itself. This silage is retains a lot of nutrition and is very palatable to the cows — and it uses relatively little manpower.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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