Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hay bale repair ~ a tutorial

You're looking at this picture thinking, "Awww, cute little bunny rabbit, how sweet."
I'm looking at it thinking, "You evil s.o.b."

You heard me.

This bunny and his extended family wreak havoc in my hay barn. 
I don't mind them grabbing a little snack now and then. 
There's a drought and I completely understand their need to eat.

But do they have to chew through the twine that holds the bales together? Grrrrrrr...
Over the weekend, I went out to the hay barn to assess my supply. I planned to restack last season's bales to make room for 
one more load of this season's hay. But before I could do anything, I had to restring all the bales the bunnies broke.
I came prepared with miles of extra twine and used every last bit of it undoing the damage.

I don't know if there's a proper way to restring a bale of hay, but here is how I do it:

If you're lucky, you'll be able to find each end of the broken piece of twine. 
Take a spare piece of twine and tie it to one of the ends of the broken piece with a square knot.

You know, one of those right over left, left over right, anybody-can-tie-it square knots.


Now take the other end of your spare piece of twine and tie a loop at the end of it with another square knot.

Then thread the unlooped end through the loop! Easy-peasy.

Now pull the twine through the loop as tight as you can. 
This will involve much cursing, sweating, pushing and pulling, and wishing you had somebody around to help you, etc.

Crisscross the new piece of twine over the string that the rabbits didn't chew through and tie a whole bunch of any kind of knots you want – 
whatever it takes to hold the two strings together in the middle and make a handle that will allow you 
to gently pick up the bale and move it to its final destination.

Here's one more tip that might help you out in a jam, like when you lose your knife in the haystack.
Did you know you can cut open a bale of hay using a piece of twine? True story.
Take a spare piece of twine and run it perpendicular under the twine that's holding the bale together.
Pull each end up and start sawing away. The friction will break the twine around the bale in a couple of seconds.

Once I had all my hay restrung and restacked, the real challenge began – running the gauntlet to the feed room. 
At least the guards were all wearing their fly masks and I didn't have that to worry about.


  1. I give it two nights before those adorable bunnies chew through the new wires... hoe about providing them with something a little more tastier to gnaw at? Any apple- or willow trees nearby? They love the branches
    Yours - as ever - rabbitlover from Holland, Els

    BTW I DO admire your hard work... it's only the usefulness of it I worry about...

  2. "...start sawing away..." - I would have assumed, apparently wrongly so, that the friction will also create enough heat potentially to set a straw of hay afire (or "asmolder", if there is such a word).

  3. And you can stick a pitch fork tine under one wire on a wired bale and start walking around and around the bale and that will pop those. Great fun :-D.

  4. Sounds like you need guard in the hay shed to discourage them bunnies eh!

  5. They look like a bunch of Equine Banditos!

  6. I can totally relate to your dislike of "cute little bunnies"...I have cute little squirrels digging in my flowers beds and tearing up flowers grrrr good luck and thanks for the tutorial...may come in handy some day :) Jeanne in SC

  7. my question is are you SURE it was those innocent looking bunnies? maybe it was mice or rats? now at least i know how to restring a bale of hay. of course they don't have hay in the city where i live, but i do know how.

  8. Best always, Sandra8/8/12, 6:21 AM

    Any chance you can pack these guys up in the garbage can and drive them 30 miles away like the snakes. They'll be back en masse next year otherwise. It's just so hot to be fixing hay bales in the summer. I feel your pain.

  9. Well, you're still calling them 'bunnies' inspite of their transgressions.
    Mine have chewed through several Mac and iPhone chargers.
    What if the hay were wrapped with old fashion baling "wire"? Didn't it used to be real wire?

  10. I'm amazed that the buns will climb the hay stack to chew the string.
    It's really too bad that you can't have a barn cat again. I 100% understand the reason not to, though. D*&m coyotes!
    Glad you were able to get the bales restrung. Hot, itchy work.

  11. What a pain in the butt!

  12. Ahh! Baling wire! I've got some squirreled away and use it sparingly, as twine doesn't do the trick for many tasks. One of my hay guys nearly swooned when he saw the stash!

  13. When I was a kid, it was all baling wire, not twine. Now I know why.

  14. Carol in N. Colorado8/8/12, 8:08 AM

    Your hay needs to be baled with the plastic strapping. It's more difficult to cut but I bet those bunnies wouldn't be chewing through it. That was a lot of extra work for you.

  15. I. Hate. Rabbits. I go through the exact same thing! I have a short-term hay supply that I fill from the main supply that they can't get to. I ended up having to tarp the top and hold it down with firewood. Persistent buggers they are. Also, they're not just chewing twine and eating hay. They're also doing 'the nasty' on your hay to produce more twine-chewing, hay-eating varmints.

    BTW, I fix my bales the same way! :)

  16. That Sweet Old Bunny does look well fed.
    Heat, hay, and a tutorial! I'm going to try that twine cutting twine.
    Good boys with their fly masks.

  17. You crack me up.....every day! LOL Poor little misunderstood bunnies. Uh huh.

  18. rabbits are a pain. even the domesticated ones do severe damage with their chompers, nibbling through stereo wires, phone wires, baseboards....hutches, trees, dog houses. Oh you didn't need to know that. Sorry them rascally rabbits made more work for you.

  19. Job well done. know I'll always side with the rabbits. I can't help myself. They're twitchy little noses get me every time.

  20. In Central Texas our hay still comes with baling wire..I won't gripe about it being hard to undo anymore...

  21. I'm sorry for all the extra work that those little darlings make for you-especially in the summer! Ugh. Gosh they are sooo cute, though!

  22. I don't know if you've ever had the occasion to have a sample, but rabbit is seriously delicious.

  23. The "reason to make rabbit stew" caption made me laugh out loud!!!

    That bunny looks different than the jackrabbit from the other post.... Are they indeed different ( I know they aren't the same bunny but are they different species)?