One of the biggest expenditures for us is our feed and hay. We bring our hay in all at once, or by summer's end. This ensures we get the hay we need from growers we like, and also aren't caught short in winter. It also means spending money upfront to buy all the hay at once.
Last year we originally bought 450 bales, but with the extreme winter, we had to buy another 120 bales in January and were lucky to get it. So this year, I'm getting 550 bales.
Hay is the most important feed, really. Many people think in the cold weather that grain is the answer, and that is not true, in fact it can do more harm than good if not properly fed depending on the species and animal. The actual physical process of chewing hay creates heat and energy for the animals. Having access to fresh water during winter is also very important to prevent colic and other issues, and it is surely a challenge in the winter climate here. The elder animals get supplemental feed too, even in warm months.
Bales cost us $5.50 each last year. If 550 people donated $5.50 each we'd have it! Or 250 people donating $11 each. A little bit, raised by a village really helps out!
Anyone donating $5 or more will get a poem by Paco the Poet emailed to them. You might have been fortunate enough to have read some of Paco's poems, and he is busy focusing on the essence of hay as we speak.