What is a Flake of Hay? + How Much is a Flake of Hay?

A flake of hay Is about 5lb and is formed by the baler pulling in the dried legume/grass from the row when it’s completely dried.

A large square bale flake would be much more than a small square flake. If your horse finishes the flake in 32 minutes or less, we would assume that the bales are small.


The weight of the full bale will determine a flake of hay’s weight. If you want to divide how many flakes are in a bale, you should weigh the full bale.

Flakes differ from hay to hay, bale to bale. A horse’s digestive system is created to allow the frequent flow of food going through it.

Staying too long without a meal will cause stomach acid to accumulate and lead to colic, and ulcers.

Generally, horses are supposed to eat between 1%-3% of their weight in forage a day, whether it’s grass, hay cubes, hay, beet pulp, a combination.

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Long stem forage, hay, is highly needed for good gut health, the chewing is good for them and that is where digestion begins.

what is a flake of hay

What is a Flake of Hay?

The flake of hay is formed by the baler pulling in the dried legume/grass from the row when it’s totally dried.

Most square bales I have seen are between 10-12 bale/flakes. You should determine if you’re feeding by weight or by size.

READ MORE: What Does it Mean When a Horse Lips You?

For instance,

A single flake from a light, 40 lb bale of hay is less than one flake from a heavy bale.

I have purchased bales as light as 35 pounds per bale and as heavy as over 120 pounds per bale, and that was straight alfalfa.

The hay quality is determined by both the field quality from which it is harvested, the cutting (1st, 2nd, 3rd, sometimes 4th cutting), and, again if it is alfalfa, how old the crop is.

A good field produces finely stemmed grass hay, and alfalfa hay with thinner stems and lots of leaves.

READ MORE: Best Hay Bags for Horses- Benefits, Types & Where to Get Them


The issue with feeding horses is that humans need high protein food to stay healthy and we find it shocking and hard to understand that horses require plenty of fiber foods and low protein food.

At times, we feel guilty and think that we are not feeding our horses well unless we feed them with high-energy feed, like straight alfalfa hay and lots of grain.

A horse needs basically grass hay and/or grass diet, finish! In their natural environment, they eat in pasture 8 times per day.

Their stomachs are small and it empties out quickly, and it is painful for them to have an empty stomach.

What is a Flake of Hay? Does it make sense to feed this to your pet?