WHAT IS A FLAKE?
Most horsepeople know that the term "flake" refers to a convenient, a thin,
easy to 'flake off' portion of a rectangular bale. While this measure is often taken for granted, here are
some helpful facts about how a flake is formed that you may need to know.
Flakes are formed during a compression/release cycle that occurs
in the baling process. First in the process of creating a bale a row of cut hay is picked up and place
into the baling chamber, it is then compressed and cut on one side, pressure is released and the process
repeated. Another portion of cut hay is picked up, put in the chamber, compressed and released in preparation
for the next portion until the bale is full size. This process creates easy to separate sections called
But, are all flakes created equally? How large a flake is and how
much hay is in it depends upon how much hay is fed into the bale chamber and the amount of pressure applied
in compression. More hay in the chamber results in larger flakes, more compressions results in denser flakes.
So, the answer is no, they are not equal, they can vary from bale to bale, and even within the same
As there are no weight standards applied to a flake of hay, (just
as there is no weight standard for a scoop of grain,) a flake cannot be reliably used as a portion control
method. Generally a horse requires about 1% of his body weight per day of roughage in his diet. Using this
rule of thumb a daily regimen for a 1,000 pound horse would be about 10 pounds of
Therefore, in situations where it is necessary to control the
exact amount of hay fed to your horse, the only reliable way to know for sure is to weigh it for