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A hay buck, or "bucking hay", is a type of manual labor where hay bales, usually 50 lb. to as much as 150 lb generally depending on density and moisture content., are stacked by hand in a storage area such as a barn, or stacked on a vehicle for transportation, such as a wagon or semi truck for delivery to where the hay is needed. The act of throwing the bales up to a higher level is called "bucking". The work is very strenuous and physically demanding, and is dependent upon using a proper technique in order to not grow weary too quickly.
For storage, the bottom tiers of the hay bales are sometimes stacked by a machine called a harrowbed, and the hay bucks brought in to "top off" the stack. The workers generally wear chaps to protect their legs and use hay hooks, anywhere from 8 to 19 inch long metal hooks with wooden handles, to secure the bales and move them. An apparatus known as an elevator is used to move the bales, conveyor belt style, to levels too high to buck them. Workers are usually paid by the ton or the by number of bales. Because the work is so labor intensive, many farmers have taken to making multiple ton bales that are moved with machines.
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