The hay thief is used to pull a tuft of hay from the interior of a haystack or the hayloft. That sample can then be examined for condition and quality. After all, it is important to check whether the hay inside is dry, both for the nutritional value and for safety (self-ignition).
The hay thief usually consists (1) of an iron rod (approx. 30 cm) ending in a point and fitted with a barb with a slightly curved point at approx. 5 cm from the end (2). The straight wooden stem measures approx. 80 cm.
Sometimes the tool is made entirely of iron and the rod ends in an eye (3). [MOT]
(1) According to DAVID 1973: 25 there are also completely wooden hay hooks.
(2) SELLENS: 233 states that a hay thief can count two or more hooks.
(3) Eg. DEVLIEGHER: 82.