Timothy hay, like orchard grass and cereal grain hay is good to mix with legume hay for goats but should none of these varieties should solely comprise the hay intake of the herd. Bucks can get by with 8% crude protein (60% TDN). You can offer them free choice or mix them in with their grain. When I first starting raising goats I thought all hay was alike. Just saying. Dietary crude protein requirements are higher during growth, gestation, and lactation. This in no way affects your price. Thank you so much! More often than not this can be easily done with first cut hay. We prefer to feed second cut to our goats for reasons I will get into later. They're dairy goats so don't bulk up like meat goats. You may hear of types such as timothy hay, orchard grass, canary grass, fescue, etc. Unfortunately, not all regions have access to alfalfa hay. Keep stored in a cool dry place. If your goats don’t graze aggressively, it can grow about 30 inches tall. Fortunately, hays and forages provide a partial supply of the necessary minerals. If you do not have access to pasture for your goats, then the grass hay percentage is going to be a bit higher than the graph above. It can cause digestive and respiratory problems, among other things. The shelter staff rallied and bought some timothy hay and special pellets as food. Some people avoid feeding bucks alfalfa due to the possibility of urinary calculi. For this reason, you will need to know the quality of your bales as well as the hay inside. It’s all about making more of what we need so we spend less, save oodles of money and live better! They like to graze often throughout the day going for weeds and leafy plants before turning to grasses. We like to test a bale at home prior to purchasing large amounts for our animals. Make sure it is nice and green, also leafy (sheep aren't big fans of stems; they will eat it, but mostly pull it out of the hay feeder looking for the leafy part of the hay). Since our goats prefer the second cut hay they will eat more that will, in turn, keep their rumens active giving them a bit more protection when those frigid wind chills hit. As a rule of thumb, leafy hays have higher nutritional value than stemmier hays. It was rewarding but also hard work, and as your article illustrates, not simple at all. This will all depend on the weather where you live. Since the largest part of a goat’s diet is grassy hay, that is where we are going to put our focus today, in particular, the first and second cuts. : )), Yes, I agree, Jon…growing food is hard and being at the mercy of the weather is no walk in the park either. The answer is simple: To maximize the health of the animal. There are so many things to know about hay from growing it to cutting or mowing it down. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. Timothy grass is best adapted to northern (cold) cooler climates and may be planted with clovers, alfalfa and other legumes for food plots for deer and other wildlife. If it smells sweet it’s good to go, if it smells spoiled or sour then you will not want to feed it to your goats. So grab yourself a cup of coffee and maybe a pen and paper for a few notes and let’s dive in. Remember to always make any changes in diet gradually so as not to upset the balance of your goat’s rumen. READ: THE BEST HAY FEEDERS OPTIONS FOR GOATS. That is what we give them in the morning. As the graph above shows, hay takes up half of a goats daily diet. This will include cattle, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, and sheep. They have goat minerals and baking soda as well but they could care less about these. Standlee Premium Timothy Grass forage can be fed at a minimum rate equal to 10% of the total diet. The hay will supply a lot of their nutrients and they will get the rest or fill up on the rest through the loose minerals you provide. More often than not most meat goats will thrive on first cut hay as long as the quality is good and the nutrients are intact. This varies depending on the maturity of the hay or alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored. Very coarse hay or forage is not readily digestible by goats, so they prefer not to eat them. I tried growing my own food for a time. You can see that a good clover hay is not far off from the alfalfa. But during times when goats can’t browse, they must be fed. A pregnant doe (late gestation) requires 12% crude protein (66% TDN), then between 9% and 11% as she lactates (60-65% TDN). I do mix the pellets with grain occasionally.. Once the hay has been dried then the baling process can begin. Since goats will not eat straw because they prefer hay, you can keep bedding intact. In summary, hay quality is much more important in determining suitability for goats rather than type of hay. Every single bit. Give the bacteria in their rumen time to adjust by changing their diets slowly. Where we live, in Northwestern PA, timothy grass hay is the most commonly found along with orchard grass. Your email address will not be published. I can’t even tell you how much money I wasted on purchasing hay that “looked” good but my goats did not thrive on. But during times when goats can’t browse, they must be fed. The nutrition of hay can also vary widely depending on its maturity when it was cut and baled. Even though they are two different things they are commonly referred to interchangeably. When choosing a mineral supplement, be sure to choose something specifically formulated for goats (not sheep, cattle, horses, etc.). Legume hays, such as clover and alfalfa, usually have more protein, vitamins, and minerals, particularly calcium, than grass hays. They should replace it without question. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Straight Alfalfa 2 String Bales 50lb Alfalfa creates a soft green high energy feed for growing livestock, working horses and dairy cattle. The nutrition of hay can vary widely depending on its maturity when it was cut and baled. Again, if you see your goats are on the lighter side you may want to have a few bales of second cut around. For more information on goat nutrition, see: http://agecon.okstate.edu/meatgoat/files/Chapter%205.pdf. Goat Mineral Guide. You may have heard the terms hay and straw used interchangeably in a conversation. The seed heads contain protein and the stems are an important source of roughage. Alfalfa pellets are commonly available, as are timothy pellets, orchard grass pellets, etc. Respiratory illness can be common in some animals like horses and goats for example. (TDN is directly related to digestible energy and is often calculated based on ADF.). Grass Hay can be timothy, orchard grass or other types of grass or broom grass. As with all things, balance is key when it comes to caprine nutrition. They will gather up the hay, bundle it together, tie it with string also known as baling twine and finally toss it into a hay trailer or back onto the grass to be gathered up later. This hay is richer and more nutrient-dense that supports the high energy needed for milk production. There are three different types of hay, Grass, Legume and Cereal Grain. Let’s break down a goat’s diet so you can see just why we want to focus on hay from the very beginning. Originally published in the May/June 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy. These rows are usually cut in the early morning to allow the dew to help hold the leaves of the hay intact with the stems. Your email address will not be published. Alfalfa should not be fed free-choice. This is why the quality of your goat’s hay is so important. Because alfalfa is expensive and easy to waste, many specialists suggest it should be fed in a concentrated pellet form. The trick is to know the process of how hay is grown, what all goes into it and, and finally the best way to store it that will keep its value. A rainy season usually means less hay and that can drive the price of second cut pretty high. Basically, there are three types of goats. Second cut hay is next and has a higher protein and nutritional value than first cut and also tends to contain fewer weeds. Caprine owners may view their animals as severely deficient in many critical minerals, when in fact they may lack only a few core elements. We specialize in on-farm sale of hay to small and large livestock, dairy and equine producers and hobbyists. Chaffhaye is premium bagged, Non-GMO Alfalfa. A hay’s protein content and Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) should be below 35% for goats. To know if it is good go by the smell. Required fields are marked *. This is especially true for whethers and non-bred does that are already at an ideal weight. Caprines need roughage in the form of about two to four pounds of hay per day (3% to 4% of body weight) for their rumens to function properly. This explains why a goat owner’s pasture is hit and miss as to what is eaten down and what is left standing. Second cut hay usually has a softer feel to it and looks greener than first cut. It is one of the most common hays fed to horses. Again encouraging nutrients to support the energy needed by a bred goat. Anemia and weakness often result from iron deficiency. Seller's Area Code Hay Type Quantity Available Bale Type Delivery Available Date Submitted/Updated 252: Alfalfa: 20000 Bales: 3 String Squares This is usually cut fresh and bailed; giving it the most nutritional value. Thank you Sully for the comparison chart. I’ve been in love with hay since I was a kid (no pun intended). They get alfalfa hay free choice 24/7, a pelleted feed (16% with AC for the wethers), and whatever they can scrounge. A diet of nothing but hay pellets is no healthier than a diet of pure alfalfa. Hay cannot be cut or mowed in the rain since it needs to be dried prior to baling. I also give them the sweet feed from time to time as a treat. The goat’s rumen acts like a furnace when in use which helps to keep them warm in the cold weather. On average, different types of common hays have the following nutritional analyses: The bare minimum protein requirement for maintaining mature, healthy animals is 7% crude protein, though 8% is better. For our dairy goats, we prefer to feed second cut hay. A critical component of caprine health is minerals. Since feeding Chaffhaye I have found a much healthier and robust herd that is better able to fight off worms on their own which is commonly found in our very wet climates. SLCG PRO TIP: As with any cut of hay, the amount of dust is also important to consider. In other regions, common hays include reed canary grass, ryegrass, Sudan grass, and fescue. What are you waiting for! Grass Hay vs. Alfalfa . In late pregnancy, make sure a doe has ample hay or forage along with her higher grain levels, to prevent such issues as pregnancy toxemia or acidosis (carbohydrate fermentation disorder of the rumen). Hay is particularly important if milk production is the main purpose of your goats. But what is the best hay for goats? It is our preferred method of feeding alfalfa to our herd. The only sure way to know the nutritional content is to have the hay analyzed by a forage testing laboratory. From growing their own food, making their own cleaning supplies, cutting back, and paring down. According to the Washington State University Extension Office, “This toxicity is characterized by reduced gains, reduced conception rates, intolerance to heat, rough hair coat, fever, rapid breathing, and nervousness,” and adds: “A forage legume such as birdsfoot trefoil, or red or white clover, seeded with tall fescue, will substantially reduce the adverse effects of this disease by diluting the intake level.”. This product is manufactured in Texas but more and more states are carrying it as well. Your email address will not be published. Knowing the main purpose of your goats will better help you to choose the best hay and feed. Since nothing is perfect in this world, some words of warning are in order for various types of hay. Luckily there are a few options to help remedy this. Hay also has regional variations. Timothy Pasture Grass Seed - Timothy grass is a perennial bunch grass with shallow & fibrous roots used for pasture, hay production and forage for horses, cattle and livestock. However, this protein intake must be increased gradually during pregnancy, not suddenly. SLCG PRO TIP: If your goat has a large belly that is hard to the touch that could be the sign of bloat, a deadly condition in goats where gas becomes trapped in the rumen. Do not store in sunlight or allow it to get warm or the contents will mold. I think I need to look into using this for my goats too. This cut of hay will be more expensive because of the quality and nutritional levels found in the bales. Hay is what we call a cut pasture and as stated above, it includes the stem, leaves, and seed head. Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. It is always best to promote health every day through diet rather than being forced to treat sick animals. Second cut is also good to give to any goats that are bred. Timothy hay is comprised of approximately 7% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. When we began raising dairy goats, we barely knew hay from straw. Hay, in goats, for example, will help them to stay warmer in the winter. Pellets are convenient if you have limited space for hay storage or if you want to mix it with grain. I will switch the pellets to just the timothy hay pellets then. Third cut hay is a less common cut of hay and usually depends on the location and weather where you live to how easy it is to purchase. It is crucial that excess moisture is removed from the hay to ensure it’s nutritional integrity. For that reason, Alfalfa hay is a great choice because of it’s higher protein amounts. This can be fed free-choice or twice a day. Nothing is simpler than hopping in my car and picking up dinner at the supermarket. Since most goats prefer the second cut to first cut hay this will encourage them to eat more and help them to establish a better weight. Now I am teaching others how to do the same. The key is to keep the hay dry to again ensure the quality of the hay is left intact preserving its nutritional value for your animals. Each type can be successfully fed with correct management. Their daily feed will determine how much you’ll need to supplement them. The process of cutting, raking, drying, and then baling hay is important to know so you better understand which questions to ask before purchasing hay for your goats. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission for referring you. Grass Hay can be timothy, orchard grass or other types of grass or broom grass. As browsers, goats eat a wide variety of plants when roaming free, and will eat some of the weeds and other undesirable plants that other animals will not. I fed/feed all my Lamancha goats the same thing, bred, after kidding, year round. How Your Water is Affecting Your Goats. The type of hay will directly affect the amount and quality of milk along with the percentages of butterfat found within. SLCG PRO TIP: Hay must be kept out of the rain to deter spoiling of the hay bale. I am a redneck frugal living goat owner and I am working everyday towards living a more simple life. Hi there, my name is Tracy and I am a city girl gone country. You can read my full disclosure statement. The contents must be moist so the integrity of the bag is important. Hay is first cut (mowed) down and then raked into rows. Grass hay (like timothy, orchard) contains less protein and calcium than legume hay.
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