Have you gotten your FREE Mini Home Planner yet? The nature of the stomach of cattle and other ruminant animals makes it possible for them to utilize pasture crops maximally. I’ve been in love with hay since I was a kid (no pun intended). If you know those things you will not only provide your goats with a healthy diet but you will save your homestead money as well. Legume hay (like alfafa) contains more protein and calcium than grass hay. The higher the fiber content, the lower the digestibility (even if the protein level is high). 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. Hi there, my name is Tracy and I am a city girl gone country. Cattle, goat, and sheep love to eat roughages; it makes their gut healthy. Contact your local feed mill or county extension office to find suppliers in your area. I usually feed them whole corn, but not a whole lot because too many grains are not good for them. Learn how your comment data is processed. Bush goats are one of the most profitable types of goats to raise. Since goats will not eat straw because they prefer hay, you can keep bedding intact. You can also feed your goats weedy hay because it is very cheap and contain a large amount of necessary nutrition. You can read my full disclosure statement. Caprines still need enough fiber for their rumens to operate smoothly, and large amounts of pellets that sit in the rumen without being brought up as cud may cause long-term health issues. We are going to talk about goat feed right now. Hay is used as animal fodder, meaning feed for large livestock animals. Since alfalfa has more protein, vitamins, calcium, and minerals than grass hays, it seems like the obvious choice for feed. Their daily feed will determine how much you’ll need to supplement them. Luckily there are a few options to help remedy this. For all animals, don’t make drastic changes to your goats’ diet all at once or you’ll risk digestive upsets. This explains why a goat owner’s pasture is hit and miss as to what is eaten down and what is left standing. Average Orchardgrass hay contains about 9-10% crude protein and 55% TDN on a dry matter basis. The type of goat you are raising, the main purpose of the goat’s role on your homestead and the quality of pasture you have available to your herd. Actually it is a productive choice for producing winter hay for goats and other animals. 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. Enter for a chance to win the Homestead Holiday Giveaway! It is also a bit hard to come by since the amount of second cut hay all depends on the weather. If your goats have horns, this hay feeder is a great option. Hay cannot be cut or mowed in the rain since it needs to be dried prior to baling. More often than not first cut will work just fine in this area but if you find your goats on the low end of the weight scale you may want to introduce second cut hay. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. SLCG PRO TIP: Hay must be kept out of the rain to deter spoiling of the hay bale. What is Hay Made Of? 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. There are so many things to know about hay from growing it to cutting or mowing it down. I have someone who has different types of hay bales. Timothy grass is a good alternative of alfalfa. Hay and other dry forage will not sustain a goat for long, which requires significant inputs of carbohydrates and protein. The main purpose of hay is to feed grazing animals and for that reason the timing and care at bailing are crucial. Below you will find a FREE Hay Cost Calculator for Goats. Required fields are marked *. Millet is an annual grass. Madeline says. Alfalfa should not be fed free-choice. Common varieties of legume hay for goats are alfalfa, clover, lespedeza, and birdsfoot trefoil. (3) a clover, leaves & fescue grass mix & (4) a type he refers to as horse hay with clover.....not sure which is the best to get for my Nigerian Dwarf goats. Rickets and milk fever may reflect phosphorus and calcium deficiencies (they’re usually found together). Unfortunately, not all regions have access to alfalfa hay. Alfafa can have up to four cuttings per year. The amount and type of fertlizer used on a field, as well as soil type, influences nitrate accumulation. There are three different types of hay, Grass, Legume and Cereal Grain. Let us know in the comments below! SLCG PRO TIP: Always check your bags of Chaffhaye before purchasing. Goats instinctively choose the most nutritious plants available. Where we live, in Northwestern PA, timothy grass hay is the most commonly found along with orchard grass. Every single bit. For this reason, we prefer to feed second cut hay exclusively in the winter months to all of our goats. A zinc shortage causes stiff joints, low interest in breeding, skin problems, excessive salivating, and deformed hooves. But during times when goats can’t browse, they must be fed. Walk your goat to help them remove the excess gas and contact your VET immediately for medical assistance. Good quality dust-free hay should be used to provide at least 40% (by weight) of your goat’s total feed and should be available for them at all times, summer and winter. (Privacy Policy) *, © 2020, Countryside - All Rights Reserved. Millet grows very quickly and reach 40 to 50 inches within 60 to 90 days (if left alone). (Think of them as “living weedwhackers” rather than “living lawnmowers.”). This means they pick and choose the best parts of a pasture. Around here (Maryland) we have timothy, orchardgrass, fescue, alfalfa, clover, teff, ryegrass, or any mix of those types. This hay is richer and more nutrient-dense that supports the high energy needed for milk production. If the bag is torn that means air has entered the bag and will result in a dried out Chaffhaye. A shortage of sufficient iodine can cause goiters, just like with humans. legume (such as alfalfa and clover), grass (such as timothy, brome, orchard grass, bluegrass), cereal grain straw (such as oat hay, cut before the seed heads mature), In other regions, common hays include reed canary grass, ryegrass, Sudan grass, and fescue. (TDN is directly related to digestible energy and is often calculated based on ADF.). Goat are very selective, "picky" eaters, choosing only those hays and forages which will give them the nutrients they need. Dairy goats, meat goats, and goats strictly for pets or work. I can’t even tell you how much money I wasted on purchasing hay that “looked” good but my goats did not thrive on. What have you found to be the best hay for goats? Usually, machines, called balers, will do the baling. Alfalfa hay is really ideal. « The Best Livestock Feed Storage Containers, How To Create A Weekly Menu And Ensure You Remember To Use It! Sodium deficiency drive goats to eat dirt or lick the ground. Mineral deficiencies can wreak havoc on caprine health. Your email address will not be published. Our sheep, goats, beef cows, and rabbits have free choice hay every day. The narrow slats allow for easy access to the hay without goats feeling the need to put their entire head inside. My kids get half a cup. Respiratory illness can be common in some animals like horses and goats for example. Feed your goats mold free qualified grasses based hay. Chaffhaye is premium bagged, Non-GMO Alfalfa. Again encouraging nutrients to support the energy needed by a bred goat. The size of the feeder is suitable for small pens or birthing goat stalls, being enough for 1-2 goats. A pregnant doe (late gestation) requires 12% crude protein (66% TDN), then between 9% and 11% as she lactates (60-65% TDN). A combination of alfalfa and grass hays, as well as a proper grain mix, will provide caprines with the necessary protein and roughage to stimulate the digestive action of the rumen. The answer is simple: To maximize the health of the animal. Whole grains are the regular unprocessed grains. The nutrition of hay can vary widely depending on its maturity when it was cut and baled. But don’t let this scare you, I just want you to be aware before you begin so you can better understand how to support your goats in the healthiest way. See more ideas about goat shelter, goat farming, goats. Nutritionally alfalfa is the same regardless of whether it is pellets, cubes, or hay, but goats really need the long stem forage, such as hay, to keep their rumen working. The price may be higher for these cuts but the quality will need to be examined before you commit to bringing any bales home 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. A pregnant goat needs an “ascending plane of nutrition.”  A doe’s nutritional level should be increased about six weeks ahead of kidding, by which point she will have sufficient nutrients for lactation. SLCG PRO TIP: Did you know that most goats can live their entire life without any supplemental grain? Feeding goats can be a bit tricky because they have what is known as a complex digestive system. Specifically, how much hay a year you’ll need for your goats. Bucks can get by with 8% crude protein (60% TDN). Bailing is simply the process of cutting, raking, combining, and stacking the hay into sections. We like to test a bale at home prior to purchasing large amounts for our animals. Now I am teaching others how to do the same. This product is manufactured in Texas but more and more states are carrying it as well. I am a redneck frugal living goat owner and I am working everyday towards living a more simple life. Let’s break down a goat’s diet so you can see just why we want to focus on hay from the very beginning. 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.”. From growing their own food, making their own cleaning supplies, cutting back, and paring down. A large soft and spongy left belly is a sign of a healthy and active rumen. I consent to Backyard Goats collecting and storing the data I submit in this form. 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