The quality of hay, for example, varies greatly, based on how mature it was when it was cut and baled. This varies depending on the maturity of the hay or alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored. Hay should be analyzed for protein content and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Much of the nutrition in the grass is preserved in the hay, and it makes great feed for goats. Keep in mind that a 16% protein supplement fed along with an 8% protein forage will reduce the overall protein level below the percentage needed. Overall, we try to source our goats’ food the way we source our own. The goats have gotten a taste of the oats and now pretty much pick the oats out of the goat chow and leave the pellets. Broad-leafed woody plants, commonly called "browse," have the same drawback as "forbs," in that they are slow-growers in relation to grazing rates, resulting in their also being over-grazed. If you can’t transport your own hay, you’ll still likely get a better deal if you can arrange to have it delivered during baling season rather than stored in someone else’s barn. We raise as much of it ourselves as possible (through good pasture management), and work to buy the rest from a known, reliable source we trust. Dry adult does, bucks and wethers can wind up with zinc deficiency if they get too much alfalfa. [Ranch History] [The Present & Future] [Meat Goat Mania][Registry of Myotonics, Tennessee Meat Goats™ and TexMasters™] [News & Events] [Health and Management Articles] [Links] [ChevonTalk Discussion List] [E-Mail] [Home]. Mature goats, regardless of type, usually prefer a grass and legume style hay mix to fulfill their dietary needs. As a general rule, stemmier hays have less nutritional value than leafy hays. Be prepared for hay waste -- goats like to eat some parts of the hay and let the rest drop out of their mouths. Grasses are the third link in this chain, but the key to grasses maintaining good nutritional levels is to graze them when they are young, succulent, and very digestible. Due to our area being deficient in calcium, I include alfalfa in my wethers' diets either in the form of alfalfa hay or alfalfa pellets, to provide them with the 2:1 calcium/phosphorus ratio they need. Bahia grass, Sudan grass, millet, a mixture of a grain grass, sorghum, grass and clover are the most pasture of goats. Grass hay provides a moderate amount of protein and energy for the goat diet. Goats love to strew hay around, sleep in it, poop on it... in other words, they like to waste hay. DETERMINING HAY AND FORAGE TO FEED TO YOUR GOATS. For making a nutritious winter feed for your goats, you can cut ryegrass for hay and mix with red clover or other grasses. Browse that helps to be advanced in protein than general pasture during the early part of grazing season. Hay is particularly important if milk production is the main purpose of your goats. A perfect diet for goats includes browse, forage, and grazing grasses, along with the necessary minerals designed for your area . Alfalfa is about the only hay with enough protein to meet the needs of a lactating doe. are Trademarks of Onion Creek Ranch . Does the hay contain unwanted seeds or poisonous plants? Sweet clover is fine for fresh grazing, but can mold easily in hay and become toxic. Fatten Your Goats. While small square bales are ideal for ease of feeding, putting them up, is more labor-, time- and cost-intensive than baling large round or large square bales. Timothy. For example, some areas are deficient in particular minerals. Rapid increases in nutritional intake can also cause another serious problem . Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. Their growing season is longer than browse or forbs. Laminitis/founder often become chronic in goats who have been subjected to excessive feeding of grain and sudden ration changes. The rumen is the first stomach compartment (rich in live bacteria) that begins to digest the fiber. And for what it’s worth, goats generally will not eat hay off the ground. The products you are about to see have garnered positive customer feedback and offer great quality and reliability. Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein. And once their hay hits the ground, they're not going to touch it. The milk molecule is built around protein. Access to outside vegetation can reduce the amount of hay that it’s necessary to feed goats and the exercise is good for them. You can inspect hay bales before purchasing to look for signs of problematic plants, or even better can try to view the field before cutting. Going online to forums or to contact other goat farmers will only get confusing in the long run. Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. But in terms of hay and other treats, they can be very selective. Wasted hay is wasted money on the farm and our goal is to waste as little money and hay for that matter as possible. If your goats have horns, this hay feeder is a great option. For whatever it’s worth, 40 small square bales each of grass and alfalfa hay was an ample annual supply for our 4 adult does. Here again, it is easy to over-graze and lose this nutritional resource. This steel hay rack that clips to the fence with spring clips - or you can screw it into a wooden wall - holds two flakes of hay … Plants that are toxic fresh can be a problem in hay, as well. Hay is a generic term for grass or legume plants that have been cut, dried and stored for use as animal feed, particularly for grazing species, such as cattle, equines, llamas, alpacas, goats and sheep.Because feed changes upset some animals’ digestive systems, it’s advisable to put up enough of the same type of hay to last a season. Short an animal on protein and milk production declines, regardless of energy intake. This steel hay rack that clips to the fence with spring clips - or you can screw it into a wooden wall - holds two flakes of hay … Many areas have poor quality or brackish water. Thus you want your hay to have lots of leafy material in it compared to the amount of mature seed stalks and stems; a really bristly, stemmy hay is probably not going to be as good as a younger, softer-feeling hay. 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. Storing hay that’s been rained on or baled before being thoroughly dried causes most barn fires. But alfalfa hay is not the best for all animals. They then cut it up into smaller chunks and spray it with molasses. Although your goats may not find it as tasty as other grasses. Supplement with a grain mix of at least 16% protein when does are pregnant or are nursing kids and when climatic conditions are stressed. Producers insistant on feeding large quantities of grain must provide a loose mineral containing a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus on a free-choice basis.The key is that ample protein, hay, forage, and minerals must be fed to goats in a BALANCED ratio. Eric and his wife, Joanna, founded their homestead farm in 2006, within a narrow Ozark-style valley with diverse landscapes and ecosystems. As long as it is digestible, a wide variety of plants and hays will be consumed. The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. As a working definition, hay is the cut & dried stem/leaf material of non-grain livestock-edible plants such as grasses and legumes. Here are some things we’ve learned to consider when sourcing hay for our herd. Goat Mineral Guide. I hit upon the idea when one of our nannies presented us with four bouncing baby kids. Again, try to learn as much as you can about your hay’s source and handling. Already a Member? A 14 to 18 percent protein concentrate should be fed to lactating does as well. Despite their reputation, goats are actually finicky eaters, and this fact should guide you when choosing hay. To dry the doe off it is best to reduce her production by withholding grain about one week prior to dry-off. When our farm was certified organic, this fit right into the required documentation of off-farm sourcing, but we also found it was a good way to initiate the conversation with a grower about how the hay was managed. I have given them only oats a few times and they devour them. Chaffhaye is alfalfa or grass that has been cut early. ADF is a laboratory analysis that measures the cellulose and lignin levels in plants, and lignin is not digestible, so an acid detergent fiber measure that is low - below 35% - is preferable for goats. So when it came time to start buying hay for our goats, we had to learn from experience. 12 Best Goat Feeds (Reviews) in 2020 . Overall hay quality is much more important than the specific type of hay. Straw, by contrast, tends to be the cut & dried stem material of harvested grains (such as oats or wheat) which aren’t particularly palatable. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. Rye can be applied without tilling in existing stubble grass and … Hay for Sheep Sheep, like goats, prefer fine, leafy hay and will not eat coarse hay. laminitis . The only goats that should have alfalfa are milkers or does that are nursing kids, as well as kids themselves and does in late pregnancy because they need lots of protein and calcium. Hay should be analyzed for protein content and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Buying from the local farmer, second cutting orchard hay runs about $7.50 a bale where I’m at. Learn What A Rewarding Experience Raising Goats Can Be! Inadequate intake of water, along with overfeeding of grain, particularly regarding male goats, are the likely culprits in causing urinary calculi. Documentation and observations from two veterinarians proclaimed the goat herd on sunn hemp to out perform the goat herd on full feed but no sunn hemp. First cut alfalfa hay has the reputation of having large tough stems, but this is only true if the hay was too mature when cut. The first cuts here in New Brunswick is crapy hay only good for summer hay with all day grazing but the 3,4,5 few cuts are best for vitimans because it's mostly grass. We grew up in gardening families, without livestock. account? Chert Hollow Farm seeks to integrate food and farming into the ecosystem. Hay is grass that has been cut and dried, then baled or collected to use as animal feed. • Health & Management ArticlesChevonTalk Discussion Group • Links • Registration • Meat Goat Mania •. Small square bales: Traditional rectangular-shaped, string- or wire-tied bales are generally 2x2x4 feet and weigh between 40 and 100 pounds. Very coarse hay or forage is not readily digestible by goats, so they prefer not to eat them. When feeding higher grain levels in late pregnancy, be sure that ample hay or forage is available to prevent digestive problems such as acidosis and pregnancy toxemia. Make certain the feed does not contain urea because it is toxic to goats. Already a Member but When we began raising dairy goats, we barely knew hay from straw. We’ll always wonder if and to what extent a batch of questionable hay that we bought in the brutal winter following the brutal drought of 2012 played a role in a subsequent miscarriage and other poor herd health. Weeds do tend to appear in first-cut hay. Goats are choosy and will decline to drink foul water. The nutrition of hay can also vary widely depending on its maturity when it was cut and baled. Storey's Guide To Raising Poultry, 4Th Edition, Mother Earth News: Build It Yourself E-Book, Pre-Fabricated, Gambrel Roof A-Frame Plan, Natural Cold Storage: Fresh Food in Winter, Keeping Crops Cool During Hot Weather: 13 Ways to Beat the Heat, Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price. Poisonous plants that sneak into a batch of hay can have serious implications for herd health. Our team of rangeland experts has designed a goat pasture seed mix … We’ve learned the hard way that not all hay growers are very biologically aware, and don’t always know what’s in their fields or why anyone would care. If fiber levels are high, digestibility will be low, even if the protein level is high. Try to cultivate the rust resistant varieties, because ryegrass is susceptible to crown rust. Goats were made to brow… For a farm like ours, which collects and composts its animal bedding for vegetable fertility, this is a serious concern, and we were writing about “killer hay” on our own site way back in 2008. ), [GoatCamp™] [Tennessee Meat Goats™] [Myotonic Goats] [TexMaster™ Goats] [Which Breed is Right for You?] Goats, being ruminants, thrive on forages. Knew a farmer who took the side panel off the bush hog, so the hay would fly out the side as soon as the blades cut it. Like other livestock, the nutrient needs of these animals will vary, so match the hay you feed to their nutrient requirements. I often hear the terms “hay” … If you’re new at this, judging hay quantity is something you’ll just need to learn over time as you adjust to your own goats’ needs and behaviors. So, if your goats are not on pasture, you need to provide them with some type of hay, in addition to the alfalfa pellets. Hay also needs to be dried properly in the field; hay that’s been baled too soon, while still moist, may start to hot-compost when stacked in a barn. This does depend on the type of hay; alfalfa leaves grow on a strong stem to begin with, so alfalfa hay will generally feel rougher than pure grass hay. Well, here's a simple solution to the expensive problem: try feeding goats from a horse's hay net! Goats require additional hay, which is roughage, for their rumen to function properly. . • Home Page • Email Us • SALE BARN • Present and Future • GoatCamp™ • Myotonic Goats • Tennessee Meat Goats™ • TexMaster™ Goats • Which breed is right for you? Goats were made to bro… The rumen is the first stomach compartment (rich in live bacteria) that begins to digest the fiber. Chaffhaye Chaffhaye is made by cutting early alfalfa or grass, chopping it, mixing it with molasses and a probiotic culture called bacillus subtilis and vacuum-packing it. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. They use their flexible tongues to strip the leaves off desirable plants, or the freshest tips of grass blades, but generally leave the stems or stalks of plants alone. Sign in with your online account. We developed a relationship with a trusted grower who called us every year when baling season started, to arrange our usual pickup of hay on baling day. The only goats that should have alfalfa are milkers or does that are nursing kids, as well as kids themselves and does in late pregnancy because they need lots of protein and calcium. To dry the doe off it is best to reduce her production by withholding grain about one week prior to dry-off. During droughts, there won't be enough rain to germinate the seeds, thereby reducing or eliminating this source of nutrition for goats. Sell the hay. Hay vs. There is no straightforward answer to this; it depends on your breed(s), climate, pasture quality, etc. and founder can occur. Forbs that grow back each year and live for many years are called perennials. The hay will be OK, A square baler will bale it but the bales will bust up when they come out of the baler. Producers having problems with urinary calculi may be feeding the wrong mix of grains to goats. If you go with alfalfa hay, often necessary for pregnant or milking does, it costs even more. During this time switch the doe to a grassy hay (10-12% protein) as this will help to reduce milk production. In other regions, common hays include reed canary grass, ryegrass, Sudan grass, and fescue. How Your Water is Affecting Your Goats. Each goat had gained 10 - 20 lbs. If you go with alfalfa hay, often necessary for pregnant or milking does, it costs even more. An added benefit will be reduced expenses and more money in your pocket. Goat Mineral Guide. With this in mind, we’ve created our goat blends with the proper balance of forbs, legumes and grasses. However, the producer must carefully and slowly increase the protein intake of a pregnant doe, gradually adding appropriate feed to her diet as her pregnancy progresses. Like to read more content, Join the Mother Earth News Community Today! A good hayfield, like a good pasture, may have enough grasses and legumes mixed together to provide an ideal hay in one package, but we’ve tended to buy alfalfa hay separately to ensure our dairy animals get enough nutrition during the winter. Then they add a culture of Bacillus Subtillis and vacuum seal it into a 50-pound bag. We try to hot-compost all waste hay and animal bedding to minimize the risk of viable seeds getting through, but it’s best not to introduce them in the first place. The simple feeder shown here is easy to make, easy to use, and holds enough hay to feed 8 to 15 goats … They grow rapidly in the spring, but when mid-summer arrives, their growth slows; they can be grazed faster than they grow. Very coarse hay or forage is not readily digestible by goats, so they prefer not to eat them. Ammonium chloride should always be added to feed to guard against urinary calculi. Synchronizing Goat Breeding with Sunn Hemp This helped prevent the stems … Intrepid International Hay Rack-Wall Mounted This rack is a heavy-duty structure consisting of half … I think I need to look into using this for my goats too. Goat kids as well as their nursing mommas typically thrive on a legume style of hay. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. Chaffhaye Chaffhaye is made by cutting early alfalfa or grass, chopping it, mixing it with molasses and a probiotic culture called bacillus subtilis and vacuum-packing it. 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