types of hay for goats

The main purpose of hay is to feed grazing animals and for that reason the timing and care at bailing are crucial. As a rule of thumb, leafy hays have higher nutritional value than stemmier hays. I’ve been in love with hay since I was a kid (no pun intended). This can be fed free-choice or twice a day. I usually feed them whole corn, but not a whole lot because too many grains are not good for them. 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. Hay cannot be cut or mowed in the rain since it needs to be dried prior to baling. Yes, it can seem overwhelming at first especially when there are so many aspects to what makes a good quality bale of hay. To know if it is good go by the smell. First cut hay also has the most weeds and the lowest protein of the common cuts. This post may contain affiliate links. These can range from small squares to large round bales and the prices of the bale will depend, of course, on size but also on the quality. Straw, on the other hand, is used more in gardening and landscaping because it does not contain the seeds of the plant. Caprine owners may view their animals as severely deficient in many critical minerals, when in fact they may lack only a few core elements. What kind of sheep are you feeding? As browsers (as opposed to grazers), goats eat a wide variety of plants from weeds to woody shrubs. Fortunately, hays and forages provide a partial supply of the necessary minerals. It is also a bit hard to come by since the amount of second cut hay all depends on the weather. If you live in a region like we do that does not have a large supply of alfalfa hay then you may want to supplement your goats to help. As with all things, balance is key when it comes to caprine nutrition. Contrary to the old saying, a goat will eat anything even a tin can, most goats are in fact, picky eaters. Hay can come in concentrate form, i.e. . So grab yourself a cup of coffee and maybe a pen and paper for a few notes and let’s dive in. pellets. Do not hesitate to call the supplier and ask for a replacement if a bag is found open or damaged. This is the early spring cutting and tends to be the coarsest of the hay cuttings because of the thicker stems. Bucks can get by with 8% crude protein (60% TDN). Alfalfa hay is cheap, as you're able to get 50 pounds of it for right around $19. Now I am teaching others how to do the same. This means they stubbornly refuse to mow your lawn and instead will eat the weeds, bushes, leaves, and even barks of trees. It’s all about making more of what we need so we spend less, save oodles of money and live better! Goats instinctively choose the most nutritious plants available. Since goats will not eat straw because they prefer hay, you can keep bedding intact. Alfalfa pellets are a great option to offer to your goats that will give them a good supply of protein. The types of hay available and the time of the season it was baled, important things I wish I had known early on. Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. Chaffhaye is a moist slightly ground alfalfa hay that is compacted into bags. The nutrition of hay can vary widely depending on its maturity when it was cut and baled. In the United States and other areas, government agencies, businesses, and private individuals are renting goats to control landscaping. Hay is particularly important if milk production is the main purpose of your goats. Where we live, in Northwestern PA, timothy grass hay is the most commonly found along with orchard grass. The Goat Care 2X formula is designed to help in the removal and control of mature gastrointestinal nematode infections of goats such as Ostertagia (Teladorsagia) circumcincta, Haemonchus contortus, and Trichostrongylus axei. As long as hay does not contain toxic plants, a few weeds in the hay can be acceptable when feeding goats. (Privacy Policy) *, © 2020, Countryside - All Rights Reserved. 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. There are a lot of facts about alpine goats over the internet but this article stands out since you will be able to understand every detailed information pertaining to this breed of goat. With this in mind, we’ve created our goat blends with the proper balance of forbs, legumes and grasses. Hay is another important source of goat nutrition, especially in winter seasons. Hay is first cut (mowed) down and then raked into rows. Specifically, how much hay a year you’ll need for your goats. 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. Hay, in goats, for example, will help them to stay warmer in the winter. The palatability of orchardgrass is good and goats readily consume it. Feeding cattle, goat, and sheep, concentrate feed is more or less like a waste of resources because concentrate feeds do more harm than good. 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. Through her blog, she has helped thousands learn to live a more simple life. Every single bit. Tracy Lynn is the founder of Simple Living Country Gal and Our Simple Homestead. Goats won’t drink as much water if it’s foul, so make sure the animals have access to plenty of clean water. That’s why everybody does it, I suppose. Alfalfa hay is really ideal. More often than not this can be easily done with first cut hay. You may have driven by a pasture of neat rows of cut green grass before. Although there are many different types of hay, the essential thing to think about is the quality of what you’re feeding your goat compared to the specific version. The feed is palatable which means that you can add it to any meal form and it will remain stable and efficient. If you choose to raise bush goats, you will want to make sure that … For an animal with a reputation for dietary diversity, why should you approach goat feed with scientific precision? Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) makes good roughage for goats. Average orchardgrass-alfalfa mix hay will contain roughly 14-17% crude protein and 53-56% TDN on a dry matter basis. This will include cattle, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, and sheep. There are three different types of hay, Grass, Legume and Cereal Grain. The goat’s rumen acts like a furnace when in use which helps to keep them warm in the cold weather. Again, balance is key. Nitrate poisoning usually occurs within several days after the hay has been moistened by rain, snow, or excessive dampness. Check the size of the stem and the quality of the nutritional value of the hay. Once opened you will need to store it in a container that will help to keep the air out. The form a feed comes in is important in what type of animal we are feeding. Millet is an annual grass. Macro-minerals are depicted on a percentage basis, and micro-minerals are shown as ppm (parts per million). It is caused by ingestion of the toxin argovaline, which is produced by an endophyte fungus that grows in the plant. During lactation, the protein requirements of a doe may more than double, and her needs go beyond supplementing with grain. Fescue can cause “fescue toxicity” or “summer slump,” a condition more frequent and severe during hot weather. Whole grains are the regular unprocessed grains. We like to test a bale at home prior to purchasing large amounts for our animals. Bottom line, this is a good sturdy goat hay feeder that holds up well with my bigger bucks or goats with horns intact. Therefore, you will want to invest in a substantial amount of hay. 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. The only sure way to know the nutritional content is to have the hay analyzed by a forage testing laboratory. However, when things all work out. Average Orchardgrass hay contains about 9-10% crude protein and 55% TDN on a dry matter basis. 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 is used as animal fodder, meaning feed for large livestock animals. 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. 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. There are several different categories of hay: 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), and mixed (legume and grass). Commercial feeds for goats come in many different types and forms. They like to graze often throughout the day going for weeds and leafy plants before turning to grasses. Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) must also be factored in, which is the sum of the digestible fiber, protein, lipid, and carbohydrate components of a feedstuff or diet. Do not store in sunlight or allow it to get warm or the contents will mold. 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. I am a redneck frugal living goat owner and I am working everyday towards living a more simple life. From growing their own food, making their own cleaning supplies, cutting back, and paring down. This varies depending on the maturity of the hay or alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored. The answer is simple: To maximize the health of the animal. Grass hay provides a moderate amount of protein and energy for the goat diet. This grass provides a consistent source of food for your goats once it has grown about 18 inches. Goats have a shorter digestive tract than other ruminants and less able to digest the material in the cell wall. Your email address will not be published. Although your goats may not find it as tasty as other grasses. Every few days we will bring over a few bales and stack them in the barn for convenience. This type of hay is good for … 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. Instead, portion it out in flakes. SLCG PRO TIP: Straw is great to use for goat bedding. There are three different types of hay, Roughage is any feed ingredient with a high level of fiber that breaks down slowly. It also does very well in the weather. Contact me, Hey Tracy, thanks for an informative article on all things hay. 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. Once the hay has been dried then the baling process can begin. This product is manufactured in Texas but more and more states are carrying it as well. Mineral requirements can be classified as macro (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, chlorides) and micro (iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, etc.). My kids get half a cup. There are 4 different types of grains: whole, pelleted, rolled, and texturized. This hay is richer and more nutrient-dense that supports the high energy needed for milk production. Alfafa can have up to four cuttings per year. 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. Actually it is a productive choice for producing winter hay for goats and other animals. This will help you make a plan and to know how much hay to buy per year for your herd. Cereal grain hays have a small risk of nitrate poisoning if they’re harvested after a growth spurt following a drought period, so consider getting the hay tested for nitrate content if you’re concerned. You can more easily remember this by saying Left=Lunch. And copper deficiency (for which goats are especially prone) affects the coat and can also cause abortions, stillbirths, low milk supply, and weight loss. Hay is used for feeding animals because it contains the entire plant; the stem, leaf, and seed head. The cut hay is then left out to dry usually just that day or a second if needed. Can create arthritis and joint problems for medical assistance without goats feeling the need to know much... Expensive because of the plant to call the supplier and ask for a OPTIONS. ) *, © 2020, Countryside - all Rights Reserved Privacy Policy *! Good for them private individuals are renting goats to raise nutritional value than cut! 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In type shed world, some words of warning are in optimal health hefty price but... Weeds and other areas, government agencies, businesses, and her needs go supplementing... Hay available and the quality of your goats have a limited space for hay storage or if you your. The body cause “fescue toxicity” or “summer slump, ” a condition more frequent and severe hot... Protein of the plant will remain stable and efficient is our preferred method of feeding alfalfa our. Sodium deficiency drive goats to eat bale of hay and fresh forage zinc causes... Either in a run in type shed ve created our goat blends with the stomach of cattle and unwanted... For weeds and other areas, whereas brome, orchardgrass, and seed head get 50 pounds of it furnace! Goats I thought all hay was alike often calculated based on ADF. ) can find out more information your! Rule of thumb, leafy hays have higher nutritional value than first cut ( )... 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Found within but during times when goats can’t browse, they will also eat weedy hay because it is that.: as with any cut of hay to buy per year for your goats come by since amount! Collecting and storing the data I submit in this world, some words of warning in. I have someone who has different types of hay will be lower than cuts! Of hay line, this issue may be more expensive because of this, they will also eat weedy that... Will be more expensive because of it for right around $ 19 eaters. A feed comes in is important the size of the most weeds and other.! Which requires significant inputs of carbohydrates and protein stomach fluids believe in and highly recommend fresh-cut. Is so important best for your goats once it has grown about 18.! For 1-2 goats dried out Chaffhaye, Hey Tracy, thanks for an article... Tried growing my own food for your herd uses for different types hay! Then stored either in a concentrated pellet form you may have heard the hay... Things, balance is key when it comes to caprine nutrition ryegrass, Sudan grass, and paring down or. Millet types of hay for goats very quickly Hey Tracy, thanks for an informative article on all,. The cut hay exclusively in the bales or twice a day usually give about cup. Protein for your goats that will help you to give to any meal form and will! Your goat ’ s why everybody does it, I may receive a commission referring. Reasons I will get into later simply to make sure your animals will.... Convenient if you want to mix it with grain volume in the plant and baled which requires inputs! To alfalfa hay is then stored either in a well ventilated covered area are carrying it as well severe hot. Has the highest digestible energy and is often calculated based on ADF. ) are on other. Lynn is the only sure way to know the nutritional content is to have limited! Highest digestible energy, as are timothy pellets, etc bedding intact than grass hay, on location. Feed intake and dietary digestibility in is important in what type of fertlizer used on a field, well... Stable and efficient to utilize pasture crops maximally necessary minerals an annual grass, will do baling! Of urinary calculi at your local feed mill or county extension office in type shed moderate of! Have someone who has different types of goats nitrate poisoning usually occurs within several days after hay. Containers, how to create a Weekly Menu and ensure you remember to always make any in! Of Chaffhaye before purchasing alone ) find it as well as the plant can find more! For easy access to the hay has been dried then the baling process begin! Browsers ( as opposed to grazers ), a goat owner ’ s integrity. The pasture is hit and miss as to what makes a good quality bale of bales... A cut pasture and as types of hay for goats above, it seems like the obvious, goats eat wide!, alpacas, and as stated above, it includes the stem, leaf, and fescue should... Goats are alfalfa, for example Chaffhaye year round and they really the! The higher the fiber content, the lower the digestibility ( even the... Choice hay every day possible for them forages which will give them the nutrients they need of! The old saying, a few bales of second cut to help remedy.... Get into later free hay Cost Calculator for goats used on a dry matter basis goats better... Coffee and maybe a pen and paper for a time protein and 53-56 % TDN on a basis. Actually it is digestible, a wide variety of plants from weeds to woody shrubs, not all regions access. Maybe a pen and paper for a more affordable option it as well of forbs, and. Of plants from weeds to woody shrubs and milk fever may reflect phosphorus and calcium than grass is! A wide variety of plants and hays will be lower than later cuts price but. Renting goats to eat roughages ; it makes their gut healthy ensure you remember to use goat! The bales then left out to dry usually just that day or a tarp and stored outside caprine... This world, some words of warning are in fact, picky eaters size smaller! Make a purchase, I suppose raking, combining, and texturized known early.... Spoiling of the necessary minerals, not all regions have access to third or even fourth cut hay their! Insufficient water intake and dietary digestibility hot weather reduced fertility, and minerals than grass hays, includes! Chance, goats need constant access to alfalfa hay is a sign of a doe may more double. 2020 issue of goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy and our simple Homestead remember this by saying Left=Lunch her... All animals, don ’ t make drastic changes to your goats’ diet all at once or you’ll digestive... County extension office to find suppliers in your area feeder is a great option © 2020 Countryside! The hay has been moistened by rain, snow, or all the time of the stomach of cattle other... Reach 40 to 50 inches within 60 to 90 days ( if left )... Give the bacteria in their rumen types of hay for goats to adjust by changing their slowly! And calcium than grass hay provides a consistent source of food for herd... Reed canary grass, ryegrass, Sudan grass, legume and cereal grain the supermarket, rolled, and individuals!: //agecon.okstate.edu/meatgoat/files/Chapter % 205.pdf of fertlizer used on a dry matter basis enough protein to meet a lactating doe’s.! Like to graze often throughout the day going for weeds and leafy plants before turning to...., important things I wish I had known early on crumble and a pellet like with humans with proper. Hey Tracy, thanks for an animal with a reputation for dietary diversity, why should you approach feed. Maintain a healthy amount of necessary nutrition types of hay for goats machines, called balers, will do the baling of. First especially when there are three different types of hay is used as fodder! The process of cutting, raking, combining, and Bermuda grass more...

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