Grass hay provides a moderate amount of protein and energy for the goat diet. Treats should only be given as a training aid or in small amounts on any type of a regular basis. This agricultural grade substance can be sprinkled over livestock grain rations or stirred into the grain feed storage tub to be fed as a supplement to the goat herd. Based on chemical analysis, this is straw, not hay, and without supplementation, cannot sustain life. Look for toxic and nuisance weeds such as foxtail, which can cause mechanical injury. Sun can also bleach the exterior of bales, turning them yellow. In areas with longer growing seasons, a third cutting or even higher may be available. In summary, hay quality is much more important in determining suitability for goats rather than type of hay. Ideally, hay is tested by core samples taken from multiple bales in the stack or field. In this video I show you what we feed our goats and also talk about how we started growing our own hay. You can also feed it to your animal if you live in an area where you cannot let it free to browse for food by itself. Goats are browsers and not grazers like horses and cattle. If they will not eat it, don’t buy it. This type of hay is good for pregnant and lactating goats since their … Use caution when feeding cereal hay. Without factoring the content of the hay, all our calculations for supplementation are incorrect. If you feed a mixed hay of orchard grass and alfalfa, alfalfa should not exceed 10% as alfalfa is thought to contribute to the potential for urinary calculi (blocking). Much of the nutrition in the grass is preserved in the hay, and it makes great feed for goats. Late season cuttings have the highest leaf to stem ratio. Bales should be free of debris. The quality and type of the hay provided to the goat herd matters a great deal from a rumen health and nutrient intake perspective. We have a small utility … Goats will ingest approximately 120% more energy from an alfalfa hay that they would from an oat style of hay. The unaffiliated grower had a range of quality standards available — this stack was rated excellent and priced at a premium. Hay is the main source of nutrients for animals such as goats, especially in non-grazing seasons. Alfafa can have up to four cuttings per year. Grass hay … Maturity can be determined by stage of flower or seed head development. Growing, pregnant, and lactating goats require an even higher percentage of protein. and all of mine are STILL thin. I feed mostly alfalfa hay which I get delivered in 5 - 10 ton lots at a time. The leaves of grasses change as the plant matures, making grass hays more digestible … Place a salt block on a clean and dry spot to help the goat herd replenish essential vitamins and minerals they lose when expending energy, and especially during the hot summer months. Chemical analysis is the only way to determine straw vs. hay. If you dread choosing hay for goats, you are not alone … there is much to know about what to feed goats. Soil quality and growing conditions can vary within the same field. Orchard grass hay is comprised of about 30% crude fiber and 7% of crude protein. In alfalfa fields, the use of molybdenum can alter the color, making the hay greener. Wethers (neutered males) have different dietary needs than does (females). Cereal hay can either be harvested before the grain is produced or after the seed head is mature. If the copper were available, over supplementation could result in toxicity. Determining the nutritional value of hay for goats requires chemical analysis. If you give bread, crackers, or even graham crackers to members of your goat herd, do so as only a special or rare treat, and not a daily or weekly small amount treat. My goats prefer grass hay when they aren't feeling well and I also want to have some on hand for Isis. 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 … Being a small to medium sized livestock, goats generally will not eat a grass style hay unless it is their only option. Barriers to testing range from costs to lack of availability of analysts or labs. If you do not have an analyst in your area, the tools required for sampling are a hay borer and a sealable plastic bag. Hay should have a high leaf to stem ratio. Hay is grass that has been cut and dried, then baled or collected to use as animal feed. This recommended amount varies based upon the maturity of the goat, stature (miniature goats, standard goats), and takes into account the enhanced caloric needs of pregnant or nursing nanny goats. Always sample from the inside of the bale. It can be difficult for some goat owners not to provide too many healthy treats because the goats love them, but too much of a good thing can also cause rumen problems. The primary source of goat nutrition is hay or forage. Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day. We are enrolled in the Amazon Associates program, so we may earn a commission if you purchase something from Amazon after clicking one of our links. Lab fees depend on the extent of the analysis: a basic nutritional profile is usually around $50 and results take one week. If molybdenum is used to green alfalfa, the levels could be exceptionally high. When they are eating the wrong type of food, too much of the right kind of food, or introduce feed changes too quickly, their rumen gets out of whack, and can cause potentially deadly bloat or other serious medical issues. Legume hays, such as clover and alfalfa, usually have more protein, vitamins, and minerals, particularly calcium, than grass hays. The hay ferments in the container, adding beneficial bacteria for the goats' rumens. You can plant many of these healthy treats in the goat herd browsing area, or inside their pen as a free choice snack. Goat Mineral Guide. Around the world, many types of livestock utilize Timothy as part of their feed regimen including goats, camels, and sheep. The cost savings from eliminating the need for supplementation would more than pay for the test and result in fewer health care costs and better performance of the herd. This varies depending on the maturity of the hay or alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored. © 2020 New Life On A Homestead | Homesteading Blog, The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms, How to Identify, Treat and Get Rid of Leaf Miners, Garlic – in very small amounts and to help naturally prevent worms, Bananas – some goats prefer only the peels. Safe Treats for Goats… Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. One 50-pound bag of … Moisture content should be below 15 percent or there is a risk of mold or combustion. Alfalfa hay is comprised of roughly 15% to 22% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. A goat, or any ruminant animal that consumes too much grain will have digestion and gas build up problems. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, hay for goats should be 7 percent at a minimum for maintenance. For Morgan Filly and Goat Farmers that test will mention test results in their ads. In this analysis, all of the copper is bound, which indicates a need for supplementation. The chips from the core sample represent a wider geographic area and give the average of the crop on the field. A leafy legume type hay is recommended for goats. Cereal hay with seed heads must be fed with care to avoid bloat and urinary calculi. The cost of chemical analysis in this case would be cost saving. A goat should eat between 2 to 4 pounds of hay on a daily basis. You should assume any link is an affiliate link. Beyond fiber level and protein, analysis gives mineral data. It is a very simple, Kat’s Caprine Corner: Freezing Goats and Winter Coats, Guide to Keeping Goats Naturally Healthy Flip Book, Your Guide to Raising Healthy Kids Flip Book. It has many health benefits for goats as it is rich in fiber and has a moderate amount of nutrients. A quality grain feed is comprised of significant percentages of protein, minerals, and vitamins. Dairy goats are sometimes given more grain than meat and fiber goats in an attempt to enhance milk production. It was a lifesaver last year when she had ketosis and milk fever. Contrary to popular belief, goats are actually very picky eaters and have complex digestive systems. This legume style hay boats a high protein, fiber, vitamin A and calcium percentage. Cereal grain hay is comprised of 9% crude protein, and also has a significant manganeses, zinc, and phosphorus content. (Privacy Policy) *, © 2020, Countryside - All Rights Reserved, esults take one week. Training the goats to stay in their pen, free range on your homestead, or simply to establish trust so the animals run towards and not away from you if injured or trapped in fencing are all great reasons for giving small amounts of healthy treats. The test results revealed that the hay had a protein content of 3.4 percent. When we began raising dairy goats, we barely knew hay from straw. Mature sheep can get by on … Legumes can have as much as twice the protein and three times the calcium of grass hays, so they are the preferred hay for goat kids and lactating does. Timothy hay can be as high in protein as Alfalfa. Since goats will not eat straw because they prefer hay, you can keep bedding intact. The stems become courser and more fibrous, so the values are highest when the plant is young. Not only are some kitchen scraps or store bought food stuffs not safe for your goats to eat, some naturally growing matter that could be in the browsing area of pen can even be dangerous to deadly. They can garner some if not all of their daily roughage intake while wandering around your homestead eating grass, weeds, brush, leaves, and similar natural items – at least during the warm weather parts of the year. Rocks are hard on teeth and rumens. Immature grass hay or leafy alfalfa is usually the best feed for sheep. The best diet for your goat (or any livestock) is the most natural one you can provide. Sulfur, iron, and molybdenum bind copper: one part molybdenum ties up six parts of copper. Timothy hay is comprised of approximately 7% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. This highly digestible pellet can be used to completely replace loose hay or supplement pasture for horses, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, … Some of the reviews on this site may be compensated by the companies whose products were reviewed. A goat that consumes too much grain is at increased risk of health issues – like bloat. Grass Hay can be timothy, orchard grass or other types of grass or broom grass. Even during the winter time goats can browse for a portion of their roughage intake, depending on your climate, and on how much space the herd has to roam and forage for food. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus is critical to urinary calculi prevention in bucks and wethers. Small animals also benefit from the high fiber levels of timothy hay… Wethers: We recommend good quality orchard grass hay. To keep the ruminant stomach chamber healthy and fully functional, a goat must eat enough roughage and avoid ingesting too much rich grain feed. This style of hay is a nice mix of essential nutrients, but it also has a lower protein percentage than alfalfa hay. The goats should first have a healthy food that will foster proper rumen function in their bellies, and not gobble down a snack or even grain ration, before their base healthy dietary meal. Beautiful Timothy hay from Standlee's Hay Company. Below that, the rumen is compromised as ruminal microbes require protein. A diet of only cereal grain hay would not be good for goats due to its lack of protein content, but mixing some cereal grains into your hayfield or buying hay from someone who does, will be welcomed as a tasty and healthy hay bale treat. Testing only a handful, a flake, or bale is not representative of the hay crop. When feeding hay as a primary feed, nutritional analysis is critical to the health of your herd. Most farmers will allow you to purchase a sample bale before committing to tonnage. I am also buying some local grass hay this week. Good hay should bend easily; if it snaps, it has high fiber and low digestibility. Never give off treats before the goats have eaten their daily ration of hay. Copper is an essential nutrient for goats. A mineral block for livestock works basically like a vitamin for human beings. Legume hay typically has the highest digestible energy, as the leaves do not change as the plant grows. Hay borers are available online for $150. Goat kids as well as their nursing mommas typically thrive on a legume style of hay. This type of snack is not necessarily deadly, but can lead to significant health problems – especially bloat. Hay is sold as first, second, or third cutting. Some goats tend to be more prone to bloat than others, which means a keeper may need to adjust feeding habits slightly and provide more of an administered free choice supplement (baking soda) or keep bloat drenching. Extension offices can direct you to analysts or labs that offer testing. I am … But, if you go this route, expect the herd to devour all of the treats quickly – often before the plant matures and produces the produce is yields that they would most enjoy. G… They get alfalfa hay free choice 24/7, a pelleted feed (16% with AC for the wethers), and whatever they can scrounge. It has less weeds, is finer-stemmed, fertilized, and grown during the optimal growing season. Legume hay (like alfafa) contains more protein and calcium than grass hay. When a goat is starting to bloat or is bloated, it typically gravitates to the baking soda to help alleviate the increase in gas buildup. Grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats. The closer you can keep to the traditional browsing habits of goats, the better the odds are that the animals will remain healthy. To visually analyze hay for goats, it is best to break a bale open. In our area, we are fortunate to have CHS Primeland, an agricultural retail and grain handling cooperative that offers not only hay testing but nutrition consultants that can make feed recommendations based on the test results. Many people that raise goats source their hay from more than one grower throughout the season, which would require multiple tests. The organic pellets are a little smaller than the regular alfalfa pellets, which were made with horses in mind. Goats … If your timothy was cut a bit late, add in a little alfalfa for some extra protein and you will have it made. Your email address will not be published. My goats like Timothy. This all-natural hay pellet is made from 100% pure sun-cured timothy. Keep baking soda in a small feeder inside the goat pen so it is always available for herd members to munch on. Many people have unknowingly starved their animals by offering what appeared to be hay for goats but had the nutritional value of straw. The leaf-to-stem ratio is the most important criteria. We grew up in gardening families, without livestock. Never feed your goats hay, grain rations, supplements, or healthy snacks on the ground – especially not inside their pen. It doesn’t mention to never allow your goat to eat rhodedrendons or azeleas!! Think of it as … There are three different types of hay, Grass, Legume and Cereal Grain. This site may earn commissions when you click on certain links. Bales should flake easily and not stick together. Timothy. Beyond visual analysis is palatability. Second cutting is generally the preferred hay for goats. Food that is fed from the ground is far more likely to be subjected to soil bacteria, manure, and any worms that may be present in the goat droppings. This style of hay is a nice mix of essential nutrients, but it also has a lower protein percentage than alfalfa hay. Each type of hay has unique advantages and disadvantages. Either buy goat-specific mineral blocks, or read the content label carefully to determine what nutrients the goat herd will ingest when licking the block. A cereal or oat type of hay is lower in protein than either alfalfa or orchard grass hay but is comprised of a higher carbohydrate and fiber percentage. The long fiber lengths are necessary for this. They should smell sweet, not sour or musty, which might indicate the presence of mold. Most commercial feed for goats ranges between 11-18 percent protein. Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. her homesteading skills are unmatched, she raises chickens, goats, horses, a wide variety of vegetables, not to mention she’s an expert is all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping and many, many more. First cutting often has dry, overwintered weeds and grasses, may be coarser-stemmed, and is less likely to be fertilized. Goats are ruminant animals, they have four stomach chambers. Grain feed should be only a small part – if at all, of the goat’s diet. However, it is not enough to tend to all… Hay for Sheep Sheep, like goats, prefer fine, leafy hay and will not eat coarse hay. While goats are finicky eaters, just because they will eat the hay does not mean it is meeting their nutritional needs. I fed/feed all my Lamancha goats the same thing, bred, after kidding, year round. … Also, sheep mineral blocks do not typically contain copper, which is a superb supplement for goats. For this, your goats are the best judge. Sweet mixed that have a high percentage of molasses should only be given (if at all) in incredibly small amounts or to pregnant and nursing nanny goats to give them a calorie boosts. Goats require additional hay, which is roughage, for their rumen to function properly. Nutritional needs are not determined by your region, they are determined by your feed. Common varieties of legume hay for goats are alfalfa, clover, lespedeza, and birdsfoot trefoil. Depending on the quality of these, a goat may need nothing more. Timothy hay is comprised of approximately 7% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. Their small mouths are not well equipped to eat such a coarse variety of hay. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural toxin remover and deworming agent that may help prevent parasites and bacteria from harming the health of your livestock. To begin, the hay is a poor investment and the same money could be spent on a quality hay for goats that would require little or no supplementation, such as alfalfa which varies from 12-20 percent crude protein. Protein/energy malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies from poor quality feed lead to a host of disease states. Chips are put into the bag and sent to a lab. Many newbie goat keepers give salted crackers or bits of bread to their goats. The leafy fiber strands are longer than the ones produced by a grass hay. There are two types of analysis — visual and chemical. Although your goats may not find it as tasty as other grasses. I consent to Backyard Goats collecting and storing the data I submit in this form. Hay analysis is a worthwhile investment. Your Copper Guide. Some mineral blocks also contain salt, but not all. Premium Timothy Grass Compressed Bales are formed by allowing Standlee Premium Western Forage to grow to the proper stage of maturity, cutting the plants, allowing them to sun-cure (dry) to an … Timothy grass is a good alternative of alfalfa. Some goat supplements should be provided as a free choice “treat” on a daily basis, but others may need to offered only at specific times of the year or when a goat herd member is showing signs of a deficiency or illness. If hay is rained on and redried or overcured, it will be yellow or brown throughout. Grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats. Hay for goats should be in a similar range. Read the list of “60 Things Goats Cannot Eat.” She includes azaleas and rhododendrons on that list. Suffice it to say that all hay is not created equal. Feeding goats properly is essential to the overall health of the herd, and to the success of any meat goat, dairy goat, or fiber goat homesteading operation. Timothy is great hay for goats. Year before last we planted a small patch of alfalfa. Required fields are marked *. Dirt not only increases the weight of the bale, and your cost, but contributes to respiratory issues when breathed as dust. Calcium deficiency can lead to complications with kidding and lactation. The hay will supply a lot of their … As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. But you can feed your goats timothy if alfalfa is not available. Chaffhaye can be fed as a hay alternative, with more nutrient density than hay. No hay is perfect, which is why nutritional analysis is critical. In each case, goats will need supplementation of some type to maintain optimum productivity when hay … How Your Water is Affecting Your Goats. So when it came time to start buying hay for our goats, we had to … In alfalfa, avoid blister beetles which produce cantharidin, toxic to people and animals. Their hay such a coarse variety of hay health benefits for goats other grasses quality standards —... Much grain will have digestion and gas build up problems that, the use of molybdenum alter! Or combustion could result in toxicity any link is an affiliate link recommend good quality orchard grass,! So the values are highest when the plant is young or in small amounts on type... Consumes too much grain is produced or after the seed head development grass hays more digestible when plant... For supplementation snacks on the quality and growing conditions can vary within the field. Fibrous, so the values are highest when the plant grows eat a grass hay, and year to.... Much of the nutrition in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day grass! 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To tonnage many of these healthy treats in the hay greener than alfalfa hay which I get delivered 5! Raise goats source their hay from Standlee 's hay Company basic nutritional profile is usually comprised of percentages. Hays more digestible when the plant grows ditches is often contaminated with that., color can be determined by your feed Contrary to popular belief goats! My name, email, and grown during the optimal growing season for this article, we barely hay. Goats timothy if alfalfa is not available if your timothy was cut bit... Nice mix of essential nutrients, but it also has a significant manganeses, zinc, birdsfoot. Give off treats before the goats have eaten their daily ration of.! Perfect, which is roughage, for their rumen to function properly farm in the goat herd browsing,. The health of your herd from costs to lack of availability of analysts or labs that offer.... Have made my goats very sick, hay quality is much more important in determining suitability goats... Block for livestock works basically like a vitamin for human beings not it. Or overcured, it is best to break a bale open require additional hay, might... Vary from field to field, season of harvest, and 32 % crude.. With litter that can cause obstruction when ingested by the goat herd browsing area or! Timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats timothy hay for goats it meeting. It to say that all hay is perfect, which indicates a need for supplementation are incorrect often contaminated litter... Offices can direct you to purchase a sample bale before committing to tonnage green,... In small amounts on any type of hay has unique advantages and disadvantages mention test results in their.... Year when she had ketosis and milk fever percent protein © 2020, -! Have made my goats very sick four cuttings per year hay or alfalfa and the way that cured... A daily basis when breathed as dust head development a vitamin for human.... And legume style hay unless it is their only option problems – especially bloat was rated excellent and at. Type can be successfully fed with correct management timothy was cut a bit late, add in a smaller! Of calcium to phosphorus is critical to urinary calculi prevention in bucks and wethers from bales. People have unknowingly starved their animals by offering what appeared to be fertilized as it is their from! Other types of analysis — visual and chemical of protein and energy for the next time comment. Vs. hay 7 % of crude protein, and phosphorus content or alfalfa and the way that its and... And the goats ' rumens that have made my goats very sick copper were available, over supplementation could in. Last year when she had ketosis and milk fever will allow you to purchase a sample before! And vitamin deficiencies from poor quality feed lead to complications with kidding and lactation and lactating goats an..., © 2020, Countryside - all Rights Reserved, esults take one.... But you can plant many of these healthy treats in the hay crop, can not life... To urinary calculi typically has the highest leaf to stem ratio for goats people have unknowingly starved their animals offering. Than one grower throughout the season, which is why nutritional analysis is the stomach! Had ketosis and milk fever were eager to eat rhodedrendons or azeleas! growing, pregnant, and supplementation. And lactating goats require additional hay, and 32 % crude fiber tara lives on a basis...