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Feeding goats?

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Goats' started by AClark, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Jan 11, 2017
    AClark

    AClark Overrun with beasties

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    I had a goat as a teenager, and we fed him alfalfa hay mostly and he would eat the leftover horse pellets (also alfalfa). Now that I'm getting two Nubian does, I'm not sure what to feed, as alfalfa is a bit more rare where I am. I talked to the hay farm close to me and bought some alfalfa cubes (they're a mix with grass hay, but about 20% protein is what they run) they suggested those because it won't blow away when it's windy and said they are great for cattle and all. I don't think they'd have any reason to tell me differently, because they sell all kinds of hay and other products.
    I have pasture for them to nip down, lots of weeds and downed trees. Will alfalfa cubes be sufficient? Here's the breakdown for them:
    Sample Nutritional Analysis
    Crude Protein 16% (Minimum)
    Dry Matter
    88% (Minimum)
    Fat
    1% (Minimum)
    Crude Fibre
    30% (Maximum)
    Ash
    12% (Maximum)
     
  2. Jan 11, 2017
    OneFineAcre

    OneFineAcre Herd Master

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    If you are going to use alfalfa pellets or cubes, you should also feed them some type of grass hay in that they need the long fiber.

    We feed ours mostly coastal Bermuda hay. But, we supplement ours with alfalfa pellets.

    We also feed ours a local mixed feed that's 14% protein.

    That's just what we do with our Nigerians.
     
  3. Jan 11, 2017
    AClark

    AClark Overrun with beasties

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    That's easy enough, I live behind the hay farm and they said I don't even need to haul it, that they can use their fork to dump it over my fence, but that my pasture area needed to be mowed down and I probably wouldn't need it right off. It's "prarie hay" whatever that is. I can get coastal bermuda, prarie hay, alfalfa (but the cost, ouch!). I also picked up some smaller pelleted goat feed from A&M that is 14% and some sweet feed to get them used to me. I don't expect to feed sweet feed regularly, but just as a treat for learning things.
     
  4. Jan 11, 2017
    OneFineAcre

    OneFineAcre Herd Master

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    Nubians are kind of like Nigerians in that they seem to maintain condition well.
    I think some of the other standard breeds take a little more effort to keep conditioned.
    That's just my personal observation.
     
  5. Jan 11, 2017
    AClark

    AClark Overrun with beasties

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    These two are definitely in good condition, maybe a bit overweight even. I know ruminants need quite a bit of fiber in the form of grass and hay. I'm curious, can goats eat "cow" hay? I know cattle can eat about anything in the way of hay, even poorer quality or molded, but didn't think that went over as well with goats. I know it doesn't with horses and horse quality hay is important there, stored and dry. I can get either quality, dry and stored or field stored.
     
  6. Jan 11, 2017
    OneFineAcre

    OneFineAcre Herd Master

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    I would get dry and stored.
    I would not get field stored.
    In my area "cow hay" can mean a couple of things.
    It can just not be the quality that some would want to feed to a horse. Sometimes for example it may have more weed content.
    But, if it means that it has been left out and rained on and potentially moldy, I would leave it alone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    Southern by choice likes this.
  7. Jan 11, 2017
    babsbag

    babsbag Herd Master

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    I have a friend that feeds his Boer herd 100% cubes and they are on dry lot so no browse. He has CLEAN pens as no wasted hay, he loves the cubes. I was told that 2" fiber is all they need. IDK, but if grass hay is available I would feed it too. Some goats take a while to get used to cubes, some refuse them at first, especially if the cubes are very hard.
     
  8. Jan 11, 2017
    AClark

    AClark Overrun with beasties

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    Yes, cow hay can be moldy here, mostly kept outside in the rain and whatnot. I can easily get a round bale of dry stored bermuda. The cubes are about the size of my palm, they are just chopped and compressed, though I wondered if they'd be too hard too. I know a horse could chomp them down no problem, but figured I might have to break them up more for the goats. They will customize it for me if I ask though, so that is simple enough. They're nice folks, even let me know I had a hole in my fence, but I had already taken care of it.
    The pasture is about ankle deep in weeds and grass right now. It'll be nice for them to pick the weeds out. I also have a bag of alfalfa to spread on it when it warms up to give it some new life.
    I'm trying to figure out what is considered cow hay here too. Cow hay where I came from could be wet and moldy, weedy, or anything past 2nd cutting alfalfa. Horse hay is dry, stored out of the weather, and way better quality.

    Funny thing is, they ship their alfalfa from out of state. The lady was trying to think of the place and when I came back in from the grand tour, she named it and it's my hometown which is tiny and nobody has ever heard of. Small world.
     
  9. Jan 11, 2017
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    We have had cubes but never feed them as part of their diet. I know we have to break up those large cubes because the goats choke on them. If they are the typical cubes they are made for horse mouths. I'd opt for grass hay and alfalfa pellets or regular goat feed and do alfalfa pellets during lactation if alfalfa hay is too pricey where you are.
     
  10. Jan 11, 2017
    NH homesteader

    NH homesteader True BYH Addict

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    Side question- how much alfalfa pellets do you recommend feeding? Alfalfa hay does not exist here. Apparently it doesn't like the cold either!