How much hay do I need?


Herd Master
Aug 16, 2016
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Shenandoah Valley Virginia
I don't have goats but we have cattle and sheep and we make alot of hay. I have a terrible allergic reaction to orchard grass at first cutting and have to either use a mask or tedd and rake the hay in the cab tractor. But it doesn't bother me for second or third cutting. It has to do with the orchard grass heading out and the pollen that is produced. If there are many seedheads, I react. 2nd and 3rd cutting is much finer/grassier and it doesn't get the pollen. So you may very well be reacting to a specific type of hay.

Also, we have alfalfa pellets here that can be used to take the place of some of the hay, plus it is a good protein. They aren't cheap.
When we have people looking for hay, we let them take a small sq bale home and try it. If their animals like it, we usually get a customer. We have had 2 new ones that have llamas in the past year. We only square bale 2nd and 3rd cutting unless someone specifically asks. We do have someone who likes first cutting. Our problem is getting it made sometimes due to unfavorable weather. We often have to roll it because it may not be quite as dry as it should be for square bales, but will do okay in large rolls and if there is a little wet spots, the cows will often just eat around it, or lay on it when we roll it out.


Overrun with beasties
Dec 17, 2019
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How much hay would 4 full sized dairy goat does eat in a year in a state with long cold snowy winters. They would also be fed grain ration 2x a day and have some browse for a few months of the year. Lets say they are either pregnant or milking since that is when they should be needing the most hay. I'm allergic to hay I didn't know that when I got goats and am unable to lift a lot do to other conditions. I'm trying to figure out a way to minimize hay exposure and excess lifting so I can keep my girls. So how much hay would they go through in a year? And is there any safe way/ healthy way to cut back on actual hay like another bagged product or something? It has really been a bad couple of years, and I love my goats I've already downsized by rehoming some of my goats and it was hard, I have 4 does I can't imagine parting with so I'm trying to work this out. Having an idea of the amount of hay they would eat would be a great start though. Thanks all.
Growing goat needs about two to four pounds of hay a day, minus what they might eat on pasture. Hay can be served free of charge or twice a day. If a good selection is not available, horse-quality dry grass hay is appropriate.