How To Make Hay Stretch

rachels.haven

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Alright guys, it's a drought/off weather year where I live. My hay guy advised me to gather as much hay as I can even if it's not from him because come March he thinks it's going to be a bloodbath in New England and second cutting goat/horse hay is already getting short. How do I make hay stretch and waste as little as possible?

Our first cutting was fairly nice this year, and is now all sold and gone. Sub freezing temps have already come to the area so the prime growing/drying time is almost done if not all done.

Next load of hay to put up will probably be round bales under one of the barn wings, btw, but even those are limited right now.

So far we're feeding a #10 can scoop of alfalfa pellets to each pen with a little grain in addition to normal haying to take a bit of weight off the stuff I'm going to run out of as it's something that tends to not (and it is normal to run out of hay over the winter here, and this is an abnormally bad year for us and the surrounding area as far as drought goes). What else can I do? Anyone have any good tricks? Is hay stretcher something that works for goats and can keep them in good shape as a dietary supplement in moderation? Any other feed additions? We will have several dwarf and lamancha does in milk, bucks, and kids as they come as far as life stages/dietary needs go.

Edited to add: To clarify hay man is out of the hay he has available for sale for the year, so getting more from him is not an option. The round bales would come from elsewhere.
 
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Mini Horses

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There will be a LOT of people in this situation. Doesn't help YOU but, don't feel alone.

So -- goats & cows do better with some long stem product....they need to regurgitate and the pellets provide nutrition galore but, not long stem. Where ever you are getting the rounds --buy all xtra you can afford. If you luck out and don't need it -- you WILL have eager buyers.

So, there is also beet pulp. Maybe you can find some silage? That's not for horses -- and if you have those -- complete feed can be used and they do fine...it's BP & alfalfa bases. Anyone have oat hay? Do you have any wooded areas? they will eat leaves, acorn, sprouts, etc to with their fiber needs. Yes, I have used hay stretcher...basically it's finer ground stems & bulky stuff.

Waste -- aaaahhhhh we ARE talking about goats and they DO WASTE. Limit amounts available at one time if possible. use a screen they have to just pull some thru -- say 4X4 fence, or keyholes in a board so they reach to hay outside their stall and can't pull so much out. We know if it hits the floor, it's toast, pretty much.

Here I can get bags of p-nut hulls from a sheller...plus p-nut vines. I can grow greens, turnips, winter wheat, etc. most of year. That helps. It takes some thought. You may have to increase the grains a little...and ration stemmy. Can you grow any winter wheat in your pastures? AND what about sprouts? Grains can be sprouted, providing good forage and nutrition.
Lot of work but....

Mine won't get free choice all winter -- feed waste. But will get grains and 3X day stem factors.

Everyone chime in!!!
 

rachels.haven

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They do totally need that long stem forage. I really don't want to go hayless so I feel the need to start stretching soon or now to make what I can get go farther. So beet pulp, hay stretcher, alfalfa pellets can all be useful in making that bale go farther once the waste issue can't be reduced any more? And splitting hay into meals to help prevent sorting and waste? (and round bales are probably coming then)

They'll continue grazing until the frost kills off the brush. No real pasture here, just trees.
 

Beekissed

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If you can collect pumpkins from people after they are done using them for decoration, along with winter gourds, you can let them freeze and thaw until they are soft and fermenting....this is like crack cocaine for hair sheep, so might be so for your goats also. Lots of nutrition and even some deworming action with that feed source.

Corn stalks and shucks....my sheep LOVE those come mid winter when they can't get their regular brush. I store mine and let them eat them around Jan/Feb. You may be able to collect corn stalks/shucks from people you know, people who used them for decorations, etc. and feed them out later on. Its good roughage that helps balance the rumen and helps them digest more completely the other foods they are eating.

Maybe make this next hay baling into haylage instead, which should provide more nutrition per bale.
 

Baymule

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Whatever you choose to feed as a hay substitute, might stock up on it. Everyone else will have the same idea as you do. Beet shreds are good. is there any cedar or pines that you could trim branches from?

Where we used to live, we had 16 acres where we kept our horses. During the 2011-2012 drought, I walked the woods and cut off yaupon branches and took them to the horses. I just about cleared the yaupon off the place!
 

Beekissed

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Whatever you choose to feed as a hay substitute, might stock up on it. Everyone else will have the same idea as you do. Beet shreds are good. is there any cedar or pines that you could trim branches from?

Where we used to live, we had 16 acres where we kept our horses. During the 2011-2012 drought, I walked the woods and cut off yaupon branches and took them to the horses. I just about cleared the yaupon off the place!
Bay has a good idea. Some farmers are turning back the clock and harvesting tree fodder or tree "hay" and feeding it to their cattle. Poplar leaves are the most nutritious, by all accounts. If you could harvest some now before the colors turn, you could preserve all that good chlorophyll for later in the winter.




 

Mini Horses

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Corn stalks and shucks....my sheep LOVE those
My goats are not thrilled with these. The like them fresh, not dried. But haven't saved many for winter use. If no fresh grass, may be more appealing. But, they prefer me to deliver hay! The will eat a few pieces mixed in .... not as interesting straight.

They do love fresh, young holly leaves.
 

rachels.haven

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Are there any pines? :) Oh yes, but they are over 50 feet tall with 4' diameter. I would need a bigger chainsaw. Not out of the question. We WILL get by and do something.

We don't have a horse, btw. I just always say "horse quality" when buying dairy goat hay or we get pretty bad stuff, unusable. Goats don't exactly eat tin cans and shouldn't have mold. I'm not even sure cows should even though "cow hay" usually means the moldy musty stuff here.
 

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Are there any pines? :) Oh yes, but they are over 50 feet tall with 4' diameter. I would need a bigger chainsaw. Not out of the question. We WILL get by and do something.

We don't have a horse, btw. I just always say "horse quality" when buying dairy goat hay or we get pretty bad stuff, unusable. Goats don't exactly eat tin cans and shouldn't have mold. I'm not even sure cows should even though "cow hay" usually means the moldy musty stuff here.
My hair sheep PREFER horrible, rotten, moldy hay...eat it like candy! They turn up their noses at good, horse quality hay and waste it on the ground, trying to pick through it to get to the bad stuff. Go figure.
 

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