rachels.haven's Journal

Mini Horses

Herd Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
8,523
Reaction score
26,056
Points
728
Location
S coastal VA
Saanens...mine DO require more. They also produce far more. Those dried off do well on very good pasture...when in milk, constant eating😁 Many of my keepers from yrs past were sired by my full Nubian and I do get higher cream from most of those gals. You will from the ND cross, which may be why you're doing minis 🤷 since I can't get excellent, young alfalfa always, I usually end up with orchard/alf mix...at a huge cost. 🥴 transport from out west, or Canada is killer. I feel your pain! The boer are happy and growing with far less quality. I so hate the hay bill and KNOW the farmer had the expense, so I shut up & pay. 🤣
 

rachels.haven

Herd Master
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
2,955
Reaction score
11,512
Points
503
Location
zone 7a
I run into sheep breeders who claim their sheep don’t get any grain, only hay. Hay to me is grass hay, and even the best will fall a little short of nutrients and protein. Then I find out they mean alfalfa, which is a complete feed. In Texas and other southern states, there are blister beetles in the alfalfa. Blister beetles cause death in horses, so I’ve never been too enthusiastic about alfalfa unless I know where it came from. Not to mention the cost. So I feed unlimited grass hay and feed. Either way, it is costly.
Yeah, that's the secret. I'm sure there's an equation out there for diet and you meet their needs one way or another based on what you have and it's all costly and both ways can work. I'm in alfalfa territory right now with the privilege/blessing of enough budget so I'm leaning this way for now for winter.

We do have blisters beetles everywhere too, including on grass and blossoms and they eat that every day. Hopefully it won't be an issue. 🤞
 

rachels.haven

Herd Master
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
2,955
Reaction score
11,512
Points
503
Location
zone 7a
Saanens...mine DO require more. They also produce far more. Those dried off do well on very good pasture...when in milk, constant eating😁 Many of my keepers from yrs past were sired by my full Nubian and I do get higher cream from most of those gals. You will from the ND cross, which may be why you're doing minis 🤷 since I can't get excellent, young alfalfa always, I usually end up with orchard/alf mix...at a huge cost. 🥴 transport from out west, or Canada is killer. I feel your pain! The boer are happy and growing with far less quality. I so hate the hay bill and KNOW the farmer had the expense, so I shut up & pay. 🤣
Yeah. We literally put cash in the farmer's pocket for his family and little girls and I appreciate the chance at the nice stuff this round. I was really worried there for a week we'd have no hay after my hay lady broke the news (unnecessary worry, I know, we're in forage country).

That's what I'm doing with the minis. I also like the disposition for the most part. I have a fair bit of nubian semen too though. I've thought about using that. Plus nubians have characteristics that compliment the saanens as odd as that is. Maybe I'll make S'nubians someday. And then I can lamancha them for a good, genetically healthy mix to breed into the herd.
 

rachels.haven

Herd Master
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
2,955
Reaction score
11,512
Points
503
Location
zone 7a
I remember we had those equations when I was in school, but damn I don't have the book that had them and of course my notes are long long gone. Do they even still use them??
I'd love to have it if so.
I just shoot for 16% protein over all and not too much fiber in the hay or grain and like 2-3% fat in the grain ration and that's what I go off of. I think this year I'd like to do some hay analysis on the various hays and get some real numbers.
 

Ridgetop

Herd Master
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
Messages
5,922
Reaction score
19,363
Points
633
Location
Shadow Hills, CA
I remember we had those equations when I was in school, but damn I don't have the book that had them and of course my notes are long long gone. Do they even still use them??
You have to look up the tables of protein for different hay varieties and grain online. You can have your hay tested, but if you are buying several hundred bales at a time from different locations (if you are buying from a dealer/broker they will be bringing it in from different growers) that really won't be worth doing. Just take the average for that variety - alfalfa has a much higher protein percentage as well as higher calcium levels. This is why it is excellent for lactating animals and for high milk yields in dairy herds. It is standard for dairies to feed alfalfa. When we were milking a lot of animals, on test, and fielding about a ton a week, we bought our hay by the field. We couldn't get first cutting - that was all under contract to the dairies, but we got second cutting which was about the same protein. Bermuda and Bahia are similar to each other in protein levels but far lower than alfalfa. In Yantis we will buy a year's supply of hay and have it tested. Then we can decide how and with what concentrates/grains to supplement for the right amount of protein during each phase - breeding, lambing, lactation, dry, and growing out young stock.

Here for approximately a hundred pound bale, it’s around $34 and going up.

My last load was $27 a bale (the previous guy I was getting it from was $32).

It's alfalfa. This is the expensive hay and it was $14.50/50 lbs bale. The remaining 300 will be $8.50/bale from someone else.
Last year we bought 1000 bales at $25/bale. We still have 100 bales credit but are paying $17-18/bale in AZ. Currently we are buying about 70-80 bales of prime alfalfa (100 lb. bales) on each return trip from Texas since we are traveling back to CA with the empty 20' flatbed.. When hay tops out this winter, we will cash in our remaining 100 bales of credit. Hopefully, we will have extra alfalfa to bring back to Texas to help wean the sheep onto Bermuda and Bahia. We may also bring the large trailer to CA when we come out for a visit so we can pick up 70+ bales to bring back to Texas. We will keep the alfalfa in the barn for the lactating ewes. The AZ hay grower said that they had a good crop this year due to plenty of rain. Also hay was dropping in price since the Arabs who are the biggest buyers couldn't ship out this summer - some sort of dock problem - so all the growers had full barns and prices were going down. We will be picking up another 80 bales of alfalfa on the way back from picking up the new trailer. I like to stock up when prices are low instead of waiting until prices start to go up in late autumn. Alfalfa on the west coast has a longer season since most farmers use water lines and we have a long warm season.
 
Top