Winter feeding plan

DParker

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So we're finally emerging from a ridiculously hot, dry and long Summer here in N. Texas, which has me thinking about the coming winter and feeding my tiny herd of 4 ND does, now all hitting 8 months of age. When I got them back in May their 1/4 acre paddock was overgrown with a variety of weeds and grasses, which constituted the bulk of their diet. I supplemented that with a little bit of hay and pellet feed (Purina "Goat Grower"), but they mostly preferred the forage, which regrew just about as fast as they could eat it. But when the hellish heat and drought hit the forage gradually dried up, so I replaced it with alfalfa hay, which they love.

With the temperature starting to come down and us finally getting a little rain now the greenery is slowly starting to grow again, but it won't grow fast enough to reach its former abundance before Winter arrives. So I'm thinking about seeding the paddock with annual ryegrass (aka, "Winter rye"), which will hopefully provide at least some forage until Spring. But they're doing well on the diet of hay, pellets and the oats I've added to the mix (only about 1/2 cup per goat per day), so I plan on continuing that as well. I'll stockpile about 3-4 months worth of alfalfa hay over the next couple of weekends just in case it becomes difficult to obtain during the Winter months.

So...does this sound like a reasonably advisable plan? Any suggestions for modifications to it?
 
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rachels.haven

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Free choice nice hay and a little bit of daily grain for growing kids and yearlings or preggos is the gold standard for dairy goats. Alfalfa is a boost and makes your life and maintenance load easier. Anything you can grow that can add nutrition and supplement them and reduce your feed bill will be icing on the cake for them.

Do your plan and watch their growth and body condition. If it didn't working they will grow slowly, look thin, try to eat you out of house and home and have reduced parasite resistance. The great thing about goats is that they will "show " you when something is not right if you are observant and not just die. Go try your plan and find out!
 
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farmerjan

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Rye is great as it likes the colder temps and grows good. It is a great way to add a little "grazing" but it is more "water" than roughage... very leafy and high moisture content. If they are eating more of it and not enough good roughage, like @rachels.haven said, they will show you they are "needing more". Sounds like a plan to me.
 
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