alfalfa Yes or NO for Goats

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Nana, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Nana

    Nana New Member

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    I am getting conflicting information. Is alfalfa good or not so good for Alpine dairy goats. I have heard it can make the weathers have kidney stones. I heard that they should just be eating grass instead. Please help clear this up.
     
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Buck

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    For milking does an unqualified YES- alflafa is the best.

    There is some school of thought that feeding Alflafa to bucks or wethers can cause urinary calculi but I know many who have fed alfalfa to their bucks for years with no problems.

    It depends what else you feed them has something to do the the overall Calcium/phosphorus ratio that probably one of the experts on here will chime in to explain.
     

  3. I feed my bucks and does alfalfa hay. :) Wethers, well I dont keep them around long enough to worry about feeding them. :)
     
  4. Hearts In Dixie

    Hearts In Dixie New Member

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    Our does get alfalfa pellets, alfalfa hay, mixed grass pasture and a grain mix when they are on the stand for milking or when we are feeding them 100 plus days bred. Our bucks never get anything but alfalfa hay and pasture.

    Urinary calculi is more of a problem in wethers eating a grain mixture.

    Marla
     
  5. linbee

    linbee New Member

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    Are alfalfa pellets an acceptable substitute for alfalfa hay if no hay is available?
     
  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy Buck

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    Certainly and there was a thread on her not to long ago about this. Some feed only pellets - I prefer them to at least have some sort of hay fee choice as well for now but may try straight alfalfa pellets in future. If you are feeding them alflafa pellets you can certainly get by with a lower grade hay.
     
  7. prairie nights

    prairie nights New Member

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    Linda, yes, pellets are an acceptable substitute but watch the protein level. I had nowhere the results with 14% pellets (that were quite dusty) like I do with 17% protein alfalfa pellets from a different supplies. I went completely to pellets free choice.

    Jana
     
  8. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    My bucks get alfalfa pellets with alfalfa/orchard hay. The hay doesn't have much alfalfa in it though. I have fed them straight alfalfa before.
     
  9. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    We get a wonderful grass/alfalfa mix this time of year and switch to pure alfalfa in the winter. The bucks all get meat goat pellets that contain AC in them and calf manna. I have also used pellets when we didn't have as good of hay as we do now. We used Standlee brand and nothing else because all the other pellets looked like crud and smelled like crud. If we were ever to lose our hay source I would be seriously be looking into pellet feeders.
    Tam
     
  10. Laverne

    Laverne New Member

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    In another thread it was said that it is the phosphorous that causes the urinary stone problem so alfalfa with it's calcium is fine.
     
  11. ellie

    ellie New Member

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    Feeding grass hay to wethers makes it much more likely they'll end up with stones. Alfalfa is ALWAYS my first choice for production, health and palatability.
     
  12. mabeane

    mabeane New Member

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    I am feeding orchard grass/ timothy with occasional alfalfa pellets. My goats didn't eat the alfalfa hay.
     
  13. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    In 15 years of feeding burmuda grass hay and alfalfa pellets alone to my bucks and wethers, I never had a case of stones. Now the bucks when in rutt and working got grain with ammonium cloride in it along with the alfalfa. Remember Alfalfa is a complete ratio so when fed alone with grass hay you don't have the problems that you do when feeding grain.
     
  14. Theresa

    Theresa New Member

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    I feee alfalfa pellets to all my does and bucks and have never had problems. The does look better and milk better when they have alfalfa. But I cant get good alfalfa hay so use pellets. Plus they are easier to handle and store.
    Theresa
     
  15. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Alfalfa is calcium rich. Urinary calculi comes from too much phosphorus and not enough calcium in the total diet. So grass hays and grains, being high in phosphorus actually cause urinary calculi. It is old school thinking with no science behind it at all that alfalfa causes calculi. If you keep a buck or wethers ration higher in calcium (alfalfa, clover and other legumes) higher than that of his grass hay and grain, he can not get urinary calculi. Most alfalfa pellets are just that, alfalfa that has been chopped up and pelleted, yes there are inferior pellets out there that have binders and grain in them, but most of them don't say 100% dehydrated alfalfa on the tag and say, grain by products or will be 14% alfalfa pellets. They are really the perfect feed for bucks and wethers, you can add some grain to the ration for energy during the winter if you are lacking browse or pasture. Once grown, bucks and wethers who are pets need little to no grain ever....bucks who are hard working of course need grain for calories and to build their bulk back up from rut. Vicki
     
  16. Nana

    Nana New Member

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    Do you feed a pelleted goat food besides the alfalfa to your dairy does? I am learning so much on here and really appreciate this website.
     
  17. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    I feed grain; oats, corn, soybeans, barley, I don't feed a pelleted grain. Alfalfa pellets are alfalfa that has been chopped and made into a pellet, it is not grain, I use alfalfa pellets in place of feeding alfalfa hay which has poor keeping quality here in the south. Vicki
     
  18. doublebowgoats

    doublebowgoats New Member

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    Vicki addresses something I have come across in trying to help other people understand about alfalfa. So many think (maybe because it's in pellet form) that alfalfa takes the place of grain. Another thing several people have said is that they feed more grain during a cold snap to help keep the goats warm, when, from what I understand, it is more roughage that will help them keep warm.
     
  19. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Yep, like putting logs on the fire. :D
     
  20. Nana

    Nana New Member

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    OH there is so much to learn. I feel like I am a sponge on here soaking up information. Thank you all for teaching me. Some of the old timers at the fair were a bit curious about what they saw and I learned most of it from you folks.