Fodder=alfalfa & grain?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Ashley, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    I'm still pondering about getting set up to grow fodder from sprouted wheat. My understanding is it is a high protein, high energy feed and can potentially replace ones grain requirements. I'm wondering, can it replaces ones alfalfa/ legume needs? Or just reduce them? The reason I feed alfalfa is for protein and its high calcium to phosphorus ratio, mostly to balance the grain which has an inverted ratio. I have not tested my pasture yet, but we have a lot of legumes, especially yellow clover that the goats eat. And when we have pasture, my goats do t eat as much alfalfa pellets. They just dot want them as much. So it would seem I could certainly forgo alfalfa when feeding forage inthe months we have clover on assuming I don't have to feed grain?

    What about when feeding grass hay? From what I've been able to find, Bermuda is usually about 2:1 calcium to phosphorus. Or, if I could get a local hay with so w clover mixed in I would think that would cushion things well? Of course, ideal would be testing the hay, but I'd need more barn space to buy enough to last a while to make it worth it, is think.

    Alfalfa is just not very efficient to use in my area, it doesn't grow or store well here and I'd like to eventually find a way of feeding that relies more on local feedstuffs, especially ones I can grow myself.
     
  2. Sans Gene Goats

    Sans Gene Goats New Member

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    I've dug up as many nutritional analyses as as I could on fodder, and pretty much the calcium/phosphorus ratio is about the same as whatever grain you use, if you fed it as feed. If you have a lot of clover in your pasture, I would think you would be fine on the calcium though. Many other plants are high in calcium other than alfalfa, they just don't tend to be made into hay so we they don't get as much "press". Clover, lespedeza, hairy vetch, birdsfoot trefoil, any kind of pea plant - all are high in calcium.

    Because the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is so high, when you don't have pasture with the clover, the will probably eat more of alfalfa pellets. I would think pregnant does and milkers would need more than grass hay for a calcium source, even with a 2:1 ratio, since the demand for calcium is so high for them.

    We are not nearly as warm as where you are, but we plenty of damp (just the cold rainy kind lol) for 8 months and alfalfa hay tends not to store as well as grass. Price has gone way up and quality inconsistent too. I've started feeding Chaffhaye as my main source of alfalfa. I still use alfalfa pellets too - more as a backup in case I can't get Chaffhaye since I only have one source and it's 60 miles away.
     

  3. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Thanks for the info! Darn, didn't realize the fodder also has the inverted ratio. If I had thought about it for two seconds though, I mean minerals don't come out of thin air. That makes sense. Although if its by dry weight, it would be a much smaller part of the ration, as you feed less by dry weight of fodder than you do as straight grain. So I would think it would have a lessened impact.

    It just seems wasteful to basically double up on your protei . I mean protein from concentrate plus alfalfa. A bunch of that is going to be turned into sugar or peed out.

    However, it would make room for any good source of absorbable calcium, low protein or not. There must be something. I looked into egg shell but it would be like 3 oz (volume) per doe per day which is a lot. Then (other than legumes) there are brassicas, which would winter well. I don't know what volume a person would need. Also comfrey.
     
  4. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Although we have a pretty impressive piece of pasture for the milkers in the spring to support the first part of lactation, there is no clover or anything like that come late spring, summer and fall. We do have youpon which is high in calcium, but it never counteracted the hypocalcemia we fought back in the 90's before we fed alfalfa daily.

    The difference of course is my neighbors mix of meat goats do well on browse, a big round bail of crap hay and I have seen his does drink out of water puddles. But they have maybe two kids, wormy nasty little creatures, and usually have only one kid survive, if that, there is never enough milk to grow those kids out because the does get no supplements of anything. So can my pastures and woods grow out goats, sure, but milk? Nope. So although fodder is going to replace my grain, there is no way I can keep dairy animals here and not feed alfalfa. IF I was going to do this, off the land and fodder and still rely on my animals for milk, I would get Kiko meat goats, they can live off the land, and supply a much smaller amount of milk per day.

    It goes back to purchasing your stock, you don't buy big production does and then try to convert them into 4 pound milkers. Because even if the diet only supports that, they are bred for generations to milk 10 pounds, you set them up to metabolically fail. Sell them, get into 4 pound milkers (and there are bloodlines of Nubians that only produce that much so you don't have to switch breeds :) you just have to get rid of the bloodlines you have now. Can they flourish on just fodder and browse, not likely.
     
  5. MF-Alpines

    MF-Alpines New Member

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    Thanks for asking this question, Ashley, because my calcium question didn't get answered in the fodder thread/sticky (although I haven't checked it in a day or so). I, too, was confused.

    We are going to grow it for our sow and for a couple of beef calves that we'll be getting this spring/summer. Now that I have a better understanding of this (thanks, Vicki), we will use it to replace the grain portion for the does.
     
  6. mamatomany

    mamatomany New Member

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    I have some wheat sprouting in my garden tub in the master bath :) I just bought some $1 sterite bins - just 4 of them to a: see if they will eat it, b: can I maintain and water it every 4 hours! It is easy peasy so far. I'm at day 3 and they have nice long sprouts on them. I am interested to see if the cow will eat it. Would love for her to. She calves in10 weeks or so.
     
  7. informative

    informative New Member

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    I'm looking to fix extra nitrogen to fix the old dormant fields and make them more ready for proper growth of other grasses (oats and wheat and maybe a little corn next year) and I was thinking about peanuts. Anyone else had any experience with peanuts and goats? Do they do ok eating those green peanut leaves or are they not OK for goats to forage on?

    I already have some comes back every year in my subdivision 1/4 acre home in Texas - so I know they are enjoying the local weather and hard soil so seemed like an obvious choice.
     
  8. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Goats love peanuts, and love peanut hay! Vicki
     
  9. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Yes, but what I'm looking at are the specifics of why that land can't support that production. Mainly a lack of protein, energy and calcium, right (and other minerals, added in a mineral mix mainly)? So I am simply looking for a more efficient way of supplying those missing links. And certainly if I did a really well thought out forage program, I could provide those off my own land, using legumes that are suited for different times of year etc. and just throw in concentrates, or perhaps even grow my own like carrots and pumpkins. But that would be quite a set up and I don't have the tools to do that. But doesn't keep me from considering other ways. It's such a huge inefficiency, I can't help but be perennially bugged by it. But always careful to make sure my herd has what it needs first and foremost.

    Back when you had problems with hypocalcemia, you were not feeding alfalfa, but you were also feeding sweet feed (acidifying, thus requiring alkaline minerals for buffering) and not copper bolusing right? How much of the improvement is for sure alfalfa, and how much from other areas of management? It's so hard to know because we don't really know what deficiencies we have until they come out in disease. Which is what makes changes scary. This is all talk and thinking, not wanting to switch my girl's diets tomorrow or anything!
     
  10. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Does anyone know what form the calcium in alfalfa is in? Likecalcium carbonate is plain calcium, inorganic. Calcium oxide is inorganic. Then there are organic ones like calcium citrate, phosphate??
     
  11. fmg

    fmg New Member

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    I do not know at all, but I would be willing to bet that the majority of calcium in alfalfa is an organic form, meaning attached to an organic molecule, like an amino acid, etc. I could be way off, but since it is well utilized, that is my thought anyway.
     
  12. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    Nancy it is in an oxalate form and only about 30 to 40 percent is utilized which makes alfalfa fed animals like dairy and rabbits so wonderful for manure collection! All that calcium goes into the soil and into your veggies :)
     
  13. fmg

    fmg New Member

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    Okay, thanks for correcting that, Lee! Interesting.
     
  14. Ozark Lady

    Ozark Lady New Member

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    I really like this subject, in fact I shared the link to it in a pm at another forum.
    I was thinking, hedgerow and growing things to add to my goats diet. I had not considered growing fodder on purpose, I had considered growing grains, to not have to worry about pesticides and gmo's in purchased grains.
    Please keep us informed on the progress, I am now eyeing some 5 gallon buckets that leak water... hmmm?
     
  15. quiltstuff

    quiltstuff New Member

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    That's for sure! I made the mistake of taking a bag of peanuts in the pen one day thinking that I would hand out a few treats......wasn't sure I was going to get out of there in one piece with the mob scene ;)
     
  16. doodles

    doodles New Member

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    Has anyone considered cultivating kudzu for browse?
     
  17. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Oh yes, Angela, I have! I have my little system in my head. Use cattle panels to make a "cage" to keep the goats from killing it, put some kind of tall posts inside to allow the kudzu to climb (increased foliage surface area). The goats could only eat what comes in reach. Keep these well away from wooded areas. This would keep the goats from killing the kudzu while also keeping the kudzu from escaping. Only snag could be of the kudzu made seed. But I understand it doesn't do that much. Could probably just trim it on occasion if needed or if it really starting doing a lot of blooming, open it up and let the goats eat it to the to the ground, then close it back up and it will grow back from its vast reserves :). Little goat utopia... In theory ;)
     
  18. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    That is interesting lee, not really that absorbable a form... But in a whole food form with other nutrients too that help I imagine.

    I wonder if this means that you could supplement with a more absorbable form like calcium citrate or phosphate and only need a bit over half as much calcium as what you get from alfalfa? Which by my figures, the 3 lbs of alfalfa is providing about 20,000 mg calcium and 2880 mg phosphorus. So you could say 17,000 right? So I wonder if 10-12 grams of a very absorbable form could potentially replace the calcium provided by alfalfa?
    That could be provided by 4 tbsp per day of egg shell calcium (with lemon juice added to make it citrate- still trying to find if vinegar does the same thing??).
     
  19. MF-Alpines

    MF-Alpines New Member

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    MaryAnn, go to the sticky at the top of this section of the forum and you will find pages and pages on the topic.
     
  20. mamatomany

    mamatomany New Member

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    Kudzu is crazy around my area! It is literally everywhere...Clemson University introduced it to kill off something and it has literally taken over...Goats love peanut hay too. I have a friend that has a field full of it and he gives me a round bale now and then. It is really high in protein, so I give it as a treat. I have some barley I got at an asian store cheap soaking tonite, and in the morning I will begin to sprout it...In four days I will do some oats. See who likes what...Although my kids have been eating it...the wheat I have sprouted is extremely sweet :) If I can keep the 2 legged ones out of my bath...the animals may have some food. Altho I am quite temped to make some sprouted bread :)