Silage for goats

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by SANDQ, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. SANDQ

    SANDQ Senior Member

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    Does anyone know or have any information, about feeding grass silage to goats. I have a method of making small amounts of silage I want to try out, but I am not sure if, firstly the goats will eat it and secondly how much they should be expected to eat per day.
     
  2. MF-Alpines

    MF-Alpines New Member

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    Would there be a risk of listeriosis when feeding silage? I think I've read that.
     

  3. Trysta

    Trysta New Member

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    http://www.dairygoatjournal.com/issues/86/86-3/John_Hibma.html

    This is a pretty good article on silage (both corn silage and haylage) for goats. Silage has a bad rep in the goat world, but I think that is mainly because it's a lot trickier to harvest, pack and store silage than it is for hay, PLUS, and I think that is the main problem: silage need 'feed speed', if the face of your silage pit is exposed to open air too long, you get spoilage and the spoiled silage will greatly increase risk of health problems and also taste/smell problems in your milk. If you have a way of storing silage in (relatively small) bags and have enough does to feed the silage before it spoils (or if you have a neighbor dairyman you can share silage with to increese feeding speed), you can have excellent results with silage. Goats being goats, and therefore browsers (very different from cows) I think I'd still offer hay on the side.

    As soon as I see a way how to, I will try feeding silage. Right now my herd isn't large enough and the closest dairy farm not someone I'd could work with to pick up small, daily loads of silage, so i'm sticking to hay, bread and a grain mix right now.

    Anyway, this article says 4-5 lbs of silage for milking does is a good amount and that sounds about right. Let us know how it goes for you, Quentin, I'd be very interested!!
     
  4. dreamfirefarm

    dreamfirefarm New Member

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    TRY Chaffe-Hay Not sure of the spelling but it is a wonderful silage hay packaged in small bags. I have fed some bagged in 2006 and still good.
     
  5. Trysta

    Trysta New Member

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    The Chaffe hay would be too expensive to feed in large amounts, plus, Quentin lives in Bulgaria, I don't think they sell it there.
     
  6. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    I used to board my horses at an old dairy farm that didn't have dairy cows anymore but still had the silage pits....and they were still feeding their silage from about 12 years ago to the current population of long-horn cows! I couldn't believe it. And they were open pits. The stuff smelled just like the silage I remember from the dairy farms of my youth. Apparantly cows are a little more tolerant to molds than goats are.
     
  7. dreamfirefarm

    dreamfirefarm New Member

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    Didnt realize that! SORRY
     
  8. Trysta

    Trysta New Member

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    Oh, wow. Kudos to the digestive systems of those longhorn cows!!! Yuck, and thank goodness they apperently didn't milk those poor longhorns!
     
  9. SANDQ

    SANDQ Senior Member

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    Thanks for the input, Trysta, the method I am using is know as " little bag silage " and was originaly devoloped by and English man called Ian Laine, for use in Northern India. I have has several e-mail conversations with him, and he told me he had great succses using this method for goats. I made 2 bags as a trial, using this method yesterday adding a little sugar to the bags, as he told me too, to aid fermantation, but I have to wait a month to see the results. If you google
    little bag silage you will find all the info including methods and photos.
     
  10. Trysta

    Trysta New Member

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    Quentin, that is very interesting. I used to work on a research farm in The Netherlands and we did some ensiling research using a variety of systems, including small bags and PVC pipes! I will google the Little Bag site, because I am thinking of making some silage for my does this summer (haylage actually, from my Alfalfa). As an additive sugar will definitely work, but if you have access to them silage additives with live bacteria actually have great results and woul;d work too in smallerf amounts.
     
  11. fmg

    fmg New Member

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    When I was going to the University of Idaho, there were nutrition students at the dairy there making haylage for the cows and the sheep. They baled up the hay (not sure if there was a special way of doing this) when it was at the right moisture content for silage and then wrapped the bales using the plastic that they use for sealing up pallets...then flipped the bales on their sides and went around that way. I think they turned out just fine.
     
  12. SANDQ

    SANDQ Senior Member

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    Well it is now 1 month on from making my 2 trial bags of silage ( about 15 kg in total ) and I opened 1 at random earlier. To be honest I was expecting to find compost, to my suprise and delight I found the most beautiful sweet smelling silage instead!
    I am very pleased with the out come, however, I have no way of telling its nutritional value, as my supply of fresh cut grass, came from the box on the back of my lawn mower, when we cut our lawn. This is probably not the best supply of grass, but it does come out fine chopped and rather than throw it away, I thought I would test the " the little bag silage " process, with it.
    I have tried a hand full of it on 2 of my goats, and they love it!! As my goats go out to pasture most of the year, I was thinking of making silage from my lawn when the grass is good enough throughout the year, and feeding it as a supplement to hay, when the winter is here,and my goats are on a maintenance ration only.
    I was wondering how much to feed to the goats, I have read somewhere that in the winter 1 kg per goat per day will suffice, but this was in India.
    On the whole I recommend the " LBS " method of making silage, a plus being that you can make it in small amounts, throughout the year and store it for the winter.
     
  13. dragonlair

    dragonlair New Member

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    When I had the commercial cow dairy and a large herd of milk goats, I fed my goats the grass silage and corn silage. They loved it and we never had a problem with any illnesses. The big factor is how well it was stored. We had a huge airtight silo and the product that came out was real nice. I just made sure the goats had more hay than silage and had the hay in their gut before I fed the silage. Well, the cows too, but this is about the goats.
     
  14. smithurmonds

    smithurmonds New Member

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    By the time I factor in the cost of having quality alfalfa shipped here, plus the enormous amount of waste, and quality degradation/spoilage due to our humidity Chaffhaye is not more expensive for us.