Alfalfa pellets & free-fed grass hay - questions!

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Good Goats, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Good Goats

    Good Goats New Member

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    I am wondering how you all do it who feed alfalfa pellets along with free-fed grass hay. The grass hay we can get here is Sudan, and is very nice.

    How many pounds of alfalfa pellets a/day would a purebred Nubian doe get?? Do they get alfalfa pellets once or twice a day? Under "ingredients" on my alfalfa pellet bag, it says "Straight cured alfalfa." it probably says somewhere on the bag the protein, etc %, but I'll have to look on my next bag I open.

    I am really interested in switching over to a feeding program like this, if it would be better for the goats and (if possible) cheaper. We are dry lot feeding also. . . no pasture (although usually about 4 times a week they get to go out on some pasture for about an hour. . . it's sage, southern CA high desert pasture/land).

    Oh and one more question - do you feed all your does their alfalfa pellets together?

    Thanks so much and sorry about all the questions ;).
    Suriyah
     
  2. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    I'll let these nubi owners try to answer about how much to feed.

    ......but will tell you what I do as far as feedings/times. I feed twice a day year around....and the reason is, that I will be milking twice a day for a period of about 8 months.....so I really want my goats to stay on that schedule/routine. Now I have a very small herd, and feed each goat separately. The advantage that this gives me, is that if I have a goat that is getting sick and going off feed, then I pick up on it very fast. One of the first indicators that something isn't right with a goat is that they refuse to eat, or barely touch their food.
    Feeding each one individually, also helps me make amount adjustments in some of my plump little piggy's diet.
    I have watched folks who gang feed several goats at a time, and I notice that most of the time, as many as 2 0r 3 just get shoved out of the way, and several others that don't get their fair portion.
    Now what I do takes a little more time and trouble than some folks want to do....but I'm a firm believer that little things like this pays off in the long run.
    This is what works best for me here.....you very well may develope a plan that works better for you, and better for your goats.

    Hope this helps, Whim
     

  3. Keeperofmany

    Keeperofmany New Member

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    I feed my goats about the same as Whimm, They get individual treatment. I only have six goats so that isn't such a hard thing for me to do. I have two Nubian doelings that are just about a year old but they haven't grown very big. They get fed twice a day, they have 1/4 cup of BOSS & 1/2 cup of oats,and I sprinkle some kelp on top of the feed. ( One of them refuses to eat kelp ) Then they get 1 litre of alfalfa pellets each when they have finished their feed. My milker is 1/2 Saanen and 1/2 Nubian and she is not very tall either. She is kinda broad though. She gets in her morning feed 2 & 1/2 cups of oats and 1/2 cup BOSS with kelp, and then she gets a litre of alfalfa pellets. Evening milking the same. I have a 50% Mini Nubian Buck and right now because of his poor condition from being in rutt, he gets the same as the doelings. I also have a saanen buckling just under a year and a saanen wether, They get 1/4 cup BOSS and 1/4 cup of oats with kelp twice a day and they also get just one litre of alfalfa pellets between them twice a day. They all have free choice minerals and baking soda.
    Hope this helps some.

    Wendy
     
  4. Good Goats

    Good Goats New Member

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    Thanks Whim and Wendy! I would do it the way that both of you guys do it (individual feeding), but with 25 adult goats it would take a lot of time and effort. . . BUT I do not feed all the does together. I put all the pushy/bully goats together, and all the calmer ones, ones that get along together. That way nobody gets pushed away from their feed, and everyone is fine. I have 21 does, and I split them into 3 different pens (about 7 in each pan). That has worked great for several months.

    Wendy, what kind of hay do you feed or are they on pasture? Also have you weighed your alfalfa pellets and seen how many pounds one litre is? I just weighed the alfalfa pellets this morning -
    2 1/2 cups = 1 lb

    Okay now it's time to here from some Nubian breeders with amounts, PLEASE :D!
     
  5. Good Goats

    Good Goats New Member

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    Hey Vicki, and Sondra, don't you gals feed like this? I want to hear your opinions :D
     
  6. Keeperofmany

    Keeperofmany New Member

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    Hi suriyah... My goats are not on pasture. All we have are woods. My hay that I get can differ every week when I go to pick it up. We only get 5 bales a week. What we usually get is a second cut flat stalk hay,( don't know what the name of it is ) very nice to us but the goats don't like it much. The guy who has it says he has some weedy hay and we can have that when he can reach it. I tried for the alfalfa hay but it all went moldy. I am lucky to get the hay I do. We pay 3 dollars for a square bale.

    I have never weighed my alfalfa pellets, I don't have a scale. :blush It just looked like a good amount and my goats are really doing good now.

    Wendy
     
  7. Truly

    Truly New Member

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    I raise Nubians. I free feed the alfalfa pellets, but I do keep track of how much I'm putting in. It comes out to between 3-4lbs a day each. Mostly closer to three lbs. With the free feeding I don't worry about someone not getting their fair share. When the "Big bossy" girls get what they want, the littler ones (not really little) can get all they want. I actually have plenty of room for all the does to get to the feed, separated by the wires in a cattle panel. It's just that "Big and bossy" can manage to protect three panels at a time, by swinging their heads back and forth.

    The only time I was not happy free feeding the pellets was when the bucks were running with the girls after everyone was bred. Then 10 goats were going thru 50lbs a day. Obviously, the boys were hogging them. (The bucks went back to their own area as soon as the first doe started showing.) They still get 4 lbs a day; pigs.
     
  8. MayLOC

    MayLOC New Member

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    Well, I no longer have any nubian does, but I fed them the exact way I feed everybody else I have. When I switched to alfalfa pellets a few years back I read somewhere that vicki used about 3 pounds/day/doe. So that is where I aimed for when I started the pellets. I feed everybody 2 x/day. so morning I figure on 1 1/2 pounds /doe and same in the evening. I spread the pellets in the feeder. but I kind of feed based on what they are eating. so when I go out tomorrow I check the feeders and if they are licked free of dust, I will throw another cup or two in. If there are a few cups left then I will cut a few cups out of the morning feeding. My adult does get nothing but their a. pellets 2 x /day. I expect them to be cleaned up by the next feeding or I am feeding too much. They eat around 3 pounds most all the time. My younger bunches of bred girls have been eating 2 pounds /day of a. pellets since fall. they are all about yearlings now and about a month from kidding. they get spoiled a bit more as I do put out a small amount of grass hay 2x/day also. I put out just enough that it will be cleaned pretty well by the next feeding also. I put it in a seperate feeder. this works great for me and there is minimal waste and most the time none at all. I don't want my girls going hungry, but I won't allow them to waste anything and become picky either. The important part is I built new feeders last summer and not only are they out of any possible weather, but they cannot at all be pooped or peed or stood in. so my gals have no excuse at all not to clean up their food now, and I don't allow them any excuses either. :lol

    eta: forgot to say that my gals are all dry-lotted also. so there is no browse at all figured in.
     
  9. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Hay and pasture here, so you being dry lotted free choice grass hay would be fine, although I know several folks who free choice alfalfa pellets with not hay at all on a dry lot.

    I have feeders in the barn that hold alfalfa pellets, and I also keep my older milkers in one stall and my younger milkers in another, kids in another, infants in another and bucks in the woods. So competition at the feeders is between same sized goats. 3 pound of alfalfa pellets once a day is the goal, obviously I have no idea if everyone is getting exactly that, but it is how much is put out. Once milking it goes up to about 4 pounds...but like has been said it's about a clean feeder at least once a day or I back off on the amount. In the beginning they will eat everything you give them, so you can't just go out and put 50 pounds in a feeder like I can or you will founder your goats. Minerals and water also. I do keep a grass hay out for awful weather like today it rained the whole day.

    By feeding like this, especially when you factor in the waste issue, and the hauling issue and the storing of hay issue, and the keeping quality issue, it simply is cheaper unless you are up north and getting your alfalfa hay for half of what alfalfa pellets cost. This way you can ditch all the fancy grain mixes for milkers, you can feed oats, increase the fat if you want to...but it certainly makes life easier. Vicki
     
  10. Good Goats

    Good Goats New Member

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    Thanks everyone! Alfalfa here is about $13 a bale (115 lb or so bales), and the pellets are $9.99 for 50 pounds. What do you think?
     
  11. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    It's up to you. Here hay guys dealing in the best hay are used car salesman at best...at worst they are just liars.

    I am 50, I am not hauling hay anymore, stacking it in the barn and then cleaning up wasted hay each day so it doesn't build up into a slimey mess that is way to heavy. I have nothing to feed the spent hay to and am not running back to the back of the property anymore and feeding my neighbors cattle my expensive hay.

    For myself there is no arguement made against alfalfa pellets that will make me change. Vicki
     
  12. MayLOC

    MayLOC New Member

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    well I have to agree with vicki. I am young ;), we have a place to put hay under shelter, we have equipment to get in big bales of alfalfa and I do have other animals to give the spent hay to. However...I still am totally sold on the pellets! That is about twice what I am paying for my a. pellets--though we get them in bulk by the ton. but that is also much higher than I could get the alfalfa for. I just cannot stand the waste of hay. Even the absolute best of alfalfa...still waste. I may think differently if we had circles ourselves (grew alfalfa) but even then I am not sure...I would probably think ...well I could sell the alfalfa hay, buy pellets and then have no waste! Everytime I see hay scattered and big hay feeders with hay spilling out I just see $$$$ all over my ground! That is of course just my opinion :D You will just have to do the math and see what works best for your situation.
     
  13. Good Goats

    Good Goats New Member

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    Thanks Vicki and MayLOC!
     
  14. XCricketX

    XCricketX New Member

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    If I could get away from the hay mess... that would be nice!

    So are you all saying that even those supposedly "Hay saver" feeders... waste hay as well? I was thinking about getting one, or making something... but if they don't prevent it, then it is not worth my time. Feeding just alfalfa pellets... seems sooooOO simple! *is it just too good to be true?* ^_^

    Cricket