Alfalfa Pellets vs. Alfalfa Hay

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Liberty Alpines, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. Liberty Alpines

    Liberty Alpines New Member

    Which do you like better, alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay? I have always used alfalfa hay, because I've pretty much been able to get good quality hay, my goats love it, and the breeder I first bought from used it. Would I have any good reasons to consider switching over to pellets? If so, what brand do you like? Please teach me what you've learned...Thanks! :D
  2. baileybunch

    baileybunch New Member

    I'm not one to be "teacher" but from my experience, I like pellets better. With the hay there is so much wasted and worry over mold. I like alfalfa pellets but not all brands are alike! MFA sells pellets that are terribly dusty and we had to filter them to feed them...of three 50# bags, I had over 25 pounds of dust! :/ My doe got the snots from inhaling the dust. It was a lot of work to filter the pellets twice a day, too. I bought another bag from them once and it smelled like diesel fuel! :sniffle I like the Merri Mixer brand. Less dust. Pretty, green. No waste! That's what I like the most. No waste. :D

  3. MysticHollowGoats

    MysticHollowGoats New Member

    I prefer pellets because there is MUCH less waste, they eat all the pellets. Alfalfa hay is about $15 per 100lb bale here and almost half ends up as bedding. Plus with the pellets I know exactly how much everyone is getting and they are much easier for me to handle. I can lift a 50lb bag if I happen to run out in the middle of the day when DH is not here to help. There is no way I could lift a 100lb bale of hay, I am only 5'2 and 109lb myself!
  4. Tim Pruitt

    Tim Pruitt New Member

    Here we cannot get good quality alfalfa hay. It has too large of stems, the leaves shatter and fall to the bottom of the hay feeder along with other dirt and dust and will not be eaten - thus wasted. The stems are thrown out for bedding. This makes for a very expensive product. There is also a problem getting help to unload it, store it and then it molds while stored due to our high humidity.

    Alfalfa pellets on the other hand are in 50# bags and can be handled easily. I ususally buy 20 bags at a time and store them in the kitchen part of my milk barn. There is a slight problem with dust that comes from pouring into buckets that gets all over the counter . tables and ect and of course a never ending supply of bags to throw away as there are way too many to re-use. Because every pellet is eaten, there is no waste and you can measure exactly how much the goats are to eat.
  5. MayLOC

    MayLOC New Member

    I have only been using alfalfa pellets a year and a half now and will never go back to hay only. I love being able to measure amounts, I love the convenience of storage and handleability--is that a word? But most of all I love the no waste feature. I have all my feeders inside shelter now and they are all the stick your head through and into the feeder types (can't get feed/manure in) and so there is absolutely no waste.

    It makes little dollar signs circle around in my head every time I see goat pens bedded down in pretty green alfalfa or pics. of hay feeders with hay falling out everywhere :crazy.

    And I love that we can get it at a mill 1.5 hours from our place in one ton sacks that we store in the shop. There are fines in ours but it is fresh green smelling and looking and they eat it all up. Ya , it's also the sun-cured 100% alfalfa.
    Of course, if you ask my goats I think they will tell you they prefer the good alfalfa hay that we can get around here. However they eat all the "frosting off the cake" and then leave all the stems behind :really But they get the occassional treat of hay.
  6. Truly

    Truly New Member

    During the summer I decided to switch to pellets. I had an immediate increase, about 10%, in milk production.

    I love them for the same, no waste, reason.

    For the winter I am supplementing with grass hay. When that is gone, I'll get some alfalfa grass mix to supplement with.
  7. Narrow Chance

    Narrow Chance New Member

    I love the alfalfa hay. My girls and occasionally the bucks love it too. I have used the pellets, when I couldn't get hay. They will eat it.. but they would much prefer field grass to the pellets. Hard to get pellets here that are not half dust.
    Hard to get alfalfa hay also. It's $15 a square bale.. ranging around 100#.
    I was fortunate to find alfalfa/orchard grass hay in a nearby town that sells it for $95 a 850 # bale. They love that and it's not much waste and what is left.. the bucks get, what's not eaten by the bucks, the cows finish off.
    I had waste also.. made me sick to see it scattered on the ground... and if it ever gets wet.. what an awful smell.
    A friend made a hay trough.. works great.. so I made one also. Holds a large hay flake from the big bales.. and there is almost no waste, except the large stakes from the hay.. that only the cows will eat. Works out good for me.. since I started feeding the uneaten hay to DH's cows.. he doesn't mind me buying alfalfa anymore. Wonder why that is??? :lol
  8. Kaye White

    Kaye White Guest

    Well...then there's me...gotta' be different. Kinda' :really
    I feed both. I can buy very high quality Western Alfalfa at $90/ 1300-1400# bale. Not much stem at all. There's 6 in the barn right now. And supplier has over 500 about 30 min. from me. We pick up 6-8 at a time. It's fed 2 large flakes at a time, to 10 head of goats.
    Living within 30 min. of a major race track and knowing the horse supplier...we get small squares-100# for $4 a bale. He's hauling it-semi loads in at a time and any bales that are sun-bleached on the outside or not perfect we get the remains. Last load he hauled...we got 25 small bales.

    Also feed the alfalfa pellets, if I think the hay is not of the best quality. The goats let me know if the hay is not top quality. If hay is good quality...there's alfalfa pellets left in the feeders, lower quality and pellets are eaten. Works for us.

    Along with the alfalfa, we feed a native mixed grass round bale. I roll the outer edges off and put good hay in an off the ground feeder. The goats alternate between the alfalfa and the grass hay.

    :rofl The pellets I am able to get are fantastic. They come from Idaho!!! Near Tracy! Standlee pellets. 100% sun-dried Alfalfa- no additives. AND very little if any dust.

    I guess I've been living right this year...cause I have in the past had some sorry alfalfa and had to feed all pellets. The steers got the bad bales.
  9. Agape Oaks

    Agape Oaks Guest

    My goats much prefer the alfalfa hay.....& of course being ever so slightly spoiled,they get what they wnat most of the time :). I do hate the wasted hay that ends up all over the ground. Last year I tossed it over the fence to the steer we raised, but he's in the freezer now- best meat ever, probably because of all the alfalfa he ate.
  10. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    only use pellets here as is the same case as Tim no quality alfalfa hay here. plus they waste just too much
  11. Qvrfullmidwife

    Qvrfullmidwife New Member

    All of teh above reasons for using them apply here as well and also I want to chime in on "but not all brands are alike! "

    Check the labels. Logically alfalfa pellets are only chopped, pressed dehydrated alfalfa but at least one main (nationally available) brand out there has molasses in them as well.
  12. coso

    coso Guest

    It was cheaper for me to feed the alfalfa hay only. I can get (like Kaye) a 3rd cutting 3x3x8 bale of western alfalfa for $90.00. I tried feeding alfalfa pellets and grass hay for about 3 months but it wasn't cost effective for me. Alfalfa pellets are around 14 cents/ lb Alfalfa hay is about the same but the kicker for me was that I was feeding $3.00 a bale grass hay with this and they were eating and wasting it about the same rate they were the alfalfa hay. This was during the winter and they didn't have much browse, feeding in the summer probably would have made it more economical. Plus I was having dust problems with it some bags would be OK and some would not, and I have cattle to feed waste to. I am set up to handle the bigger bales so this would make a difference also.
  13. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

    Coso, are you in MO? I can't remember.
  14. coso

    coso Guest

    Yep, Ashley. Alton, they hay I'm referring to is up between West Plains and Mountain Grove though.
  15. New Member

    If you feed alfalfa hay you don't feed grass hay. So why if you feed alfalfa pellets would you feed grass hay. It's the same thing. The model for feeding AP this way came from a gal who could no longer lift bales of hay, so she gets AP delivered in bulk feeders, so she doesn't have to mess with the alfalfa. Other than some grain on the milkstand, the goats get no other hay or grain. Vicki
  16. Beverrlly

    Beverrlly New Member

    I have a question for us way up north. Do alfalfa pellets act like hay in the rumen??

    I was always taught that ruminants (and horses) keep warm by the fermentation of browse/hay in the rumen. With our windchill of -25 today, I'd really like to keep my little goats as warm as possible. Their barn is heated--poorly heated, but still, so they have somewhere to get out of the bitter cold but I'd like them to be able to keep themselves warm so right now I'm feeding pellets and a mixed grass hay that I get cheap because its very weedy.
  17. coso

    coso Guest

    Yeah, I know you have said that before Vicky. I just can't get past the thought of feeding just pellets I guess. I thought you fed some grass hay along? I've also wondered about Bevs question too, not that we get that cold in S MO but alfalfa pellets are already broken down to some extent, and I worried about the rumen factor. I know, I know it's the same thing. But it isn't in the same form.
  18. Truly

    Truly New Member

    I too thought they needed the grass hay to keep them warm.

    So I guess we need some clarification on that.

    There's no heat in my barn and it can get to -50 or below with wind chill factors here. :help
  19. I use alfalfa pellets because the goats waste so much of the hay. The pellets are easier for me to store then the hay. And the goat likes them and they are cheaper to get then the hay.
  20. Gabe

    Gabe Guest

    My goats have grass hay available all the time and I noticed that they eat more of it if it is colder. They have not so much browse right now. I also think the natural bicarb in grass hay is higher than in alfa.
    The girls have alfa pellets almost free choice.