Compressed Alfalfa from Feed store or pellets? or 2007 planted harvest?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by tjgoatgirl, May 19, 2008.

  1. tjgoatgirl

    tjgoatgirl New Member

    105
    0
    0
    Hi All......this is my first time posting anything.........so bear with me here PLEASE.........My question is regarding Alfalfa.....I feed free choice horse quality grass hay and have been supplementing my babies and bred does with compressed alfalfa (it weighs like 50 lbs but is about a 2 foot square tightly bound really green bale).

    The reason is because this is all the feed stores have and I've not encountered much alfalfa from farmers around here either. I did just find a guy who says they're getting ready to cut/bale straight alfalfa from afield planted in 2007...........So it would be first cutting of a relatively new hayfield......I live in Missouri, and he is wanting 7.50 a bale.............the compressed stuff is 9.99 and looks artificial (like Easter Egg Grass or something!) but then I've also been reading about alfalfa pellets?

    My main questions here are:
    1. Is alfalfa planted in 2007 too new or something? Why did the farmer feel the need to mention this to me? or is it really too new to feed something he just cut like a week ago?

    2. Has anyone tried the compressed hay? and is there any known dangers or bad nutritional details to it? I know there's some kind of problem with a certain kind of alfalfa ...chafed or something?

    3. Can all the does.........old, young, dry, open, one-horned, fat and thin, Alpine to Nigerian and the wether all just have some alfalfa supplemented in with the regular grass hay?

    They all desperately seek the alfalfa compressed-type in the baby/bred doe stall, and I wondered if it would hurt to give them all a couple flakes a day?

    NOTE: They all get about 1 cup of Purina Goat Chow per day....a little more for the Alpine, and the bred doe............and up until reading on this forum, the buck (non-breeding right now) and the wether were getting 1 cup each as well.............then I read Sondra's (I'm pretty sure) post that said if you're giving the bucks any grain at all, then you better feed them alfalfa also; not just grass hay.........I'm so confused.........I haven't given the buck and wether any grain in the last day, but they really love alfalfa, and I feel sorry for them since they only have access to browse and greens every couple of days when I let them into the horse field.

    So......Can I just give them ALL alfalfa so I don't have to separate who can have some and who cannot? and What kind do you all prefer? :sigh

    NOTE II: They all get Golden Mineral free choice w/ 1.5 lbs. ammonium chloride mixed into 25 lbs. and handfuls of black oil sunflower seeds for snack every couple of days or dried beet pulp.

    I think WAY more about the goats dinner than the humans! Can you tell?

    and it seems......... the more I learn, the more confused I am!!!!!! :help2

    Very sorry this is so LONG..........
    I appreciate anyone's input!
    Tracy :?
     
  2. Shykid Acres

    Shykid Acres Guest

    Everyone needs alfalfa in some form or another. Non-breeding bucks and wethers and I think dry does (not doelings) do not get grain.

    I have never tried the compressed alfalfa. I use the pellets. They do not waste any that way. As far as the alfalfa field being a new one I have no idea if there is any significance to that or not. Not my area of expertise. :)

    Hope this helped a little.
     

  3. tjgoatgirl

    tjgoatgirl New Member

    105
    0
    0
    Thanks Kimberly. At least alfalfa pellets would be available year-round! I'll look into them.
     
  4. susie

    susie New Member

    279
    0
    0
    I really prefer the pellets due to the waste of the hay. If you have cows they will eat the stems usually, but I just got tired of dealing with the stems . Now we feed local hay or browse and alfalfa pellets and like that quite a bit.

    Susie
     
  5. tjgoatgirl

    tjgoatgirl New Member

    105
    0
    0
  6. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    9,442
    1
    0
    OK 1st the problem with feeding grain to bucks and wethers is the possibility of UC in which case if your going to feed them grain then you also have to feed AC to help them not to get UC and yes in my opinion they need alfalfa my boys get alfalfa pellets and grass hay because I have no browse if you have lots of browse then I don't think they need the hay. I use alfalfa pellets because there no waste to them. I do know that some cuttings of alfalfa hay are too hot so you can't just use it free choice and have to introduce it slowly. but I don't know what cutting that is.
     
  7. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

    16,497
    4
    0
    I used the chopped dehydrated hay for several years, in fact my feeders were built to hold these, I then moved to alfalfa pellets learning about them on the internet from the gal who really started this alfalfa pellet feeding method.

    The one thing I do know in the 22 years of finding hay is that I know aboslutely nothing about it :) Find good hay is like finding a good used car.

    Alfalfa pellets, minerals, grass hay and water is in every pen on the farm. Infant pen, junior pen, young milker pen, older milker barn, buck barn. Then grain is fed to working bucks, growing kids, does in the last 50 days of pregnancy and milking does on the milkstand.

    I dont' like how you mix your ammonium chloride into your minerals. If you are going to feed grain to bucks without twice as much alfafla each day, than they need 1 teaspoon each and every day mixed into that grain. Mixed into water or into minerals you have no idea if they are even eating it.

    I realize chows are convienent especially for pet goats. It's just expensive for what it actually is. Vicki
     
  8. tjgoatgirl

    tjgoatgirl New Member

    105
    0
    0
    So........Alfalfa Pellets seem to be the consensus..........however Vicki has used the compressed dehydrated hay............and you didn't say not to, right, Vicki? They all LOVE the "Easter Egg Grass" and it's readily available here.

    One more question to clarify about the alfalfa pellets; free choice means all day long? I read somewhere on this forum in creep feeders? Do you just pour an entire 50 lb bag into a creep feeder? or what? :? Are your creep feeders in the barn or outside? I was thinking weather conditions humidity may harm the pellets?

    I also have been feeding some black oil sunflower seeds to everybody in their bowls after grain, and Beet pulp dry (not soaked)..........every couple of days............any problems with this?

    Lastly, if alfalfa pellets are around free choice all day........then isn't this really healthy for the bred does for the calcium requirement to avoid Hypocalcemia? I am constantly worried for my one doe who is now overdue............well.........not really since she was exposed to the buck for 2 months at her last owner (no way to really know the exact date then, is there!!!!).....but I'm always worried that she's getting enough. I'm proud to say that WHENEVER she gives birth, I have every med. on Vicki's list now....and know how to use "most of 'em."

    Vicki and Sondra, I'm NOT feeding my smelly ole' buck or wether any more grain except during breeding.....thus no need to individually add AC to their food, but can they still have the sunflower seeds and beet pulp....do ya think? I'm looking for something like CELERY-to-US that I can feed without consequence any time they spear me with their big, blue, oh-so-hungry eyes! :biggrin P.S........I Love when the Big-Guns get involved! Thank you so much Vicki & Sondra!

    THANK YOU ALL experienced goat-owners for sharing your time and info. with us all! :D :biggrin :D
     
  9. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

    16,497
    4
    0
    Of course nothing in goats is that easy :) If you have bad copper defficency, overfeed iron or have high levels of zinc.... spending all day with your head in the best alfalfa will not stave off hypocalcemia :)

    I can't do the big feeders with alfalfa pellets in them all the time, or hog feeders, there is always a layer, but with our humidity it has to be cleaned out completely once a week, so the girls get nothing on Saturdays until it's all gone, and then I sweep out the feeder and feed the extra to the pigs. But yes, using your alfalfa for the main stay of the diet, be it hay, your chopped alfalfa or pellets is key.

    When I milked 21 last year yes a whole 50 pound bag went in to the feeder but that only lasted until the next day :)

    Yes my feeders are inside the barn, the original gal who I learned to do this from had a couple of tons of alfalfa pellets delivered into a big bin her husband made, they self sifted down into feeders, the goats ate them in the corral. On the milkstand the goats got only the smallest amounts of grain to just get them to come in.

    The US alfalfa that we fed is much more expensive than our alfalfa pellets are with so many people around me feeding them. But yes I did like them and of course with longer fiber length in them it at least gives you something to argue about when the naysayers start all their long fiber nonsense with you :)

    The big guns.....I like that!

    Some BOSS and beet pulp isn't going to hurt your bucks as long as they get alfalfa. Vicki
     
  10. paulaswrld

    paulaswrld New Member

    629
    0
    0
    I started adding the pellets last week as some of you already know, I have 7 milkers, 2 yearlings and a couple of babies that are getting big enough to start trying to eat the pellets....how much is normal to go through...My 50 lb bag was 12.00 and It was gone in 3 days....during those 3 days, they also consumed 1 bale of hay at 7.00, 50lb bag of grain at 11.00 and who knows the cost on the handful of beetpulp and calf manna per milker. My husband thinks I am overfeeding....now, I will admit that my girls are NOT small nubians...but they really are NOT fat either. So, what do you all think??
     
  11. Truly

    Truly New Member

    344
    0
    0
    Paula, I have 7 milking does, 10 kids, 1 buck and one dry 2yo. They go thru almost 50lbs a day of pellets. Only the milkers get grain, but I'm fairly certain they don't go thru 50lbs of grain in three days. I top dress grain with BOSS, but I think this will be the last bag of that as I paid $23 for 50lbs and the price the other day was $30. YIKES!! Now regarding the hay, I think a bale in three days is about right where I'm at too.