cutting feed costs

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by goat girl, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. goat girl

    goat girl New Member

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    I recently bought alfalfa pellets--$15 for 50 pounds. My goats currently get all you can eat brome mix and alfalfa pellets twice a day. If I understand it right, the alfalfa is for calcium and my hay is to give them the roughage they need. Am I right? If so, is there a cheaper way to get them the calcium? Been reading Dairy Goats for Pleasure and profit and he mentions using steamed bone meal, ground limestone, or dicalcium phosphate. Do any of you use these? Are they any cheaper? My grain feed is a dairy mix the local feed store makes. One thought I had was to make my own feed--which I use to do with BOSS, beet pulp, oats, and corn--and then add to it the bone meal or similar.

    would appreciate hearing what advice you might have.
    Christine Henderson
     
  2. nitrors4

    nitrors4 Guest

    Did a quick Google and got this.

    Research in the 1980s found that many bone meal preparations were contaminated with lead and other toxic metals, and it is no longer recommended as a calcium source.

    I am sure some of the pros will speak up. :biggrin
     

  3. stacy adams

    stacy adams New Member

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    Bone Meal... are you serious? Goats are vegetarians, well mine are. and isn't that how mad cow came about? Sorry, I don't mean to sound rude, but I'd look around for another source. We found one near Oklahoma, it's a bit further to drive, so now we load up on pellets so we only have to make the trip once a month.
    No, I wouldn't go with the bone meal. :nooo
     
  4. nitrors4

    nitrors4 Guest

    Looks like you can get some that is certified to be free of the metal and other nasty stuff.

    I think Alfalfa pellets is also good roughage, but I could be wrong. God knows I am on a regualar basis. :biggrin

    We use BOSS, Meat Goat Pellet, and Alfalfa Pellets. I hear you on the cost though. Sure are proud, but it works so well. Can you get good alfalfa in your area?
     
  5. nitrors4

    nitrors4 Guest

  6. We use alfalfa hay instead of alfalfa pellets b/c it is more affordable for us. The A.P. are quite expensive around here and they wont keep the one brand, it switches, they get in what ever is sent to them.

    I mix my own grain.

    I tried feeding just alfalfa pellets and free choice grass hay with oats/boss on the milk stand. My girls lost their good condition and their milk production went down. I even fed extra pellets then the 3lb/per doe/per day...

    I switched back to the alfalfa hay and grain mix I had used before. Milk production increased and the girls looked awesome for their last show.
     
  7. KingsCoGoatGuy

    KingsCoGoatGuy New Member

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    BSE from my under standing was caused by feeding cheap proteins. The nature of things did a very well done 2 hour special on it with farmers in Canada, Europe, and USA. Things like cardboard, feathers, bloodmeal, & bonemeal were added to their feeds. They also used to feed the innards of beef to chickens and chicken guts to cattle... They showed some nasty looking stuff that was being mixed into their feeds. (YouTube might even have it, if you wanted to watch it.)

    I have been mixing my own grain now for months. I started just mixing rolled oats, cracked corn, & 16% dairy ration. Then I started adding BOSS, Alfalfa Pellets, & Soy Bean Meal. I seen such a change in the way my does were milking, as well the ones who never could gain weight on dairy ration started to put some weight back on.
    Soy meal meal is a great way to add protein to their diets, Vicki or the others would be better to explain it to you but my bag is a 44% protein. I top dress everyones grain with it as well as Alfalfa pellets.
     
  8. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

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    Bone meal usually comes in bulk, but it may be possible to get it at the garden centers as it is useful in increasing the calcium in the soil. It is illegal to feed bone meal to ruminants. Limestone would be a good alternative and a good way to increase calcium. It would also be a cheaper source that alfalfa pellets as it is cheaper per unit of calcium provided. Also find out what the calcium value of your mineral is, they can vary quite a bit and are designed according to if you are feeding alfalfa or grass hay.
    Find a local source of alfalfa, ask the horse people, they will know who has the best and it will be so much cheaper than the pellets. You are lucky you are where you live, there is good alfalfa grown in NE, KS, MO, and IA.
    Tim
     
  9. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

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    I have wondered about eggshells, we go through a lot of eggs.
     
  10. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

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    I would worry about salmonella with egg shells. Feed grade lime is usually very inexpensive.
    Tim
     
  11. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

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    IMO, the best way to cut feed costs is to buy the best quality ingredients you can or raise it yourself and cut the feed wastage. If you use cheap ingredients without knowing of their quality you will have poor results.
    Tim
     
  12. SherrieC

    SherrieC Active Member

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    yep what you may save in feed cost, you will pay out in Vet charges, less thriving kids, less milk. Just raise the amount of goats You can afford to keep.
     
  13. amyrob

    amyrob Guest

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    Kingscogoatguy, did you notice an off milk flavor when you added all that soybean meal? I used when I first started in goats and any addition of major protein source gave the milk a string aftertaste.. BOSS did this too, I told my hubby a small handful, and well--he overfeeds everything/one AND that is what happened that time too. I suppose meat, bucks, and non milers could handle this addition better.
     
  14. hsmomof4

    hsmomof4 New Member

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    A lot of what I've read about raising livestock (for food) basically indicates that unless you can grow a lot of what you feed yourself, your costs will probably not be less than what you'd pay if you just went and bought the food at the grocery store and skipped keeping animals altogether. Granted, you know what went into that animal, the quality of the food that you get out of it is going to be much better than what you could get at the store (assuming that you are caring for your animals properly) and the animals themselves are going to be happier than most animals living in the average commercial operation, but from a strictly financial standpoint, you could probably get cheaper meat/eggs/milk/whathaveyou at the local Mega-Mart, unless you are growing a large portion of the feed that you give your animals.

    Christine,
    maybe we can come up with some sort of plan to try experiments to raise some of our own feed. I've already thought about planting a bunch of sunflowers. That's pretty easy. The oats and corn and such are harder, but maybe it would be possible to ease into it, mixing our own feed using some bought ingredients and some home grown, until eventually it could be mostly or even completely homegrown. And then there's my 5 acre alfalfa field (which needs work, but could probably be renovated relatively inexpensively....)
     
  15. KingsCoGoatGuy

    KingsCoGoatGuy New Member

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    amyrob, I did not notice any change in the taste. Ours are on open pasture all summer long with all kinds of different plants so the taste can change from day to day. Sorry no help here. :)
     
  16. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    Like Sherrie and Tim, I would never make sacrifices just to save money.

    Goats produce so much for us, why not give them the excellent quality they deserve? Even with paying premium prices for feed and alfalfa pellets it costs me less than $2.00/day per doe. They more than pay their way in milk and kids!! Besides, a healthy well fed doe will produce more milk and kids and have few to no vet bills at all.

    Christy
     
  17. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    Nope like Christy and the rest if I can't afford to feed them right then I get rid of goats.