Fresh alfalfa, how long to wait to feed?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Ashley, May 22, 2009.

  1. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

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    I just picked up some alfalfa out of the field. I remember it has to sit for a while seems like. How long should I wait to feed it?
     
  2. Rambar Ranch

    Rambar Ranch Member

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    Never heard of having to wait to feed alfalfa are you sure your not thinking of a sudan type of grass? A sudan type depending on when its baled you should let it set for a while but on alfalfa we've never waited on feeding it.
     

  3. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

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    I searched on the internet after posting this and I saw some people saying 4-6 even 8 weeks! One person said one week, and several more said they didn't wait at all. Hmm
     
  4. Sheryls Brat

    Sheryls Brat New Member

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    Assuming that the alfalfa is dry here... there isn't a wait time on alfalfa the longer you let it cure -sit- the drier and yellower it becomes and the more likely it is to shatter... the main hay that MUST sit is Sudan when it is cut a toxic gas is released from the stems which takes 4-6 wks for it to fully air out and never under any circumstances do you feed sudan to a horse..... if you ever buy a bale of sudan and it smells kinda pepperminty well then it hasn't been allowed to dry -cure- long enough before it is safe to feed. But alfalfa on the other hand you can feed w/in 24hrs of it being bailed as it does not release any type of noxious fumes...... just remember with fresh cut green alfalfa to go easy on it as it will be rich and can cause greeny runny poopies...

    brandi
     
  5. dragonlair

    dragonlair Active Member

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    I'm jealous! There is no such thing as alfalfa hay around this part of Maine and the haying season is still at least a month away. sigh.
     
  6. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    Well yes Alfalfa can be quite hot so you want to limit the amount you give and see how the goats do on it like just a flake. Friend here had a whole bunch of ND get sick sick sick off fresh alfalfa So be careful Can't remember but believe it is first cuttings that cause the problem.
     
  7. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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  8. Dacaree

    Dacaree New Member

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    2nd and 3rd cuttings are better.
     
  9. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    OK I just re read this and you say you just picked some alfalfa out of the field. NO you do not want to feed this to your goats until it is good and dried out.
     
  10. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    We always let alfalfa cure for at least 30 days before feeding it to goats. It's too hot if you feed it sooner - too much nitrogen. I know someone who lost goats to bloat who were fed fresh alfalfa hay. Kathie
     
  11. saanengirl

    saanengirl New Member

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    Fresh alfalfa tends to cause bloat because it is high in rapidly degradable protein. This protein is broken down quickly in the rumen by the microbes and a lot of it is turned into the methane gas that causes bloat.
     
  12. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    Thanks for that link Sondra. I see they recommend DiamondV XP yeast too.
    I sure like that product- I use the DFM version with live microbials. I am curious why the nitrogen would degrade while the bales are drying. It was my impression that the stage of the live plant mattered more in regard to nitrogen content since it is like other legumes a nitrogen fixing plant. Cattle producers often do a mixed grass/alfalfa so that the fiber ratio is higher avoiding bloat.

    When you have hay tested doesn't that mean that the levels are fixed once it is in the bale and should remain so if stored properly? Our alfalfa guy did tell us to stack with air spaces.
    Lee
     
  13. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    my understanding is that on any hay the longer it sits the more it degrades
     
  14. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

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    Appreciate all the help!

    I've given them just a treat of it, because when I get new hay I have to let the critters try it :). They really don't seem too thrilled with it even though it's pretty nice. Maybe they sense the nitrogen. But they did eat it. It looks like they got it baled at just the right time, dry but not brittle. We had a ton of rain while it was growing, and then boom dry and sunny so perfect hay weather. I wish I could have picked up more, but afraid to store a whole lot over our humid summer in that building, it's not airy enough. Also hoping the later cuttings will be better, so long as we have the weather for it.
     
  15. chewie

    chewie New Member

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    here's what happend to me just a few days ago with fresh greens....been picking a couple big buckets of alf. or alf/brome grass daily for the girls, who loved it. then a few mornings ago, hmm, the 2 who usually are my most-milkers, had veerry little. very puzzling to me. the nub. gal was rather 'blah' too. within hours she was lying down, very VERY sick. i was rather panicy but thought this is 'milk fever'. i called vet who said he'd leave something at the clinic for me. hubby ran to get it. he also went to a friend's house and got stuff that i had read here and in a book. the vet gave me the gel! eek, i knew i read that was bad for the goats. the friend had everythign we needed, and i also called kaye. she provided all the extra bits of info to round out what we should do, we did it, and the goat is now doing better. (thanks to kaye!)

    but, i will NEVER again feed a bunch of fresh picked anything like that again. that goat was in pain and i could have lost her. wasn't worth it. kaye said i could let them graze on their own, OR dry it down, but not like i did it. i felt terrible for doing this to her. sad my goat had to suffer my learning curve!