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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have tended towards thinking that alfalfa pellets are the bulk of the goat's nutrition and hay is mainly to help them generate heat in the winter and "just because", to give them something to do and because it seems unnatural to not put out hay.

But I do know that some on here primarily feed alfalfa pellets and don't even bother with hay.

What impact does this have in the winter on their ability to fill their rumen and keep their body heat up?
 

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I have always left grass hay out with my pellets. I understood they need long stem fiber. In the summer when pellets are out free choice the goats eat almost no grass hay. In the winter we put out a specified amount of pellets to maintain appropriate weight. During this time they eat much more grass hay. I know horses eat more grass hay in the winter to keep warm. I would think it was the same with the goats. My concern is that the goats would be overweight at kidding if given enough pellets to stay warm and satisfied. Also, I don't want 20 hungry Saanens after me all winter.
 

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With actual freezes several nights, course no ice on the water troughs by morning, I have seen the girls consuming hay, not just picking at it where I need to add 3 flakes to the feeders for 12 adults and 1 buck a week, but several days I was feeding a whole bale. So I also would feel awful not having grass hay out winters for them. But come spring, they eat no hay, none, it is old and nasty in the feeders come winter again, and a pain to pull out!

I know the model this is done on uses no hay, she is up north so I would assume freezes pasture and forage down, but she also has free choice, as in a ton poured in a feeder by the mill, calling them when it gets down to this plexiglass site glass she has in her feeder.

I don't feed free choice like this, so yes I keep out grass hay. And I am getting the most beautiful grass hay from KarenU on here, the girls love it. It has this broadleave part to it in most of the bales, that I am going to ask them to keep especially for me if this is a section of their property! And she is just up in Zavalla. Vicki
 

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Last year my goats had no hay what so ever and didn't seem any worse for the wear I just a couple of weeks ago started feeding hay again because I could get it and cheaper that free choice alfafla pellets.
 

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We have a drastic hay shortage in our area. With prices up near $8-$10/small bale I just can't afford it. I have under 50 bales to last through next yr.

I've been feeding pellets free choice, orchard hay only when its reallyreally cold. They seem to be doing fine but its something I'm watching as I'm kinda worried about it. We've had some bitterly cold weather this past week and they seem to have made it through ok.

Tracy posted some info on HT a couple weeks ago about this and about a study where they didn't actually need the hay, you may want to ask her about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just curious, we have been flying through hay, here, really wondering how those who only fed pellets DO it. We are breaking ice on water troughs each morning.

Hey, KarenU--is all your hay saved for Vicki? We are nice people, too, promise! :) :) :)
 

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Good grief I have only had ice on the water 3 different times up here. and over 70 today
 

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Yep. ice on troughs last week, and warm this weekend.

We had very little hay last winter, it was scarce here. it ran $11. a square bale for bad coastal bermuda at feedstores limit 3. So we fed lots and lots of beet pulp and alfalfa pellets, hay only when real cold. Cut lots of browse.

This winter we are almost half way through our 120 square bales of hay and are trying to slow down. 60 bales to last til march/april when it is green real here. That's for 17 goats and 8 equines. But the donkeys/horses have large acreage.
 

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Over the weekend I decided it would be a good idea to count what is left of my bales. I have about 150 small sq. bales left. I figure that will take me through the end of Feb. - so I am going to be pricing out alfafa pellets when I go to town on Tuesday. If I can use them to extend the hay supply that I currently have - that would be ideal. That's what I had to do last year too. Hopefully I won't follow over from shock after hearing how much they have gone up in price!
 

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I still have no clue how you girls do it with hay prices like that . We put up about 45-- bales for the horses , sheep and goats . I have never paid more than 2.00 a bale and thats in the dead winter or spring. Out of others fields it 1.00 a bale in the summer . We put most of our own up thankfully.

Patty
 

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If hay gets to bad for ya all I can fill my trailer , sell you hay and even break even with a free vacation ! A forget that I would have an empty trailer and would find some critters to fill it on the way home.



Patty
 
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Patty, Most years we can buy hay for $2 to $4.....but with last years drought out west, and this years drought in the deep south......hay is not only high$$$ , it is very hard to find. Fuel cost is driving the prices up down here also. The hay that can be found down here right now is running about $7.50 for grass, and $12 for alfalfa.....and most of this is being shipped in.
Just like the Gulf of Mexico usually pumps up rain into here.....I suspect them big ole lakes just west of you really helps to keep you guys in rain......
I really don't look for hay $$$ to go back under $5 a bail even if there's a bumper crop next year.
My BIL cuts and bales thousands of bales every year (normally) down here. He told me at the end of last summer that it was costing him almost $2 a bale in fuel and tractor maintenance.....fertilizer is out of sight also, and most of these folks are paying about $100 a spreader truck load for chicken manure to put on the hay fields as they can't afford chemical fertilizers anymore.
 

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Patty,
I'd love to see you with a load of hay! :biggrin We were paying $4.00 a bale for grass hay, and then found a man very close to us that had nice hay for $5.00 a bale and we bought from him because of gas prices. My son went over to get some hay the other day and the man said he was goin up to $7.00 a bale (same hay we've been buying for 5.00) :sniffle Guess we'll be going back to the other man. Alafalfa is $12 - $14 a bale, and I'm not impressed with it and don't buy it. I'm originally from So. Calif and we had good Alfalfa there, this is not good alfalfa. It's brown and very old looking on the outside, can't seeing paying so much for it. So don't forget us if your making the rounds..... :lol

Tamera
 

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We had a bad hay year in 2007 also . We normally get 2 cuts but it was dry and only took 1/4 of our normal second cut . First cut ran between 1/2 - 3/4 of our normal yield. Now we are getting hammered with snow and rain.

Patty
 

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I havent bought hay for anything less than $8 a small bale in at least 2 years.
 

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we have fed almost no hay this yr... just does not look good to me and they waste sooo much... ugh.

So I just keep plenty of alfalfa pellets...

felt like we lost more than 50% of each flake/bale to the ground this yr...
 

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My goats go thru the hay! They love our hay, thus in turn aren't eating as much of alfalfa pelllets as I would like to see.
ON the other hand my forum buddies.. My hay is open to all who would like to be put on the list for hay this year. Our square bales will go up to 5.00 a bale due to the high cost of fuel, fertilzer etc... It's a shame really.
We do have round bales too for cattle and horses.
Although Vicki is VERY special to me and gets the last available hay from last hay crop, my hay for this year is for anyone who needs it. :biggrin
Karen
 

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All this hay talk makes me drool :p

Patty what kind of hay do you have, curious?

Karen, good to know just in case.

My goats are loving this coastal hay my cousin/neighbor grew. they do not waste a mouthful. He raised it for his very expensive horses so it is of good quality and it shows. Only 60 bales left though, nervous about that because of last years shortage..
 

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"Coastal' is bermuda grass...a variety known as "coastal" bermuda. There is a variety called Tifton. Folks in the south drop the word bermudagrass amd just say "coastal" or "tifton". Bermudagrass is the annoying grass that gets in gardens and you can't get it out.. Coastal is just taller and makes good hay. You sprig the fields with plant parts and it grows, no seeds needed....maybe these pics will help...

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53115/
 
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