HAY!

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by kidsngarden, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    If you feed your goats free choice alfalfa pellets and minerals, grain all they can eat on the milk stand, how good does your local have to be? The really great local we got last year will be about $5 second cutting in the field. It is REALLY good hay, very green, not stemmy. My girls got so spoiled by it last year when we ran out of it they wanted nothing to do with the other stuff!

    Well of course there is cheaper hay out there. (and we are all trying to save a buck!) We picked some up for $3.00 a bail in the field (first cutting, but still pretty ok). And we gave the goats a taste and they liked it (they've been on browse since June so they have forgotten their snobby ways) So should we save a couple bucks per bail and just go with the $3 hay? Will it really make that big of difference if I am feeding the pellets and grain?
     
  2. SamSpade

    SamSpade New Member

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    I can speak to the nutritional question, but I am in a similar position. Last year I was able to get nice big bails of alfalfa for $4 (seemed expensive then). This year, Hay is harder to come by. I am paying $5 a bail for grass hay in the field. I am still waiting to hear if I'll get any alfalfa this year. I think they will be $5.50, if they are available. But for me, the alfafa is better even at that price. The alfafa goes further pound for pound and they are bigger and heavier bails anyway. But with the uncertainty of availability I am hedging my bets and getting some grass hay while I wait to see if I can get the alfafa.
     

  3. laughter777

    laughter777 New Member

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    I am of no help, but just had to say that we sell Bermuda grass hay in the field for $5 and in the barn for $6 and we have repeat customers and lots of referals that tell us we are the cheapest around...feed store is like $15 for coastal (hate it, don't feed it to anything), $10 for Bermuda, and $5 for crappy weedy grass. You can also buy a 50lb bag of super processed hay powder stuff (we tried it last winter before we were baling our own properties...horses loved it, but hay keeps my 28+ yr old app fatter with no grain) from a specific brand feed store for like $15. Hay is outrageous down here apparently! I see people on craigslist selling homegrown Alfalfa for $5 in the field...homegrown=Texas=BLISTERBEATLES...horse killers!
     
  4. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    Most fair quality (untested) grass hay is running about $5 a bail in the field down here this year. It has very little to do with the drought this time, but has more to do with higher fuel cost. With what you are feeding, I would think that the $3 hay would be just fine if the girls will eat it.
    When buying hay....just keep in mind that not only is there a difference in quality, but also quantity. Some of these guys are selling 40 lb bails for the same price as others are selling 60 lb bails for. Most of those hay baler's are very adjustable to the size they put out.
    It's kinda like some of these snack foods you buy....instead of raising the price, they have cut the portion. Most honey buns now ain't the size of a small biscut. :mad

    Whim
     
  5. Jo~*

    Jo~* New Member

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    Just wanting to butt in here and say we pay $17-$20 a bale for grassy alfalfa now :sniffle. I'd try some local hay except I know there is a lot of tansy and braken fern in our area and with my luck................
     
  6. feistygoatwoman

    feistygoatwoman New Member

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    WOW!!!! I am soooo very glad that we raise our own hay!! It's a lot of work, but this is just crazy!!!

    As to the question, I think that if you are feeding alfalfa pellets and grain/minerals, I believe that the $3 hay will be jsut fine. As long as it is not a very weedy hay and it is more leafy than stemy. My goats are eating a first cutting timothy/clover/alfalfa mix right now and they are going great on it. I would say go for it, they should be fine.
     
  7. susie

    susie New Member

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    Bethany-
    I agree that if you're feeding AP and grain the 3 dollar stuff should be ok-- as long as they'll eat it.
    If your goats are like mine be very careful to give the lesser hay first because if they get even one bite of the good stuff there'll be trouble!!
    I went to my favorite "discount" hay supply and their feeder alfalfa ( very nice stuff with a litle bit of dirt on the outside of it) went from 8 dollars to 13 dollars a bale.

    uh no, I think I'll just pay for pellets at that price... and feed local for fiber - really good local grass hay is 5.50 a bale for 65-70 pound bales.. I still feel like I don't have enough hay for the winter.... but I'm running out of storage space. My regular hay guy is not selling any hay this year, he's keeping it all for himself. :(


    susie
     
  8. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Other than a young yearling milker I could not imagine...all the grain they want to eat on the milkstand :)

    But yes your browse and hay does become more about roughage and less about nutrition...and dare I say "long stem forage" with alfalfa pellets and real grain on the milkstand.

    When you change your mindset to know that your alfalfa pellets is hay, that you are improving those alfalfa pellets with grain you feed for energy and carbs...that leaves roughage in the form of hay which then in the south is alot less hay consumption. We of course don't deal with your winters up there where long stem forage is essential.

    $8.95 for some really pretty hay at my feed dealers, coastal grass...I am going to try to find other grass hay cheaper local...hey Chris you selling any of those square bails? Vicki
     
  9. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    Ok, not all the grain they WANT to eat on the milkstand, but all the grain they can eat while I milk them (about 5-7 minutes). Sheez, am I still not getting this grain thing right? First I wasn't giving enough, now it's too much. Arg!
     
  10. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

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    I guess I have another take on this....

    We always try to buy the best hay possible for our girls. We only buy alfalfa pellets to supplement/stretch our hay supply. I am sure that doing it the other way around is perfectly fine too. You just need to watch your girls' condition, milk production etc. to decide what is best for you.

    Also, what is your storage situation? Hay needs a lot more room to store. And where in WA? Eastern Wa doesn't have to worry about humidity/moisture like W. Washington.

    We have a small spool feeder in the Dairy girls' pen and I throw 1/3 of a bale of grass hay (sometimes canary grass too) in there every couple of days, just for variety. They always gobble it all up. Course, if I tried to feed it exclusively, they would waste it! :)
     
  11. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    I'm on the wet side of WA, so we have sheds for our hay. Last year even with the good local if I ran out of pellets it made a huge drop in production. I think since I give alfalfa pellets free choice I will go with the cheaper stuff.

    And I won't complain about prices - what some of you pay - ouch!
     
  12. rg1950

    rg1950 New Member

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    We landed some cheap bales last year for $2.50 a bale in Angleton. We bought around 250 square bales, but the problem is the goats wouldn't hardly eat it. Our hay shed is still over half full of these square bales. We ended up buying bahai (I think I spelled that right) cut fresh and tender for $20-$25 a bale for the 5ft round bales in Crosby. It is soft and we keep bales in every pasture now. They really love it. We have had to use the square bales for rabbits, chicken nests, our cows, and our birthing/health stalls. The goats nibble on it, but don't dig in and devour it like they do the round bales. They get plenty of grain, alfalfa, oats, etc, and are big, shiny and healthy, so we aren't to worried if they don't devour it, but we want them to continue to grow and be healthier, so we feed them what they will eat more of (hay wise). If fuel costs keep going up like they are, I shudder to think how much hay will be next year! ugh :?

    Tara
     
  13. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Member

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    Well, FWIW, that is exactly how I feed mine :) They eat all they can while they are milking....but we don't dwadle either -- we milk 18 does in about 50 minutes. The bigger milkers are on the milk stand longer and so they eat more -- lighter milkers don't get as much because they are done sooner. It seems to work for us.


    Tracy
     
  14. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    Bethany....don't feel bad about the milkstand grain.
    I do this....all my goats get a measured out portion of feed, whether milking or not. My ones getting fat get less, and the thinner ones get more.

    I've never been able to go by the "eating all they can while I milk them program" I milk some doe's in 2 to 3 minutes, and others in 5 or 6 minutes. If I jerked the fast milkers down off the stand after 2 minutes, they would starve to death.
    I portion each one's feed, and they stay on the stand until it's gone. If I ever get more than 4 or 5 doe's to milk, I may have to put in another milk stand in order for me to rotate them......giving them a little more time to eat if needed.
    .....and too, this helps me keep a closer watch on that feed to milk conversion......and also lets me know if somebody is going off feed a little bit (which is the very first hint that something ain't right around here).


    Sorry to bobble the hay thread a little

    Whim
     
  15. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    Yes, it was Tracy who told me that is how she fed maddie her grain so that's the rule I adopted for everyone. It works for us so I guess I will just stick with it.
     
  16. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

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    I do the same thing...plus more after I finish milking. My girls aren't any too fat either (well, three of the four aren't :)).
     
  17. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    :rofl I guess what I was trying to say was that I have some slow eater's that milk out fast, and a couple of fast eater's that milk out slow. As Kaye would say "clear as mud ain't it".

    Whim
     
  18. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    If my girls milked like Tracy's I could have half as many goats and then they could eat all they want :) vicki