Money saving ideas....

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by NubianSoaps.com, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    I would love to start some threads on money saving ideas, feed, hay, (loved the straw feeding thread), medications etc. Anything we can come up with to keep folks from having to sell down, or worse to sell out during this drought. Hay and feed prices are at an all time high and the quality of hay in the south is worse than ever. Even some ideas to help those who do have to sell down, make wise decisions on culling. Vicki
     
  2. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    It's been about 2 months now, but I was able to switch to feeding just barley as the main grain for my milkers. Here I can get 500 pounds of bulk barley for about $58 dollars, and it lasts most of the month. Not only are they milking well on it, but they "waste" a lot too...some passes through their system, but, they are also planting barley! I can get that and wheat for about the same price, and already have my rye and will plant all of those this fall. Every time it rains here we get barley coming up all over the place and the girls love it as do the horses, although I'm not sure it will graze well with horses on it.

    I'm feeding less alfalfa pellets too...still not sure about this one, but I've got a super good orchard and high clover hay that is just wonderful and the girls love it! I have not had it tested, but I'm hoping it's got more calcium and a little more protein than just a regular hay mix. It costs $40 per round bale, delivered. The rounds are small, maybe 400-500 pounds or so, but with the increase in summer forage growth, a round is lasting them almost a month! Everyone is super shiny and weights are great!

    The amish around here are known to have good prices on whole oats too....just have to track them down.

    I have not bought chicken feed in years. The chickens eat feed the goats spill. They also eat grains out of the manure that pass through whole. They spread the manure around daily, especially the horse manure so that saves me time in manure clean up, although it still does need to be done around the front fence line....

    The horses get no grain at all...but they do get all the hay they can eat. Most of our land is wooded and not fenced, so we go though quite a lot of hay. I get 1200 pound round bales delivered for $40 each and a load of 4 lasts almost a month. The hay I'm feeding now is an orchard grass mix with tons and tons of seeds in it. Twice a day I drag a tarp fill with hay out into their paddocks. The tarp has holes in it and the seeds fall through. Also, by putting the hay in various places, the seeds fall through to the ground and the horses muck all over it. I've gotten quite a bit more grass in one small pasture that way and never tilled it at all....which saved money since we don't have a tractor.

    I look forward to hearing others money-saving ideas.
     

  3. Trysta

    Trysta New Member

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    One thing that has already been saving me a lot is the way I feed hay to my milking does. I used to feed in hay racks and was always frustrated about how much they spill. Also, the loss you have from having to throw away wasted feed in outside hay racks or the loss of quality while it's sitting out there. About a year and a half ago my husband and his dad built me a feedlane in the barn (so instead of a front fence it's wooden slats the does can stick their heads through) and in front of it are rows of feed troughs (I have the big old metal ones). The hay is fed in these feed troughs and the huge advantage is that spillage is minimal. The does don't have to pull out the hay, there's enough room for them to just stand at the feed lane and chew, so whatever drops down from their mouthfull of hay, drops into the feed through and isn't lost. Feed stays dry and clean, so no loss of quality, and I can decide what to do with left overs (depending on need/season the leftovers before morning feeding will either go to kids/dry does or will be used as bedding). I go through so much less hay now and I have to clean out less volume (just bedding, no waste) from the barn when I clean it out twice a year.

    I realize that not everyone has a barn they can built a feedlane in, but this could also be done outside as a feed lane or a feed through with roof type system. We built ours from wood that we got from an Amish cabinet builder: the quality was not good enough for him, so we could just come pick it up. Biggest cost was the bolts to keep the slats in place.
     
  4. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Marion do you have a photo? Vicki
     
  5. lonestrchic23

    lonestrchic23 New Member

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    We took a huge financial hit with my mothers cancer & her passing..... Took over all of her financial obligations/medical expenses since her leukemia diagnosis in March & her final expenses when she passed in June.... I made some decisions on goat care that I wasn't sure of, but they actually worked well.

    Feed here, any feed is $10.99-$17.99......I'm buying a 12% horse & mule feed & I started mixing in 2 parts of a local hay stretcher pellet to every one part horse feed (oats are $13.99 for 50, hay stretcher is $7.99 for 50lbs). I prefer my whole grains mix, but just can't afford it right now.

    I have rice bran pellets for fat, but I bought it with coupons & now the price is insane, so I've gradually got them to eat feed top dressed with oil instead. Took them a while to get used to it, but I started slow and now they gobble it up. I won't be buying more rice bran if the prices stay where they are.

    Used to feed free choice alfalfa pellets, but now I have to ration it. I top dress their feed with a spoon of calcium carbonate, and they get fed alfalfa pellets once a day..... About 1 1/2lbs-2lbs for each milker, about 1lb for my dry doe ..... Been doing this since April & production has held steady and everyone is sleek & in good flesh (one of my girls is almost too well conditioned ;) ), though Ginger sure does complain when her alfalfa pellets run out.

    I changed my hay feeders so I have less wasted hay... I put fresh out each morning & by the following morning most is cleaned up & waste is minimal.... I have no graze, no browse so I have to provide everything. Squares of grass hay are $13-$16 here.... Rounds of good hay are about $120.... Which is insane given the prices I've seen in east Texas which are way cheaper than anything within an hour of me...

    Started putting ACV in water troughs and it's keeping them cleaner longer.... Hubby gets free ice for his cooler from work, so when he gets off, I empty it into the large tubs & it cools them down really well.... Before I was having to dump & refill because the water was too warm and that was hard on my water bill.... I take 2 liter frozen soda bottles to put in the smaller barn tubs mid afternoon & that keeps those from getting hot.

    Biggest expense is the 5 doelings I have.... They are putting away the meat goat pellets, but I can't figure out a way to cut cost there if I want them breeding size by fall, so I havent changed anything with them.... I'm drying up 2 does and am weaning the March doelings which is upping the amount of meat goat pellets they consume, but I need less milkers so I can have someone watch the goats when I take the kids on a short, but much needed vacation...

    I'm up to 9 goats & I still think that is too many for me...... I may be getting rid of one of my breeds & cutting back so it's easier for me.
     
  6. swgoats

    swgoats Active Member

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    Well, my breed eats less, that's nice. I'm not feeding them to milk heavy when I don't need the milk. I feed a 12% Sweet Mix from TSC that cost around $8/50 lb. We got good first cutting hay. We have a year supply - very blessed we have the big barn now to store hay. In the past I have fed round bales by peeling of the round. Good hay feeders are a must - we are planning to make a lane feeder too soon, within a few weeks. I don't skimp on my minerals...

    I took a new photo of my Senior Doe Birdie. You can see on my website she's looking pretty good on this diet. I have allowed her to back off milk production... My doelings are allowed to nurse and my bucklings are put on mom once a day after they reach 3 months. This is helping keep kids growing.
     
  7. Trysta

    Trysta New Member

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    I do, but not on my laptop. If I can get my ancient diesel computer started I'll put one up, let me see!

    Quote: Biggest expense is the 5 doelings I have.... They are putting away the meat goat pellets, but I can't figure out a way to cut cost there if I want them breeding size by fall, so I havent changed anything with them.... I'm drying up 2 does and am weaning the March doelings which is upping the amount of meat goat pellets they consume, but I need less milkers so I can have someone watch the goats when I take the kids on a short, but much needed vacation...
    I start with those expensive pellets too, you just can't get around them, but once the doelings are getting close to weaning I mix the pellets with leftover feed from my milking does. The Milkers get a large scoop, so they can sort out what they need, and the left overs go to kids/bucks, etc. This way my milking does get to sort through a bit (and with me changing feeds/hay quality they do sort out different things depending on what's in the hay feeders) and I cut cost in non-milkers feed.
     
  8. Trysta

    Trysta New Member

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    Tried to upload photo, got this message:
    The upload folder is full. Please try a smaller file and/or contact an administrator
    Help???
     
  9. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    Put it through Photobucket.com Marion.
    Tam
     
  10. fmg

    fmg New Member

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    If you can find a grain farmer to buy straight out of his combine, this will be big savings. I bought barley this way last summer, and will again this year. I feed about 1/2 my grain ration in barley. Then, I get bagged oats, corn, and flax (as a fat source) from two different mills. I also get beet pulp from the mill in bulk in the back of my pickup, which I take home and shovel into "bean boxes". They sell other things in bulk, but there is no real cost savings at the mill here, for some reason, maybe other people can find deals on bulk grains. I have called around to various places to find the cheapest grains. That's how I found the flax, which was the cheapest high fat product I could find here. Rice bran is outrageous, and BOSS is expensive as well. I use 2 tubs and weigh the feed ingredients, and poor back and forth to mix.

    If you have any way to get your goats to feed themselves as much as possible, that is the cheapest thing to do (if there isn't a drought ;)). Pasture, or even better underbrush/bushes/weeds/small trees are great. I have an electric net fence that I can put them into areas that aren't permanently fenced.

    Only give dewormers as necessary based on fecal exams, eyelid color. Rotate pastures and have the goats eat "up" as much as possible.

    My hay feeder works pretty well too. It is a short length of cattle panel, with diagonal cut 2x6 and plywood attached, then we stuff the hay in the space, and the goats put their heads through to eat.

    Cut branches and dry them for winter forage. If you have a pasture, if yours is set up for it (mine doesn't work), have someone come cut hay off it when it is growing faster than the goats can eat it; it's cheaper than buying hay, so you can at least save some on the feedbill.
     
  11. Aja-Sammati

    Aja-Sammati Active Member

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    My biggest money saving suggestion is related to culling...if a doe requires a lot of feed to maintain production/condition what does she give you that is worth it? I will take a smaller doe (within breed standard) that will milk her heart out on less feed over a giant doe that sucks up the feed to milk the same amount. Bigger is not always better people! That is why people love minis ;-)

    This is the time to analyze your breeding program, too- sell the does that aren't moving you where you want to go and sell the does that you wouldn't pay someone else for a kid from them. Sell bucks that don't make nice enough kids or move you in the right direction. If possible, lease a buck (sometimes for only care costs), or share one with other people. If a buck is costing a minimum of $500 a year to feed/care for, divide that by the # of does you will breed to him- would you pay that much per doe to breed to that buck?)
     
  12. smithurmonds

    smithurmonds New Member

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    I've downsized drastically over this past year. When it became clear the drought was going to be a serious problem I was relieved to have done so! We've been paying $70/round for good quality coastal bermuda- marked up at the feed store but with gas prices no way I'm going to save by driving 2 hours east to get a better price. I finally caved and bought a bale of local fescue for half the price. It's as good a fescue you're going to find locally... and I remembered why I never buy fescue. They refuse to eat the stems, waste is insane, and I'm already having to make up the deficit by feeding extra alfalfa. There are clearly no savings with the cheaper hay in this case!
     
  13. In it for the Bucks!

    In it for the Bucks! New Member

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    My first money saving tip has to mostly do with those of us in the warmer arid climate. I buy feed in bulk. By that I mean everytime we go to the feed store we buy ALL of the feed that we are going to need for the next 3 months. This usually means at least 1 ton of pig feed (usually 2), and 1/2 to 1 ton of pellets for our goats. We then empty everything out into big barrels with lids. It keeps alot longer and we loose ALOT less from the weather and varmits.(our hay is bought localy)
    Also, our chosen feed store is 2 hours away. We try to make everytrip count so, we gather as much animals that we can that are a decent price (craigslist, and newspaper) and take them to auction (same town as feed store). Profits usually pay our fuel bill to get there. And, before we go we ask around to anyone we know if they need anything. We don't charge for fuel (altho people usually offer). But we know that next time they are going we will get the same call and it saves everyone on fuel and the little things that you pick up but you don't need when someone else goes shopping for you. :)
     
  14. doublebowgoats

    doublebowgoats Active Member

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    I agree with Michelle about appropriate culling being one of the most cost effective things to do. Keeping goats that have to be pampered is expensive. Certainly you can't expect them to perform without proper nutrition but they shouldn't eat more than the other does to produce the same amount of milk.
    There are some things that I will "splurge" on. The bluebonnet minerals are one of those things. I didn't use them for a while and had to give everyone extra bo-se at kidding last spring. It is not worth it to buy cheap minerals and then have kids that can't stand or suck or does who simply don't have enough nutrients to maintain health.
    Another consideration is having a long term vision for your goats (for your life, really). Then when you are making purchases, whether feed or new stock or fence, weigh it against your long term goals. It really does help you keep from spending money on things that you really don't need.
     
  15. fmg

    fmg New Member

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    I also make sure and use every drop of milk that my goats give. It makes little sense to have dairy goats, then dump out the milk. If I can't sell it, turn it into cheese, etc. I pick up calves to put the milk to. Pigs, chickens, etc work too. Bum lambs can make good profits, if you can get them for free or very cheap.
     
  16. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    I am taking all the garden vegetation and drying it in the barn. Corn husks, silk, bean greens and such will all get dried for storage. Then in August I will plant our fodder plots, gives the goats a variety of beans, beets, carrots, corn. lettuce...you get the idea. All I do is take all the seeds together and spread it out on a plot, I do not plant them, and then cover with goat stomp. Grass and alfalfa grow up in with the veges so there is that too. It is fed as green and then dried for winter. This year I actually have squash planted and will store those for the goats too.
    Tam
     
  17. dragonlair

    dragonlair Active Member

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    I use the milk for the house, the dogs and the chickens.

    I am keeping the doe kids on their dams until fall breeding.

    I am raising a single buckling for the freezer, a first for me. He will stay on his dam until he goes to freezer camp this fall.

    Instead of using the hay racks, I put the hay on the outside of the fence panels and let the goats stick their heads thru to eat it. Less waste and what they don't eat goes to the horses. I am going to rig a hay and grain feeder that runs the length of one panel instead of just throwing the hay on the ground. This way I can feed them both hay and alfalfa pellets outside the fence and they can't soil or waste it.

    Changed to a cheaper pelleted feed, from a dairy goat pellet to a dairy cow pellet. Since we don't have much in the way of grain grown up here I have to use pelleted feeds or go broke. When fall comes around, hopefully we will have native oats again and i will feed those 50/50 with the pellets.

    The kids and the buck get the same pelleted feed as the horses for their evening feed, with the medicated grower pellet in the morning.

    Fecal before worming.

    I have been letting the edible weeds grow all over the yard and bring the goats 1 feeding of weeds a day, replacing the hay.

    I grab all the branches I can find for them to replace some of the hay.

    I use alternate fly control like cedar chips, vanilla car deodorizers, concentrated fly spray, white vinegar mixed with garlic and or citrinella. I also use lots of fly strips. I also clean out the wet spots in the goat stalls twice a day and sprinkle with shavings and old sand.

    I grow veggies in the manure pile for whoever will eat them.

    My friends save me corn plants and husks and such for the goats, leftovers for the chickens.

    I get meat scraps for the dogs and chickens free from a meat shop. The extra eggs go to the dogs or back to the hens.

    I buy the best dog food I can because I can feed a lot less.

    I try to arrange shopping trips so that I can get everything in 1 days trip.

    I dry out horse manure to burn in the wood stove to supplement the wood.

    I buy the best minerals I can get in large bags. I order my injectable prescriptions from a local small animal vet who charges me what he pays for them.

    I buy worm medicines yearly when on sale, in fact I try to get all my supplies on sale.

    I got rid of my bucklings before weaning this year to save on grain.
     
  18. MRFBarbara

    MRFBarbara Guest

    I save all my feed bags and every year collect tons of dried maple leaves for feed, they love them.. oak too.. and dried weeds and carrot tops from the garden.. usually get quite a few bags of them.. Also let the grass and lawn get very long, cut and dry it.. I have cut back on amt of animals that I have, also let them graze more now that i have a fenced in acres or take them for walks in the woods to let them eat there.. I sell jars with feta cheese in them.. they buy the jars only..
    and of course my soap and lotion sales help alot..
    I am thinking of making large poo tea bags of my donkeys poo for gardeners.. it makes excellent fertilizer for gardens.. I have alot of donkey poo to do this with..
    Barb
     
  19. jpmaynard

    jpmaynard New Member

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    Has anyone used a Fodder system? I was just signing onto this forum to ask if anyone had any information on how goats do on sprouted grains and saw this at the top. Crazy. Anyway, if you type in Fodder Pro or Fodder Solutions there are you tube videos and tons of info. Please let me know what you think. If I were in an area I could not feed great alfalfa year round I would have already purchased one for my horses. Good 3rd crop goes for $150 a ton and it is right across the street but I think the live food year round would be very beneficial.
     
  20. Aja-Sammati

    Aja-Sammati Active Member

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    I have been looking at fodder systems- but I am thinking that with the cost of grains going higher, the cost of fresh fodder grown that way may be higher than hay.