Ok what would you do?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by trnubian, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    I am kind of at a loss here of what to do. I really don't want to change what has been working for me for so long but I financially may have to. I have always fed alfalfa hay. I have never fed alfalfa pellets. This year I have fed alfalfa hay but now the hay I am getting is looking worse and worse. The guy I get my hay from has some decent stuff, some bales are better than others but it isn't the quality I would like. It would be awesome horse hay or wonderfaul cow hay but it is just too stemmy for the goats. The stems aren't big around but the hay shatters when it's pulled apart and all the leaf falls off leaving very little they will eat. This last batch of hay I got was really bad. I ended up not even feeding about 3 out of 10 bales I bought at $4 a bale. (These bales are 35-40 lb. each I weighed them).

    So I decided since the hay was so crappy I would supplement with AP's. I got a bag of them from the farm store. (I think it was like $11-13 for 50 lb. I don't remember exactly). I gave them to the girls for them to try. They smell AWESOME! They are really green and the only ingredient in them is suncured alfalfa hay. They are 16% minimum protein. No dust whatsoever. The only problem I can see with them is that they are fairly large in diameter, some of them are about 1/2 - 3/4 inch long and about 1/4 inch in diameter. Well the girls liked them at first (like the first day). I let them try them and Maria chowed down on her 1/2 pound. Vi picked at hers a little but ate them. I gave them more the next day and they really wanted nothing to do with them. They prefered the crappy hay. :(

    I have the option of continuing to buy hay from my supplier or buying a 2nd cutting of some really nice brome grass hay (from my unlce at a discounted price) that the goats eat about every blade of and supplementing with AP's. My problem is will they start eating the AP's if they get grass hay or will they still turn their noses up at them? I don't want to endanger them with calcium deficiancy. I have had enough problems with that lately. Right now my girls are not producing nearly like they were before and I know it's due to the not so great hay.

    I want the does to look as good as they used to and be healthy, producing, shiny animals. Right now they are just not looking their best.

    What do you all think?
     
  2. Nancy

    Nancy New Member

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    Are you giving them the pellets on the stand or in their pen? Our won't eat them on the stand but put feeders on the fence and they fight over them.LOL
     

  3. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    as long as you have alfalfa hay no matter how bad it is the girls won't eat the pellets. Before I bought more hay of any sort I would feed alfalfa pellets alone for a couple weeks. Then make my decision.
     
  4. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

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    Same for our goats. A little competition goes a long way.....Oh, and we have beautiful 2nd cutting alfalfa out free choice. We have been giving them alfalfa pellets as we just aren't sure about availability this summer for alfalfa - stretching our hay, as it were. Our girls still gobble up the pellets like little piggies.

    Camille
     
  5. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    I give them the pellets in fence line feeders in their pens. So there is the competition.

    So it is ok to just not feed them hay and to feed straight alfalfa pellets? Should I just take the hay away completely right away or gradually? How long do I wait if they still refuse to eat the pellets?
     
  6. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Mine had no choice, I wasn't doing the alfalfa hay thing anymore period. I fed it and alfalfa pellets until I simply ran out of alfalfa hay and started feeding a good grass hay. They had no choice. Now don't get me wrong my girls will steal alfalfa hay at shows or anywhere they can (infant kid pen) they eat pellets because it's all they are offered :) If you do not have plenty of browse for them, you have to offer some grass hay of some sort, especially during the winter. vicki
     
  7. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    I went for nearly a year with no browse/ no hay of any sort because we couldn't get any anywhere. everyone got alfalfa pellets and still looked great.
     
  8. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    I agree with Sondra there. My friend ran out of alfalfa hay and has been feeding her goats pellets for months now. We live in Montana, so they have not had any browse til recently. They look better than I've ever seen them. Kathie
     
  9. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    Ok thanks for the replies. I am going to talk to my uncle and see when he is planning on baling his second cut grass hay. I will probably feed the alfalfa hay until he does bale his grass hay. That way there isn't so much of a switch all at once.
     
  10. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

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    I feed grassy hay and pellets. The pellets get mixed in the grain and they eat it all...they don't get anywhere near free-choice so they clean it up. Mine stuck their noses up at first, but kept trying for a week or so and they now love them.