Alfalfa vs. grass hay for milkers...

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by Cinder, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. Cinder

    Cinder New Member

    736
    Mar 2, 2008
    I know that feeding alfalfa hay to milking does ups their production. My question is - does it change the milk itself and make it a 'higher quality' milk when feeding alfalfa vs. grass hay?

    My neighbor believes that feeding them alfalfa will give a 'healthier' milk for people to drink... is that true?
     
  2. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Hmmm....good question!

    My nigies only ever got mixed grass timothy, it was about 2 years ago that I started them on the alfalfa cubes, then just a few months ago was able to get the pellets....never did see any jump in production.
     

  3. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    I can see why it would make healthier milk -- milk is milk the hay doesnt add a thing to the milk - ie vitamins or enzymes
     
  4. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I never really thought about it, but it could be true.

    Diet can make a difference. It's been proven that chickens with a free range diet produce healthier eggs (higher in vitamins A & E and lower in cholesterol) than chicken fed only layer rations. I don't see why the same priciple couldn't apply to goats and milk.

    I personally think that does fed alfalfa yield a better tasting milk, but I do not know if it is more nutritious. :shrug:
     
  5. Laurel_Haven

    Laurel_Haven New Member

    768
    Oct 19, 2007
    South Carolina
    I would think different hays and feeds can alter your milk. I do know that feeding different kinds of hay will raise or lower butter fat and protein numbers so I would think it could change other elements of the milk. Not sure if it would be "healthier" but I can't say not either.
     
  6. rebelshope

    rebelshope New Member

    908
    Sep 20, 2008
    Wisconsin
    Exactly! What you feed does matter. I know grass fed beef is higher in omega 3 fatty acids. . . I am not sure about grass vs alfalfa. Alfalfa is higher in calcium.
     
  7. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    We feed a 50/50 alfalfa grass mix and our goats milk best on good quality alfalfa. We grow a finer stemmed leafy alfalfa though, so they eat most of it though. Alfalfa has more protein and energy in it than grass hay does. Our goats did the best on clover hay, but clover is hard to cure and therefore hard to find.
     
  8. CrossCreekTX

    CrossCreekTX New Member

    356
    Aug 10, 2009
    Central East Texas
    It depends more on the quality of the hay than on the type, IMHO. The alfalfa I can buy is poor quality and expensive. OTOH, I have plenty of excellent quality native Texas crabgrass that is irrigated and fertilized organically. That is equivalent to the best quality alfalfa, according to studies done here in TX. I cut my own hay for the short season that nothing is growing here.
     
  9. Sweet Gum Minis

    Sweet Gum Minis New Member

    Oct 6, 2007
    Easley, SC
    I personally do not feed alfalfa hay. I do however give an alfalfa pellet to my milking does and pregnant does. We feed a coastal burmuda, timothy hay/orchard grass hay.