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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
Hay is pretty expensive (for me) around here. I was searching on the internet and stumbled onto barley fodder. I just want some pros and cons...... sounds like its cheaper than hay and its really healthy. Its supposed to have a 16% protein, so that sounds good!

Thanks,
@healthyishappy
 

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Barley should be a fine variation with other fodder. My goats feed from the field, but they also get lucerne based pellets, lucern - I think you call that alfalfa - oath hay and cut offs from fruit and vegetable from time to time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Barley should be a fine variation with other fodder. My goats feed from the field, but they also get lucerne based pellets, lucern - I think you call that alfalfa - oath hay and cut offs from fruit and vegetable from time to time.
They would get hay too. But i've heard of people feeding JUST the fodder. They say its really healthy!
 

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I tried feeding mine supplemental fodder for a few weeks and they nibbled it a bit, but were for the most part offended by it. I'm hoping to get my system repaired and running again so I can grow it for my pigs, and plan to give it another shot with the goats, but I'm not expecting much.
 

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They would get hay too. But i've heard of people feeding JUST the fodder. They say its really healthy!
Mine aren't too eager on hay. Barley is good, one needs to look at the nutrients, though. I'd be concerned that the variety of nutrients and minerals doesn't cover all the goat needs.

Here somebody used barley on a hydroponic system to feed sheep. It worked very well for him:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I tried feeding mine supplemental fodder for a few weeks and they nibbled it a bit, but were for the most part offended by it. I'm hoping to get my system repaired and running again so I can grow it for my pigs, and plan to give it another shot with the goats, but I'm not expecting much.
Did you give them hay while they were fed the fodder though???
I don't know about you and your goats but mine get ONLY hay, no pasture. So I think they would welcome eating it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mine aren't too eager on hay. Barley is good, one needs to look at the nutrients, though. I'd be concerned that the variety of nutrients and minerals doesn't cover all the goat needs.

Here somebody used barley on a hydroponic system to feed sheep. It worked very well for him:
I can't see how hay would be any better.
 

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Yes, they got hay. The fodder was just a supplement. Mine are on a dry lot, so I thought they'd be excited about the fresh grass too. Some nibbled the tops a little, but none ate much, and they wouldn't touch the root mass, which was half of the fodder mat.

But I raise Nigerians, and purebred ones at that. You might have better luck with goats that aren't so lofty ;)
 

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OMG here we go again
NO NO NO
Fodder is 95 % water your stock can not eat enough to get the nutrition they need. in short your stock will starve if that is all you feed.
if your goat eats 5 lbs of hay a day to get the same nutrition the goat will need to eat 15 lbs of fodder. goats just can not eat three times there normal intake. could you eat three whoppers? i i find that all i can eat is a Jr whopper eating three would make me sick.
Fodder is a great supplemental feed great vitamins BUT NOT A WHOLE FEED

then lets talk time you have to harvest the fodder clean the trays fill the trays check the chlorine level (to prevent mold) then feed
I had a fodder system that would produce up to 900 lbs of fodder a day. but it reduced my hay consumption just 250 lbs a day
I ran it for 3 years and the 2 1/2 hours a day to run it didn't pencil out
 

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You'll still need to feed extra calcium. because the barley fodder is going to tip the scales in the phosphorus direction.

Keep in mind you need at least a 2:1 calcium phosphorus ratio.

But with a protein level that high, you aren't going to want to add too much alfalfa in order to do that, because as well as being high in calcium, it is also high in protein. Too much protein causes problems too.

I see value in fodder mainly for supplying very available nutrition when your hay is of lesser quality. Some years good hay just can't be found. But you still need the roughage and dry matter from the hay to keep the rumen healthy.

I encourage you to start on a small, manageable scale if you want to try it. Don't depend on this completely, and to keep giving hay while you do.

You only have a few goats currently, and that gives you freedom to experiment that people with larger herds simply don't have.

Sprouting grains (Not all the way to fodder, but same principle) is one of the ways I was able to keep my herd alive last winter when I lost all my hay to flooding and then mold. The extra nutrition really did help them handle the stress of that horrible winter.

But it wasn't the entirety of what I fed them. I also depended a lot on storebought alfalfa products (pellets and cubes, both) and various salt licks, as well as 2 different kinds of minerals, both sheep and goat minerals. And shutting them out of the barn every time there was going to be a break in the rain for an hour or two, to make them go out and eat leaves and bark.

They stayed alive, and carried kids to term, and then produced milk. So the sprouting worked. But only as part of an entire program.

I also credit my long term breeding program, culling toward hardiness and parasite resistance, for their survival, but that was long term and nothing you can do anything about in a single season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Keep in mind you need at least a 2:1 calcium phosphorus ratio.

But with a protein level that high, you aren't going to want to add too much alfalfa in order to do that, because as well as being high in calcium, it is also high in protein. Too much protein causes problems too.

I see value in fodder mainly for supplying very available nutrition when your hay is of lesser quality. Some years good hay just can't be found. But you still need the roughage and dry matter from the hay to keep the rumen healthy.

I encourage you to start on a small, manageable scale if you want to try it. Don't depend on this completely, and to keep giving hay while you do.
Ok.... how can I give more calcium then?

I don't get it.... High protein level but they can't eat enough fodder without getting hay?

I wasn't going to switch cold turkey on them. I was going to experiment by producing a few pounds a day and give it to the goats and the chickens. I just thought they might like the fresh food and maybe it would cost a little less than hay to make.... So I wouldn't have to bother AS much with hay....
 

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Ok.... how can I give more calcium then?
Off hand, I'm not sure. But I know there are ways. Offering Dolomite, perhaps?
I was going to experiment by producing a few pounds a day and give it to the goats and the chickens.
That sounds like a good idea to me.
I just thought they might like the fresh food
I'll bet they will.
I don't get it.... High protein level but they can't eat enough fodder without getting hay?
Well, there is a lot more to nutrition than protein level, and a lot more to hay than nutrition. There's also dry matter and fiber to consider, right? If they could forage, you'd see them occasionally bypassing fresh green leaves for the dried up leaves. That's them needing roughage to settle their rumens and keep everything going. (and of course the minerals left behind as the leaves lose their chlorophyll and moisture)

To recap, Too little protein is a problem. Too much protein is a problem. Too poor of a diet is a problem. Too rich of a diet is a problem. Too dry of a diet is a problem and too wet of a diet is a problem... You can't look at just one thing, especially when all the goat needs must come from you. They can't get anything for themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To recap, Too little protein is a problem. Too much protein is a problem. Too poor of a diet is a problem. Too rich of a diet is a problem. Too dry of a diet is a problem and too wet of a diet is a problem... You can't look at just one thing, especially when all the goat needs must come from you. They can't get anything for themselves.
Ok.. So a mix of both fodder and maybe a grass/ alfalfa hay would be ideal WITH added calcium?
 

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Remember that the Nutritional information is in dry matter. so if you are going to dry the fodder before you feed it then the numbers are relevant. but if you feed fodder wet that is when the goat can not eat enough to get the nutrition they need.

fodder really messes with your mind. remember that you feed 20 lbs of grain to your fodder system the weight of the fodder may 60 lbs when it is harvested. but it is still 20 lbs of grain. all you have done is to change the digestibility of the grain. Instead of being 50% digestibility the grain will be 70%.
 

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