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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

So I know this is a potentially strange question - but do goats need unlimited access to some type of forage? My reason for asking is that we have been trying chaffhaye for our herd over the last few weeks and absolutely LOVE it (and so do the goats ;) ) but boy can they burn through a 50 pound bale in no time! According to the feeding instructions, they only need 2.5-3 lbs/head/day. So, for example, a pen of 15 does should only need approximately one - 50 lb bale of chaffhaye a day. Well, if we put one out for them in the morning, its completely gone by evening (we give them grain in the evening too fyi).

For some background info, we usually feed big rounds of either prairie hay or alfalfa. But quality forage is very scarce this time of year (our girls ate - or wasted rather - way more than they usually do during the winter, but we had a very long, hard winter too). And that same low quality forage thats scarcely available, is also super pricey. A friend of ours just said he got $8/bale for moldy prairie hay at the sale barn last weekend.

I'm in Nebraska, and we've just experienced very serious flooding where a lot of farm ground has been ruined. So another reason we're trying chaffhaye is because forage prices are primed to potentially go through the roof.

I'd love to hear opinions or experience with either feeding chaffhaye, or basically if it's "ok" and healthy for their rumens to not have forage in front of them all day and night? I just want to keep my girls healthy! Thanks for any help or advice!
 

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I don't have chaffehay experience but out of curiosity, are you feeding it out of a hay rack or slotted feeder of some sort. Or you put a whole bale on the ground in their pen? Just wondering if something that resitricted mouthfuls a bit and a tray that caught dropped bits may make it last a few more hours for them.

I think the answer to your question is no, they don't absolutely have to have forage in front of them at all times. There are goatherders in other countries that lock their herds in raised sheds at night from predators and then herd them all over miles of forage all day long.

But I'm wondering if in a contained system your herd is going to get restless and start heckling one another with nothing to keep them busy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't have chaffehay experience but out of curiosity, are you feeding it out of a hay rack or slotted feeder of some sort. Or you put a whole bale on the ground in their pen? Just wondering if something that resitricted mouthfuls a bit and a tray that caught dropped bits may make it last a few more hours for them.

I think the answer to your question is no, they don't absolutely have to have forage in front of them at all times. There are goatherders in other countries that lock their herds in raised sheds at night from predators and then herd them all over miles of forage all day long.

But I'm wondering if in a contained system your herd is going to get restless and start heckling one another with nothing to keep them busy.
So, we also have these (I call them) V - Feeders with trays in the bottom of them for feeding small squares. So we put most of a chaffhaye bale in the tray of those, and then pack the rest in their hanging grain/trough feeders (they hang from the fenceline). The heckling is a good point though. We plan on rotationally grazing them on open pasture (the pasture is packed with trees/shrubs/and weeds...they should be in heaven) hopefully starting in May/June. And then by July 1st we should have our first crop of hay cut off of our own fields. We're just in a weird position right now with not having our own forage, and not trusting buying any other forages for fear they are basically junk so we're trying to find something to tide us over until then. Hopefully that made some sense? lol
 

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I feed chaffhaye to my goats ( just got some bales this last weekend). I got it as more of a supplement than using it as their sole form of hay. I was running low on my alfalfa mix hay but I managed to get good grass hay from a neighbor so I decided to get the chaffhaye plus the grass hay so they'd get the extra alfalfa/nutrients in forage form.

Is there any way you can get even just grass hay for a reasonable price and feed less chaffhaye? I'm only suggesting that because I know it's got to be super expensive for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I feed chaffhaye to my goats ( just got some bales this last weekend). I got it as more of a supplement than using it as their sole form of hay. I was running low on my alfalfa mix hay but I managed to get good grass hay from a neighbor so I decided to get the chaffhaye plus the grass hay so they'd get the extra alfalfa/nutrients in forage form.

Is there any way you can get even just grass hay for a reasonable price and feed less chaffhaye? I'm only suggesting that because I know it's got to be super expensive for you.
Well a few months ago our neighbor sold his rounds of grass for $200 a bale. When I say forage is ridiculous around here...I mean like WOW ridiculous. It's terrible. So unfortunately the chaffhaye is currently comparable to baled hay prices. And they waste so much less and actually get something nutritional instead of, well, basically expensive stems to chew on. ☹ We're just hoping to make it to middle/end of next month when we can start grazing rotationally again. But no, I totally hear what you're saying.
 

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Well a few months ago our neighbor sold his rounds of grass for $200 a bale. When I say forage is ridiculous around here...I mean like WOW ridiculous. It's terrible. So unfortunately the chaffhaye is currently comparable to baled hay prices. And they waste so much less and actually get something nutritional instead of, well, basically expensive stems to chew on. ☹ We're just hoping to make it to middle/end of next month when we can start grazing rotationally again. But no, I totally hear what you're saying.
Oh my gosh that's insanely expensive!! I understand perfectly now why you made that choice. You're right, Chaffhaye is much less waste than regular hay. I wish I could send some hay your way!
 
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