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Everything I've read suggests that older goats need a grass hay. When I've been calling around trying to find it, I feel like I'm speaking a foreign language. Is grass hay uncommon? Do you need to special order it in most places? I live in Eastern Washington and everywhere you look there is an alfalfa field.

Tonia
 

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From what I can gather....

I think Timothy hay is 'grass' hay. But it is really just a wild field mowed for hay. There is a premium price on it now because horse people think it is good for horses, but it used to be considered junk hay.

IFA has it in compressed bales for $10. I have largely given up on finding grass hay but bought a scythe to make my own. I have planted some experimental miscanthus giganteus for the purpose of making real grass hay.

I may be completely wrong since I am getting this info from some pretty shading looking characters.

I am letting my guys browse on the spring grass, and box elder and chinese elm leaves, supplementing them with a bit of alphalpha only because they are spoiled.
 

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I'm far from an expert, but my observation has been that on your side of the Cascades there is more alfalfa, while the west side has more grass hay. My area (Southern Oregon) is almost all grass hay. It might be worth the trouble to find a source of cheap grass hay on the western side of the state, then go in with some other folks to make a bulk purchase that can be delivered. Or, if you're closer to Idaho, I would think that there would be grass hay up in the panhandle, or in western Montana??? (Just guessing, based on my memories of those areas.)

Growing up in rural high schools we took ag classes and we had to learn about all the hay grasses. You might look for specific types: timothy grass, orchard grass, oats, rye, etc. I can't remember all the types, but there are many. A basic google search should get the names of the most common varieties. Perhaps that would make more sense when you are asking around, if you used the specific names.

Best o' luck!

Dan
 

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You should be able to find grass hay in Eastern Washington.

I live near Tacoma in Western Washington. The feed stores around here usually carry alfalfa, Timothy grass hay and Orchard grass hay (sometimes with a small percentage of alfalfa). It all comes from Eastern Washington…you don’t want to be getting hay from over here (Western Washington is quite different from Southern Oregon as far as hay goes).

I get the Orchard grass for our goats.

Perry
 

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Bob- in Northern Utah (Cache Valley) it's pretty tough not to find grass hay.
I do have someone that gives me around 15 bales in the winter that's a mixture of grass,alfalfa and weeds that I like for diversity. But as far as pure grass hay goes it's pretty easy to get and very reasonably priced up here.
 

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Another name you could look for is Blue grass hay. I was getting orchard for my boys and they love it but it was REALLY good orchard grass. All green and sweet smelling. The Farm store kept saying it is really hot. It took me awhile to figure out what that ment but it means it is high in protien. My boys are getting older too and was worried it was to much for them. We are not extream hikers yet...more pasture potatoes. I found blue grass hay that they stock for overweight horses. The goats turned their noses up for a day or two but now they love it. Waste a bit more than the orchard but it is cheeper. Hope this helps. I'm on the west side of the mountains but I think they get it from Eastern Oregon.
 

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Packfish said:
Bob- in Northern Utah (Cache Valley) it's pretty tough not to find grass hay.
I do have someone that gives me around 15 bales in the winter that's a mixture of grass,alfalfa and weeds that I like for diversity. But as far as pure grass hay goes it's pretty easy to get and very reasonably priced up here.
Cool, I'll have to bring a trailer when we visit.
 

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It all comes from Eastern Washington…you don’t want to be getting hay from over here
Perry- What makes you say that local grass hay from W. Wash is not desireable for goats? Or are you just referring the extra fuel cost to move it to the other side of the state?
 

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I was planning to buy local, direct out of the field later this month. This is the cheapest method and you can see the quality and know that it hasn't been rained on or stored outside. Much cheaper than the feed store.
 

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Todd – my point was that there is no reason to buy Western Washington hay if you live in Eastern Washington.

Western Washington hay is generally lower in protein than Eastern Washington…which could make a difference for packgoats who are still growing. With the weather we get, like so far this year, I can be hard to get hay that hasn’t been rained on; and is truly dry enough when it’s bailed. By the time the weather gets good, the grass is a lot more stem and less nutrition.
 

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Perry is right. Due to the amount of rain we get on the west side a lot of the nutrition is leached out of the soil and doesn't go into the plant. Our grass hays are usually mostly fiber. Wethers need around 12% protein and the hays around here are about 8%. On the other side of the Cascades they run about 12-14 or even higher for orchard grass, timothy or bluegrass.

On the other hand, alfalfa runs even higher, except in the places where it is little more than stems and so have less protein.This is why some people can get away with feeding alfalfa more than others.

Hay quality varies in every field. It pays to have it tested if you plan to buy a winter's worth at a time.
 

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Right now the avg price for grass hay in No. Utah for small bales is between $2.50 and $2.75 a bale. Everything I have looked at is weed free- Most of my winter hay is this with about 15 bales of Alfalafa/grass/weed to give them a little variety.
 

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sweetgoatmama said:
I pay $10-15 dollars a bale for orchard grass, depending on the time of year and what's available. Alfalfa is a little cheaper but only a buck or two.
How big is the bale ? Sometimes I go haul for a guy- after getting 7 or 8 loads for him I get mine free- as I get older I don't know how much of a bargain that is.
 

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I live in ohio, so i'm sure hay prices are different, but i just found a deal on "goat hay"/timothy/orchard grass mix, for 1.50 a bale, and if you buy 20, you get 5 free!!! It was in an ad in our firelands farmer newspaper. U could travel to ohio and buy hay!!! :lol:
 
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