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Which feeding method stimulates better intake?

  • Free-choice

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  • 2x a day

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I'm doing a research project for a goat farmer who produces cheese. He currently gives good quality hay free choice (along with grain 2x a day, and pasture), but the goats are not always particularly interested in it. He's wondering whether giving the hay at fixed times would pique the goats' interest and stimulate them to eat more and waste less.

He's also wondering whether eating hay first thing in the morning would be better for rumen functioning than them starting the day with grain (if he is able to stimulate them to eat the hay).

Any experience or thoughts on the pros and cons of free choice vs restricted feeding? Thanks! :)
 

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I feed once a day in the evening, sometimes hay is left over, but not for the boys (competition) they dont leave a stem even if I over feed, I grain Letty twice a day, this seems to work well for me
 

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It seems to me that if the goats always have hay in front of them, they only pick through it and eat the best part. (It looks the same to me, but each piece must taste different!) If they are fed an adequate amount once or twice a day, they will eventually eat the less desirable parts (if they haven't fallen on the ground).

I've done both, constant hay available and hayed 2 X a day. They waste less on the 2x a day feeding. Especially if they eat most of it between the feedings.
 
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