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What is the best way to feed a herd? I have 9 together and they are always fighting for the hay and grain. I make several piles but that doesn't always work. I wonder if I free fed if the competition would disappear or minimize greatly.

Also, how much food do 40 to 50 pound goats need? They will baa for me at sun up for food every morning, lol. Crazy herd. I thought free feeding would let us spend more time with them just "hanging out" as my daughter says :) . We spend a lot of time doing just that. Sweeties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome! Thank you. I just need do figure out a feeder now :) . Those sillies are so dang wasteful!
 

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Free feeding hay is what causes them to be wasteful. They can pick and choose the best parts and leave the rest because they have so much hay in front of them. I do not free choice feed anything, and I have very, very little wasted hay in my pens. My adults get 5 or 6 lbs per day - depending on their size, weaning kids are started out at 2-3 lbs per day and I adjust as needed according to whether they are sunk in in front of their hip bones and how much. With hay going for $250 - $300/ton in my area, I'm NOT free choice feeding! Bear in mind that goats do not like stemmy hay, and they will not eat it a lot of times. If they are used to being free choice fed, they will also balk at being forced to clean up what they have been given but they will do it.
 

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I have panels with bars 1 inch apart that are destined to become my new hay feeders. We have another member that did something like that and it worked really well for her. Mine don't eat a lot of hay anyway since they have free choice alfalfa pellets as well.
I would love to see some of this mythological soft stemless hay...Hmm...
 

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The alfalfa I've been getting out here barely has much stem to it, it's really leafy, and falls apart SUPER easily, I'd actually prefer it had more stems so I could throw it over the fence into the feeder without it disintegrating half way there, or upon impact! The goats really like it though! Spoiled brats should, it's $17 a bale! So expensive, too bad goats don't graze, I've got plenty of pasture.
 

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My goats get free choice grass hay in their barn. They don't eat a lot of it unless I mix in some alfalfa. Then they go to town. The bulk of my goats' diet is browse. They would probably be just fine if I didn't feed hay in the summer at all but I like to know they have something to munch on when they are locked up at night. If I free choiced grain, I think my goats would kill themselves by eating too much! Mine only get 1/2 a cup each in the evening before I lock them in. They don't need it but its part of their routine and they cry like crazy if I try to lock them in without giving it to them first. Mine are only pets and not for show, so they don't need a lot. I put grain in four large feed pans for 8 goats and they double up with their buddy without a lot of pushing.
 

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Yep, I have gotten alfalfa that shatters like that. My sillies have to live with alfalfa pellets and some really nice orchard grass.
They will graze...As long as I cut the grass and bring it to them :rolleyes:
 

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I have a feeder similar to what ksalvagno linked to, but I made it myself out of wood that was lying around here. Alternatively you could dismantle a baby crib and use that; it is already slatted. The tray underneath is key to reducing waste. My goats will pull hay out from the slats, drop it on the tray, and eat from the tray as often as not. If I feel there is too much hay in the tray (next step the floor) I scoop it back into the upper bin.
 

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We feed our 4 (and soon to be 5) diary goats alfalfa twice a day. It lasts them through most of the day though, so I suppose one could argue that it is free choice. The difference is that they quickly eat the leaves and take their time picking through the stems all day. They would be much quieter if they had fresh,leafy hay all day, but alfalfa is not cheap around here! If yours are competing too much, then free choice hay is definitely okay. Grain should only be fed once or twice per day though.
 

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We feed grain twice daily. It's not all grain...it's a mix and most of them don't get a ton of it. They have browse during the day and at night they get hay. When there is no browse, there is hay during the day too. Not refilled constantly for an unlimited amount but enough. Right now, by morning most of the hay is gone but not all of it and not much is wasted.
 

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I am a new goat owner thus year and I have read a lot of places that too much alfalfa hay is not good for them? I have 2 horses so I just bring home 5 flakes of their grass hay down for my Pygmy and Nigerian dwarf whethers. My problem is that they waste a ton of the hay!! So should I mix alfalfa and how much is too much?
 

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I am a new goat owner thus year and I have read a lot of places that too much alfalfa hay is not good for them? I have 2 horses so I just bring home 5 flakes of their grass hay down for my Pygmy and Nigerian dwarf whethers. My problem is that they waste a ton of the hay!! So should I mix alfalfa and how much is too much?
My herd has two wethers and six does. My wethers are very attached to their sisters and if I don't want to have to seperate them if I don't have to. I mix their grass hay and alfalfa together in a ratio of 3 to 1. I haven't had any problems this way and they waste less than if I feed only grass hay. My wethers were not wethered until they were 5 months old, so I don't know if that lets them be ok with some alfalfa in their diet. There are several different opinions on the subject but this works for my boys and lets them stay with their sisters.

I don't know specifically how much is too much but I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will post.
 

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I feed my wethers 1.5 percent of their body weight in alfalfa pellets, so, a 200lb. wether gets 3lbs. pellets. Actually, I just put out enough that they never quite run out, that's about how much they eat though.
 

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The alfalfa I've been getting out here barely has much stem to it, it's really leafy, and falls apart SUPER easily, I'd actually prefer it had more stems so I could throw it over the fence into the feeder without it disintegrating half way there, or upon impact! The goats really like it though! Spoiled brats should, it's $17 a bale! So expensive, too bad goats don't graze, I've got plenty of pasture.
My goats graze :confused:

In fact we don't feed a whole lot of hay, if we did, they would all be FAT!
 

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I am a new goat owner thus year and I have read a lot of places that too much alfalfa hay is not good for them? I have 2 horses so I just bring home 5 flakes of their grass hay down for my Pygmy and Nigerian dwarf whethers. My problem is that they waste a ton of the hay!! So should I mix alfalfa and how much is too much?
You might try mixing your grass hay with alfalfa hay at the ratio of 50/50. I really like grass/alfalfa hay - if it is of good quality, it meets all of the requirements of open, pregnant, and nursing does without overdoing the alfalfa. Personally, I never feed straight alfalfa to any of my goats except nursing moms or weaning kids if I can help it. It tends to put on too much weight when they are open, it can cause problems when they are bred, but it does do very well for them when they are nursing. Just my .02.
 
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