Hay- How much and how often for dry lots?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Michaela Van Mecl, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. Michaela Van Mecl

    Michaela Van Mecl Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2018
    Northern Virginia
    For those of you that don't let your goats graze, how often are you giving them hay and how much?

    I'm considering pulling them from the pasture and letting it rest this Fall/Winter, and keeping them in an area outside the barn with access to the barn. Right now, since they graze all day, they only get a decent sized flake in the evening ... unless it's raining, in which case I'll give them a flake in the AM and the PM. However, whenever they do get hay, they all stand around and munch and munch and munch until it's just completely devoured! The manger is decent sized but I feel like I'd have to keep filling it constantly in order for them to have access at all times... and that schedule is not feasible with me working.

    Thanks for any feedback/tips/advice!
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  2. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    If I recall correctly it's like 4lbs per head per day?

    Make sure your hay rack has smaller openings and a tray. But yes, they do need it pretty much 24/7. Hay has less protein than browse so they have to eat more.

  3. MadHouse

    MadHouse Well-Known Member

    I give one flake for 4 goats for the day (this will get more as it gets colder). I refill late afternoon/early evening. Supper is a handful of fresh hay each in their stalls, plus leftovers from outside manger.
    Could you start your new regime on the weekend (or a day that you are home), so you can refill a couple times? Then you get an idea how much they will need for the day.
    When I go away for the day I make sure I make sure there is more than they need.
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  4. NigerianDwarfOwner707

    NigerianDwarfOwner707 Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2018
    East Coast, USA
    Depends on how big your flakes are. My flakes aren’t thin, they are heavy and thick. Usually about 1 flake per every 1 or 2 goats in wintertime is a good starting point. Use less if it doesn’t get finished and use more if it does get finished. You want the happy medium of just a teeny bit left in the feeder so you know everyone got what they need!
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  5. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    Agree with above - also much depends on the type of hay. If it's just grass hay, I do offer all they want all the time. With alfalfa I start by limiting 1 flake per head 2x a day - for full size nubians.
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  6. happybleats

    happybleats Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Gustine Texas
    We keep baskets full 24/7. filled morning and evening but occasionally refill mid day if they are having a feeding frenzy.
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  7. Moers kiko boars

    Moers kiko boars Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    Mine hay is a round haybale with cattle panels wrapped around it. Free choice. They also receive grain 2xs a day. Plus free choice minerals.
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  8. AlabamaGirl

    AlabamaGirl Member

    Jun 18, 2020
    They need 3% of their body weight in dry matter per day (hay, feed), for example a 200 lb. goat would eat 6 lbs. of DM per day.
  9. We feed total 4-5% of bodyweight in total feed. I make it easier in the winter by leaving a round bale out 24/7 and just replace as needed. But they get about 4-5 flakes of alfalfa a day, and ours are kind of thick and packed tight and heavy. This is for 9 girls, 3 being just under a year. Nubian and mini-Nubian. They also each get roughly 1/2-1 pound of 18% dairy grain each, a day.

    My boys, which there are currently 2 about to be 3 (1 nubian 2 mini-nubian) and they get 2 flakes of alfalfa a day and 2 flakes grass hay and in the winter they just get a round bale to eat until they finish it. Right now in rut they get a pound each of grain a day.

    However, we are just about done fencing our other pasture which is all untouched forest browse. In that case, we will still have a round bale out for whenever they want and we will adjust the alfalfa as needed (also depend on if they are in milk or not)
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