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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I'm trying to line up winter hay for my goats, because the guy we get hay from will be cutting and baling in a few weeks, and I'm trying to plan it so he can just bring the bales over and stack them in the barn. He's got an orchard grass/alfalfa mix that the goats LOVED last year, but he told me there's a lot of clover growing in it this year. There's a little bell going off in the back of my mind saying, 'clover and goats...not good' but I honestly can't remember where I heard this or what the circumstances were. Do any of you foresee problems here?
Also, I'm considering buying a few bales of straight grass hay to interspers with the alfalfa/ orchard mix for my buck and wether. I KNOW if you ask 4 goat people what to feed goats, you'll probably end up with 5 different answers, but I'm going to do it anyway. They get primarily hay in the winter. The buck had a zinc deficiency last winter, which I believe can be caused by too much calcium in the diet. So I'm trying not to overdo calcium, but also don't want to end up dealing with UC from too much phosphorous. I believe grass hay can be fairly high in phosphorous? I know there isn't any magic right answer, but I'd appreciate a few ideas from folks who've been doing this longer than I have. Thanks!
 

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A bit of clover is ok in pasture and hay just not a lot of it. Took much clover can cause bloat. In the hay it should be ok though. The problem comes in when the clover is wet. We have it in our pasture but the goats usually do not eat it.. the cows do.

Ours will waste hay if it has a lot of grass (fescue) hay in it. So while it may save you money in the front end they may waste it and the savings be not so much in the end. We go for horse hay for ours. It is usually a better blend that they waste very little of. Yes we pay more for it but cow hay is primarily fescue round here. I may as well just go on use that for bedding.

Ask your hay guy if he will give you a better deal if you pick it up out of the pasture... if you have a truck and trailer. ;). A lot of farmers will do this so they do not have to do that work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A bit of clover is ok in pasture and hay just not a lot of it. Took much clover can cause bloat. In the hay it should be ok though. The problem comes in when the clover is wet. We have it in our pasture but the goats usually do not eat it.. the cows do.

Ours will waste hay if it has a lot of grass (fescue) hay in it. So while it may save you money in the front end they may waste it and the savings be not so much in the end. We go for horse hay for ours. It is usually a better blend that they waste very little of. Yes we pay more for it but cow hay is primarily fescue round here. I may as well just go on use that for bedding.

Ask your hay guy if he will give you a better deal if you pick it up out of the pasture... if you have a truck and trailer. ;). A lot of farmers will do this so they do not have to do that work.
Thanks for clearing up the clover question!
Yes, you have a valid point about the hay waste. They definitely don't like the fescue nearly as much. I feel like the farmer is already giving us a pretty good deal. He delivers for no charge, and likes to put the hay in our barn instead of his so that he doesn't have to handle it twice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My vote is stick with your orchard/alfalfa mix. Sounds like you have a good relationship with an honest local hay farmer. And good for you planning for winter!

The clover is totally fine.
Thanks for the input! I guess I'll just watch for possible issues with my buck. I know what I'm looking for now, so should catch the symptoms much quicker if they arise again. He was also still growing a lot last year, so I think that may have been part of the problem. He just wasn't quite getting all he needed to support his growth.
We had a drought 2 years ago, and NOBODY could get hay for love or money. I've learned to reserve it quickly so that I'm not short if we have another bad summer.
 

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I agree with Sfwife, it’s not that it’s a killer it’s more like it’s super rich. I have lots of clover in the goats pasture but when it comes up I limit the amount of time they are in that pasture, slowly adding more time to it. This is also the ONLY time I will put baking soda out (a bloat block would work too). But that pasture. What I do with hay when the quality jumps way up (alfalfa) is just slowly introduce it. So I’ll have the cruddy hay (it’s not really cruddy but not as good lol) and just keep adding a little more of the good each feeding until they have switched over. You can do that too with the new hay with clover.
Your bucks if your worried about stones what about adding ammonia chloride for them. Somewhere on here there’s a post about adding it to minerals. So many pounds of minerals with so many pounds of AC. Another thing that I recently learned is a lot of people with market wethers, that are on very high amounts of grain, is offering electrolytes. So one bucket of water one electrolytes and let them pick. That way it encourages them to drink more and kinda help keep the pipes cleaned out. I don’t think it would totally 100% keep stones away but I do think that it would help and we do that with the wethers.
 

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Honestly the slower the better. The first time is only like 10 minutes. It’s really hard to just sit there and look at a clock but I try to shoot for about 5-10 minutes more each day. Once they reach about 45 minutes I don’t really worry about it any more and the gate is left open. I do think feeding them some before hand makes a difference too. That way they are not going out there totally starving wanting something to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I agree with Sfwife, it's not that it's a killer it's more like it's super rich. I have lots of clover in the goats pasture but when it comes up I limit the amount of time they are in that pasture, slowly adding more time to it. This is also the ONLY time I will put baking soda out (a bloat block would work too). But that pasture. What I do with hay when the quality jumps way up (alfalfa) is just slowly introduce it. So I'll have the cruddy hay (it's not really cruddy but not as good lol) and just keep adding a little more of the good each feeding until they have switched over. You can do that too with the new hay with clover.
Your bucks if your worried about stones what about adding ammonia chloride for them. Somewhere on here there's a post about adding it to minerals. So many pounds of minerals with so many pounds of AC. Another thing that I recently learned is a lot of people with market wethers, that are on very high amounts of grain, is offering electrolytes. So one bucket of water one electrolytes and let them pick. That way it encourages them to drink more and kinda help keep the pipes cleaned out. I don't think it would totally 100% keep stones away but I do think that it would help and we do that with the wethers.
Huh, that's an interesting thought about the electrolytes. Thanks for sharing that! My understanding is that Ammonium Chloride actually doesn't work if the goat eats it all the time. I've never had to use it, but I've seen 'pulse dosing' recommendations, where you give it for a certain amount of time, and then have a few days off.
The goats will have been on browse in the woods all summer/fall, so they will get the hay introduced slowly as the stuff they can forage for decreases.
I think I may go ahead and buy a few bales of some kind for grass hay for my boys, to intersperse with the alfalfa/ orchard, because my wether will be a roly-poly by spring if he gets too much alfalfa.
 
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