Hay shortages

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by kids-n-peeps, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. kids-n-peeps

    kids-n-peeps New Member

    Aug 24, 2009
    Our normal hay sources are falling through this year due to drought-like conditions. I have found two people selling hay through Craigslist. One has animal quality orchard mix, but said it was pretty coarse/coarser than usual for $4 a small square bale. The other option is an Alfalfa mix for $7 a small square bale. Which would you go for? Or perhaps some of each to mix together? We've never fed Alfalfa mix . . . do those of you that use it, like it?
  2. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    I would probably buy a small load of each for now and try them both, if they both are good then just mix it up during feeding so they get both, but if you don't like the cheaper stuff then just get the more expensive stuff for the next load you get. I would start stocking up now if there is a shortage...the prices are likely to go up as winter gets closer and more and more hay is being sold. I feed free choice grass and then my goats get dairy quality alfalfa in the mornings. Alfalfa in my opinion does more for them, more weight, more milk production, etc. I've only had them on grass for several months before and you could see a major decrease in good appearance and production. An alfalfa/grass mix is ideal.

  3. bheila

    bheila New Member

    Jan 9, 2009
    Kent, Wa
    We always opt for hay that is higher in quality than a cheaper price ;) Like Kylee stated, try them out first. Don't commit to a large quantity until you know your animals will eat it. There is a shortage on hay this year but so far prices haven't gone up, at least ours haven't. If you wait until Winter to stock up then you'll be paying higher prices.
  4. kids-n-peeps

    kids-n-peeps New Member

    Aug 24, 2009
    My concerns with alfalfa aren't price-related, but are related to urinary issues . . . is alfalfa just to be avoided with wethers (btw, we don't have wethers)? Or am I just confused!!??
  5. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    It is what you can afford ...I agree... try them both....purchase 1 of each... :thumb:

    there are things you can supplement... to keep urinary issues away.... :wink:
  6. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    I have always heard of urinary problems with bucks and wethers and honestly my bucks, does, and wethers (when i've had them in the past) have never had a problem with an alfalfa mix. My boys were actually on almost straight alfalfa during this winter and we still didn't have problems. But a mix shouldn't hurt them any.
  7. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    I'm curious. We don't have square bales here, ours are 3 string long bales that weigh anywhere from 100-120 lbs. I'm currently paying 9.50. How much do your 7 dollar small square bales weigh?
  8. Realfoodmama

    Realfoodmama New Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    Santa Fe, NM
    I feed very rich alfalfa hay (about 80-90% alfalfa) to my girls and have never had problems.
  9. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    i'd go with the higher quality.

    I wish we had a better harvest too! it's been very wet and it's been hard for farmers to get their hay up.
  10. Itchysmom

    Itchysmom New Member

    Apr 2, 2010
    Quality over price is my motto. Try them both. If these guys are close to you, maybe ask if you can buy one bale of each and see if the goats eat it.

    I have fed alfalfa to my horses thier whole lives. It is what we did in CA. Now they are on pasture grass all summer and get an alfalfa/grass mix in the winter. I have never had urinary problems. Just make sure that the goats are drinking alot of water!
  11. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    I use alfalfa hay and no there are no issues with it

    Its great when you have breeding animals because of the higher nutrient level.
  12. SDK

    SDK New Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Yucaipa ca
    alfalfa. never had a problem with UC in 7 years. I don't feed ammonium chloride either.. and they get grain in winter.
  13. kids-n-peeps

    kids-n-peeps New Member

    Aug 24, 2009
    Good info and advice - I'm definitely less worried about the alfalfa now :wink:
  14. MiGoat

    MiGoat New Member

    Apr 21, 2010
    West Michigan
    Fiasco Farm website says they feed the weedier stuff (which is cheaper) to their goats. The weeds send their roots deeper therefor have more nutrients...is the thinking.

    I like that thinking. :)
  15. CrossCreekTX

    CrossCreekTX New Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Central East Texas
    What else is available? Last year in the drought, the corn and milo crops didn't make and the farmers baled the stalks with what little grain was in the ears and sold that pretty cheap. It was going for IIRC $35 a round bale. Goats love it. Also look for pea hay and you may be able to get tree and hedge trimmings.
  16. DRJ Ranch

    DRJ Ranch New Member

    Apr 2, 2010
    Anderson, California
    Well we do a clover/grass hay mix its what we have grown for over 30 years and we make small square bales 60 to 100 lbs we try to avarage right at 80 though there is no hay shortage in my area atleast but to stay competitive we are selling for 4 dollars a bale. Now the goats get a bale every know and then for dry foilage consumption but the 32 of them I have currently cant keep the 2 acres of ground they are on mowed down.

    So I think we have over 1000 bales in the barn right now and we should be getting anthor cutting soon. So I need to figure out something to do with all this feed.
  17. kids-n-peeps

    kids-n-peeps New Member

    Aug 24, 2009
    Typically the small square bales are about 50 pounds, but it really depends on how tightly they are baled, so some will be more than that. Oh, and they are really rectangles bound with two strings. Generally for an orchard mix, it's about $3-$4 a bale here. Alfalfa/orchard mix are generally $4-6 a bale. $7 per bale is expensive here, but there is a hay shortage and prices will likely keep going up unless the rain comes :)
  18. RPC

    RPC Boer Goat Breeder

    I live just north of Fort Wayne, Indiana and my dad has his own custom hay baleing business so we never really have a shortage for our use....and its nice because all I do is help bale hay all summer long and then I dont have to pay for any that I use. Right now we charge 4-6 dollars a bale depending on the quality. We are actually a dollar or 2 cheeper then other people around us but we would rather have repeat customers then make a quick buck. We also do straw so I am set. We bale the small square bales and the bales range from 60-90 lbs.
  19. MiGoat

    MiGoat New Member

    Apr 21, 2010
    West Michigan
    Our bales are 2 stringers...I don't know how much they weigh but I will guess.
    I can easily lift a 50 pound bag of dog food and the bales are not as easy for me to lift, no where near. Taking into account how bulky hay is...maybe the bales are between 60 and 75 pounds? They cost us 3.00, for alfalfa mix.
    I think those are the smallest bales you can get.
  20. Mon Reve Farm

    Mon Reve Farm New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
    Southern DE
    We go with the alfalfa mix too. At this point we have three different sources and have even resorted to putting in the time to pick up in field or off wagon to save some money.

    Had some delivered last week because we could get a good deal if we bought most of what they had on the wagon. Am starting to stock pile too since we have been told by a number of people this summers weather conditions in Southern DE and Eastern Shore MD will impact hay prices.

    Of all the hay we have tried the one thing they didn't life was "teff" hay. I'm not entirely sure what kind of grass that is but they only ate it when there was nothing else available.