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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed someone posted a question about testing hay and I thought I would start a new topic listing for it since it is an important part of knowing what you are feeding your animals - goats or otherwise. Understanding a hay analysis allows you to properly balance your animal's diet.

We raise grass hay and use equi-analytical for our testing. http://www.equi-analytical.com/

There are a number of different tests you can have performed from minor testing to testing everything from A-Z. We have the "Trainer" testing done on our hay.

The equi-analytical website has a plethora of information on interpreting the results so you will know how to put them to work in your feeding regiment.
 

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Thanks for the post! They seem very reasonable in price. I think I'm going to start buying some local hay from nearby. I wonder what the nutrition is and this might be the answer.

Would you test every year since growing conditions change from year to year or can you guess its close to the same?
 

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I sent my hay to get tested at a lab one time and didn't have a hay probe. So I took a small handful from a wide variety of bales. I took some handfuls from the outsides and I reached down and took some from the insides of the bales. I put it all in a bucket and mixed it up some more. Then I took it home, pulled out a handful at a time and cut some of each handful off with scissors and put it in a gallon Ziplock bag. It helps if you double the hay over, cut it at the crease, and then cut the ends that you've now evened up. It's kind of labor intensive, but I felt I got a really good sampling of my hay to send and I didn't have to spend money on an expensive hay probe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hay test results will vary from field to field and from the time of day the hay was cut. We have found the results don't change much in our fields from year to year.

Like Nanno said, you can take a sample of hay without using a probe. Take a 5 gallon bucket (or other container) and a sample of hay from a number of bales. Dig as deep into each bale as you can for the samples. Mix the samples together well then take a handful of it and send it off to the lab.

The moisture level of the hay when it was baled is extremely important. We bale our grass hay at 14-17% moisture. Also look for dirty hay and excessive weeds. You usually get what you pay for with hay as you do with most things.
 
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