hay ?

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by cdtrum, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. cdtrum

    cdtrum New Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Northern Indiana
    Ok....this may be a silly question, but how can you tell if hay is of good quality......reason I ask is my husband bought some hay from a 4-H kid (mixed grass)......I started pulling from a bale today and in my opinion it doesn't look of good quality to me (but what do I know) :roll: ? To me it looks like green straw......there is some leafy stuff in it, but it is very stemmy.....it is very clean and smells good.....the boys do not seem to excited over it, which they never are when I change hay.....I do have a bale left from what they have been eating and I'm mixing it, but they are picking out the old hay and leaving the new. DH wants me to give it a few days and see if they will start eating it. I would just like to know what to look for in good hay.
    Thanks in advance, Denise
  2. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    It's probably 1st cutting hay--which is not a bad thing, you will just have a lot more waste because the goats probably won't eat the big, course stems.

    I generally look for 2nd cutting or 3rd cutting hay with really fine, leafy stems because, like I said, they waste much less of it.

    As long as it's nice and green and doesn't have any moldy/mustyness, it's fine to give to them...they will just go through it faster because they will pick and choose which parts they'll eat.

  3. jaytori220

    jaytori220 New Member

    Mar 24, 2009
    Melbourne, Fl.
    To me when the hay looks brown and doesnt smell nice. I would say that if its green even though stalky and it smells nice then its good hay. Its depends on what type of hay and what cutting if its stalky or not. I just bought a nice bale of Tim/alf hay. Its mostly grassy which I love cause the goats waste less. Sometimes you can get it really stalky and the goats will waste all of it. I have noticed that TSC's T&A when I used to buy it for my horses was really nice hay but it was always very coarse and stalky. I try to get it when its grassy. It looks alot like orchard grass and the goats love it.
  4. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    it almost sounds like the alfafa hay I have right now.
  5. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    It is hard to know. The only thing you can do is give it to them and offer them mineral also in case it does not have a lot of the minerals they need.
  6. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    U like second or third cutting. its usually not as stemy. Some area can pull off a fourth cutting, and that tends to be good stuff. No matter what type of hay it is first cutting always seems to be more stemy.
    Green is a good sign its good quality, yellowy means its been sitting out a long time, and usually cut later then it should of been. Goats tend to like the leaves over stalks in alfalfa. This is why i feed orchard grass hay here, the eat most of it as aposed to wasting it. then i suppliment with alfalfa pellets. We get our alfalfa from eastern washington (at least the good alfalfa) trucking it over the mountains costs a fortune and they still tend to waste a lot.
    We got some local alfalfa for the horses this year, that was baled horribly. Whoever baled it had the baler set too low, so it had clumps of dirt in it.
  7. bheila

    bheila New Member

    Jan 9, 2009
    Kent, Wa
    The first thing I think about before buying hay is what animals I will be feeding it to. Every animal has different needs and some people just don't think about this.
    This is what I look for when buying hay. Greener is usually better but you can also find hay that is less greener that your animals will do just as fine on. Sometimes farmers will wait too long to bale the hay so it gets bleached out and lacks Vit A. Of coarse if it gets rained on then it's even worse in color and will mold a lot of times if not dried out all the way. I always smell the hay to see if it smells sweet, dusty or moldly. Another thing I consider is the % of protein of the hay. Some animals need more protein then others so why would I give one of my animals a high protein hay when they don't need it.
    Here in Western Washington where I live there is a big stereotype about "local"(local hay is anything grown on the western side of the mountains) hay. A lot of people say it's not as good as Eastern Washington hay. Why? Because it doesn't look at pretty and doesn't have as high of protein. I have to tell people that if they want to keep paying feed store prices for a "stereotype" rumor then go ahead and waster you money. Otherwise do your own research and get referals from your friends about where to find good "local" hay.

    I hate seeing people paying such high prices for hay. I pay $168 a ton for "local" Orchard Grass while the feed store charges $340 a ton plus tax, plus delivery for Eastern Washington Orchard Grass and the protein on my hay tested higher then the feed stores.

    Sorry to be so long winded.
  8. Sweet Gum Minis

    Sweet Gum Minis New Member

    Oct 6, 2007
    Easley, SC
    Alfalfa hay is dryer and stemmy. I've only used some in the past. Seems easy to go moldy too. My goats don't really like alfalfa hay so I feed pellets on that instead. Alfalfa is the most expensive hay in our area.

    We have Coastal Burmuda in our area. I buy horse quality hay. That generally is good enough to make the grade for the goats. Less waste. Goats love the burmuda too. Burmuda is usually the 2nd cheapest hay in our area.

    Timothy Hay/Orchard Grass is what we used this year. I must say the goats absolutely thrived on it. It tends to cost more than Burmuda but less than Alfalfa. I love it and though it tends to have some briars and stems the goats have really done their job munching it away. As a matter of fact we're about ready for more!

    Fescue hay is something I do not mess with. I've seen it listed a lot for sale but goats can abort/miscarry from fescue so I don't buy it. Same applies to horses. Its usually the cheapest hay.

    I've used Millet Hay in the past and the goats liked it just fine. Don't plan to set out to get any again though.

    I've also heard and see Peanut Hay which is a GA thing. Beautiful bales, loaded with leaves. Goats love it but they tend to blow up like fat balloons on it. Never used it personally so I don't know.

    All I know is my goats look great on the Timothy Hay/Orchard Grass and I plan to keep going with that. Course when the time comes to buy I'll also consider Burmuda since the goats love that too.
  9. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    WOW Ashley, I thought SC always had good Alfalfa hay. The Alfalfa hay here is never very steamy and is always full of leaves.

    I do believe that you get different quality of hay in different places. I know some places of Colorado, I would never buy grass hay from, and others have the best.
    I say you just have to really look for a hood hay source and try to get it from the same place all the time if at all possible. I

    What I have done is found a place and a farmer that I get my hay from all the time. It makes things a lot easier for me.
  10. cdtrum

    cdtrum New Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Northern Indiana
    I found a man selling Orchard/Timothy Hay on CraigsList about 45 min from me.....so hubby and I went last night and bought some.....the man is trying to clean out last years to ready for this years....the hay has lost some of its color, but smells really good......it has been kepted inside and his three horses were eating it and looked very healthy......very nice farm and he bales lots of hay every year...... so I did get on his list for hay and yes, I would like to get my hay from one source. I guess this time of year is not a good time to look for hay :scratch: ! I will plan better this year and have a nice supply before winter! As far the hay we bought for the farm kid, it looks like nothing more than greenish straw and will be used as bedding.