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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all I know there are some really old posts on haylage buried deep in the forums. I went looking before posting this, but I wanted to ask anyways.

I heavily ration my hay to keep costs low and to encourage my goats to forage, wich so far has been working reasonably well. Come winter of course I'll need to buy more feed but I'm hopeing to put away a fair amount in the fall as well.

Herea my question around here unless I'm willing to drive an hour an 80 lb bale of orhard or alfalfa goes for about $18-$20. I can keep it down to about 2-3 bails a month for my 10 does and 12 kids. And while they aren't as plump as I'd like they are less ribby than goats I've seen at some commercial dairies. I've been stalking other goat farms to learn as much as possible.

I found a guy selling 600lb bails of haylage for $60. I'm not sure my girls will eat through a whole 600lbs in 2 weeks before it goes bad, but if I gave them unlimited access and put some out in the pasture I'd bet they'd make a serious dent. They'd eat 3x the amount of hay I'm giving them if i was willing to.

So my questions are what are other people's experience with haylage?

Will I set back my efforts in getting them to forage by providing so much more feed.

Is 2 weeks a realistic expectation of how long it will last (it is VERY HUMID here 65-80% most days)

Is this something that I should wait on until the fall /winter when there is less forage?

Any thoughts are appreciated.
 

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I completely respect what you are trying to do. I want you to know that.

Because of how intricate the digestive system is on a goat, I do not ever encourage newbies to experiment with any feed ending in '-lage'

It can be so, so dangerous. If you can spend a year studying and learning before depending upon -lage, you won't regret it.
 

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I go through about a bale a week with 2. And I can assure you this is not sparingly, we waste hay exceptionally well lol. Either way, I cannot imagine 2-3 bales A MONTH providing for that many goats. I agree with @mariarose , I would really attempt to source simple HAY. Maybe round bales, or someone that delivers, could make your burden easier.
 

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For your question, yes putting hay out 24/7 is going to mess with them going out to graze. I has to play with the amount of hay I feed A LOT threw out the year depending on how much pasture they have and how much I want them to go out and about because they do want that easy dinner.
I agree with mariarose and I stay away from it.
I know this was not your question but look into trucking. Here I am in the same boat as you. Crap alfalfa is $16.99 for maybe 80 pounds. In my specific area we really don’t grow hay. Now I can get 6 hours away, 100# bales delivered and after the cost of haul comes out to $11. That’s for good hay. I once got some that had a good amount of weeds in it, I would say 30-40%, to my house for $4. It may not be like that where you are but it might be worth looking into. It is a very hard pill to swallow all at once, that I do not like, but a lot of money can be saved. What a few people up here do is get together and have it delivered to one gals house and then 3 people split the load. So if you don’t have room for a whole load there might be that option as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For your question, yes putting hay out 24/7 is going to mess with them going out to graze. I has to play with the amount of hay I feed A LOT threw out the year depending on how much pasture they have and how much I want them to go out and about because they do want that easy dinner.
I agree with mariarose and I stay away from it.
I know this was not your question but look into trucking. Here I am in the same boat as you. Crap alfalfa is $16.99 for maybe 80 pounds. In my specific area we really don't grow hay. Now I can get 6 hours away, 100# bales delivered and after the cost of haul comes out to $11. That's for good hay. I once got some that had a good amount of weeds in it, I would say 30-40%, to my house for $4. It may not be like that where you are but it might be worth looking into. It is a very hard pill to swallow all at once, that I do not like, but a lot of money can be saved. What a few people up here do is get together and have it delivered to one gals house and then 3 people split the load. So if you don't have room for a whole load there might be that option as well
How large is a load and how long can it safely keep under dry cover?
 

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Well there is a few different ways to haul hay and not every one has the same length. But a retriever I believe is 56 bales, basically a harrow or hay. Most truck loads here is about 350 bales. There is also truck and trailer and I’m just going to assume that double that but I think the second trailer does usually haul more. But just a general idea.
Hay can be kept for a long time. There seems to be different answers to that. Probably because not all hay is stored the same way. I would say 2 years though and it should be just as good as when it was put up. After that the nutritional value is probably starting to go down. So it’s not that after two years it’s “bad” it’s still edible and won’t cause a issue it’s just that it may not be as good of hay as when it was first put away.
 

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Have you tried keepin hay out for them like enough for them to eat eat on? My reason for askin.... i always keep hay out. In a good sized feeder, in two other bags in their pen that they have all day access to. Mine will always choose to graze or forage first over eatin that hay if the other eats are good eats. Always. I can always tell when the bucks need moved (they are in electric netting run throughout the woods) because they start nommin the hay in their feeder and otherwise don’t touch it for weeks on end... and the does, kids and wethers up the hill do this as well. The only time the goats up the hill eat hay other times is when we put them to bed early for the night (if we know we will be out really late kinda thing) and they dont have access to graze and forage during normal hours. Maybe if yours had access to enough hay for them constantly they would not go straight for it first... kinda like the boring food you get all the time and it is just there is the idea that i am tryin to convey here. Right now the way it sounds like you feed it.. it may be more like a treat to them and they gobble it up fast to make sure they each get some?

I wont do haylage here because of the weather... hot, humid and/or rain. I don’t want to need worry about them eatin mold even though we can keep it in a dry place. What other options of types of hay do you have there? List them out and people here may can help you pick out a variety that may work better than the haylage and keep your costs down while keepin your goats fed to be full and happy.
 
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