Hey....what about Hay?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Rastus59, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Rastus59

    Rastus59 New Member

    15
    Apr 12, 2013
    Iowa
    We recently bought some grass hay and my goats aren't eating it. It is a lush green, smells good, not dusty and no mold. They only thing we can see is that it has some really fine grasses in it. After trying to identify it the closest thing we can think that it could possibly be is a type of fescue. So I did my usual research on this and found that it can cause issues with pregnant goats. Does anyone have any experience with this type of grass with their goats? :chin:Any and all input is very welcome PLEASE!!! Thanks a bunch in advance! :thumbup:
     
  2. Twink90

    Twink90 New Member

    319
    Dec 21, 2013
    Amsterdam MO
    We feed our goats grass hay & they waste a lot of it ! I never realized how picky goats can be. We just use what they won't eat as their bedding. My girls never had problems with fescue , in fact they normally pick out brome & leave the rest .
     

  3. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I would find out from the farmer exactly what type of grass hay it is. If it is fescue, find out if it is endophyte-free fescue.
     
  4. Rastus59

    Rastus59 New Member

    15
    Apr 12, 2013
    Iowa
    I doubt if he would know what endophyte free fescue is and I know I don't. What does that mean exactly?
     
  5. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Regular fescue has endophytes in it and that is what affects your goats. I would hope the farmer would know what he is cutting when he makes hay. Every hay farmer that I have ever bought from knows exactly what is in his hay. I would also hope a hay farmer knows about endophyte-free fescue.
     
  6. Rastus59

    Rastus59 New Member

    15
    Apr 12, 2013
    Iowa
    I read what that meant and I have emailed him and asked him about this issue. I am curious what type of hay that everyone feeds their goats. I know fescue can cause problems with pregnant animals and mine are due to kid about mid March. I am not sure I believe in feeding all alfalfa either but I just know that the goats really waste grass hay terrible even when it is some of the best timothy/brome hay you can buy. I am at a loss here!!:hammer:
     
  7. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I use an alfalfa grass mix hay.
     
  8. OakHollowRanch

    OakHollowRanch New Member

    818
    Jun 6, 2013
    Northern California
    We use alfalfa and the goats absolutely love it. It is full of protein and calcium, which is essential for pregnant and nursing animals. As long as you don't mind the cost and you have access to some, that would be a good choice!
     
  9. Rastus59

    Rastus59 New Member

    15
    Apr 12, 2013
    Iowa
    I have found that alfalfa/grass mixes are a waste because they pick out the alfalfa and leave the grass. Do you feed alfalfa free choice? Aren't you worried about them putting on to much weight with alfalfa or birth weights of kids being to big?
     
  10. fiberchick04

    fiberchick04 New Member

    572
    Mar 8, 2010
    Colorado
    Our neighbor cuts and bales our pastures,since we know the goats will eat it. Our pastures are timothy. Whatever they waste we use as bedding. We don't worry too much about it because we get all of our hay for free. He leases some of the land, and in return he puts up as much hay as we need for the winter and shows for free. But, the goats love it because it is what they are used to eating all summer long.

    It isn't our land, after we lost our home in the fire this year, a dear friend of ours gave us a home to live in on her ranch (it is a cabin) rent free and she also gave my goats a home as well with no cost. We combined our operations, so I often refer to it as my land or our land. Just clarifying :)
     
  11. TDG-Farms

    TDG-Farms Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State

    Jul 12, 2013
    Goats are smart. They know bedding when they see it :) hehe Now here is the kicker. If you put it down for bedding they may actually eat it.
     
  12. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wyoming
    If he doesn't know what is in his hay, you need to find a new provider who does!
     
  13. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wyoming
    I feed grass/alfalfa mix - preferably 3rd cutting if possible. The grass is a combination of several varieties of wheat grass, 2 or 3 varieties of brome, timothy, and orchard grass.
     
  14. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wyoming
    Only if you let them. I do not free choice feed hay for this very reason. Any animal, be it cows, sheep, or horses, will pick and choose when free choice fed. My girls get 5-6 lbs of hay per day and they eat it because I do not give them a choice. Now, don't get me wrong, it is darned good hay! Hay costs too much to waste it, though.
     
  15. armortrails

    armortrails New Member

    102
    Jan 8, 2014
    Florida
    I feed Perennial Peanut Hay. They don't waste any of it.
     
  16. FullMoonFarm-Ky

    FullMoonFarm-Ky New Member

    155
    Jan 15, 2014
    What does it matter rather it's first cutting, second cutting, or third?
     
  17. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wyoming
    Depending on how it was put up - the higher the cutting the better the quality and the higher the Relative Food Value usually.
     
  18. TDG-Farms

    TDG-Farms Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State

    Jul 12, 2013
    First cutting is always best IMO.
    First and foremost it has the most nutrients. As organic material breaks down throughout the winter months (and as previous fertilization has a longer time to do its job in the soil, vitamins and minerals are replenished in the soil. First cutting being first of course, has first access to draw those nutrients into the plant. Each successive cutting has less and less available nutrients to draw out of the soil.
    Second you will have a larger stem. Stems in alfalfa equal fiber. The higher the fiber in hay the longer it takes an animal to digest it. The longer it takes to digest it the more nutrients can be drawn from it.
    So you get a higher nutrient, higher protein and fiber feed. With each cutting the stems get smaller and the leaf more prevalent. Removing more fiber but while maintaining a higher protein level due to the increased leaf.
    In terms of feedability, later cuttings will be better as goats dont much care for stems and go after the leaf first. So you need to find a grower who knows what they are doing, so first cutting stems are not hard and over dried. Cutting and baling at the right time along with making the bales nice and tight will leave the stems soft and crushed. Making it easier for the animals to eat it. Now if you are feeding free choice, then a later cutting may be better just in terms of what the animals leave. But if you are feeding in feeders a set amount per day, and making them clean up their feeders, first is the better way to go.

    So although later cuttings may look nicer, they are in fact not.
     
  19. FullMoonFarm-Ky

    FullMoonFarm-Ky New Member

    155
    Jan 15, 2014
    Thanks for the good information.
     
  20. Rastus59

    Rastus59 New Member

    15
    Apr 12, 2013
    Iowa
    Being farm raised and around hay all of my life I was taught that the first cutting was coarser, more weedy and more stems. The second cutting was the best with higher nutrients and tends to be heavier in leaves because it is like any other kind of plant once the first cutting is made it makes every consecutive cutting thicker and richer. From the nutrient stand point I could see the first cutting being more nutritious but really don't know if that would hold true or not.