How Long Do I Feed Hay?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by rocky_ridge_goats, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. rocky_ridge_goats

    rocky_ridge_goats New Member

    96
    Aug 6, 2010
    So in preparation for spring, I'm trying to gauge how much more hay I need to buy to feed my goat. How long into spring do I keep feeding him hay? Normally it's about beginning to mid-April that the grass starts growing vigorously. After mid-April, should I keep feeding him hay, stop, or wean him off? :?
     
  2. kccjer

    kccjer New Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    NW Kansas
    Personally, as soon as I can get them out on grass, i quit feeding hay. You need to start them slowly on green grass tho so they don't bloat or founder (do goats founder on green stuff like horses do???) But if you start turning them out now so that they are eating as it comes up they should be ok. Or at least, that's how I do it. I'm sure there are those that will disagree with me.
     

  3. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Australia
    Personally, I give mine access to oaten hay all year round, regardless of grass. It does a wonderful job buffering the rumen when the grass is rich and green to prevent scours and bloat
     
  4. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    I only feed hay when I dont think they are getting enough on their own. Right now not that much grass and if its hot or raining I feed hay. But for new mamas esp. first time, I do give alfalfa and grain.
     
  5. rocky_ridge_goats

    rocky_ridge_goats New Member

    96
    Aug 6, 2010
    Thanks for all of the help, everyone! :)
     
  6. kccjer

    kccjer New Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    NW Kansas
    I've also heard to add some Dawn dish soap to their water to help with bloat when putting them out on fresh green grass. I'll be doing that this year....can't hurt and if it helps, all the better.
     
  7. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Australia
    Geez I'd be a bit worried about that ... surely putting soap in their drinking water cant be good for them :S
     
  8. lesserweevil

    lesserweevil New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    I wouldnt want to drink soap, personally!

    LW
     
  9. Breezy-Trail

    Breezy-Trail Senior Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Sprakers, New York
    I agree with what has been said.

    I think the sooner he is on grass the less hay. He shouldn't completely off it,IMO.
    I always give them some hay once a day and they hardly eat any of it.
    Just to make sure they eat enough and "buffering" the rumen.
    I find they will be outside most of the day and come in to lay down and chew cud, after that they will eat a little hay in the evening or early night. I used to use 2-4 bales a months with 4 goats. With more grass access it was on the lesser side.
     
  10. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    put out baking soda - soap is not a good idea. Baking soda will help them with bloat and they can eat it of their own accord.

    as to how much hay -- depends if your goats actually eat grass, because mine dont. They are browsers not grassers by nature so grass isnt something they gravitate to for eating.

    I would always provide some hay roughage until you can see if they are eatin enough grass on their own. And as mentioned it should be gradually introduced.

    make sure they have eaten hay first before going out for the first few days/weeks. Allow them out for longer periods of time until acclimated.
     
  11. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    I also heard of putting dish soap in the water for bloat, have not done it yet, but have used dish soap for a cure of bloat for years (found it in the book 'keeping livestock healthy) so figure a tea spoon of soap in the water would not hurt
     
  12. naturalgoats

    naturalgoats New Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    I don't think soap is a good idea. For frothy bloat you're supposed to give mineral oil to break up the bubbles... it seems like soap would do the opposite. It also seems like it would make the goat drink less water which isn't good... What might work is to start out slowly on the grass giving hay first and then letting them out on pasture once they are half-full of hay already...so they don't gorge...
    M.
     
  13. Jessaba

    Jessaba Senior Member

    May 13, 2010
    Georgia
    We feed hay all year...we just don't feed as much during the summer and fall as most of our pens are in the woods and we have plenty of trees so they eat lots of leaves and such off the trees, then they go for grass later when there is nothing else to eat in the trees. Just depends on if your goats like grass....like stacey said! :)
     
  14. rocky_ridge_goats

    rocky_ridge_goats New Member

    96
    Aug 6, 2010
    Thanks for all of the tips!! I really appreciate it!! :) :)