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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So before joining this board I thought hay was hay and now a whole new world of knowledge and research is starting to surface.

There is orchard and orchard grass (the same?) and Timothy and fescue and alfalfa and oat. I see some folks here mentioning bahai. Are there kinds I don’t know about?

I know that alfalfa is high in calcium. And today I learned that it’s kind of a wimpy plant so it takes a lot of fertilizing and plowing and is hard (in my area) to grow. Timothy and orchard are more set it and forget it kinda of hay.

Goats and sheep are considered less picky and Timothy is better nutrition for horses (which are very picky).

First cut has more seeds and grass heads but second cut is more desireable for goats as the stems are shorter and older and it has more protein.

I *think* this is all I’ve gleaned so far. Any corrections to this info? Additional nerdy tidbits you know?

If you had your dream fantasy what kind of hay would you be getting?

Would you choose second cut Timothy over first cut orchard?

What if you could seed your own blend?

Right now we’ve got 4 bales left of first cut straight Timothy, 30 bales of second cut Timothy/orchard blend and one bale of really big quality and super cheap first cut 100% orchard (this bale was a freebie to see how they like it, it’s excellent quality and the farmer is trying to get rid of it for $4/bale to make space for his second cutting).

Also I got the number of a person who’s hay is a lot more expensive, but grows a blend of orchard, oat, fescue and alfalfa which sounds like the best for us.

So what have you learned about it? What are you getting and why?
 

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Unfortunately in my area, hay is really expensive so I get what I can. Alfalfa is grown really easily and grass, I believe, is mostly shipped in. A three string 100-150 lbs bale of alfalfa will go for $18 easily in feed stores and grass is even more. My ideal hay would be a grass/alfalfa blend so I could feed it to all my goats without worrying so much about urinary calculi in my buck, and protein percentages with my does. My brother in law found someone that has grass bales and alfalfa bales for fairly cheap (and really good quality!) so I’ll end up making my own blend. I haven’t mastered the phosphorus/calcium ratio-ing yet, but I’ll still try!
 

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My dream fantasy is obviously not possible to get in America. Your farmers do too much of mono-culturing for that. The ideal hay for goats contains many different (non toxic!!!) species, and these usually do not grow on well fertilized land.

In my country, in older times, before the artificial fertilizers and mono-cultures, there was a natural thing that "the meadow is the mother of the arable land". That is, the hay was harvested on a piece of land that was not fertilized. In the winter, the dung dropped in the barn, and in the spring it was put on the crop land. In the summer, the dung dropped on the meadow, when the animals were allowed to graze there, after the hay had been harvested. In this way, the meadow got poor on nutrients, feeding a lot of (mainly small and low) herbs that can not grow under well fertilized crops like timothy or clover. These give more on a limited area, but they are poorer on variation.
 

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Goat Mentor
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As the hay queen who was scoured my state looking for the highest quality hay possible due to the pickiest goats ever, I’ll tell ya.

I love orchard grass. In my opinion it is the best hay for goats. Orchard alfalfa mixes can be good, but if you can’t get that then alfalfa pellets are usually good enough if you need calcium.

But I just love orchard grass.

My goats hate Timothy, and I’ve heard from a lot of people that their goats hate it as well.

So I would ABSOLUTELY choose first cut orchard grass to second cut Timothy.

I’ve found that my goats care less about the cutting than the hay type itself.

My favorite, ideal, dream hay, is second cut orchard grass. First and third cut are fine as well, but second gets the ribbony goodness that the goats love the texture of.

I steer clear of Timothy. Fescue is okay but not preferred.

I like to stick with orchard grass as a baseline hay.

(And yes, orchard and orchard grass are the same.)

Now the hay I’ve gotten is expensive, to be delivered it’s 10 dollars a bale for 50-60lb bales.

Average price here is $6-7 a bale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@NigerianDwarfOwner707 wow! You just made a lightbulb go off in my head! My goats keep leaving bits of the straight Timothy in heir net. Like, we were down to one flake per feeding per net (two hay nets for six goats so they were eating a total of 4 flakes per day plus grain). And when I asked here I was surprised at how little they were eating comparatively. Maybe they just didn't like it! But hey damn well better eat the new Timothy/orchard blend. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and get the 1st cut orchard. It's so cheap! At $4 per bale, I can't beat that price (though they do feel a few lbs lighter then the blend).

But then I just found $3 a bale of a blend of native grass, orchard grass, June grass, Timothy and clover, so I'm going to try and get a few bales of that and see what they think of it!!
 

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My goats won’t touch any kind of grass hay. I also have a hard time paying high prices for any grass when they have grass growing in the field, plus I break out in hives if I touch orchard so it doesn’t hurt my feelings they don’t like it lol
But I like first cutting alfalfa the most. I get it from my parents, and they are fairly new to growing hay so I’m not sure if it’s like this for all places. But their first cut always tests the highest. There is no grass or weeds as long as my brother doesn’t slack on spraying but he always does and that doesn’t hurt my feelings because I will pick out the weedy bales for my goats. When they first got their farm place I looked up all the weeds (we don’t usually have any grass just the weeds) and if the weeds are consumed at the right time are actually very high in protein. But I do end up feeding any and all cutting, except for when the does are open and dry they get alfalfa.......well they do have pasture and brush and what not as well that is technically in their diet. I like the extra calcium especially when they are nursing kids and the protein. If I fed a different hay and added grain to it to up the protein to meet the same level as alfalfa it would end up costing a LOT more. But usually when they are open and dry (and in good condition)I will give them a grain hay, just to bring them in from grazing during the day so I can lock them up.
 

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View attachment 161827 View attachment 161829

I like hay that still has a green tint to it, though has been cured for at least 3 months.
Such hay may well be worth that much. It seems to me as if it actually does disappear inside someone! :)
But then I just found $3 a bale of a blend of native grass, orchard grass, June grass, Timothy and clover, so I'm going to try and get a few bales of that and see what they think of it!!
Native grass? June grass? Are those names of species, like clover and timothy?
Mine get 2nd to 4th cutting organic alfalfa hay. I can get a 2000 lb. bale for $100. My goats seem to like it.
Almost a ton in one bale! They must be gigantic! How do you handle them?
 

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As the hay queen who was scoured my state looking for the highest quality hay possible due to the pickiest goats ever, I'll tell ya.

I love orchard grass. In my opinion it is the best hay for goats. Orchard alfalfa mixes can be good, but if you can't get that then alfalfa pellets are usually good enough if you need calcium.

But I just love orchard grass.

My goats hate Timothy, and I've heard from a lot of people that their goats hate it as well.

So I would ABSOLUTELY choose first cut orchard grass to second cut Timothy.

I've found that my goats care less about the cutting than the hay type itself.

My favorite, ideal, dream hay, is second cut orchard grass. First and third cut are fine as well, but second gets the ribbony goodness that the goats love the texture of.

I steer clear of Timothy. Fescue is okay but not preferred.

I like to stick with orchard grass as a baseline hay.

(And yes, orchard and orchard grass are the same.)

Now the hay I've gotten is expensive, to be delivered it's 10 dollars a bale for 50-60lb bales.

Average price here is $6-7 a bale.
Where do you get your orchard grass hay delivered from? I wonder if I can find someone near me that will deliver or sells it! I've tried doing an online search but have found only the compressed bales which I'm not wanting.
 

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In the northeast where you are at, orchard is probably going to be your best option.
We see a lot of it here trucked in from New York. Second cut orchard is really nice.
But, sometimes you have to feed the best available.
 

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I've tried giving my goats lots of different types of hay.

Goats disliked:
Meadow grass
Teff
Timothy
Fescue
(These are all horse hays around here. I guess they were offended we gave them horse hay hehe!)

Tolerated a little:
Bermuda

Loved:
Orchard grass (any cutting as long as it's green)

They think it's crack:
Alfalfa

One thing I noticed though, if the hay had preservative used on it (Propionic acid) the goats didn't like it as much as usual, but still ate it reluctantly. My husband now actually tastes the hay before buying it because he swears if it has a sour taste, the goats won't like it lol!
 

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Almost a ton in one bale! They must be gigantic! How do you handle them?
Trollmor it is not how to handle the big bales that is the problem.
finding a feeder that the goats will not get in to, and wast as much as 35% of the hay is the hard part.
I have built 5 different types of feeders and last year i gave up and went back to small bales.
 

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I've tried giving my goats lots of different types of hay.

Goats disliked:
Meadow grass
Teff
Timothy
Fescue
(These are all horse hays around here. I guess they were offended we gave them horse hay hehe!)

Tolerated a little:
Bermuda

Loved:
Orchard grass (any cutting as long as it's green)

They think it's crack:
Alfalfa

One thing I noticed though, if the hay had preservative used on it (Propionic acid) the goats didn't like it as much as usual, but still ate it reluctantly. My husband now actually tastes the hay before buying it because he swears if it has a sour taste, the goats won't like it lol!
You have almost made a scientific investigation! :) So, there is obviously a big difference between Meadow grass and Orchard grass, which I thought were almost the same ... :p
Trollmor it is not how to handle the big bales that is the problem.
finding a feeder that the goats will not get in to, and wast as much as 35% of the hay is the hard part.
I have built 5 different types of feeders and last year i gave up and went back to small bales.
I meant the whole thing, get them into the place (maybe into the barn), the roof maybe too low, into the feeder, which should not collapse, get the plastic and net off, and then keep the hay fresh until consumed ... :)
 

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Goat Mentor
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Where do you get your orchard grass hay delivered from? I wonder if I can find someone near me that will deliver or sells it! I've tried doing an online search but have found only the compressed bales which I'm not wanting.
Well I usually just do a google search of local hay farms, call em up, go see their hay, pick up one or two bales in the truck and if my goats like it I'll ask them to deliver. This is the first time I've actually gotten them delivered. We get 10 bales at a time because that's all our storage space can hold. Usually hay people won't deliver 10 bales. Thankfully I found someone about 5 minutes away from me, great farmer, he will deliver any amount I need. He also holds a certain amount yearly for me at his place. And has now offered to take our hay waste. Form some relationships with farmers near you and see what you can drum up!!
 

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Trollmor it is not how to handle the big bales that is the problem.
finding a feeder that the goats will not get in to, and wast as much as 35% of the hay is the hard part.
I have built 5 different types of feeders and last year i gave up and went back to small bales.
Oh it's a dream come true when my parents part with their big bales! We don't have round just big square here but I got some panels with 4X4 squares and cut them to go around the bales, just use snaps to keep them together. They can't totally dig into the bales and just sit there jerking out hay and I do have to go out and snug the panels up closer 2X a day but that is so much better then feeding every dang day.
 

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I too love orchard grass, and I would probably get just that if I could. I get compressed hay bales from Tractor Supply by Standlee. It only comes in straight up alfalfa and alfalfa orchard grass so, I get the mix. My goats seem to like the orchard grass mix better than the straight up alfalfa, or it could just be that they don't feel they need to eat as much of the alfalfa. I like the orchard grass added into the mix as well because of the better Calcium Phosphorus ratio.

I have tried timothy hay mixed in with alfalfa once when they were out of the orchard grass mix, and I felt like my goats liked the timothy hay. It was very soft and I felt like they found it very palatable.
 

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I too love orchard grass, and I would probably get just that if I could. I get compressed hay bales from Tractor Supply by Standlee. It only comes in straight up alfalfa and alfalfa orchard grass so, I get the mix. My goats seem to like the orchard grass mix better than the straight up alfalfa, or it could just be that they don't feel they need to eat as much of the alfalfa. I like the orchard grass added into the mix as well because of the better Calcium Phosphorus ratio.

I have tried timothy hay mixed in with alfalfa once when they were out of the orchard grass mix, and I felt like my goats liked the timothy hay. It was very soft and I felt like they found it ve
ry palatable.
Have you had any issues getting the hay from those compressed bales? I read some negative reviews online about the hay not being great quality so I haven't tried them.
 
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