Pellet feeding?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by elchivito, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    635
    Apr 18, 2010
    Greetings all. I haven't posted in a long while but have been checking in periodically. I stopped breeding last year and sold my herd down from around 30 to only 11 of my most precious, oldest and well you know, the ones you just can't part with. My herd is now a dry legacy herd of spoilt Toggs and Mini Toggs, all does excepting one hotshot wether.

    I feed rye mix hay in the summer and alfalfa hay in the winter. Can't get the rye in the winter and Timothy hay imported from Colorado is WAY unaffordable. There is also bermuda available, but my goats won't touch it. I also feed Sweetlix Magnum Milk minerals. No concentrates or sweet feed as nobody is in milk.
    The hay quality here leaves a lot to be desired and my animals waste more than they eat. I'm getting sick of it and am thinking of switching to an Alfalfa/Bermuda blend pellet exclusively. They like the pellets, as I've used them for milk stand treats during show clipping, hoof trimming and the like.I guess they can't tell they're part Bermuda. At 15 dollars a bale for not so hot alfalfa I'm sure pellets will be more cost effective. I know there are people who feed pellets, but I'm in the dark about:
    How to make the transition
    how much to feed
    whether pellets may be a choking hazard for older goats or those who tend to hoover up their feed like there's no tomorrow.
    How to feed so that the bullies don't take everything and the most timid get their share.
    Any suggestions you all may have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Hi, I feed pellets with a very small amount of hay for long fiber. I have never had a problem just switching new goats. It is just hay that is ground and compressed. The switch isn't much different that a switch between one type of hay to another. I start them at a rate of 3 lbs per goat. If they are eating that up and wanting more, I will increase if neccesary. They will start out eating a bunch and gobbling like they think it's grain. Pretty soon though they relize that it isn't what they think and slow way down on it. At that point the bullies usually stop guarding the feeders too. Once they figure out that it's always there and it's nothing special.
    They do really well on them. Mine do get a handful of hay right now. I'm looking at chaff hay for long fiber so that I can completely quit having to haul and store hay.
     

  3. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I agree with Goat Hiker--start at 3lbs for the full sized goats and adjust as needed to maintain good body condition...minis probably would only need 1/2 - 3/4 the amount the standard goats eat.
     
  4. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    635
    Apr 18, 2010
    Good tips. Are you feeding that amount 2x per day? What do you suggest for feeders? Individual bowls?? Right now I'm using hanging hay feeders so that won't work.
    I'm thinking they might pay more attention to bermuda if it's the only hay they've got.
     
  5. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    I do feed twice a day but, that amount is for the whole day. You'd want to divide it in half. right now I am using a trough in one pen. It's working okay. By next year everyone will have J feeders built goat size to use.
     
  6. mjgh06

    mjgh06 New Member

    636
    Sep 4, 2012
    Middle Georgia
    I've heard a lot of people using Chaffhaye, but don't know really what it is because we don't have it here. Looking online - Isn't Chaffhaye just fermented alfalfa with molasses, and it only has roughly 30% TDN?

    Alfalfa pellets have a TDN of around 60% so wouldn't that be better for digestibility?
     
  7. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yeah, I feed alfalfa pellets pretty much free choice. The chaff hay would only be for a small amount of long fibers when there is no browse or it's raining hard. Like a handful at a time per animal.
     
  8. ptgoats45

    ptgoats45 Goat Girl

    Nov 28, 2011
    NE Oklahoma
    The only problem with chaffehay in certain areas is it will mold very quickly once it has been opened. It is also about 1/2 water, so you have to decide if you want to be buying water or not. With pellets there is no waste and they are easy to eat. If you have any very old goats who may have teeth issues you can feed them separate and just soak their pellets in some water for about 1/2 hour so they soften and fluff up. Much easier for the older goat to eat and they can't choke on it.

    I have had a horse choke on alfalfa pellets from eating them too fast so I'm sure it can happen with a goat.
     
  9. serenityfarmnm

    serenityfarmnm Newbie, Head over Heels in Love!

    825
    Jan 6, 2013
    Caballo, NM
    You wont regret using Chaffhaye!! I love the no waste & after a couple days of "What the heck is that?" My girls love it too!!
     
  10. serenityfarmnm

    serenityfarmnm Newbie, Head over Heels in Love!

    825
    Jan 6, 2013
    Caballo, NM
    I haven't had any water in the bag, just barely moist chopped alfalfa. One bag lasts a little longer than an entire large bale of Alfalfa hay.... Also never had any mold, but I do live in a very dry area.
     
  11. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yep, there's more to the story of chaff hay then just what you gather glancing at the website. I do live in a wet area but, I have a refrigerator that works great other then running a little cold. It will work very well for storing open the bag along with the chicken food and pellets that are already in there.
     
  12. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    635
    Apr 18, 2010
    I tried Chaffhaye. Talk about a riot at feeding time. If it wasn't hard to get I'd be thinking about it again.
     
  13. ptgoats45

    ptgoats45 Goat Girl

    Nov 28, 2011
    NE Oklahoma
    The moisture is the water. It's kind of like with sweet feed, they add molasses to make it heavier but still charge the same price (or more).