"Pelleted" Hay

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by capriola-nd, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    I have a feeling I've asked this question before. . . . sorry if I did. :oops:

    Does anyone here feed or partially feed hay pellets? I have access to alfalfa, timothy, and orchard grass pellets. I currently give alfalfa pellets or premium hay at night. But I am wondering if, as a partial hay ration - would it be okay to offer the timothy or orchard grass in the mornings maybe? It wouldn't bother them or mess up their rumen, right? I would make the change slowly. Just making sure this is an okay thing to do before I jump into it. They like the pellets.

    I would still leave out their hay but they waste so much of it - seems like this may be more cost-effective. Oh, forgot to mention that this would be for my goats at home.
  2. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I had to start giving hay pellets....the hay the does have gone thru has been a bit too much and the waste is terrible.

    I give each a full cup of pellets mid day....then they get their grain and hay racks filled at night. I use less hay and then they have no choice but to pick at what they waste if they want.

  3. Sybil

    Sybil New Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Rainier, Oregon
    I have never fed hay pellets..........the only thing I know is from a seminar I attended last year. Make sure it has the analysis tag as you never really know the quality of the hay used to prepare the pellets? I wonder do they use the "loose hay" to make the pellets?????
  4. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    Oh, okay - I'll remember to check that for protein content. The brand is StandLee, I think, so a good brand.
  5. BeeLady

    BeeLady New Member

    I can't really answer your question but I, too, feed some pelleted alfalfa and will feed more once the does are lactating.

    I buy organic alfalfa pellets by the ton and they have crude protien content of 16 - 17%. I feed Gordo bluestem hay, which, this year, is probably closer to around 8 or 9% crude protien. I think the main decision point would be the cost of feeding hay, including the waste vs. buying processed (pelleted) hay. Unless you are feeding pelleted Alfalfa or other legumes, I wouldn't think that pelleted grass would be that much higher in protien than good hay unless there are additives. I would think that feeding hay would be best if cost-wise all things are equal as it seems there would be greater fiber and the goats are designed to eat lots of big food rather than pellets.

    I am feeding my goats grain (sweet feed) right now so their rumen microbes are not processing grass/legumes most effictiently. They are on "grain" mode. Goats are designed to turn forbes and some grass into a complete protien without the addition of grain or other protien. I am feeding grain now to train them to follow the bucket (done!) and because these does were bred to overperform in milk production and they'll need more protien to meet that potential.

    What I love about herbivores, ruminants in particular, is that they were designed to take grass and forbes, which humans cannot digest, and create high quality protien in the form of milk and meat, that serves us folks so well nutrionally. But most of ruminants today are so selectively bred that they need to eat grain (which humans can digest directly) and other protien sources to live up to their genetic potential. I wonder if it would be more cost-effective overall to feed an extra dairy goat or two strictly forbes and cheap hay to try and produce the same amount of milk as feeding fewer goats more costly protiens and feed.
  6. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    There is a local farmer here who does make pellets out of his hay and I know at least one breeder who fed this exclusively for a year. Her animals did great.

    I have started a mix with my does that has alfalfa pellets in it because I am worried about running out of hay before cutting. I will be getting more aggressive with it soon - but when I had just 8 goats (not 20+) I fed alot of pellets and left hay out. But I have some porkers now that would eat all the pellets AND all the hay if I still did that!
  7. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    I have always fed hay pellets along with my eastern washington timothy or orchard grass. We always have to settle for first cutting because its so expensive and difficult to truck it over here. Runs about three hundred and fifty a ton, even for that. So we suppliment with alfalfa pellets.
    As far as the quality goes the only thing i have noticed with Standlee is that they use more of a binder so the pellets are harder. They are also bigger. I know a lot of people brought them back to the feed store i work at (mostly llama and alpaca people) because they were too big for the animals to chew. My goats never seemed to have a problem with them.
    But we had to switch because the Nutrena prices have sky rocketed.
  8. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    I feed some alfalfa pellets each day, but mostly feed alfalfa hay. If I had a creep feeder, I'd switch to mostly pellets because the goats waste less when pellets are fed. Around here, grass hay pellets cost more than alfalfa pellets, though I can buy grass hay for less than alfalfa hay. So, no, I wouldn't feed timothy pellets. I'd just up the alfalfa pellets if I was going to feed more pellets and reduce the hay fed. In my case, the guy I buy my hay from also has a pellet mill and uses the same hay for pellets. He delivers both at the same time for me.I like this as it's much easier to haul bags of pellets than hay to shows, and since it's the same hay, the goats aren't getting much of a feed change. Last summer my friend ran out of the hay she was feeding, so she switched to free feeding pellets in creep feeders. She noticed a marked increase in her milk production.