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What would you prefer to feed?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question -

Here in Idaho there is a hay shortage, which has made the hay prices SKYROCKET and people are being forced to pay up to 250 a ton for grass hay and then the people will not let us pick up - so they deliver with an additional 50-200 dollar fee on top of the cost of the hay.

So, I have somewhat cut down on hay and have been giving more pellets alfalfa, timothy/grass, and orchard grass pellets all mixed.

I have also noticed how much hay my goaties are wasting. I cleaned my entire area on Saturday - by last night, I swear there was AT LEAST 1 full bale of hay back on the ground. I paid $7.00 a bale and that was cheap. I am just having a hard time swollowing the costs that I see going down the drain.

So I was talking to a friend last night who has switched her goats to 100% grass pellets, and no hay. She said that she has acutal seen an increase in milk supply, no waste of hay, and no expense of taking the nasty waste to the dump. She also switched to wood shavings for bedding and has great success with cleanliness. I can get a ton of grass pellets for 180-200 which is about 9 cents a pound, versus 30 cents a pound for pellets in the stores.

Here is my idea - I was thinking to keep hay for the horse, what ever they drop goats can have plus all the grazing that they want, then the horses and goats get pellets also (main sorce of food for the goats) What do you all think???

Please vote, and if you have more to add, please let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to add - part of the reason for the hay shortage is that it is STILL SNOWING here! And of course some people (like me) who took in more animals over the winter then had hay for.....

and with more snow expected this weekend, there is not even hay planted and growing yet either - AHHHHH
 

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Ok, well I agree about the waste. I hate to go out and see how much these silly girls are wasting. I have some mini horses, they clean up almost everything! I should just send them around after the goats and let them clean up what the goats waste. But, I thought that pellets can't be used as a total substitute for hay because the fibers are too short or something.

As a side, we are paying $5.00/bale here in PA, even though we didn't have a drought! I haven't even seen alfalfa pellets in the Tractor Supply store. They have the cubes, but they are about $12.00/bag. But, someone said those aren't good for goats 100% either.
I don't know what the equivalent amount of hay vs cubes is. I know the cubes are "compacted".

I'll be interested to see what the consenus is to your poll is.
 

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Boy Allison, and you have new horses coming also? Wait until you really start feeding them, then you will see a HUGE increase of the hay. People forget how much hay horses eat.
Now on the good part of this, if it is still snowing there, then what I did last year was just kept saying to myself, "Keep snowing, cheaper hay and greener pastures", and it worked. The hay I bought was $3.00 a bale, and I did not need to feed any of that until like October because my pastures were still in great shape.
The main thing you have to watch on the pellets only, it is the goats have to have the roughage to keep the hair like things in their rumen moving,(sorry, i forgot the real name for them) that is very important to keep a healthy rumen.
 

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I have some problems with pellets although I do feed them. One is that sometimes the goats don't eat them- sure, if I take away their hay and the grass isn't good, then they usually will start eating the pellets but if I have late pregnant does, I don't like to take the risk. Two sometimes they like a batch of pellets and sometimes they don't like the next batch from the same grower- Three I don't know what is in the pellets- they could have toxic weeds or be a poor quality hay- I can't tell.
I also have found a feeder that minimizes waste so it's not so bad now.

Having said all this, if it is significantly cheaper, I will feed pellets- no one's had any problem with them that I can see. I have a friend who feeds them exclusively and has little if any browse and her goats are fine.

And my horses get the goat left overs too- they are simply not as careful about what they eat as the goats are.
 

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The feeders are ones I picked up at the feed store as a quick fix for a new shed but I like them sooooo much. They don't have a brand name on them.
They are grey metal with a trough and a 2"x4" welded grid. Unlike the ones made of field fencing, the Boer girls can't push it inwards so they are forced to take small bites and pull it out. It also has not caused any rub marks -I think because the small grid size only allows a small part of the noses in. There is a trough at the bottom like most horse feeders. I did have to put a lid on them because the girls would stand in the trough to pull hay out of the top rather than go to the work of pulling it out- once I did that, my waste on grass hay is about two handfulls per fill of the bunk and less on alfalfa. I did measure the height of the goats and installed the feeder so that the trough part was just below the neck- that was so they could eat out of the trough without having to stand up on anything and reach all parts of the grid too. It was still high enough to be above "pooping in " height.
I have an order with the feed store to get a thrid one but I can see that if you got the appropriate cattle panel cut to size, it might work too especially if it was braced so that the panel would not flex inwards. The main thing seems to be a small grid that is not flexible and a trough to catch the fines. If I actually get the feeder in from the store, I'll ask th name of the manufacturer.
 

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Because I only have room for about 10 bales at a time, I go periodically through the winter to buy more hay from a man who lives down the street who has a big barn. Well, in February he sold the last of his hay to a horse farm, unexpectedly, so I switched to purely alfalfa pellets and grain. I only have three goats, so I brought down a big bucket full every evening and filled the bucket to the top with water then let the pellets absorb it, so it wouldn't expand in their tummies, plus it cut the dust. A few bags I was happy with, but the two most recent have been very dusty. I got hay the other day and they went crazy for it! I think I'll continue to leave the pellets out as a supplement, but, if given the choice, I wouldn't use them as the sole source of roughage. However, they kept my boys full and healthy when I couldn't get hay, and I didn't have any problems with them (other than the dust)
 

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I have always fed a grass hay and supplemented with grain mix and alfalfa hay. I had wanted to ask the extension agent about feeding an all pellet diet as that appears to be what some goat people are doing. I have always believed that the goats needed the roughage from the hay stems to maintain proper digestion. Right now I have been paying $270 for a ton of orchard grass hay. Alfalfa is running about the same price here so only been buying a bale at a time to supplement the young stock. Thank goodness the llamas pretty much pick up the left overs from the goats. At the last nutrition comference I went to, someone brought up hay pellets and the comment was made that you don't always know the quality of the hay the pellets are made from unless it has had an nutritional analysis completed. Would love to hear from goat people who feed pretty much a total pellet diet.
Sue
 

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We only feed Alfalfa hay to them-along with the grain they get when they are on the milk stand twice a day. We have tried the pellets and all they do is spit them right back out. Yes, I do agree hay is getting very expensive. We are cutting back on the goats big time this year.
 

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I'll try to get a picture of my small feeders today or tomorrow. Unfortunately my roof strarted leaking last night so I need to do something about that today too.
 

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I think as long as you got a nice ton or two of hay-it is acctually a helpful things to feed the leftovers to those who will eat it :), besides they probably dont know the difference. In the past we've had a few times we've been lucky enough to not have to many leftovers.
 

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I can't find Alfalfa pellets here, I give my girls the alfalfa cubes from TSC.. I do break them apart into bite size flakes though, the cube is just too big to get them into their mouths to chew. I do get a 50# sack for the winter when I get their hay, sometimes I end up with a few bales that aren't the greatest so I give them pans full of the flaked cubes. Never had an issue with them yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well - the goaties are getting a little grass hay and alfalfa/timothy pellets at the moment.

We are picking up hay tommorrow - 225 a ton - alfalfa/grass mix. It is supposed to be beautiful. A friend referred me to this person for hay. I am going to go ahead and buy the pellets (The man uses his own hay that he harvests and has it made into pellets and only has the pellets made when you need them - so I can pick my own hay to be used). The horses are LOVING the pellets ( I am trying to get weight on them - especially the one in foal that still has not popped).

I have backed them off of so much hay, only because the green grass is coming up inbetween the snow storms (yes we had a skiff of snow again today!) and I want them to get out of the barn and graze a bit!

Oh does anyone else give their goaties horse peppermint treats? We made the mistake of giving them each one when we got them and now I am attacked everytime I go out there - but at least the shy ones have come around - LOL!
 

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My sister has a pony housed with my moms goats...and when he gets a "cookie" all 7 of the goats do too! No problems yet! I give mine the "oatmeal raisin" horse treats when I can get them. Don't think theres anything bad in them for a goat.

It's really green here! 60 AND 70 degree weather has my girls really wanting OUT! They spend the afternoon in my yard doing the "pre-mowing" so hubby won't have to cut grass before he WANTS to!
 
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