Question about alfalfa & beet pulp shreds

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by cyanne, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. cyanne

    cyanne Senior Member

    Okay, I need some help figuring out a feed question. Is there something in alfalfa that goats need that would not be met by feeding pelleted goat ration? Also, what purpose do beet pulp shreds serve or what advantage is there to adding them to a feeding program?

    I have Nigerian Dwarf goats; 4 adult does, currently pregnant, 1 wether, and 1 buck (the boys are 8 months old) currently sharing a pen (the boys are in temporarily for breeding). These guys are used for milk and are shown so I want them to be in their best physical condition, not skinny and not overfed or fat.

    Currently, I feed Purina Noble Goat pellets and free-choice coastal hay. They get a mix of 1 cup each of the Noble Goat with about 1/4 cup (per goat) of black oil sunflower seeds twice a day and have unlimited access to the coastal hay and Purina loose goat minerals.

    Now, I see that a lot of people add alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay to this mix...I sometimes feed alfalfa as a treat, but it is not a regular part of their diet. Are they missing out on something important?

    If I add the alfalfa pellets, how much per goat should I add to their twice-daily ration? Should I subtract some of the Noble Goat and add the alfalfa pellets or just give it in addition to what I already feed?

    As for the beet pulp shreds, what do they add? How much and how often do you feed of this?

    I know that if you ask 10 people about goat feed you can get 10 answers, but I just want to try to fine tune my own program so my goats are getting what they need without over-complicating things. Also, many of the feed programs I see seem to be for the large goats so I am struggling with adapting that to my own herd of little Nigi's.
    Right now, all of my goats seem to be in great shape, nobody is thin or looks overweight, but I want to make sure I am feeding the right nutrients for their internal health.
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    No you dont have to use alfalfa.

    What would be the gain from it? calcium

    for pregnant goats the calcium is good -- but you can just supplement with calcium tablets or tums as needed.

  3. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    I dont feed alfalfa hay, its too pricey and not of good quality here. I feed a good quality orchard grass hay. The last two months of my does pregnancy i add alfalfa pellets to their diet. After everyone has kidded i start adding them free choice. Like stacey said its aditional calcium. As for the beet pulp, its a fiber product. more of a filler then anything. It is not intended to replace hay or grain and should be fed in small amounts as it contains a lot of sugar. I only feed it through the winter, for a little extra weight as their isnt as much browse.
  4. cyanne

    cyanne Senior Member

    Unfortunately, we don't have orchard grass hay available here. The options are pretty much coastal or alfalfa. some people feed Sudan but I think that is pretty much just a price thing since it is cheaper. All of the Sudan I have seen looks dry and brown, though. My goats would probably not even touch it...spoiled brats!
  5. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    coastal, as in bermuda hay?
  6. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    I feed an alfalfa hay with hint of grass to my does and an orchard/brome to the horses and boys. I also give Boss, crached corn, oats, and alfalfa pellets on the milk stand with a couple hand fulls of calf manna mixed in.

    I noticed that my milk production amount went up along with the quality of the milk. Also, my babies grew better (at least in my opinion) :wink:
  7. cyanne

    cyanne Senior Member

    umm..yeah I think that it is also called coastal bermuda, though around here we just call it coastal. It is a thin-stemmed grass hay. No clover.

    alfalfa is generally very expensive around here because we have to ship it in from states to the north, like New Mexico. Texas has blister beetles which get into the alfalfa and are poisonous to horses (not sure about goats). Apparently N/M is too cold for the beetles or something like that so the alfalfa hay is safe if it comes from there.
  8. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    I would feed them the coastal hay along with alfalfa pellets while they are milking and a couple of months before they deliver. The only reason i give alfalfa pellets in the last part of pregnancy is this is when then kids do the most growing. grain tends to make just big kids, that can be hard to deliver. the kids draws a lot of calcium out of mom those last couple of months growing bone. Mom needs calcium (alfalfa) to make milk and to keep from getting hypo calcimia or calcium deficiancy. This can strike shortly before or shortly after delivery. The doe usually goes down, wont eat and acts listless. If it strikes before delivery it can cause her to not go into labor. both mom and kids can die from this.
  9. Feathers-N-Fur

    Feathers-N-Fur Guest

    Oct 29, 2009
    I have found that my milk yield doubles when feeding free choice alfalfa versus regular grass hay. I just made a feeder from a plastic barrel that will hold a bag of alfalfa pellets and has 5 holes for the goats to put their heads in to eat. A lid on top keeps chicken dropping out.
  10. jaytori220

    jaytori220 New Member

    Mar 24, 2009
    Melbourne, Fl.
    Goats need a 2:1 cal-phos ratio. You cant get that feeding grass hay and grain unless you are feeding about 3 lbs of alfalfa hay per goat or free choice alflafa hay and introduce slowly. Either do not feed males grain or feed them alfalfa pellets with their grain or free choice as I do and alot of other people. UC is caused from a calcium to phospherus being off. And you definatly dont want your males getting that.