With the rising costs of grain and hay, I was thinking of improving my goats grazing by seeding my yard with an alfalfa/timothy mix.. Where would I get seeds for this and how long would I have to wait before I could let the goats graze it?
Time for seeding things like that is usually in April, and it helps if you plant a cover crop like oats or wheat to give the seeding a chance to grow. You may be able to start now, but it might be a little late. THe goats usually can't be grazed on it the first year otherwise they will kill the seeding.
Alfalfa used in pastures should be used sparsely so it doesn't take over, alfalfa really isn't the best free choice grazing because the goats can gouge themselves on it.
Rye, timothy, orchard, or sercia lespedza(I know thats not spelled right) make great grazing grass. Fescue and Johnson grass should be avoided for grazing.
Contact either your local extension office(they aren't always helpful though) or go to your local feed mill/elevator and see if they have the seeds or if they know of a seed dealer in your area.
Well, I won't have any goats yet for another 6 months or so.. I've also just been told on another forum that alfalfa doesn't grow well here in the south so I guess alfalfa is out either way.. My herd will grow very slowly so it will have plenty of time to grow before it gets grazed on.. I am also talking about over seeding what I already have since I'm not looking to till an acre and a half.. I just want to improve their grazing as much as I can.. They will also be getting hay(for everybody) and grain(mostly for the milkers and growing kids), and any branches or other browse items I can scrounge..
In different areas, different grasses do well so I can't really say what's best for you. But with that size of graze, thinking about grass and other things that can stand hard use would be important.
For me in my moist mostly cool area, ryes (annual and perennial) with bird's foot trefoil does a good job. My "graze" is small enough that the goats (and horses) keep it very short. That is not good but what I got. But your local feed store might be able to give you an idea of what works well in your area.
I would not use timothy in that small an area as it clumps and grows tall to do well- it would be grazed down and I don't thinnk would thrive- it would look good til that animals are actually on it. You need a grass that spread low and can take lots of "foot traffic."
I do manure and re-seed each fall when rainy season starts and the horses are off it until it dries up again in the late spring.