Those with wethers...

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by PACE, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. Grass Hay

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  2. Alfalfa Hay

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  1. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    So, here's the story: I have three wethers (as I'm sure most people know) and feed them grass hay free choice, Blue Seal Caprine Challenger twice a day, and free choice minerasl/kelp meal mix. And water, of course. I only have room for 8-10 bales of hay at a time, so I get it fairly frequently. Luckily, I get it at a discount from a man who lives up the road. He has mostly grass hay, but this year it is a bit coarse and generally not that great. The goats leave like half of it in the feeder (along with dropping some on the ground- regular waste) so they are not getting much at all... I go through it too quickly and they are not eating the majority of it, so I'm basically wasting my money there.

    He also has this great, 2nd cut alfalfa for a decent price. I bought some before, and the boys love it. There is very minimal waste and I only use 4 flakes a day (2 in the morning and 2 at night) It is soft and smells wonderful. I am not worried about them getting fat. It would only be for the winter, and I could adjust the quantity as needed. My main concern is u.c. Again, it would just be for a few months. Still, I'm not sure. I have AC stocked in my supplies, just in case, as well as ACV, but I really don't want to risk it too much. I do understand that it only happens to a very few goats, but the chances are said to be higher when feeding high-calcium food.

    So, in conclusion, what do you all think? Stick with the grass hay, which is cheeper and "safer," but really isn't very good, or use the high quality, more expensive, possibly "dangerous" alfalfa? I would use a mix of alfalfa/grass, but they would just pick through it more and only eat the alfalfa. And getting is elsewhere is pretty much out of the question for now. Since I have to get it pretty frequently, it is convenient to just go down the road and be able to pick it up ourselves.
     
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    I feed alfafa to my wether Jasper. when I had teh concern I was told by some that it really isn't an issue.

    And when you think about it, they actually need more calcium to phosphorus in their diet so to me the calcium can't be to much of the issue.

    And if you are worried about the ratio being off 2-1 then try feeding some fruits or veggies that are high in phosphorus.

    here is a chart I found:
    http://www.healthalternatives2000.com/f ... chart.html

    to me UC is like colesterol in humans, some of it is hereditary and some of it it diet related or a combination of both.
     

  3. goatnutty

    goatnutty Active Member

    Oct 9, 2007
    South East,IN
    I feed them both.
     
  4. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    We feed them both. From my own research, I've found that its the corn that causes UC, not alfalfa. We've fed alfalfa to bucks for a couple years now, and never had a case of UC. We have never fed our bucks corn.
     
  5. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Well, you guys are sure helpful :roll: :wink: with 50/50 for each choice! But thanks for the input. I actually lucked out big time! I talked to the man yesterday and he sold me this excellent 2nd cut grass hay for $4.00 a bale. He was about to deliver it to a horse farm, but let me take 8 bales. So for now I have hay the boys love. At least I am more comfortable with feeding alfalfa when there isn't any other good hay, though.
     
  6. jBlaze

    jBlaze New Member

    254
    Oct 9, 2007
    Oregon
    We feed alfalfa and have not seen any problems. I would question feeding them lactation grain before I would question the hay. :)
    Challenger is called that as it was developed as a grain for milking does. Challenge because the more they milk, they more grain you feed them, on a pound basis. Not sure how much grain per pound of milk it was supposed to be though, but I thought the name was funny, but it made sense. If they are not too fat and you can afford it go right ahead though, I am sure they love it. :) lol. Mine would be fat with that grain, my wethers get booted out when we grain the rest.
     
  7. moonspinner

    moonspinner Member

    154
    Oct 5, 2007
    western NY
    Is there a reason you feel your wethers need grain? I don't even grain my bucks and they don't get pasture several months out of the year up north. I should think hay alone - grass or alfalfa - would be sufficient unless of course the quality is very poor. And the ammonium chloride supplemented of course.
     
  8. GSFarm

    GSFarm New Member

    312
    Oct 6, 2007
    Fairview, TN
    I feed both- half grass pellets/half alfalfa. Goats love it!
     
  9. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Hay pellets... hmm I don't know if my feed store carries them. I'll have to ask, just to see.

    moonspinner and jBlaze, I feed grain mostly because I like to spoil them :wink: But I only give them a wee bit, not even a pound between them per day. They just love it soo much, how can I resist? I got the challenger because the feed store carries it and it's a good feed. They don't have much else that I like, and it is cheap enough and lasts a long time, so that's what the boys get. I also give supplements, and I like to mix them with grain. My hay is usually good, but it varies at times, so I feel that it evens out and keeps their diet steady, making up for anything they are lacking from the hay. They never have real pasture, though I let them out of their pen quite a bit in the spring and summer to graze. I cut back the grain then, too.

    Sarah, do you give the pellets free choice, limited, or mix it with their grain?
     
  10. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    i tend to use grass hay for all of my animals (its cheaper and easier to get here) my does get free choice alfafa pellets. My bucks get a few handfule morning and night along with a small handful of grain only in the winter to keep them in condition through rut. When spring rolls around they still get a couple handfuls of alfafa pellts but no grain. I find that you have less chance of uc when they have lots of room to run jump and play. Things to jump and play on and a buddy to help keep them entertained. A bored buck can be a very lazy buck (or whether) and they tend to just lay around.
    beth
     
  11. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Oh, my boys play, and they play hard! LOL They have a smallish pen (tiny compared to the monsterous pastures some lucky people have) but I take them out every day for a walk... well, in winter it's every few days, but they still get out. And they have their huge rock which they climb all over all the time. Then they just play fight a lot. I often look out the window to see the little guys standing mightily on their hind legs, ears pinned back and eyes wide as they plunge forward in some heroic battle to win the right to stand on top of the rock... or be "king of the mountian" heehee... it's quite cute :lol:
     
  12. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    thats great Emily, its sounds like you and them have a lot of fun together. I used to take my girls for walks everyday. they are getting fewer and far between with the wet yucky weather. I can;t wait for spring.
    Whatever you're feeding now sounds like they are doing well on. Three young boys that are growing well have shiny healthy coats bright eyes and are alert. Just keep up the good work.
    How is melinos training comring?
    beth
     
  13. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Thanks for asking :) Melino is coming along very nicely. He is getting tall and is really filling out (though he's not fat at all... mostly muscle) and he's strong! He now knows the basic commands walk on, trot (though sometimes he doesn't feel like doing that lol) and stop. He also turns well. I haven't taught him back up yet. I hope to really start working with him, and to get a cart and harness, in the spring.. then everyone will be seeing tons of pictures!

    I can't wait for pring either :? ! All this snow is really a hassle. It's pretty when you are just looking at it and it's fresh, but after that it makes life cold and sloshy and gross :shades:
     
  14. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    Oh i know i hate the cold weater. My barn is down the hill and its kind of a pain to get there when its wet and muddy.
    How big do you think melino is going to get? My first kid born here was a buck, he was an alpine lamancha cross, but i whethered and kept him for awhile. Till he was about a year old. a frined of mine still has him he weighs about three hundred lbs and is taller then most miniature horses. He is probably the largest goat i have ever seen. She never continued the training that i started with him, he is now about ten or eleven year old and he throws his hips out when he walks. She still grains him and i think he is compinsating for all that extra weight he is carrying. But i can;t convince her that he doesn't need grain.
    beth
     
  15. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    I feed only grass hay to my wethers. 1. reason is it is better for their fiber as a cashmere goat, and 2. So I do not have to really worry to much about UC.
     
  16. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Beth, I am hoping he will get to be BIG lol. I think the Alpine standard is like 170 pounds... I have never had a big goat before (and my lil' guys aren't even full grown yet) so I'm not really sure. He is 70 pounds about, at 8 months old, so I don't know if that is average or not. Wow, 300 pounds is huge! He would have been a good cart goat, I bet, though maybe with less padding. Don't worry, I'll stop giving grain if they start getting fat. I'll probably cut back more once they're done growing, too. Melino has been pretty lanky and leggy what with growing so fast, so I know where his food is going lol! And I know what you mean about hills :hair: To get to my goat pen I have to go down a steep, narrow path. In summer and fall it's okay, but right now it is horrible! I have fallen more times than I can count going down there with the ice. Someday I'd love to install steps, but for now I have to put these metal spikes on my shoes.

    Lori, I didn't know that. Why is grass hay better?