Timothy hay or Alfalfa?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by YasmineMay, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. YasmineMay

    YasmineMay New Member

    Apr 5, 2018
    What hay is more beneficial for pygmy goats?
    How much hay should they be feed?
    When foilage is low in winter, does more hay have to be fed to supplement this?
    Thanks :)
  2. TexasGoatMan

    TexasGoatMan Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2015
    Dekalb, Texas
    I am not sure how to answer your question. I will give it a go ! What hay is more beneficial for your pygmy goats is the hay they will eat. Alfalfa is higher in protein and goats usually always prefer it over grass hay. However I would not feed alfalfa free choice where it is available to them all the time. Just give them a flake in the morning and at night. Grass hay can be fed free choice where they can eat it all day any time of the day. They want kill them selves over eating grass hay. They can on alfalfa. And yes, winter time does require more hay to be fed unless you have your goats in a dry lot all the time and the only source of grasses is through hay you give them then you would be wise to feed grass hay free choice year around. Also grass hay is cheaper than alfalfa.

  3. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2017
    As with so many things, it depends.

    The breeder who sold me my goats feeds free choice alfalfa so I do the same (though I only check it twice a day) BUT I don't like how they only eat the leaves not the stems so I'm switching. I'm going to move to Timothy plus supplemental alfalfa pellets with their grain. Alfalfa has more protein and calcium and is more palatable. It's also more expensive, especially if a 100 lb bale of Timothy is $20 and 100 lb bale of alfalfa is $30, but they only eat 40 lbs of the alfalfa -_-

    This is mostly a result of hay in my area being slightly lower than average quality and a lot higher than average price.

    If you have wethers, there are people who will tell you that alfalfa will kill them. There are also people who will tell you that grain will kill wethers, early castration is an automatic death sentence, and whiskey cures all ailments. I'm not saying there is no truth in these but I would like to see some clinical trials. Until then, I'm going to do what works for me.

    Do what works for you with the knowledge that alfalfa is "better" but more expensive and can lead to obesity more easily, while Timothy is cheaper and better for boredom or filling bellies when all other needs are already being met. There's also orchard grass and alfalfa/grass hay mixes if they're available to you. I consider orchard grass to be better than Timothy but I don't have access to it.
  4. YasmineMay

    YasmineMay New Member

    Apr 5, 2018
    Thanks for the information!
    I all ready feed timothy hay and they have access to it for most of the day but I was wondering if they can have a small amount of alfalfa as there is little foilage about yet.
    If I was to feed some alfalfa, how much would I need?