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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have four Nigerian dwarf goats (3 does , 1 buckling )
I’ve had them for 2 weeks and I’m new to all this .

They’ve been eating alfalfa .
I read online that alfalfa isn’t ideal for bucks ( I don’t remember why ) , so I got them some grass hay .


None of them are into it .
For the alfalfa they would come running .
With the grass hay they take a few
Bites and leave it be .
The guy at the feed store said the only grass hay they had was Bermuda grass hay so that’s what I got .


What kind of hay is best ? What
Kind will they eat, other than just alfalfa.

Oat hay ??
 

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Mine are stuck with grass hay, because that is all I have. Any alfalfa was drowned out this year. If I gave alfalfa, there is no way they would eat plain old grass hay, we've had that fight before. They lasted a couple days before they deigned to eat the common grass hay. When I had a regular barn full of alfalfa, everyone ate it, bucks, milking does, kids, yearlings. All did great on it.

Your goats will get hungry and eat the hay you have, but don't give alfalfa while you are trying to make them eat the grass hay. It's difficult to gradually switch from alfalfa to other hay, they would pick out the alfalfa and waste the rest.
 

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Their natural feed is twigs and leaves. There are some toxic kinds, but many kinds you might be able to find close to your living place or your work? We had a list, but I do not remember where. Poplar, maple, apple, pine ...

Dwarf goats and males are extra in for overfeeding, that is why alfalfa is a bit too rich for them.
 

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I have four Nigerian dwarf goats (3 does , 1 buckling )
I've had them for 2 weeks and I'm new to all this .

They've been eating alfalfa .
I read online that alfalfa isn't ideal for bucks ( I don't remember why ) , so I got them some grass hay .

None of them are into it .
For the alfalfa they would come running .
With the grass hay they take a few
Bites and leave it be .
The guy at the feed store said the only grass hay they had was Bermuda grass hay so that's what I got .

What kind of hay is best ? What
Kind will they eat, other than just alfalfa.

Oat hay ??
It depends what you're trying to do with your goats as to what hay you want to use. I can only comment on Dairy, I don't raise meat goats. Ideally for our pregnant does and does in milk I like at least some alfalfa mixed into my hay. If I don't have alfalfa hay I supplement with alfalfa pellets and/or Chaffhaye. For pets I'd give grass hay as long as their body condition is good. I've never used oat hay, so I can't comment on that type.

Currently I'm feeding our goats a clover orchard grass mix free choice along with Chaffhaye morning and night. Last year was terrible for alfalfa and we are currently going to be buying more alfalfa hay soon but don't have any just yet.

You're probably referring to the high calcium content in alfalfa which is why some say it's not good for the boys. They are more prone to urinary calculi. What some don't realize (I didn't know this either until this past year) is that the calcium to phosphorus ratio is what's important. If you feed alfalfa to your boys you should also feed something with phosphorus such as grain, this will help prevent the calculi from forming. Also, alfalfa is pretty rich and the boys usually don't need to become overweight. Other more knowledgeable site members can probably add more to what I'm saying.
 

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If all you have is grass hay, you need to pay attention to other sources of calcium so you don't get too far into the Phosphorus end of that ratio. My favourite hay is a 2nd cutting alfalfa orchardgrass mix, but you have to feed what you can get. More important than KIND of hay, is quality of hay. You want dairy or horse quality, not goat quality, which is approximately the nutritional equivalent of thorny bedding.

Currently, it is summertime, and for my goats, the living is easy, with their acres of forage.

 

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Bermuda is actually one of the better grass hays you can feed (IMHO)
It usually runs about 2-1 calcium to phosphorus.
My Nigerians do really well on it supplemented with alfalfa pellets. When I say they do really well I mean maintain good condition and milk 1000 + lbs. Not leader board production, but pretty darn good.
My Toggenburgs need more input to do well but they eat bermuda hay really well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alfalfa is great for them. Give them pelleted goat feed once a day containing ammonium chloride as well.

Is your buck wethered or breeding the does?
He's only 9 weeks old ( got him at 6wks old and he's been eating alfalfa since then. Haven't had any problems ). He will breed the does in he future . Supposedly the does are pregnant . I can't tell, but the lady I bought them from claims they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If all you have is grass hay, you need to pay attention to other sources of calcium so you don't get too far into the Phosphorus end of that ratio. My favourite hay is a 2nd cutting alfalfa orchardgrass mix, but you have to feed what you can get. More important than KIND of hay, is quality of hay. You want dairy or horse quality, not goat quality, which is approximately the nutritional equivalent of thorny bedding.

Currently, it is summertime, and for my goats, the living is easy, with their acres of forage.

Mine will have plenty to forage on here soon , so I'm looking forward to that ! Just need to fence off their pasture .
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You could mix Bermuda and alfalfa. That would be extremely ideal.
That's what I've been doing since I have a third bale of alfalfa left . But once that's gone it's grass hay and weeds for them until the bale of Bermuda is gone . My goats are going crazy over goathead weed too and I have a ton of those .
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
do you have a picture or a scientific name for that plant?
The scientific name is Tribulus terrestris . It's all over the place in central California . Extremely annoying , literally impossible to get rid of . Has thorns on it that stick in ur shoes , stab your feet , and pop bike tires . My goats only get to eat them before the thorns form , because I'm afraid of the thorns hurting their mouth or throat or causing them tummy pain . I tried to research if it's safe for them to eat and couldn't find much info , other than a few other goat owners saying their goats eat it too and seem to be fine . If you have any info on it I'd love to hear it .

I googled toxic plants in California and didn't see it on the list . I'm horrible at identifying plants tho....without glasses they all look the same .
 

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There is an app for your phone that when you take a picture within the app, it will identify the plant for you. Called "PlantSnap", on google play store and that place for apple phones.
It worked really well for me the one time I tried it., 7 out of 10 correct, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There is an app for your phone that when you take a picture within the app, it will identify the plant for you. Called "PlantSnap", on google play store and that place for apple phones.
It worked really well for me the one time I tried it., 7 out of 10 correct, I think.
Awesome ! I'll be trying that .
 
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