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I'm having a difficult time with my goats diet.. Exactly what kind of hay should they be eating? My guys are picky :/ and I live in upstate ny near, not far from buffalo, any suggestions?
 

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Goats like 2nd or third cutting grass hay with maybe a little alfalfa in it, the finer the better. The 1st cutting hay is generally too coarse. Plain alfalfa is great for milkers, but not for dry expecting does or males as there is too much calcium in it. We found a farmer who had 3rd cutting left over from last year and were able to barter that hay which our milkers love for some wethers to keep the brush down at the farm and for his 4-h member daughter. As a rule we would father get the current year's hay buyt it has been so wet this year that there is little baled hay as yet. Every one is making haylage. We have been thinking about trying haylage for the milkers as we've heard it is good for milk production, but i'm leary of it . Anybody have experience with it?
 

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I'm having a difficult time with my goats diet.. Exactly what kind of hay should they be eating? My guys are picky :/ and I live in upstate ny near, not far from buffalo, any suggestions?
What are you feeding them, how much, and how often? As a general rule, goats don't like stemmy hay. Look your hay over and if the stems are as big or bigger than a #2 pencil, that could be why they are not eating it. If you choose to go with alfalfa, you want hay that has stems about the size of a ball whip, maybe slightly bigger. Generally speaking, first cutting is stemmier if it has not been grown correctly. As far as what kind of hay, open or early bred goats will do just fine on a high quality grass hay. Look for seed heads, if they are present pass on the hay because it was cut too late. I don't know what kind of hay is available in your area, so I cannot make a recommendation on variety. I would not feed straight alfalfa. It is too easily digested and can cause problems with bloat, only lactating does need it, and it won't do a thing for them in the winter time as far as contributing to keeping them warm. Digestion is what produces heat, grass is harder to digest so it helps keep them warm. Look for a good quality, non-stemmy grass or grass/alfalfa mix of hay. As far as picky goes - if the hay is not stemmy, and is of a good quality they will only be as picky as you let them be. I do not do picky - my girls eat what I feed them, period!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is just plain good quality grass hay good for wethers? I am no longer giving them noble goat feed since my on wether had UC :( also my vet said alfalfa is like the kiss of death for wethers and bucks.
 

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To anyone that feeds straight alfalfa 1st cut how much would you feed to 2 does and a doeling daily? They are use to grass hay (which we feed about a flake each) and we are switching to alfalfa. We also grain them.
 

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Mine have hay 24/7. But the general rule is 1 flake for each goat.

Alfalfa is the highest in protein, has a lot of calcium too. Alfalfa cut pre-bloom is around 18% protein, cut after the bloom its around 10%
Grass hays range from 7-9% protein, but certain types are loaded with phosphorus, not so great.
 

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To anyone that feeds straight alfalfa 1st cut how much would you feed to 2 does and a doeling daily? They are use to grass hay (which we feed about a flake each) and we are switching to alfalfa. We also grain them.
If you are switching over to alfalfa, replace 1/4 of what you are now feeding with the alfalfa. After 3-4 days, replace another 1/4, another 3-4 days and you are now feeding 3/4's alfalfa and 1/4 grass, etc. If I have a choice, the only goats around here that get straight alfalfa are weaning kids and nursing does. All others get grass/alfalfa mix. I prefer 3rd cutting, but I will feed any cutting I can get.
 
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