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Due to Urinary Calculi (stones in the urinary tract) http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/urincalc.html we don't feed alfalfa to goats over three years old. Once they start to reach maturity and no longer need the extra calcium from the Alfalfa, or Phosphorous from grain for that matter, we switch them to straight orchard grass hay or its equivalent. If in doubt ask the breeder where you purchased the goat. (See the "Health Care Forum" for more details)
 

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After many years of study of diet for wethers I agree that adults generally should not have alfalfa.

Young kids need the added protein and phosphorus for growth but adults only need about 12% total dietary protein and a 2:1 calcium phosphorus balance.

Some places where there is not other hay available you can get by by using low quality very stemmy alfalfa combined with low quality browse or natural grasses.

It's important, though to understand what part each ingredient plays in completing the whole diet, and not just feed because someone else does it. Hays vary in quality in different locations and what will support a goat in one area may not in another, or may be too rich.


Diet is a complicated issue and because of the urinary calculi problem can be a very unforgiving learning curve.

I'm available for diet questions here, any time.

sweetgoatmama
Carolyn Eddy
 

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Carolyn,

I'm wondering....

you write, that growing kids need the added phosphorus but from what I know, alfalfa is high in calcium (not that they don't need that, as well).

Or do you refer to the added phosphorus when feeding grain?
 

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I'm referrring to the phosphorus in grains. Some people worry so much about UC that they don' supply enough calcium or phosphorus either, for growing goats. The kids need good feed to develop optumum size. It's knowing when to slow down and quit feeding the richer feed that takes some study.

Sweet goat mama
 

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Hi - Our wethers are now 3 1/2 years old. We live in N. Idaho and it has been in the single digits every night for the past 2 weeks. In the morning when I feed. All of them are usually shivering pretty good. They usually stop after a warm drink and eating some. A while back - I remember reading on another site that giving them a light dose of grain or alfalfa would help them weather the cold. I have no grain and quit giving it to them over a year ago. I do however have some alfalfa left - which we also stopped over a year ago. During this cold period - Is a small amount of alfalfa advisable? If so - how much and how often? Thanks for the help!!!!
 

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Thanks - Was short on time when I posted the question - should have looked at all the other topics. Took some time today at lunch - and some good topics are being discussed. Thanks for the help and suggestions - sounds like I may be able to get rid of a little alfalfa. Have a good holiday!!!
 

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I have 2 withers that will be 3 in a couple of months. All we have around this valley is grass hay and alfalfa. I do have hay however that is grass/alfalma mix, is that ok for the withers? I also have a mineral block as well, the brownish colored one, should the be something else that I should add to their diet to help prevent the urinary calculi? (spelling is wrong-sorry)
Cindy from Fallon, NV :?:
 

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"Watch your Topnot" is just a saying off of the movie Jeremiah Johnson. The movie is a classic. Robert Redford is in it before he became an eco freak. He actually kills animals in the movie..haha. You have not lived until you have seen Jeremiah Johnson. Its based off of the book "Crow Killer" by Vardis Fisher. Really good book.
 

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sweetgoatmama said:
After many years of study of diet for wethers I agree that adults generally should not have alfalfa.

Young kids need the added protein and phosphorus for growth but adults only need about 12% total dietary protein and a 2:1 calcium phosphorus balance.

Some places where there is not other hay available you can get by by using low quality very stemmy alfalfa combined with low quality browse or natural grasses.

It's important, though to understand what part each ingredient plays in completing the whole diet, and not just feed because someone else does it. Hays vary in quality in different locations and what will support a goat in one area may not in another, or may be too rich.

Diet is a complicated issue and because of the urinary calculi problem can be a very unforgiving learning curve.

I'm available for diet questions here, any time.

sweetgoatmama
Carolyn Eddy
Mighty fine goat you have there! Is that picture the sandy river trail up by Riley's horse camp? I live just a few miles down the road from there, ride my horses there all the time. Great trail.
 

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That's actually the big rock at the intersection of the Sandy River Trail and the Ramona Falls trail. That's the big rock with the vertical split clear thru it. We call it "Lot's Rock" because my friend Lot told his grandkid's it was his rock when they asked who's it was.

I've hiked the Ramona Falls trail so many times I have names for all the major rocks up there.
 

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I thought I would use this existing post for my question. I ran out of really high quality rich alfalfa grass mix last week. My guys are around 2 years and 8 months old. Right now I am feeding a fairly poor quality alfalfa grass mix that we wintered them on last year and had lots of waste. You could see improvement in everything (coat, weight, etc.) when I got them on some really grassy alfalfa early in the spring. I then moved up to the super high quality stuff. I am going today to pick up this years cutting of the really grassy alfalfa mix. Last year it was mostly grass and weeds with just a sprinkle of alfalfa leaves every other flake, so this year there is likely even less alfalfa. I am only grabbing enough for a couple weeks. So....

My question(s):
At their age, and with the growing season over or almost over, is it safe to just switch to straight grass? It has been freezing temperatures at night since August and the pasture has been brown and dormant since June/July. I ran out of dry COB a couple weeks ago and didn't get more since it is so close to the end of growing season and all that. They still get sunflower seeds.

Should I get a ton of the rich stuff or a ton of the really grassy alfalfa and feed it until I run out around the start of winter (I have 3 goats in the 180-200+ range). I guess I mean winter months, since winter will be here any time now, next week or not until December, you just never know.

The primary purpose of the question, I guess, is related to cost.

The guy my hay comes from puts up excellent hay. Every bale looks like he hand selected and tied what went in it. It is very green and rich and heavenly.

Every year, I pay high dollar for his stuff. Year one was $210 for a ton of the rich alfalfa/grass mix. I then got some stuff somewhere else for less money ($165)and delivered, and it was still very good quality.

Late summer of the second year I got the same stuff delivered but it was put up brown and the bales were falling apart while we unloaded (yes we, these guys were mad because it had to go in an open front barn instead of just off the side of the trailer). It did fine in large quantities over the winter but they definitely needed the better stuff come spring. It was $135 a ton.

This year gets us back to the start of my post. The spring stuff was $160 a ton and by time I got to the high quality stuff he wanted $6 a bale so I took 30 for $180.

I have been looking forward to the days of $50/ton grass hay for adult wethers. This year was an excellent year and those low prices aren't happening. My guy decided to go $200 on everything this year. SO when I was paying high prices for alfalfa and the grass was going for $120 a ton, I thought $360 a year to feed 3 goat would be awesome when they switched to grass. Now I am looking at $600. He said his 2nd cut will go higher.

Is the idea of feeding hay that is "too" good applied to grass or just to alfalfa? Am I better off with lower quality (not poor or bad or moldy) when it comes to straight grass, or is it better to start selling off my possessions to afford the $200 per ton heavenly super green stuff?

I imagine it would be possible to get it cored and tested and all of that, since his stuff is fairly consistent, but at this point, I really just want to make a decision on shopping around for cheaper without sacrificing proper care. I mean, if I can cut cost in half it is worth it, but if it is a difference of twenty bucks or something, I prefer to base it on whats best, not cost. The main concern is a hay broker will tell me how great the hay he has is, and then bring me falling apart brown bales of junk, so I don't know what I am getting until it is here. If I like, I get more, if not, I keep searching.

This is long, I hope folks read through.

Thanks,

Gregg
 

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I get hay by the pickup load. My hay barn has 3 different types of hay. Oat, orchard, and a brome mix. My Oberhasli seems to be enthusiastic about a hay when they have not seen it in a couple of days. Can you consider getting a little of each? I'm not a professional and this mixing may be a waste of time. I enjoy the different smells of hay and the goats seem happy.
IdahoNancy
 

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Hi!

I have two wethers that are 3 1/2 months old. I'm currently feeding them rich alfalfa and I'm uncertain when I should switch them over to hay and the best way to transition them. I know they aren't going to be happy when I start reducing their good stuff. :) Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Ashley
 

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After many years of study of diet for wethers I agree that adults generally should not have alfalfa.

Young kids need the added protein and phosphorus for growth but adults only need about 12% total dietary protein and a 2:1 calcium phosphorus balance.

Some places where there is not other hay available you can get by by using low quality very stemmy alfalfa combined with low quality browse or natural grasses.

It's important, though to understand what part each ingredient plays in completing the whole diet, and not just feed because someone else does it. Hays vary in quality in different locations and what will support a goat in one area may not in another, or may be too rich.

Diet is a complicated issue and because of the urinary calculi problem can be a very unforgiving learning curve.

I'm available for diet questions here, any time.

sweetgoatmama
Carolyn Eddy
NewHi!

I have two wethers that are 3 1/2 months old. I'm currently feeding them rich alfalfa and I'm uncertain when I should switch them over to hay and the best way to transition them. I know they aren't going to be happy when I start reducing their good stuff. :) Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Ashley
 
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