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This will be our first winter with our goats. We have square bales. How much does a goat actually eat. I want to make sure I'm not starving them this winter!
 

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Do you have snow cover through all or part of the winter? Here in TN we rarely have ground cover and our goats graze the dried grass, evergreen plants and leaves most of the winter. In addition, around November the cool weather weeds come out. The ones I used to need 2,4 D to control are the goats favorites. Wild onion and several others. So they can forage most of the year here.

I say that for background on my hay strategy. I don't free choice hay all winter. If I do it becomes a party favor. Instead of eating it they'll start pulling it apart and tossing it around...all big fun. When I free choice the waste goes way up. They'll eat some of it, but waste a lot, tearing up the bales and picking through to find just their favorite bits. They'll also get silly climbing on the bales, which spoils a lot of it. They'll look at me like, "Dude, someone pooped in this hay." And won't eat it. :hammer:

In the winter I'll bump up their grain ration, mix in a little more ground corn. When it comes to hay, I put out 3-4 bales and see how much they end up wasting. As long as they're focused on eating, I'll keep taking them more hay. When the hay bales turn into a kegger at a frat party, I'll back off a couple days.

Keeping that hopper full in the winter helps them stay warm, so I err on the side of keeping them well fed.
 

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I have 4 mini wethers and they are going through approx. 1 square bale a week now, mine do not like grazing much and we don't have lots of browse.......I know with our winters they will probably go up to 1 & 1/2 bales a week.......I do keep hay out for my guys at all times.....summer or winter. Being wethers mine do not get hardly any grain, I do grain a bit more in the winter.

Also, watch the wild onions....too many can cause anemia.

Have a great day, Denise
 
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