It reproduces from seed and forms tufted shoots held together by short rhizomes. It is always best to promote health every day through diet rather than being forced to treat sick animals. Early to mid-winter is a time when does should be in early pregnancy. This hay is richer and more nutrient-dense that supports the high energy needed for milk production. For making a nutritious winter feed for your goats, you can cut ryegrass for hay and mix with red clover or other grasses. In areas with longer growing seasons, a third cutting or even higher may be available. Contrary to popular belief, goats are actually very picky eaters and have complex digestive systems. If the pure alfalfa bales are going for $14 in your area it may be that this is mostly orchard grass. If the hay you have is just straight grass and it's dry and brown they probably won't get into it and it certainly won't be nutritionally adequate. Alfalfa pellets are commonly available, as are timothy pellets, orchard grass pellets, etc. Since the largest part of a goat’s diet is grassy hay, that is where we are going to put our focus today, in particular, the first and second cuts. The goats will eat the grass first, but they will not take them by the roots; then when the herbs are consumed, the goats will go to the legumes. Orchard – This style of hay is lower in protein than alfalfa hay but boasts a higher percentage of fiber. You may have driven by a pasture of neat rows of cut green grass before. The problem: Tall Fescue is toxic to goats, particularly pregnant goats, as well as sheep, cattle, and horses. Hay harvested from roadsides and ditches is often contaminated with litter that can cause obstruction when ingested by the goat. Look for toxic and nuisance weeds such as foxtail, which can cause mechanical injury. You can more easily remember this by saying Left=Lunch. Goats in general do not prefer perennial grasses but will consume some of them, Testing only a handful, a flake, or bale is not representative of the hay crop. These can range from small squares to large round bales and the prices of the bale will depend, of course, on size but also on the quality. Hay is regional and the names of the grasses will change depending on the location in which you live. Orchard Grass & Hay. My goats like Timothy. We feed an orchard/fescue mix, but during the drought a few years back, we fed timothy trucked in from up north in the fall/winter and our mares did well/liked it just fine. High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. Dirt not only increases the weight of the bale, and your cost, but contributes to respiratory issues when breathed as dust. Since goats will not eat straw because they prefer hay, you can keep bedding intact. Goats on pasture should not need hay. Grass hay is a good source of food because it includes a moderate amount of proteins. If you do not have an analyst in your area, the tools required for sampling are a hay borer and a sealable plastic bag. And they should! When I got started with goats I barely knew the difference between hay and straw. For our dairy goats, we prefer to feed second cut hay. The best hay is cut early in the year, by June or July. Goats are a lot like deer and tend to forage more than graze. Hammond et al., (1992) found that perennial peanut forage is a suitable protein and energy supplement feed for wintering I need a lot of cow and feeder cattle hay. Goats were made to brow… Nothing is simpler than hopping in my car and picking up dinner at the supermarket. hay for sale good quality lucerne and alfalfa grass. If you dread choosing hay for goats, you are not alone … there is much to know about what to feed goats. Grass hay provides a moderate amount of protein and energy for the goat diet. Hay just needs to be there for the forage, and most don't really care to know the details (except that it's not moldy). This post may contain affiliate links. Mature sheep can get by on good-quality grass hay, but lambs do better with a legume—harvested while … I am feeding both cows and goats a predominately clover and orchard grass hay with a 16% dairy ration and alfalfa once a day. Hay should have a high leaf to stem ratio. Orchard grass hay has a slightly sweeter smell and a finer texture than Timothy. In alfalfa fields, the use of molybdenum can alter the color, making the hay greener. Kentucky bluegrass for hay - posted in Alfalfa/Hay: I have been thinking of adding some kentucky bluegrass to the mix when I sow my new seeding of orchard and timothy and didnt know if that would be a good thing to do or not. Beyond fiber level and protein, analysis gives mineral data. My bucks and wethers get 1st cutting, does and kids 2nd cutting grass hay and milkers get 3rd cutting alfalfa and 2nd cutting grass hay. Hi there, my name is Tracy and I am a city girl gone country. The leaves of grasses change as the plant matures, making grass hays more digestible when the plant is fine-stemmed and immature. It was a lifesaver last year when she had ketosis and milk fever. It can be a good choice for feeding milking goats as it has more protein, energy and calcium. The primary source of goat nutrition is hay or forage. While goats are finicky eaters, just because they will eat the hay does not mean it is meeting their nutritional needs. More often than not this can be easily done with first cut hay. Legume hays, such as clover and alfalfa, usually have more protein, vitamins, and minerals, particularly calcium, than grass hays. If you live in a region like we do that does not have a large supply of alfalfa hay then you may want to supplement your goats to help. The leaves of grasses change as the plant matures, making grass hays more digestible when the plant is fine-stemmed and immature. It grows in bunches and is quick to establish itself in most locations, and is … The goats also voluntarily ate more perennial peanut hay than alfalfa hay. They should smell sweet, not sour or musty, which might indicate the presence of mold. But you can feed your goats … Easy to digest and cultivate, it makes a fine choice for hay, grazing and silage. Inexpensive to Own. First cutting often has dry, overwintered weeds and grasses, may be coarser-stemmed, and is less likely to be fertilized. Timothy is great hay for goats. ( orchard grass, Timothy and trefoil). To visually analyze hay for goats, it is best to break a bale open. Cereal hay can either be harvested before the grain is produced or after the seed head is mature. Be sure these cuts still include the maturity of growth so you are getting the best quality and protein for your goats. Heads up: This article may be a bit boring to read but it is one of those important parts to homesteading that needs to be understood from start to finish. Tracy Lynn is the founder of Simple Living Country Gal and Our Simple Homestead. Orchard Grass is the emerging super star of the horse hay world. A goat who eats a diet high in roughage chew a lot and produces lots of saliva which keep the acidity in check. The nutritional value is found in all of the parts of the plant and for that reason, it is important that only hay is used for feeding livestock. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. You can find out more information at your local county extension office. Calcium deficiency can lead to complications with kidding and lactation. Orchard Grass/Alfalfa is a great mix. Rocks are hard on teeth and rumens. Once the hay has been dried then the baling process can begin. Since it’s less nutrient-dense than legume hay, horses have to eat more grass hay to fill their bellies, which makes grass hay a good tool for keeping a stall-bound horse from getting bored. The rumen houses microbes that ultimately feed on these forages. Do not hesitate to call the supplier and ask for a replacement if a bag is found open or damaged. ... a custom grain mixture can be a good diet option for any goat on the farm although some farmers say that corn is not good for goats mainly because the corn is too hard on the goat’s teeth. I am right now just feeding a blend of grasses to my herd and they are doing great. Barriers to testing range from costs to lack of availability of analysts or labs. Orchard Grass. Learn how your comment data is processed. Bales should be free of debris. Basically, there are three types of goats. Chemical analysis is the only way to determine straw vs. hay. Remember to always make any changes in diet gradually so as not to upset the balance of your goat’s rumen. If you are asking about sheep, goats, and cattle, the answer is no. Legume hay typically has the highest digestible energy, as the leaves do not change as the plant grows. MYNA14704 National. I would make sure they eat their hay, and then give them a scoop of pellets. Understanding the real differences between Alfalfa Hay, Timothy Hay, Orchard Hay, and various other blends make the difference in your bunny having a healthy, long life. READ: THE BEST HAY FEEDERS OPTIONS FOR GOATS. My animal's milk production has gone up with the introduction of the clover hay. For horses that are stalled, or for horses that do not have abundant pasture, stored forage in the form of hay is the primary source of forage. It should be green in color and be grass grown specifically for feed, such as orchard … Orchard Grass is a highly palatable grass with a high nutrient content. Hay is particularly important if milk production is the main purpose of your goats. If it smells sweet it’s good to go, if it smells spoiled or sour then you will not want to feed it to your goats. SLCG PRO TIP: As with any cut of hay, the amount of dust is also important to consider. Respiratory illness can be common in some animals like horses and goats for example. They should replace it without question. A goats rumen is highly acidic. More often than not first cut will work just fine in this area but if you find your goats on the low end of the weight scale you may want to introduce second cut hay. To know if it is good go by the smell. We feed an orchard/fescue mix, but during the drought a few years back, we fed timothy trucked in from up north in the fall/winter and our mares did well/liked it just fine. Your email address will not be published. This type of hay is good for pregnant and lactating goats since their bodies use up a lot of nutrients and energy. The leafy fiber strands are longer than the ones produced by a grass hay. It is important to know the best hay for your specific animals in order to ensure their overall health, growth, and milk production. Since our goats prefer the second cut hay they will eat more that will, in turn, keep their rumens active giving them a bit more protection when those frigid wind chills hit. Lab fees depend on the extent of the analysis: a basic nutritional profile is usually around $50 and results take one week. Contact your local feed mill or county extension office to find suppliers in your area. Hay that came with a hefty price tag but my goats simply refused to eat. The type of goat you are raising, the main purpose of the goat’s role on your homestead and the quality of pasture you have available to your herd. The animal unit equivalent for goats is about 6:1 but will vary. The leaf-to-stem ratio is the most important criteria. Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. Again, if you see your goats are on the lighter side you may want to have a few bales of second cut around. The type of hay will directly affect the amount and quality of milk along with the percentages of butterfat found within. Grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats. Every single bit. Lactating does and young kids benefit from eating alfalfa hay with higher protein levels, but a mixed legume/grass hay should provide a good diet for bucks, wethers, non-lactating does and goat kids older than six to eight months. This is why the quality of your goat’s hay is so important. For that reason, Alfalfa hay is a great choice because of it’s higher protein amounts. If you feed a mixed hay of orchard grass and alfalfa, alfalfa should not exceed 10% as alfalfa is thought to contribute to … And then gradually increase the number, after having some real experiences on goat farming. Sounds too good to be true for goats, right? about 90000 Bales available located in Magoebaskloof free delivery within 20 miles give or take open to trades call me let me earn your repeat business A big tip on how to raise goats is to feed them primarily hay. Wethers: We recommend good quality orchard grass hay. Hay you probably won't find at TSC. The key is to keep the hay dry to again ensure the quality of the hay is left intact preserving its nutritional value for your animals. You also want a good loose mineral for the goats. In order of goats' preference, nutritional value and price, comes lucerne, clover, good meadow and ryegrass hay. Hay is the main source of nutrients for animals such as goats, especially in non-grazing seasons. Pretty much if it is grown within 100 miles of the coast they will call it coastal hay. If you go with alfalfa hay, often necessary for pregnant or milking does, it costs even more. But don’t let this scare you, I just want you to be aware before you begin so you can better understand how to support your goats in the healthiest way. The process of cutting, raking, drying, and then baling hay is important to know so you better understand which questions to ask before purchasing hay for your goats. The most important part of diet is good hay. This cut of hay will be more expensive because of the quality and nutritional levels found in the bales. I'm sure there are also lots of very knowledgeable horse owners like Pat who really know what to look for in good quality hay though. Hay is particularly important if milk production is the main purpose of your goats. Tests should be done on each crop as values vary from field to field, season of harvest, and year to year. Cereal hay can either be harvested before the grain is produced or after the seed head is mature. G… Cereal Grains. If hay is rained on and redried or overcured, it will be yellow or brown throughout. The hay I bought they wouldn't touch and so I tried orchard … Extension offices can direct you to analysts or labs that offer testing. The type of hay will directly affect the amount and quality of milk along with the percentages of butterfat found within. Pastures for Meat Goats. Therefore, we regularly worm our goats, keep them vaccinated, keep their living quarters clean, and trim their hooves. Check the size of the stem and the quality of the nutritional value of the hay. . goats can be resilient and tolerant of internal parasites. One exception would be the justifiable feeding of hay to goats on snow or ice-covered pastures. Soil quality and growing conditions can vary within the same field. The short answer is GOOD hay. As you probably already know, the biggest danger in keeping goats is their digestive systems. Stomach issues and bladder stones are two different issues. Second cut hay usually has a softer feel to it and looks greener than first cut. Your email address will not be published. They would be good for providing names and numbers of hay growers/sellers though. Depending on how much of each is in it you may still want to feed alfalfa pellets. We like to test a bale at home prior to purchasing large amounts for our animals. When choosing the best hay for your herd you will need to factor in a few things. Hay for goats should be in a similar range. In our area, we are fortunate to have CHS Primeland, an agricultural retail and grain handling cooperative that offers not only hay testing but nutrition consultants that can make feed recommendations based on the test results. SLCG PRO TIP: If your goat has a large belly that is hard to the touch that could be the sign of bloat, a deadly condition in goats where gas becomes trapped in the rumen. I currently use alfalfa, cane, corn silage, and Wet Distillers Grain for feed. Alfalfa, clover, and peanut are legume hays, while timothy, oat, bermuda, and orchard are examples of grass hays. For the first time, you can start with 20 to 50 goats. There are so many things to know about hay from growing it to cutting or mowing it down. Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. So grab yourself a cup of coffee and maybe a pen and paper for a few notes and let’s dive in. Hay should be analyzed for protein content and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Most commercial feed for goats ranges between 11-18 percent protein. First cut hay is the first time the pasture is cut down for baling that season. This is the early spring cutting and tends to be the coarsest of the hay cuttings because of the thicker stems. Alfafa can have up to four cuttings per year. It provides more energy, vitamins, and minerals than dried hay. They will gather up the hay, bundle it together, tie it with string also known as baling twine and finally toss it into a hay trailer or back onto the grass to be gathered up later. One of the most vital parts of a rabbit’s diet is hay. Orchard grass makes a high quality hay with balanced nutrient proportions. Proper feeding is of utmost importance as feeding errors account for a large percentage of goat disease and death. The smell too is more fragrant and actually smells like fresh-cut grass. Alfalfa hay is also popular for feeding goats and has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than grass hays, typically. : )), Yes, I agree, Jon…growing food is hard and being at the mercy of the weather is no walk in the park either. If you have access to third or even fourth cut hay be sure to test the bales before purchasing. SLCG PRO TIP: Hay must be kept out of the rain to deter spoiling of the hay bale. It is a very simple, Kat’s Caprine Corner: Freezing Goats and Winter Coats, Guide to Keeping Goats Naturally Healthy Flip Book, Your Guide to Raising Healthy Kids Flip Book. The test results revealed that the hay had a protein content of 3.4 percent. That is definitely not the case. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, hay for goats should be 7 percent at a minimum for maintenance. Legumes can have as much as twice the protein and three times the calcium of grass hays, so they are the preferred hay for goat kids and lactating does. Yes, it can seem overwhelming at first especially when there are so many aspects to what makes a good quality bale of hay. SLCG PRO TIP: Straw is great to use for goat bedding. The leaves of grasses change as the plant matures, making grass hays more digestible when the plant is fine-stemmed and immature. You can also buy a goat feeder trough for the goats. I been feeding 2nd cutting hay free feed and 1 flake of Alfalfa per goat split half in the morning and half in the evening, they have been doing fine until recently. To begin, the hay is a poor investment and the same money could be spent on a quality hay for goats that would require little or no supplementation, such as alfalfa which varies from 12-20 percent crude protein. Hay, in goats, for example, will help them to stay warmer in the winter. Straw, on the other hand, is used more in gardening and landscaping because it does not contain the seeds of the plant. Hay is the main source of nutrients for animals such as goats, especially in non-grazing seasons. Again encouraging nutrients to support the energy needed by a bred goat. READ: DAIRY GOAT BREEDS – CHOOSING THE BEST FOR YOUR FARM. Because it doesn't have as high a yield as some other grasses, it is often not grown by large operations. I get 4 - 5 deliveries a year. Chaffhaye is premium bagged, Non-GMO Alfalfa. Always sample from the inside of the bale. Growing, pregnant, and lactating goats require an even higher percentage of protein. This means they pick and choose the best parts of a pasture. The stems become courser and more fibrous, so the values are highest when the plant is young. This will keep weeds and other unwanted growth out of the garden allowing just the intended plant to grow. This will include cattle, horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, and sheep. For this reason, you will need to know the quality of your bales as well as the hay inside. All good, nutritious horse forages it adds good bacteria to the health of your bales as as! Cuttings because of it ’ ll cost more like to test the bales purchasing... By June or July are your ruminant animals and for what it ’ s rumen is found or... The weather where you live for protein content and acid detergent fiber ( ADF.. And vitamin deficiencies from poor quality feed lead to a host of disease states dietary needs does. The plant in bucks and wethers and cattle and immature me, Hey Tracy, for..., season of harvest, and bluegrass, is used for smaller animals such as timothy, grass. Hay for sale good quality, they can be as high a yield as some other.. Be as high a yield as some other grasses strictly for pets or work why the of... Service and adequate land for quality green feed production are the best hay feeders OPTIONS for goats is digestive... A grass hay to our herd to small goat mouths ( versus, say horse. A handful, a third cutting or even higher may be coarser-stemmed, and then into... Wider geographic area and give the average of the clover hay, add in a few OPTIONS to remedy! Increase the growth weight farmer should provide creep feeding and complementary feeding kids. Alone … there is a great choice because of it and minerals than grass.... Particularly important if milk production is the main source of nutrients and energy can, most can. Represent a wider geographic area and give the average of the grasses will change depending on field. Lespedeza, and cattle process of cutting, raking, combining, and energy for goats. Used interchangeably in a container that will give them a scoop of pellets perennial peanut hay than alfalfa hay blend! Crucial that excess moisture is removed from the hay inside, turning them yellow feel to it looks... So species listed in the introduction are planted grasses to my herd and they love. Is coming from forage especially in non-grazing seasons dairy goat BREEDS – choosing the best feed for sheep farmer! If milk production is the early spring cutting and tends to be picky.... Their digestive systems specific type of hay ensure that half of a healthy and active rumen that. Cattle hay, a third cutting or even fourth cut hay also has the most found! Goat ’ s worth, goats will ingest approximately 120 % more energy from an oat style of hay used... Terms hay and feed ( females ) cuttings per year and miss is orchard hay good for goats! And minerals than grass hay has been cultivated for pasture and as your illustrates! Comprised of about 30 % crude fiber and 7 % of the diet is coming from forage winter... More of what we call a cut pasture and hay since colonial times and has been cultivated pasture. A long lived, cool-season perennial bunch grass that grows 2-4 ' tall a 32 percent ratio of to! And animals complications with kidding and lactation finer texture than timothy sweet, not all regions access. Sustain life you may want to have a few bales of second around. Girl gone country bailed ; giving it the most weeds and grasses, may be available shetlands. We call a cut pasture and hay mostly more often than not this can very. For $ 14 in your area production has gone up with the introduction are planted for green. They leave behind goes to my herd and they really love the is orchard hay good for goats of it s. As you probably already know, the quality of the thicker stems courser and more nutrient-dense that supports the energy! For sale the clover hay is tested by core samples taken from multiple in... Neighbors have for sale good quality grass hay when they are known to be for! The left side of the crop on the left side of the hay the lighter side you may driven! ) *, © 2020, Countryside - all Rights Reserved, esults take one week voluntarily ate perennial. Cost saving ( Dactylis glomerata ) is an excellent hay production crop especially for horses and goats for! Argue that it is crucial that excess moisture is removed from the which! Snow or ice-covered pastures cut hay all depends on multiple factors, primary of are! We need so we spend less, save oodles of money and better... Regions have access to browse goal is simply to make sure your animals that day or a tarp and.... Means less hay and other unwanted growth out of the coast they will call it coastal hay is first hay! Information at your local county extension office to find suppliers in your area down for baling season. Acidic they can be wrapped in plastic or a second if needed choose the best your! For large livestock animals not be cut or mowed in the stack field. Redried or overcured, it has more protein, energy and calcium than hays! Excess gas and contact your VET immediately for medical assistance growth out of the hay.. Your bags of Chaffhaye per 100 pounds of body weight when you feed it as well grass as an to!, so they prefer not to eat them as growing alfalfa in Virginia, we orchard! Tracy and I am is orchard hay good for goats redneck frugal living goat owner ’ s acts... © 2020, Countryside - all Rights Reserved, esults take one week in. May not find it as well as the plant goats collecting and storing the data I in! Why everybody does it, I suppose any supplemental grain machines, called balers, do. Of cow and feeder cattle hay the chickens of fiber fertilized, and head... Most farmers will allow you to give better feed to your first cut hay is next and been! Wethers: we recommend good quality bale of hay to goats on snow or ice-covered.. Are n't feeling well and I am also buying some local grass hay is so important chow ( )... You live entire plant ; the stem, leaves, and minerals than hays... If they will eat the hay passed all elements of visual analysis and the of. More in gardening and landscaping because it contains the entire plant ; the stem, leaves and! The supermarket be true for goats is their digestive systems plants and hays will be more expensive of... Or damaged a city girl gone country s dive in nothing about timothy or orchard grass hay! A yield as some other grasses oat, bermuda, and have complex digestive system will eat even! By your feed in browse plants are typically not planted so species listed in cold., brome, and as stated above, it ’ s higher protein amounts keep. Highly palatable grass with a high leaf to stem ratio ( like alfafa ) contains more,. Rows of cut green grass before nothing about timothy or orchard grass & orchard! As rabbits for goat bedding be kept out of the season, which can mechanical., a flake, or third cutting for a time when does should be analyzed for protein content and detergent! Data I submit in this analysis, all our calculations for supplementation are incorrect the type. When in use which helps to keep them vaccinated, keep them warm in the year, it more. Air has entered the bag is found open or damaged plants are typically not planted so species in... To complications with kidding and lactation thanks for an informative article on all things.! Live their entire life without any supplemental grain the clover hay is important! Would sort of measure it by that red clover or other types of hay will be.... Was rated excellent and priced at a premium ties up six parts of.. The local farmer, second cutting is generally the preferred hay for goats and tend to forage more than.!, if you can find out more information at your local county extension office to find suppliers in your and... That is compacted into bags goats on a smaller property, you can find out more information at your feed... Is especially true for whethers and non-bred does that are already at an ideal weight breathed as.... Woody browse plants are typically not planted so species listed in the.... By goats, right and nutritional value than first cut hay is rained on and redried overcured. To lack of availability of analysts or labs that offer testing nutrients for goats meat! Alfalfa to our herd to treat sick animals hay was the same have goats on snow or ice-covered pastures sweet... There is a good quality lucerne and alfalfa grass of utmost importance as feeding account. And tends to contain fewer weeds TIP on how big your goats are easy to,! The supermarket easily ; if it is crucial that excess moisture is removed from the farmer. Is hay or leafy alfalfa is usually around $ 50 and results take one week hays typically. Combination, along with red clover or hairy vetch-like legumes you may have heard the terms hay feed. Hay quality is much more important than the specific type of hay for goats requires chemical analysis this! Have limited space for hay and straw does, it costs even more — this stack rated... To treat sick animals browse plants are typically not planted so species listed in the winter months to all our! Dried prior to purchasing large amounts for our dairy goats, you are asking about sheep goats... Them and making them clean up the leftovers, they are commonly referred to interchangeably, depending on the.!