timothy hay for goats

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Caprines need roughage in the form of about two to four pounds of hay per day (3% to 4% of body weight) for their rumens to function properly. They gave her a folding training ramp to climb on, along with a kennel lined with straw, separate from the dog kennels, while they waited for someone to come forward. This is especially true for whethers and non-bred does that are already at an ideal weight. Originally published in the May/June 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy. Anemia and weakness often result from iron deficiency. Grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats. (Think of them as “living weedwhackers” rather than “living lawnmowers.”). When we began raising dairy goats, we barely knew hay from straw. I am feeding both cows and goats a predominately clover and orchard grass hay with a 16% dairy ration and alfalfa once a day. Since alfalfa has more protein, vitamins, calcium, and minerals than grass hays, it seems like the obvious choice for feed. Again, if you see your goats are on the lighter side you may want to have a few bales of second cut around. Orchard grass on the other hand has three cuttings per year. Make sure it is nice and green, also leafy (sheep aren't big fans of stems; they will eat it, but mostly pull it out of the hay feeder looking for the leafy part of the hay). Hay should be analyzed for protein content and acid detergent fiber (ADF). This varies depending on the maturity of the hay or alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored. It can cause digestive and respiratory problems, among other things. The higher the fiber content, the lower the digestibility (even if the protein level is high). : )), Yes, I agree, Jon…growing food is hard and being at the mercy of the weather is no walk in the park either. Check the size of the stem and the quality of the nutritional value of the hay. For this reason, we prefer to feed second cut hay exclusively in the winter months to all of our goats. First cut hay also has the most weeds and the lowest protein of the common cuts. Goats instinctively choose the most nutritious plants available. Timothy hay has two cuttings per year. Alfalfa pellets are commonly available, as are timothy pellets, orchard grass pellets, etc. The nutrition of hay can also vary widely depending on its maturity when it was cut and baled. When I first starting raising goats I thought all hay was alike. Your email address will not be published. You can more easily remember this by saying Left=Lunch. I’ve been in love with hay since I was a kid (no pun intended). There are three different types of hay, Grass, Legume and Cereal Grain. Learn how your comment data is processed. You can find out more information at your local county extension office. The cut hay is then left out to dry usually just that day or a second if needed. Caprines still need enough fiber for their rumens to operate smoothly, and large amounts of pellets that sit in the rumen without being brought up as cud may cause long-term health issues. Pellets are convenient if you have a limited space for hay storage or if you want to mix it with grain. Fescue can cause “fescue toxicity” or “summer slump,” a condition more frequent and severe during hot weather. We like to test a bale at home prior to purchasing large amounts for our animals. Please know that I only recommend resources and items I believe in and highly recommend. Since most goats prefer the second cut to first cut hay this will encourage them to eat more and help them to establish a better weight. Chaffhaye is made by cutting early alfalfa or grass, chopping it, mixing it with molasses and a probiotic culture called bacillus subtilis and vacuum-packing it. I am a redneck frugal living goat owner and I am working everyday towards living a more simple life. But who the goat belonged to was a mystery, since goats are not allowed to be kept in Montclair. Just like with meat goats your goal is simply to make sure your animals are in optimal health. Since milk formation requires protein, alfalfa is the only hay with enough protein to meet a lactating doe’s needs. Hay cannot be cut or mowed in the rain since it needs to be dried prior to baling. As a rule of thumb, leafy hays have higher nutritional value than stemmier hays. Although your goats may not find it as tasty as other grasses. Mineral requirements can be classified as macro (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, chlorides) and micro (iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, etc.). Its low protein, high fiber, and high energy content make it easily digestible. SLCG PRO TIP: Always check your bags of Chaffhaye before purchasing. Remember to always make any changes in diet gradually so as not to upset the balance of your goat’s rumen. I can’t even tell you how much money I wasted on purchasing hay that “looked” good but my goats did not thrive on. Never Feed moldy feed to animals. Bucks can get by with 8% crude protein (60% TDN). Be sure these cuts still include the maturity of growth so you are getting the best quality and protein for your goats. 2nd Cutting Timothy/Orchard Grass hay is our softest hay with excellent palatability, high protein plus livestock and horses love it. Hay is used for feeding animals because it contains the entire plant; the stem, leaf, and seed head. The main purpose of hay is to feed grazing animals and for that reason the timing and care at bailing are crucial. Chaffhaye is a moist slightly ground alfalfa hay that is compacted into bags. In other regions, common hays include reed canary grass, ryegrass, Sudan grass, and fescue. Contact your local feed mill or county extension office to find suppliers in your area. ». Alfalfa pellets are a great option to offer to your goats that will give them a good supply of protein. Since nothing is perfect in this world, some words of warning are in order for various types of hay. A zinc shortage causes stiff joints, low interest in breeding, skin problems, excessive salivating, and deformed hooves. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. My animal's milk production has gone up with the introduction of the clover hay. It’s less wasteful, but the downside is goats will eat the pellets very quickly. You can also feed it to your animal if you live in an area where you cannot let it free to browse for food by itself. As browsers (as opposed to grazers), goats eat a wide variety of plants from weeds to woody shrubs. In summary, hay quality is much more important in determining suitability for goats rather than type of hay. Goats are a lot like deer and tend to forage more than graze. 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. A critical component of caprine health is minerals. A diet of nothing but hay pellets is no healthier than a diet of pure alfalfa. I tried growing my own food for a time. Due to its low protein levels, Timothy hay can be fed regularly to satisfy appetite without excess calories and protein, and in some cases provides enough protein for less active and stabled horses. Most good horse hay will work fine for goats, because it will be palatable and free of dust and mold. Pellets are convenient if you have limited space for hay storage or if you want to mix it with grain. For that reason, Alfalfa hay is a great choice because of it’s higher protein amounts. Bailing is simply the process of cutting, raking, combining, and stacking the hay into sections. For this reason, the price for first cut hay will be lower than later cuts. READ: DAIRY GOAT BREEDS – CHOOSING THE BEST FOR YOUR FARM. Some manufacturers produce pellets well suited to small goat mouths (versus, say, horse mouths). Mineral deficiencies can wreak havoc on caprine health. If your goats don’t graze aggressively, it can grow about 30 inches tall. Legume includes alfalfa, clover, or soy. 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. Timothy hay is used most often as cattle and horse feed. Now I am teaching others how to do the same. I consent to Backyard Goats collecting and storing the data I submit in this form. A rainy season usually means less hay and that can drive the price of second cut pretty high. and all of mine are STILL thin. Grass hays should be the main component in rabbit, chinchilla and guinea pig diets. Timothy. The contents must be moist so the integrity of the bag is important. The only sure way to know the nutritional content, and whether it is the best hay for goats, is to have the hay analyzed by a forage testing laboratory. Legume hays, such as clover and alfalfa, usually have more protein, vitamins, and minerals, particularly calcium, than grass hays. 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. The shelter staff rallied and bought some timothy hay and special pellets as food. Overfeeding of grain additional hay, grass, and seed head Home prior to purchasing amounts... Goats I thought all hay was alike ready for Thanksgiving this year so they get in contact with the of! Constant access to third or even fourth cut hay all depends on the location in which you live ideal! Time the pasture is hit and miss as to what is known as a testing! 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