Alfalfa hay vs. pellets

Discussion in 'Goats' started by MommaSasquatch, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone give me a ballpark comparison of alfalfa pellets vs. baled alfalfa hay in terms of how much of each is equivalent? Are they equal pound for pound? I'm trying to plan for winter and figure if one is much more expensive than the other and it's hard to do when you're not sure what the basis for comparison is.
     
  2. rio002

    rio002 Well-Known Member

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    What I found with our Nubian to be easiest in determining how much was enough, was to start with a coffee can about 3/4 full everyday for a week, then check to see if he was holding a good weight and adjust as needed. I figured 3/4 coffee can was equivalant to a flake of alfalfa hay about 3 inches thick (he only ate the leaf off it anyway) However, I would also question, does the pellet provide the same quality roughage as hay does to avoid blockage in the system such as Enterotoximia? That's what killed my goat this spring, unfortunately I followed the advice of our local feed store and fed him straight goat chow pellets for 2 weeks with no hay for backup and he died an awful death (even with vet help). Keep checking around I would hate for someone else to go through what I went through just trying to keep costs down (that was my reasoning too for switching to goat chow). Good Luck!
     

  3. dbarjacres

    dbarjacres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If the alfalfa is cut at prime and has soft stems (for alfalfa that is!) my goats eat all of it if given limited quanitites, if they are given a whole bale at once, they only eat the leaf and a few of the stems. I've tried alfalfa pellets and not a single goat of 12 will eat them.
     
  4. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    According to my pellet man, exactly 50 lbs of hay goes into a 50 lb bag of pellets.

    My goats will eat pellets even with top quality alfalfa in front of them. They do very well on them.

    Tracy
     
  5. Debi

    Debi Active Member

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    The best thing about pellets is that there is no waste.

    Mine do very well on the pellets and I don't have to rake up all the stems they won't eat. Less work all around.

    Debi
    Kaufman TX
     
  6. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Are the stems included in the pellets?

    If so, then unless the pelletizing process removes something they should be equal by weight.
     
  7. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    Since people have given you a weight comparison, I just wanted to add that for me, pellets are more convient. When I fed hay, they would eat only the leafy stuff and leave the stems, which I would give to the horse or use as bedding. It also took alot more room to store 50 bales of hay as compared to 50 pounds of pellets that could fit in a garbage can. I could also buy the pellets one or two bags at a time throughout the winter as compaired to finding quality hay as the winter progressed, then get it and stack it in the barn when it wasn't snowing or muddy. My goats like the pellets so I guess it would also depend on your goats preference.
     
  8. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    I did get a bag of pellets to try and they seem to like them about equally as well as the hay. I have sheep too, and I'm looking at finding ways to get the goats their alfalfa without also putting the sheep on it (a bit too rich for our primitive breed of sheep). The sheep will be on pasture or grass hay through the winter. Since my sheep have horns and my goats don't I'm able to segregate their feed by putting the stuff intended for the goats where the sheep can't fit their big ol' horns to get at it. Pellets seem easier to do that with, but price comparison is, of course, a big factor. Thanks for the input. Now to figure how many pounds our bales of hay are and compare... I will definitely factor the waste in, although they don't waste too much of it thus far.
     
  9. GoldenWood Farm

    GoldenWood Farm Legally blonde! Supporter

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    If the weight ratio is true than my goats probably only ate about 20-30 pounds of their 50lb bale of alfalfa before. There was so much waste it wasn't even funny. I switched over to free choice alfalfa pellets and I have never ever seen my girls look so good before. They are flourishing on it. I even have a runt or two who needed to catch up who have just thrived on the stuff.

    I do also feed my gals good quality orchard grass hay so they get roughage there and they have access to an acre of pasture. I just like feeding pellets better because they don't waste it like they did the alfalfa hay and it is cheaper IHMO since they don't waste it for me to get a bag of pellets versus a bale hay.

    MotherClucker
     
  10. ajharris

    ajharris Amanda

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    I cannot find bales of alfalfa here for less than 12 dollars a bale. I can get 50# of the pellets for 5.50. For me it is easier to buy the pellets. My goats love them.

    Amanda
     
  11. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    I have a question. Are alfalfa pellets the same as rabbit feed?
     
  12. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Last time I bought hay (couple months ago) it was 4.60 a bale for good alfalfa. I guess I should consider myself lucky. Still it looks like it may come out about even or maybe a little ahead for the pellets. Gotta re-check what we paid for that bag, but I think it was close.
     
  13. dbarjacres

    dbarjacres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rabbit pellets are alfalfa, grains, and minerals (and sometimes even are medicated), and molasses as a binder I think. Alfalfa pellets are just that, alfalfa, nothing else.
     
  14. rich2748

    rich2748 Well-Known Member

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    We have fed alfalfa pellets for a year and no hay. We will probably not go back to hay. At least not alfalfa hay. Maybe some grass hay this winter. Our goats are healthier and giving more milk than ever. Plus, and a BIG plus is no waste. We feed ours one scoop per goat each day. They also get pasture and browse and grain. The milkers get extra grain on the stand.

    As stated rabbit pellets are not the same as alfalfa pellets. I had to look all over for the pellets. Finally found one feed store that would order them for me. I am the only person using them here. But they keep them in stock for me. They cost more than the hay but are worth it because of the lack of waste.
     
  15. ajharris

    ajharris Amanda

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    The round bales of weedy hay around here is over 130.00 a bale. I don't want to spend this much for hay. :Bawling: Hopefully with the rain that we have had the farmers will get another cutting of hay. :rolleyes:






     
  16. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    SOme alfafa feeds...and I'm pretty sure rabbit feed is one of them...that copper is added...and some animals such as sheep shouldn't have the x-tra copper...........if my memory is serving me right. Maybe someone else can put this all in line. I do remember reading in my rabbit book not to spread rabbit manure on a sheep pasture because of the copper in the manure.
     
  17. trob1

    trob1 Well-Known Member

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    Mana pro rabbit food says added copper do not feed to sheep. I thought about feeding it to the goats cause the ingredents looked so good but when I posted the ingredent list and ask if anything was in it that didnt look good for goats no one responded.
     
  18. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

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    Goats can eat rabbit pellets if you don't mind them getting grain since rabbit pellets are a mix of alfalfa/grain/minerals. The copper is fine. Goats need as much copper as cows and horses.
     
  19. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    Ugh. I just re-checked and the pellets are twice as expensive as hay at our feed store. 9.60 a 50# bag vs. 4.60 a 50ish # bale. So next question (to help further estimate real cost) How many pounds per goat per day do you need to feed? In other words how long will a sack of pellets last compared to a bale of hay?