alfalfa help

Discussion in 'Goats' started by lhopkins, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. lhopkins

    lhopkins Member

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    Location:
    Arkansas
    I had to get a poorer quality hay this year. It was suggested to me to supplement with alfalfa. Alfalfa hay is not readily available in my area. I purchased a dehydrated bale and have been mixing this with the girls grain.

    Any suggestions as to how much dehydrated to give per goat?

    What would be better for them, pellets or the dehydrated or doesn't matter?

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Leslie
    4-H mom were 1 goat has become 12! Forever learning and need all the help I can get!
     
  2. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    North of Houston TX
    Other than pelletizing it there is no difference between the dehydrated alfalfa and the pellets. In fact most come out of the mill in Kansas, Burt and Wetta, they make both, out of the same hay. I use the pellets because for me here it is cheaper. I also use the alfalfa pellets free choice. I slowly started increasing the amount, I thought they would break me at first, but they are down now to about 2 pounds in the am and pm sometimes less. This is just a rough estimate since I know how much I purchase weekly. I only use grain on the milkstand when in milk or for growing doelings. Vicki
     

  3. lhopkins

    lhopkins Member

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    Vicki,
    I'm assuming that your 2 pounds twice a day is for your herd. I feed individually (after I found out that some eat way slower than others) so with this dehydrated, would a handful (my hand, probably a cup) twice a day be enough per goat?

    When you started feeding the pellets free choice, did you have a problem at first with them over-eating?

    Thanks for your help.

    Leslie
     
  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I feed free choice alfalfa pellets and good orchard grass hay. The girls eat very little of the hay. Six does, five being mini-does, two lactating, will eat 50 lbs of pellets every three days. So that's two to three pounds of pellets per day per doe. I don't think a handful will do it unless they have lots of other stuff to eat. I'm betting Vicki is talking about two pounds per doe twice a day, since she has full size Nubians. That's four pounds per doe per day. That's about $0.50 per day the way I buy the pellets, which isn't bad at all, considering the milk you get.
     
  5. Stacy Adams

    Stacy Adams Well-Known Member

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    I started my does on Alfalfa pellets a little at a time, increasing to free feeding.. I thought they would just sit there and gorge themselves, but that never happened. I started with 1/2 of a 1lb coffee can each and gradually increased it untill they were leaving stuff in their bowl, on the milkstand. They do consume on average about 3 pounds a day per doe, even fed free choice, which is much easier on me, and oh so much cheaper than buying bales!
     
  6. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Yes what Laura said :) I have full size Nubians, and yes in the beginning I thought that they would eat me out of house and home feeding free choice. I also feed with enough feeder space so there isn't any pushing an shoving, but what happens when you move to free choice alfalfa pellets, and for dairy goats, move your grain to the milk stand where it should be, is that the girls don't push and shove or eat only because it keeps food from someone smaller, or (which my girls did the most of) guard the feeders! After the initial slowly introducing of the pellets........I used to feed one pound of grain in the am and pm in the feeders in the barn, plus grain on the milkstands. (that makes me cringe even to write that now)....so I just took 1/2 their grain and replaced it with alfalfa pellets, the next week 3/4 the next week all alfalfa...then just slowly started increasing the amount of pellets each feeding, pretty soon it was more than they could eat at one setting to the next, I kept it there. But average my girls it about 4 pounds a day, obviously some less some more. Since I don't keep dry yearlings, the only goats here at the farm that aren't being milked are this years kids and bucks. So if someone is too fat off the pellets they receive very little grain on the milkstand...someone too thin for my taste gets nearly as much grain on the milkstand as they want. The savings are incredible. Vicki
     
  7. lhopkins

    lhopkins Member

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    Thanks guys,

    Like I said, still learning. I am having to revamp my feed program and need all the help I can get. In 03 I switched to Purina chow. Was real pleased and goats did great and stayed in great condition. Going into 04 I think Purina must have changed the formula, doesn't smell the same and the girls weren't where they should be. And they didn't eat it like they used to.

    I started picking the brains of the local goat people and started adding beet pulp and boss to the feed. It helped but never did get the girls where they should be. (wormed, vacinated, minerals, soda, etc.) Decided to switch after the last show this year and local feed store recommended a "power pellet" they have mixed just for their store. It is labeled for horses, goats, cows, etc. It has minerals and vitamins added. Since we don't milk but dam raise the babies, we have ties along the pen and each goat gets tied up to eat out of their own bucket. I started this early this year and did realize that our goat that came out of freshining skin and bones and we are still struggling to get her up to where she needs to be, is a very slow eater. I'm sure during her pregnancy, she just didn't get enough feed. She is boss so I know she got all the hay she wanted. But then again I wasn't feeding alfalfa.

    I have spent the last week surfing for feeding info. Please help if I'm wrong. Buy the pellets instead of the dehydrated bale. Switch the girls to this. On my poor girl that needs weight. This is my train of though. Please correct me! I haven't checked, but from the conversations, you can buy cob in a sack feed instead of buying each individual and mixing. So, should I buy the cob and then mix in the "power pellet" that has the vits and minerals added then add boss?

    Or is there a sack feed that is cob plus the extra I need? If so, what should I ask for?

    Sorry to sound so dumb, but this is my daughter's favorite doe and she looked so wonderful that last year and this year she looks so pitiful. She had a wonderful udder and just put all she had to milk but I need to make sure she is in better condition going into next year.

    Hopefully what I learn I can prevent the other girls from going through this.

    Thanks so much

    Leslie