alfalfa pellet advice needed

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Jcran, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    I am making the jump to alfalfa pellets for two reasons. Alfalfa hay per ton is currently 220$. The goats WASTE the pucky out of it. Alfalfa pellets per ton (in 50 LB bags) is $340 BUT there is zero waste. I am thinking that if I supplement with the clean but very low nutrition local grass hay (slightly better than straw?), I am still going to be doing ok. I've got:
    1 4 month old doe kid (on CHS boer developer r20) and alfalfa hay (50 lb)
    2 almost yearling non-pregger boer does currently on alfalfa (about 90 lb ea)
    2 yearling does due in March currently on alfalfa hay (about 120 lb each)
    1 2-yr old pregger doe due in March (about 125 lb) just bought
    2 2 1/2 year old does due in March (about 150-175 lb each)
    1 9 month old buck currently on CHS boer goat developer r20 (175 lb)

    Does anyone out there have some suggestions on amount to feed?
    Pellets I just bought are 15%+ protein
     
  2. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    My does are also due end of Feb through March and some in april. With the majority of the adult does kidding in less than 100 days, I have started them back onto their grain. Very very slowly, so that by the time they kid, they are eating about 1 pound of their grain. I do not worry about protein in my grain (oats barley some corn) because I have 17% protein in my alfalfa (digestable protein) with you having only 15% protien you will need to have some form of protein in your does grain mix.

    All ages and classes of stock here are fed 3 pounds of alfalfa pellets per day, in the young doe pen obviously this is free choice, and if they did not clean up breakfast they get less for dinner, but my bucks and adult does clean their feeders of their alfalfa pellets. I also keep out grass hay, it is not spectacular, it is coastal and whay my feed dealer has all the time. I use it for filler only, like with the freeze or very wet weather the girls do not go out and eat in the woods, so they have hay (to pull out the feeder and lay on :)

    The difference in stock who are raised on alfalfa that is supplemented with grain, is huge in comparison to stock who is raised on grain that is supplemented with grass hay. It's also much cheaper. Good luck with this, and make all moves very very slowly, my girls were aghast that they were to eat alfalfa pellets, and until there was no alfalfa hay left period, would they eat the pellets, so yes they did have a few days of very little alfalfa :) Vicki
     

  3. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    I give a hearty second to the benefits of alfalfa pellets. When I added them to my grain (my goats had been on grass/tim hay at the time) I saw a definite difference in the look of them.
     
  4. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our alfalfa pellets run a couple of dollars a bag more than the grain, and is only 15% :shrug: I seemed to spend a lot more money when I was feeding it more. This week the feed store didn't have any to sell me, so I guess we are back off of it. :rolleyes:

    Those of you who do feed it, can you give an idea of what size scoop is 1# of grain or of alfalfa pellets?

    thanks,
    mary
     
  5. Starsmom

    Starsmom Well-Known Member

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    I have always feed mine Alfalfa pellets. They actually prefer it over the hay. My problem here is this year the pellets are more expensive than the hay. I use a good quality alfalfa hay and it runs $65 per ton and the pellets are $120 per ton. Last year the pellets were about $80 per ton and the hay was $120 so I made the switch then. This year I have been feeding less pellets and more hay. My guys and gals will go for the pellets then eat the hay when all the pellets are gone.
     
  6. Starsmom

    Starsmom Well-Known Member

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    Mary, I don't use scoops, I use the plastic folgers coffee cans. Each one of those full of alfalfa pellets is 4.3 lbs. (thats the larger can) I weighed them on my postal scale.
     
  7. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    My livestock scoop full weighs 3 pounds, I also measured mine, soap scale. I always weigh my scoops full of this or that, so I know how much everyone is getting, this way I can keep track of their grain intake compared to their milk output :) vicki
     
  8. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    Holy Buckets!! Where do YOU live? I fantasize about prices like that! :Bawling: I'm even getting to the point where I might cut down to 4 does and just hope for all buck kids....meat for the freezer, a buck for some extra money (breeding fees) and enough acacia and berry vines to provide browse to keep feed costs down.
     
  9. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Yep Joan figured she would die straight away if she knew my alfalfa pellets were now $8.50 per 50 and my allgrain now over $9, whole oats just went up to $8.90. And 80 pound bale of grass hay is $8.60...if you can find them, my feed dealer is already rationing hay, you have to be a regular customer of his and then he limits you to 5 bales. Alfalfa hay? Over $12 for small square bales, and what is the nutritional content of it when it has been stored in hot humid barns all summer and fall? Nill to none.

    It's hard to take the dry period with no income coming in from milk. vicki
     
  10. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    Today I asked for current hay prices when picking up pellets(8.75 per 50#)

    WHEAT HAY (never heard of it before): 175 per ton
    ALFALFA HAY: 215 PER TON
    ALFALFA GRASS: 220 PER TON
    GRASS-IMPORTED: 220 PER TON
    NO LOCAL GRASS HAY CARRIED(USUALLY HAVE TO GO SEARCHING FROM LITTLE GROWERS LOCALLY) HARD TO FIND GOOD STUFF-SO FOGGY HERE IN SUMMER OFTEN MOLD/RAIN DAMAGE. STUFF I HAVE IS LIKE STRAW-SHEEP FOLKS SAY ITS GOOD FOR DRYING UP EWES. MY GOATS hate it a lot.
     
  11. circlevranch

    circlevranch Well-Known Member

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    Try checking once a a local (grain elevator) for bag feed they're much cheaper than someplace like TSC. or any of the other well known General Stores. They make a lamb starter feed which has 21% protein and a lamb finisher feed that has 16% protein. Both of these work well when fed with grass hay. I never weight the pellets out since we have such a large herd it would take forever to get the chores done. We have our herd spilt into 4 groups. We use a 3 lb. coffee can to measure out the oats, corn and pellets. Two of our groups get 3 five gallon pails of grain/pellets once a day the other 2 groupls get 2 pails each once a day. In each 5 gallon pail we put 3 coffee cans of oats, and corn and then add 1/2 can of pellets to each pail. Our goats do well on this ration. The grass hay we feed costs us anywhere from $50.00-$65.00 per ton. We do feed some alfalfa at that runs about $60.00-$90.00 per ton depending on the quality. We try and feed the two larger groups approximently 150 lbs. of mixed hay once a day. the other two smaller groups get about 100 lbs. of mixed hay once a day. The cost of our oats is $2.35 per bushel and corn is $3.35 per bushel. Our goats seem to do well useing this feeding ration. We have close to 200 head we're feeding right now this includes does, kids, and bucks.
     
  12. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    I buy my alfalfa pellets down at the mill. They will fill the bed of my pick-up. This saves me about $2.50 per 80lb bag. Gives my kids something to do - shoveling a ton of pellets into barrels, lol.

    Anyone use spent grains for goats or other livestock - or heard of anyone else doing it? (Spent grain from a microbrewery) I have heard second-hand, of people raising up pigs or a steer on spent grains.

    niki
     
  13. Starsmom

    Starsmom Well-Known Member

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    I live in MT. We pulled out of our drought just long enough to get some good hay crops this past year. We are having a dry winter, so our prices will probably go up this year on the hay. In the past 5 years the highest our hay prices have been is about $130 per ton.
     
  14. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    Spent grains from our 3 main microbrewerys already snapped up; my herd is too small to matter anyhoo; I may contact the feed mill and see if they'd do the bulk pellets but doubt they get it in bulk. We are so isolated...two main highways often closed in winter due to mud/rock slides. Plus, both are twisty, curvy, etc. Anything that comes in, comes in from the big mills in the San Joaquin Valley in bags. The price we pay to remain a rural outpost-just returned from my childhood So. Cal; no more fruit orchards or bean fields. SMOG, HOUSES, FREEWAYS-totally depressing. I wouldn't trade Humboldt County for the world :)