Alfalfa Pellets?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Kathy'sKID, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. Kathy'sKID

    Kathy'sKID Kelly in Nebraksa

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    Ok, so my mom wants me to try out Alfalfa pellets in our herd. Seams to be something a lot of people do, I never really looked into it because I just assumed it would be more expensive for us, but like I say: never base anything on an assumption, so I'm here to find out. :nerd:

    First off, when you feed pellets, do you JUST feed pellets, or do you usually give alfalfa hay as well?
    What amount do you feed? Or what formula do you use to figure amounts? (Such as, 1lb pellet for 50lbs body weight?)
    Do you think your goats do better with the pellet, or about the same?

    Any thoughts, opinions, advice, etc. are welcome. :)
     
  2. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would like to know about this too...I've read that it is not good to give goats the pellets because they will swell up in the stomach..and if you've ever seen a bit of rabbit food that got wet you'd understand...but yet others seem to think it is ok. What do you all think of feeding alfalfa pellets to goats???
     

  3. lphlady

    lphlady Member

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    Well I really don't have anything to back this up, but, seems like I remember reading that the pellets don't have too much protein/nutrition and you're just as well off to feed a good quality "total feed pellet". I do know that good alfalfa hay is probably the most complete "feed" you can give a goat and when feeding it you really don't need to feed anything else. That said, if they aren't used to it, it will scour them. I feed mine alfalfa hay, but also keep out protein/mineral tubs. Most of mine are bred and with the drought here in Texas, I just think they need it. Good luck!
     
  4. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Alfalfa pellets are made out of alfalfa hay. I feed it as free choice as possible, as much as I can possibly afford, as much as the goats want..I fill their feeders up with it and they can have as much as they want at all times. The alfalfa hay in Texas is a joke. It is horrible. If it were good and cheap, like it was ih the north, i would use that, but it's not.

    The pellets won't swell up inside. You can use the pellets and hay together without a problem. Just introduce the pellets slowly like you would anything else til they get used to them. My goats are used to them and they eat all they want and always will. We have no hay of any kind in this part of texas so that's wahat they get.

    Alflafa pellets have GREAT nutrition in them. Lots of calcium for growth of bones in kids and the making of milk and 16-17% protein...very good. I feed out my kids on alfalfa pellets alone.

    If I had only one feed type to use, it would be alfalfa pellets...it is the backbone of my feeding program.
     
  5. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    I use alfalfa pellets in my herd also. I will throw a flake or two a week for 'roughage' to the big girls, and I take my girls on a walk in the evening for browse - as they are on a dry lot. Alfalfa pellets are cheap, easy, and there is very little waste as there is with hay.

    The only thing I worry about with pellets is that there aren't longer pieces of roughage in them, they have been ground up. These longer pieces of roughage are important for the rumen, and, I would think, especially for growing kids developing their rumen, which is why I add a crumb of hay to the jr.s pen every feeding, and also why we started going on walks for browse. The hay is a token amount, so it is cleaned up entirely with no waste.

    I only grain the milkers on the stand, or to bribe the teenager back into the pen, and a handfull to bucks in rut.

    This is a bit off topic, but so you get the whole picture: My girls also get a loose mineral (Sweetlix Caprine Magnamilk), top dressed with copper sulfate, vitamin e and selenium (ocasionally), and I bolus once or twice a year with copasure. I still have some girls showing signs of copper deficiency. I'm going to start top dressing grain with seaweed or sea vegetables and see if that helps enough to cut back on some of the extra minerals I'm giving (the copper sulfate, e, selenium, copper bolus.....).

    Niki
     
  6. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

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    wow! first off what kind of a herd do you have. Mine is a dairy / show/ high milk performance herd. I feed alfalfa pellets 3 lbs a head a day because I can't afford to free feed it. then a little hay of whatever quality I can get, because they just want a little snack food. I feed less than Half of the grain I used to feed when I fed only alfalfa hay. It is much better protein than in some areas hay. unless you have really good conditions for storing hay in your barn, with the humidity in some areas the protein in hay is much less by winters end. Pellet feeds are many times full of junk grain, and molasses! read the label does your label say, oats corn, barley, or does it say grain by products? Now if you can get ahold of really good alfalfa hay and get it all year long the goats would rather have that then the pellets. remember however how much hay they waste, with pellets there is no waste. Even when I have good hay available I always give the growing doelings and the milkers at least 1 lb of pellets per doe a day. with pellets you don't have does dropping over due to pregnancie problems such as ketosis and toxemia. between the grain savings, waste reduction, and saving of valuble animals, those pellets are worth every penny to me! : )
     
  7. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to mention - one other danger with pellets is the 'fluffy' goat. lol Pellets can put the weight on for some of the girls. I only have two (out of 13) that I have to really limit, otherwise it is as much as they can clean up in a couple of hours, or pretty much free-fed. If you call them 'fluffy' instead of fat it doesn't hurt their feelings! :)


    I'm not sure to whom Sherrie C's question was directed, but I have heavy-milking nubians whom I bought from Jacob's Pride in Marana, Arizona. I don't show, but she has for 18 years and does well in both showing and the DHIA top ten . I hope to go on milk test next year, if I can ever get this paperwork figured out. I also have nigerians.

    niki
     
  8. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

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    I feed free-choice 2nd cut alfalfa to all my goats. My milkers get alfalfa pellets on the milkstand - mostly to keep them busy without overloading on grain. My Saanen has a mouth like a steam-shovel and will finish her grain ration long before I finish milking, but the pellets keep her busy longer. If she leaves anything, it is the pellets.

    I find them a little dusty at times, and expensive - but then we get good hay up here (most years) and I have another goat farmer that I buy from, just around the corner. :dance:

    I can see how they'd be a life-saver in areas of poor hay.
     
  9. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    This is another one of those north and south kind of things...although there are major herds who have moved to alfalfa pellets up north, alot because as we age, I have no intention of ever stacking hay ever ever again! Finding it, hauling it, stacking it and then worrying about mold or leaf shatter, then raking up the waste!!!...nope no more. We can purchase just as nice of hay as anyone can, the problem is once it hits our hot humid barns, the quality starts to decline rapidly. Whats the nutritional content of your hay that was cut in August and sitting in your barns come March when your kids need the protein and calcium and your milkers need the same? Nill to none here... so we moved to alfalfa pellets.

    I feed 3 pounds per doe per day, they are fed in bunker feeders in the barn that are filled up from my side. Others further north with less humidty can have a ton delivered at a time and poured into feeders, gravity fed free choice...I would love to be able to do this. Kids get alfalfa pellets free choice. Bucks also recieve 3 pounds a day every day, they only get grain when growing, when in rut and when breeding heavily.

    I purchase just dehydrated alfalfa pellets, no oats, no molassas...they must say only dehydrated alfalfa, and be %17.

    The costs are about 1/2 of what it cost me in wasted alfalfa hay.
    Unless you pay for help or have your husband do it, how many women (the bulk of the dairy industry) will be able to throw a 75 pound bale of hay up onto the 4th stack....at 49, I can do most of the 4th stack, but just as many times it comes back down to whack me in the face! Kids here want $1 a bale to handle hay.
    The girls milk better, the girls look better, the long stem forage idea is bunk, unless your does have no teeth, no longstem anything is in the rumen. The rumen is full of what looks like grass clippings, the rumen is full of what looks just like soaked alfalfa pellets.
    No more hauling hay, I do purchase bales of grass hay each month from the feed dealer to keep for the winter, in the feeders when it rains, to take to shows, but my herd eats maybe 25 small square bales a winter. But my girls also browse.
    When you move from a more natural diet of alfalfa (be it hay or pellets) and let them get the calcium milkers need, a natural protein that they need, and the roughage they need...then only use your grain for energy and carbs for growing kids the last 50 days of pregnancy and during milking, your girls will simply be healthier. The dependance on grain the over feeding of grain is what makes does who can't keep their weight on when milking well. Better is to never have to hear the words, ketosis, milk fever or hypocalcemia again!

    Iam very glad I made this change, I will never go back to my dependance on grain or baled hay. The arguement isn't really alfalfa hay vs. alfalfa pellets, it's alfalfa with a small amount of real grains vs grass hay and sweet feed, thats the huge difference that you will see in the look of your stock and in the milk bucket.

    Great post Sherrie! Vicki
     
  10. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    How much does everyone pay for alfalfa pellets? It costs me 9.00 a bag if they're not on sale, and that's a good 2.00 more than grain, so they're relitively expensive, IMHO. I don't feed hay, grain, or pellets for the entire year, they're on a pasture wich is usually enough untill about this time of year. The goats I'm talking about are pygmies... though I think that I need more pasture next year because I'll have even MORE adult goats on the same amount of land, so I'll have to move it to hay feedings as well unless we make the pasture larger again...
     
  11. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    That is a huge difference, mine are milking Nubians. Of course your pygmys wouldn't have anywhere the nutritional needs as my girls. Unbred does, rarely used bucks, dry older stock and wethers are fine on just pasture, then grass hay when the pastures are depleted.

    We pay just under $8 per 50 for alfalfa pellets. This is small mill prices. Name brand Bert and Wetta or Purina are at least $11 to $13 per 50. But here good horse quality coastal hay is $7.50 and next load will be $8. Maybe 45 pound bales. Our grain is just over our alfalfa pellet prices. There is no alfalfa hay for $8 per bale, and the price of alfalfa pellets would have to be upwards of $12 per 50 to bring it evento what alfalfa hay is with the waste factor. Add any of the other things, stacking, lack of nutriton from our humidity, mold...and you can see how much cheaper using the alfalfa pellets are. But not for pygmy's. Vicki
     
  12. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

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    to Kathy's kid who posted the original ?? as my answers are for my type goat, if she has boers then my advise might not do her any good. I don't think boers would need the high amount of calcium as heavy milkers popping out triplets. Emily would be a good person to ask in that case as she has both, so does Diane though (texascountrywoman)
     
  13. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    My Boers get hugely fat on alfalfa and grain. Presently, I only have a few left and until we get a pasture fenced for just the Boers (I like to keep them separate from the dairy goats) they are being fed in a large pen. I cut browse and throw it in for all my goats every day...but unfortunately i have 'spoiled" the Boer girls and feed them like my dairy goats and they have really gotten tubby. They don't need as much feed as dairy goats to get big and can do well on much less feed and much more browse.
     
  14. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    This is something I've never thought of - although I haven't had to deal with either one, and I DO use the alfalfa pellets, as I mentioned before. Anyone else feel that feeding pellets protects against ketosis and toxemia? I find that extremely interesting.

    thanks;
    Niki
     
  15. joken

    joken Well-Known Member

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    10 cents a pound at the mill in Corvallis oregon. Pellets, a little hay and pasture. The pasture is almost worthless right now. I only feed 1.5 lbs per day and the girls are fat and spoiled. I will increase to 3-4lbs this winter and when PG. Ken
     
  16. Kathy'sKID

    Kathy'sKID Kelly in Nebraksa

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    I'm inquiring this for our dairy goat herd (Nubians, Alpines, & Sannan) but we will be getting a few meat goats later this year . . .

    I don't think we could afford to feed pellets free choice, we tried to feed hay free choice once and with in a few weeks the herd became *fluffy* :)

    Right now, I can get a 50# bag of pellets for about $8 - $10 (not sure) or a 60# bale of 2nd Alfalfa for $3.00. With the pasture low this time of year the milkers are up to 4# of alfalfa each a day and do well. They also get grain according to their lactation. We mix our own grain, consisting of Calf-Manna, Corn, Barley, & BOSS, 15.5% Protein, being about $12.00 for 50#.
     
  17. AllWolf

    AllWolf We love all our animals

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    I just want to say I use alfalfa pellets for my goats and they love it. I give 9.50 for a 50lb bag of it. I also use just plain hay because the alfalfa is to costly here and not worth what they want for it so I give my goat the alfalfa pellets instead of the alfalfa hay.

    Good Luck with your goats. :)
     
  18. PygmyLover

    PygmyLover nigerian & pygmy breeder

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    wow this is just what I ordered! lol

    I have a goat (wether pygmy mix) who is only a few weeks old (10+ or so) and he was sick for the past month (better now thankfully) but he lost A LOT of weight. So I bought alfalfa pellets but have no clue how much to feed him.

    Any suggestions? Thanks
     
  19. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    We started feeding alfalfa pellets a few months ago due to the waste of getting alfalfa and them leaving the stems. I feed them a full ice cream bucket a day (saanens-1 doe, 2 doelings born in April). We buy it from a local place and drive up with a 55 gallon barrel and let them fill it. Last time it was 350# for $25 or so.

    I have also been graining them a bit.. a 2# coffee can for the 3.. since we haven't bred them yet. I thought we'd have to grain them during the pregnancy but I guess we don't???

    They also have access to all the brome hay they want and a grassy pasture...

    Terri
     
  20. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad this topic was posted! I'd asked about alfalfa pellets vs hay on the sheep board and didn't get nearly this much response.

    I'm tired of the wasted hay...the alfalfa is too coarse to get eaten; they just go after the leafy parts. They refuse to eat the local. I bought some pellets hoping it would be more economical. Asked the vet, who said not to consider the pellets as roughage; as long as there's roughage, though, he didn't see any reason not to give the pellets. Feels like a vicsious circle sometimes. I'm considering feeding just local and the pellets with the exception of lambing time.

    Interestingly enough, I've seen the young ram lambs gobble down some pellets, then get tired and leave them. I'd only put a scoop out (you know, those big grain scoops, probably holds a couple pounds), and the three boys didn't finish. :shrug: Not that one should complain about such things!