are all goats such picky eaters?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by oceanmist, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. oceanmist

    oceanmist Well-Known Member

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    a little farm in Oklahoma, I love it!
    Hi I am just wondering if all goats are very picky about their hay? I am so tired of going to the feed dealer and asking for high quality, fresh grass hay and getting this crap that my goats will not touch. Oh but the horse people say it's great!

    I just wonder if my goats aren't spoiled and therefore that's why they aren't eating normal hay?

    Oh and can I just feed as I would a horse... twice a day?

    Thanks Misty
     
  2. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Dairy goats need a good, quality, leafy alfalfa hay. Grass hay is great for horses, but I've never fed it to my goats.

    I feed straight alfalfa pellets to my dairy goats, plus a 'snack' of alfalfa hay a few times a week. If I feed alfalfa hay every day - they won't even clean up that. They eat the leaves, and leave all the stalks. Goats are very wasteful when it comes to hay.

    I feed Sweetlix Caprine Magnamilk loose mineral free choice, with an additional copper supplement as we are very deficient here.

    I also give grain when they are in the stanchion being milked. I feed a grain specifically formulated for dairy goats.

    You may find your production goes up if you switch from grass hay to alfalfa. I really doubt there's enough in grass hay to really keep a producing doe going.

    Niki
     

  3. crazygoatgirl

    crazygoatgirl Well-Known Member

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    The best quality horse hay to a goat is called bedding!! They would much rather have mixed grass hay that has a wide variety of grasses than a really pretty green bale of "high quality" horse hay. They do not care much for bermuda. They will do better on mixed grass if you do not have access to alfalfa hay. Instead of going to a feed dealer I would look in the local newspaper and try to find mixed grass.
    My goats have hay free choice, in front of them all the time, this way they can always have it when they want/need it. Alot of how you feed hay depends on what type of pasture situation you have. If they are in a pen with very little else to eat then they need hay in front of them 24/7. If they have plenty of pasture then they can be given hay twice a day but you want to be sure that they always get it twice a day because of keeping the water balanced in their system with eating lush grasses that have a high water content...they simply need something to soak up the extra fluid so they do not have loose stools.
     
  4. trob1

    trob1 Well-Known Member

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    It isnt easy finding a hay they like but I go and look, feel and smell it before buying. It has to look fine and leafy, feel soft and smell fresh. This makes it hard to just go get hay out of the field. And when I find a hay they like I go stock up before it is all gone. And when I buy one they wont touch it is used in the birthing stalls as bedding.
     
  5. lijj

    lijj Well-Known Member

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    My goats really don't seem to mind. I scatter 'horse' hay for their bedding and they eat it... It makes me mad. Maybe my hay is better quality than I think it is.

    Right now there's a little miniature round bale in their pen and they're munching on it. It's not really the best quality hay but they've got it half cleaned up! I guess mine like it.
     
  6. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

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    I feed burmuda grass hay all the time. I also feed alfalfa pellets. but if your goats get plenty of browse they probably aren't needing the hay.
     
  7. Loda Farm

    Loda Farm Well-Known Member

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    my goats live up to the reputation that goats eat everything and anything. :)

    I have Boer, Pygmy and fainters, and they all eat the same way. I do not have a big barn, so Hay storage space is something I do not have. Therefore, I buy 5-10 bales of hay at a time, and not always from the same farmer, as it is not always available from the same person. My goats eat every kind of hay I buy, and have not digestive problems from it at all. I guess I am pretty lucky that way. The only thing they had problems with were the alpha pellets the first time I bought them. I am not sure they knew what the heck they were supposed to be, lol.

    My chickens were the first ones to peck at them, and once they started, the goats followed suit.

    I guess I just have weird goats. LOL

    Laura
     
  8. Faithful Heart

    Faithful Heart Well-Known Member

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    My little goat won't eat the hay I got him. He's nibble a little, but not even a 1/2 a flake in 2 weeks. I was told it was "Coastal" hay, is that burmuda? I can't get alfalfa here, but I think I can get peanut hay. Almost positive on that, but just have to find that source.

    He's in a pen with no grass or browse, so I take him out on a lead line to forage. He enjoys it so much that I've gotten to where I take him out twice a day now. Plus, after he finishes what he seems to want, I cut a bunch and put it in a milk crate for him to eat in his pen. He eats most of that, and what he doesn't eat, I toss over the fence to the chickens. With having just the one, it's a system that seems to be working. But it sure would be nice if he'd eat the hay. That would be less work on my part. :)

    I must admit though, that those times sitting in the yard watching him munch is VERY relaxing.
     
  9. Egypt Run

    Egypt Run Active Member

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    Our Girls love mixed grass hay. Hay is a very general term. It's like saying mammal. When I think of hay I think of the types available locally. Grass type, legume type and mixture make a real big differance. Also soil conditions relates heavily on palatablity and nutritional factors. We have our hay fields soil tested. We have found that sweet soils make for happy goats. We do not feed alfalfa we because it is very expensive to grow. We feed second and third cutting hay during early lactation and when we want to put on finish. First cut is courser and we feed it during the winter as a browse replacement. 35 tons of first cut orchard grass mix in the barn, the glory to god. We plant and fertilize, cut and bale but only god gives the weather and the increase. The weather is looking go for a second cutting in September.

    Steve
    Egypt Run Farm
    Mineral Wells, WV
     
  10. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

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    My goats laugh at their hay (clover, timothy, fescue, orchard grass, weeds, combination) this time of year, the pastures/woods and a little goat feed is all they need right now. Only during rainy days do they notice that hays even available. Hate to say it but during the winter my animals love a good grass hay mix with an varity of weeds mixed in. During winter the calves also eat what they like and the goats eat the rest not much waste. Any waste is then re-used as bedding. I have bought better hay over the years and found most of it being wasted by the goats pooking through the square bale looking for yummy dried weeds. My thoughts, think about it....Tennessee John
     
  11. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    goats are not naturally Grass eaters they need more roughage than what grass can provide, Alfalfa is the best choice as far as a goat is concernd it meets all their needs in one fell swoop, if alfalfa is not available any other kind of Clover or Soybean or Peanutt would be Great, something rich and leafy withs some woody fibers and such,
    WEEDS also will be their fist choice if they HAVE to eat a grass hay, they will pick out all the weeds they can find and eat the grass as a last resort, watch them when they are out browsing, they go for the leafy woodsy stuff first, grass is an after thought, if you put goats out on pasture they will clean ALL the edible weeds out FIRST then think about the grass if its fresh and green maybe
     
  12. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

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    Right now there is so much forage for our goats (boer, nubian, La Mancha, and Alpine) that we don't even bother with alfalfa. We have it in case we can't let them out into their forage area for some reason. They will eat the "straw" we get for bedding! Or the feed bags! or plastic! They are crazy eaters so we have to watch them. Right now they gets tons of blackberries and weeds and grass and leaves from trees and they LOVE it!

    Obiously I have not found my goats to be picky eaters at all. But from the get go I wanted them to help clear my property so as long as there is forage they get little alfalfa or grain. I have one that is PG that I do give more balance to.

    kids