Can you feed goats alfalfa?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by allenslabs, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

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    I was wondering if you can feed a milk goat and 2 2 month old kids alfalfa? I have some straight alf and some grass hay and was wondering if I could mix them for them? I did tonight and they ate nothing but the alf. Anyway..... just let me know!! Thanks for the help!!
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Can you? Yes. Should you? Depends on what you have. The milk goat should be getting slowly introduced to the alfalfa - always itroduce new foods slowly, but she should have straight alfalfa hay and a good grain mix when she's on the stand. If she's dry, that's a different story. I don't grain mine when they are dry. The alfalfa has a high protein and high calcium content that a milking girl needs to produce proper milk. Without that, you'll have to make sure she's getting the right amounts of each...with too low a calcium level she could have some serious issues...with low protein levels you won't get the best milking production that she could be capable of otherwise.

    The kids...are they does or bucks or wethers? Males shouldn't get straight alfalfa, and even if you mix it, double check the calcium to phosphoruous ratio - should be 2:1...bucks and wethers can develop urinary calculi because of incorrect ratios...

    However, the goats can and will eat the alfalfa over other hays given the chance, I've noticed! Just make sure that they dont' over-indulge or you could have an over-eating problem or, more likely, a problem from the much richer diet without giving their rumens a chance to adjust. Probios twice a day for a week can also help with adjusting to their new diet.

    Hope that helps!

    Sarah
     

  3. GoldenWood Farm

    GoldenWood Farm Legally blonde! Supporter

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    YES! You should be feeding am milker alfalfa! They need the calcium in their diet as they are producing milk. And yes the kids needs it to as they are growing. I like to feed my milking does half a flake per doe twice a day along with good hay. So if I was you I would give your doe and kid a flake in the morning and a flake at night along with good hay and grain the doe( I would give her 1 1/2 pounds in the morning and 1 1/2 pounds at night or 3 pounds once a day)

    Thats how I do things at my place but yes the doe and kid NEED alfalfa hay or pellets in their diet!

    MotherClucker
     
  4. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

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    Well they had gotten an alfalf mix all along but I was wondering about straight alfalfa. I put 2 flecks in there w/ about 4 flecks of grass hay a day now. So that's ok then? I didn't want to give them the runs or anything. This alfalfa is kinda stemy unfortunately. A friend put it up and so it's not real high quality. The grass hay is nice though. It's got fescue in it though. All grass does in IN! HAHA!! Anyway thanks all!
     
  5. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    that is all my dairy goats get is alflafa. I feed 3d cut . I free feed it .
     
  6. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    ok , i can tell that others have already answered, i just wanted to note , there are goat folks on the boards wiht all levels of experience, and your question reminded me of it,
    and one of the reasons i love this meassage board so much!!!

    one thing to note with feeding alfalfa, is often times it produces a lot of waste, many goats wont eat the stems , they munch on the leaves, and eat the regular grass hay thats mixed in with it , but they waste the stems, so some novice goatherds think they dont like it , not true ,
    but like others said its absolutely the best feed for any lactating animal , and with her kids, beign as young as they are you dont have to worry about the calci issue yet, not till they are dine growing (in general) do you have to worry about calci in bucks and wethers
    goah , i wish i had a wether to worry about, but the meat guy who buys from us doesnt want castrated goats ....
     
  7. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

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    Ok well good. I can use up these bales. I don't feed them as they make my horses nuts and give my cows the runs! Not a real alfalfa fan but the guy gave it to us for helping w/ some work. Have about 40 bales or so so we have plenty.