Do I need hay

Discussion in 'Goats' started by fishhead, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a small herd of 13 goats. One adult doe and the rest are wethers born this year. The pasture they are on used to have weeds and willows and birdsfoot trefoil. Within a week or so the weeds and willows were gone. The birdsfoot is still green and almost completely covers the ground.

    Each evening I take them out to browse different dikes where the browse is unlimited. We do this each evening unless it rains. They hate rain.

    I've noticed their rumens are smaller when I let them out and don't get quite as big when they are done with their evening meal.

    Do I need to start giving them hay in the morning or can I wait until their pasture is browsed further down?

    Is one big meal each day enough?

    The goats are going to be gone in late October and there really isn't a big enough are to move the fence.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  2. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    goats eat ALOT, comparitavly speaking, its generally a good idea to offer hay most all the time so that they can balance out their diet naturally and not run into problems with their rumen if they get ahold of something that doesnt quite suit them. that and it helps keep their stomacks full and happy,
     

  3. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks.

    I am concerned that they aren't keeping their rumens full because I know that a biofilter needs a steady supply of nutrients in order to keep a stable population of bacteria. It looks like daily feast or famine feeding might increase the risk of bloat.
     
  4. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, your thoughts are right on. I would certainly get them some leafy, fresh-smelling grass hay for them to munch on all day and during the night. Goats eat almost 24/7 if its available. When they aren't eating, they are sleeping or chewing cud. :) Make sure the hay you get is palatable with *no* mold.
     
  5. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks. I'll contact the owner to get some of her hay. Eleven of The Boys are borrowed goats. Hopefully she has a spare feeder too otherwise I've got another project to add to the list.