Feeding hay cubes -- feed stores out of hay

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Cygnet, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Due to the flooding and nasty mud out here, all the feed stores in my area are out of decent hay -- the "cow hay" they had was so wet it was starting to steam! But the basic problem is, the farmers can't get to the trucks to the hay in storage because the roads are too wet -- they get stuck.

    I bought a pickup truck load of bags of hay cubes. I've fed these before on a limited basis, but quit because of warnings I had from locals of goats choking on them. None had ever actually HAD a goat choke on them, but always knew an anecdotal story of a goat choking -- "my cousin's best friend's neighbor's mailman's" type story.

    Has anyone ever actually HAD a goat choke on hay cubes? These are fist sized cubes of compressed oat&alfafa.

    I wish the rest of my land was fenced -- it's so green here it looks like ireland. Normally, it's bare dirt out there. (I'm in the desert south of Phoenix and west of Casa Grande, for the Arizonans out there. Not much browse, normally!)

    Leva
     
  2. dbarjacres

    dbarjacres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wow, I'd be really scared to feed cubes to my goats. I won't even feed them to my horses and donkeys for fear of choking. Those cubes are really hard. I know when most horse people feed them (except as a treat or such) they soak them in water. I would have tried to go with alfalfa pellets or even a "complete" horse feed, as that has all the hay a horse needs, so should work fine for goats too.

    Good luck and hope it dries out. It just seems so odd to me that feed stores sell hay. That isn't heard of in Wisconsin or any area up here.
     

  3. pepaw

    pepaw Member

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    hey,
    how far r u from phoenix? I am here on business(phoenix) and would like to come visit ur farm. I need somethng to occupy my time. email me if u wish.
    pepaw@hiwaay.net
    thanks
    pepaw
     
  4. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All the feed stores sell hay -- it's really the only way to get it unless you know someone who knows someone who's a farmer and you're willing to buy a couple crushes at a time. (About four or five tons to a crush.) I'm only buying small quantities at a time -- usually four or five bales because I'm just feeding a few goats.

    Leva
     
  5. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I breed poultry and due to biosecurity, I don't allow visitors. Sorry.

    Leva

     
  6. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

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    My goats won't eat the cubes.at all they might nibble but most are just left to the elements. I suggest getting alfalfa pellets rather than cubes.
     
  7. Donna

    Donna TrailRider

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    All the feed mills down south in Tn.,sell hay but most of the time it's bad!! I feed alfalfa pellets and the cubes,and my goats prefer the cubes to the pellets. Now I have had different types of cubes,some are soo hard you have to break them up with a hammer and others you can just squeeze them and they break.It must depend on the manufacturer of the cubes.Never had any choke on them,one of my goats is a little Nigerian Dwarf and she loves the cubes too!I don't see any problems with them.
     
  8. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    The only time I fed cubes was at a livestock show, you can't bring in your own hay (I was too new to know folks just snuck it in) and when I asked for alfalfa hay they gave me a sack of cubes. I opened them, they wouldn't let me give them back, husband saved me with a 15$ bale of alfalfa from a local feedstore :)

    Anyway :) The girls had great fun tossing these all in the isle, at each other, at vistors coming down the isles, and I don't think they ate one of them!

    Yep alfalfa pellets are the answer, start slowly. We feed alfalfa pellets now instead of hay.

    Cygnet, how do you sell stock if you dont' allow visitors? Would you buy stock from someone who would not let you come and see their place? We have very strict bio-secruity, but have visitors all the time. Perhaps that would be a good thread? Vicki
     
  9. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My goats are pets, I don't breed them. (Actually, all are wethers used for packing.)

    I sell chicks to the local feed stores & started birds and chicks at a swapmart. I Also a fair number by word of mouth. I don't have a lot now -- just getting started -- but I'm hoping to expand a bit down the road and get into exotics like peacocks and pheasants. Right now, It's just a hobby, but I try to treat it as if it were a true business.

    Biosecurity on poultry is a whole 'nother world compared to goats -- most caprine diseases require a fairly high degree of exposure -- not so with poultry. And there are a whole host of diseases that require complete depopulation of the flock to get rid of, some of which are really contagious and incurable. There are several bugs that the government will actually MAKE you nuke your flock if you test positive for -- avian flu, exotic newcastle, etc. (Newcastle is so contagious that during the big outbreak in California a few years ago, one source of contagion turned out to be a feed store. The feed store owner had sick chickens, was tracking the germs to the feed store, and her customers were tracking them home to their flocks just by being in her presence. Imagine if CL or CAE was that hot of a bug!)

    I'm not completely paranoid -- I could easily go nuts about it -- but I don't like people around my flock who have animals of their own. It's too easy for something to be tracked in to my flock. I don't handle other people's birds either.

    I'm actually waiting on lab work from UofA right now on a bunch of chicks that died on me -- some sort of encephalitis -- birds go down with dramatic CNS signs and die quickly within hours of the onset of symptoms. Don't know what kind. Could be an infection or could be a vitamin deficiency. Still waiting on word on what I'm dealing with.

    Leva

     
  10. mailman

    mailman Miniature Cattle

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    Hi Cygnet, I live in Vermont but have been thinking about the economics of meat goats in Arizona. Can you tell me how much one could expect to pay for a bale of hay (grass or alfalfa, 50lbs.) there in Arizona? Also, how much are alfalfa pellets there (50lb bags)? Finally, how many meat goats do you think the average farm could run per acre there (8-10 per acre here) in Arizona? If you don't know the answer to these questions, I'll understand. Take care...Dennis
     
  11. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The cost of alfalfa varies dramatically depending on the time of year -- I've seen it as low as $6 for a hundred pound bale but it's usually between $7-8 per 100 lb bale. Right now, I've seen it as high as $10.50 a bale because nobody has any for reasons listed above. It's generally very good hay, however -- we're surrounded by hundreds of square miles of alfalfa fields.

    How many goats per acre will vary depending on the part of the state you're in. By me, most years, you'd need to reverse those numbers -- 8 to 10 acres per goat! And land's expensive -- about $30K/acre, with a shared well, last I took notice of the going rates.

    Up in the high country, it'd probably be better, but I couldn't give you specifics. Land's expensive anywhere that gets much rainfall, though -- we put a real premium on big trees.

    One thing you MIGHT look into, though, if you have a LARGE herd is a contract with the forest service. They've started using goats to control undergrowth, and last I herd, THEY were PAYING the herders to bring their goats in. It was cheaper to hire goats than to hire guys with woodchippers! You'd have to talk to the forest service to find out if they're still doing this -- it was a pilot program last summer -- and if there's a bid process or what, I dunno.

    :eva

     
  12. TwoAcresAndAGoat

    TwoAcresAndAGoat Well-Known Member

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    I horse sit for a person who's horse can not eat dry hay. We feed the horse alfalfa cubes that have been soaked with warm water until the cubes absorb enough that the feed bucket looks like it is full of chopped grass. We only feed enough to be eaten for one meal None is left in the feed bucket after the horse has finished it's meal.
     
  13. Eunice

    Eunice Well-Known Member

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    I live in SW Utah where lots of the cubes are made. A friend of mine fed cubes for awhile because they were cheap and available, but her goats near starved to death as they were too hard for the goats to comsume enough nutrition. I understand the goats need to eat and like the idea of trying to soak the cubes, enough for one meal. Our valley is flooding for the second time this winter. We have lots of stacked hay that you could get out with a helicopter.