Feeding meal pellets and alfalfa pellets

Discussion in 'Goats' started by mailman, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. mailman

    mailman Miniature Cattle

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    Hello, I was hoping there was someone out there that could give me some advise about using pellets. I would like to feed meal/goat pellets as well as supply all my roughage in alfalfa pellet form. I don't have alot of room for hay (and I am alergic to it) so I thought alfalfa pellets would be a better idea. My question is: If I feed goat pellets and alfalfa pellets as the sole source of nurishment during the winter when my goats are confined, how much of each should I feed? How much of each to dry mature does, pregnant does, as well as nursing does. These are meat goats, not dairy.
    Thank you very much for your help....Dennis
     
  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I used a product called "horsequik" a complete feed for horses about 12% protien(with alfalfa pellets and corn) during hay shortage on the girls 1 (small coffee can of goat grain & one of horsequik") @ 2 times daily per goat plus pasture while in milk. Lots of water and loose salt.
     

  3. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I could use some help here, also. I had been feeding alfalfa hay and cob to my goats, but am switching the does (not the buck and wether) to alfalfa pellets and cob. They are not happy. They turned their noses up at the pellets I gave them this morning, and when I left they were picking at their bedding (it's the coarse stems they wouldn't eat when they were getting hay). I'm going to stick with it and make them change over, as it will be easier for me to store the pellets also, and there will be less waste. Plus I liked what people were saying about their goats looking better on pellets. But I would like to know how much they should be eating every day. I can figure estimated feeding amounts according to total body weight, but is that going to change, with the pellets? There's so much waste with the hay, and shouldn't be any at all with the pellets once they start eating them. I have Kinder goats. My adult doe is a little over a hundred pounds, one doeling weighs about 65 pounds, and her sister is only about 45 pounds. The doe in milk is getting two pounds of cob a day, and the doelings get about 3/4 lb. each. They are all in good health and weight. (And no, I'm not going to change from cob back to goat feed -- there are too many things in that stuff that I don't want to feed my animals.)

    Kathleen
     
  4. mailman

    mailman Miniature Cattle

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    Kathleen, we both have the same question. Is 5 pounds of alfalfa hay equivalent to 5 lbs of alfalfa pellets? It is my guess that less pellets would be needed. Maybe someone can help us out.
     
  5. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It takes exactly 50 pounds of hay to make 50 pounds of pellets. This from my pellet maker. You figure the same, by body weight, but remember -- you have no waste with the pellets, so you will likely go through fewer pounds of pellets than you do hay.

    If you do a search in the archives here, you will find lots of posts on feeding pellets. I've never had the problem of the goats not eating them -- mine eat them readily, even with alfalfa hay in front of them.

    Tracy
     
  6. mailman

    mailman Miniature Cattle

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    Here is what I found about feeding alfalfa pellets with no hay. Vickie McGaugh wrote....."Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians
    5.... 2 and 3 year olds, from 165 for the 2 year old the 3 year olds are at least 185....6 yearlings, all about 120 to 135 (can you tell I wormed today :) 6 are milking and getting grain on the milk stand. All live in the same pen....I know they are eating about 36 pounds each day, checking the pellets before I go to bed and adding more. I buy enough to put out 50 pounds each day, although I always have some left before I run out. Free choice means having enough out that they never run out, so it's very difficult to tell :) I would guess 3 to 4 pounds each day. Vicki"

    So with 11 dairy goats she feeds about 36 pounds of alfalfa pellets per day and she guesses that she uses 3-4 pounds per day per head. I know that most people figure on feeding 5 lbs of hay per day, so you can see that less pellets is needed (due to waist?).

    I wrote to my County Agricultural Agent and asked if she could come up with some figures. She is working on it. I will post the results here when I get them....Dennis
     
  7. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here is a link for feeding pellets from someone who has done it a long time:

    http://www.nwinfo.net/~milkmaid/feeder.html

    I feed free choice too -- they generally will eat 3-4% of their bodyweight a day, so you can figure from there.

    Tracy
     
  8. Stacy Adams

    Stacy Adams Well-Known Member

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    I would like to add that not all alfalfa pellets are "alfalfa" pellets.. check your lable.. Purina sells alfalfa pellets, but there's all sorts of other "stuff" in it and my girls won't touch it! they screamed for days (I tried it.. :( untill I changed.. when I took the bag back, the Puringa rep was there and told me that ALL alfalfa pellets have that stuff in it, though I have since asked and found that to be untrue.. which is why my girls won't touch the Purina stuff. Read the lable, know what your feeding!
     
  9. mailman

    mailman Miniature Cattle

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    Hello, I got a letter explaining how much alfalfa pellets I should be feeding if I am not using any hay from my County Agricultural Extension Agent. You can view the letter in HTML format or MS Word format. I recommend the MS Word format because it has a very informative table of information that the HTML format does not have. Just go to my website:
    http://www.countrybuck.com/library.html
    You will see the article on alfalfa pellets. I have not done any cost comparisons yet but at least now I know how much I should plan on buying.
     
  10. Cheri

    Cheri Member

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    I started alfalfa pellets about 8 months ago. First just supplimenting them a couple pounds for 12 goats. In the beginning I would give them a big bucket about a 1/2 hour before hay in the mornings. They weren't terribly interested in the beginning, although they did pick at them. I slowly started to decrease their hay and increase the pellets. This past two months I've switched to nearly all pellets and grain due to the extreme rise in hay cost in California. I completely free feed the pellets. I fill their feeders in the am and refill in the evenings. I've cut my costs about 1/3, definately more if I take into account the $4+ per bale increase in hay cost. Here at the moment #1 hay is $14.99 a bale and a 50# bag of 15% protein pellets is $6.49. I go thru 1 bag in about a day and a half, maybe a little more. Back a year or so ago when there was alot of pellet discussion I was going nuts trying to find a high (16 or 17%) protein ration in pellets and never did find it, nor was able to get it ordered. But my girls seem fine on 15%, I still give hay LOL probably just for my own comfort.
     
  11. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm slowly getting the pellet thing figured out. I started with a bag from the feed store closest to us, which was 17.1% protein, and $8.00/bag. I had to go to the other feed store for something (it's out of the way, so I don't usually go down there), and while I was there, I asked about their alfalfa pellets. Theirs are only $5.95/bag, and 16% protein, so I got six bags (my three Kinder does are going through less than one bag a week, so that will last a while). Got home and opened a bag up, and it's greener than the other, more expensive pellets. Gave some to the goats, and they ate the new pellets more readily than the ones we started with. So, I guess I'll be making trips to the feed store that's farther away!

    My bred doe isn't due for a little over two months, and she's already starting to look pregnant. I hope she isn't going to do like some other Kinder does have done, and give me a litter! Twins or triplets would be plenty!

    Kathleen
     
  12. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We feed a complete horse mix which includes Molasses...smells yummy..also includes for the protein 15% Lupins...crushed of course. We mix that with oaten chaff and chaffed lucerne. We arent big on pelleted goat food here. Some dairy's have their own pellets made to their own requirements. We do have lucerne pellets which is usually fed to rabbits not goats....only cos there is a tendancy to overfeed with them...scouring goats. Be careful not to let sheep get into the pellets...not good, but thats another story. :eek: We feed grass hay as well...although my doe tends to bloat up if she eats hay during the night..grr
    Also on top of the bucket of food my doe eats while I milk her, is apples cut up, carrot, zuchinni, apple cucumber, just to name a few. :D
     
  13. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    becareful of the copper content, and zinc content, in the sweet horse feed.
    I use purnia goat chow, and was going to use the alfalfa pellets. but my girls went through them like crazy. so at 8 dollars a 50 pound bag ,was costly, We just bought third cutting alfalfa hay, for !.&5 a bale, nice hay. so do the math. goats need more copper than horses, and the sweet feed ,doesn't have enough trace minerals, in it for goats.
     
  14. Cheri

    Cheri Member

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    I totally agree. Be very careful of any grain that has molasses. I learned the hard way. Last year when I was still working, we had a doe kid while I was at work. Long story short...my husband had bought grain for me that day, at a savings according to the person at the feed store. Well, when the doe kidded, he called and said what do I do. I told him take the kid, put the doe on the milk stand and give her grain and have our son milk her. YIKES they gave her about 4 pounds and she ate it all...that yummy sticky grain. I got home and had 4 days of nursing a very sick doe back to health. The problem was double fold...too much of any grain is bad, too much of the yummy gooy sweet stuff is worse. My goats had been on purina goat grain, so it wasn't that they were not used to grain. A couple lessons learned....be specific on the rations and I stay away from any sweet feed. My goats could gorge themselves on the purina grain and not have a problem.