grass for goats

Discussion in 'Goats' started by jwcinpk, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. jwcinpk

    jwcinpk Well-Known Member

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    Almost done clearing a pasture for all around use. Just wondering what types of grass I should be considering. Most locals have fescue. In my book Orchard grass is hard to beat. Not sure it's for goats, but never had any complaints for horses cows or hay. Hear alot of talk about bermuda grass, but have no personal experience with it.
    In short, Fescue will be the cheapest and easiest to grow, but is it good for goats. How bout orchard grass? Anyone have any suggetsions?
     
  2. elly_may

    elly_may Well-Known Member

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    Tall fescue would not be recommended for goats due to a fungal endophyte, Neotyphodium coenophialum (formerly called Acremonium coenophialum) that is toxic to animals. Animals will not perform well when allowed to graze tall fescue. Research into the causes of poor animal performance resulted in the discovery of a small fungus that grows between the cells. The toxins that result from the endophyte create a number of problems for the grazing animal. Animals do not gain and can actually lose body weight despite constant grazing. They also experience reproductive problems such as low conception rates and poor offspring survival. It is estimated that the losses to the beef cattle industry alone are well over $609 million a year (1990 data).

    This was taken from an article I kept written by Craig Roberts
    Department of Agronomy. If you want, I can e-mail you the whole article.
     

  3. elly_may

    elly_may Well-Known Member

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  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    My goats and sheep do great on the orchard grass/clover mix I plant in my orchard. I overseed every spring to fill in any bare spots from the winter. The pasture area gets the seed leftover from doing the orchard - lots more grass than clover at that point.

    My critters get alfalfa pellets in the evening to supplement the graze and they do great. Bright eyes, bushy tails, and they're sure not starving.
     
  5. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    Are you doing dairy or meat goats? They have different ideal forage requirements, just like dairy and beef cattle.
    A really good dairy pasture is going to have a lot of clover, alfalfa or other legumes- too rich for horses.
    Goats prefer broadleaf plants and brush to grass. My goats would rather eat thistles, white sage and pine needles than graze the lawn!
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    to help identify
    cecommerce.uwex.edu/pdfs/A3637.PDF

    if the link doesnt work try google "identify pasture grasses"

    I have used my hay to seed pasture areas....works well...also a "deer plot" mix would also be appropriate
     
  7. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    I am a big supporter of orchard grass!



     
  8. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    I have experience with native grass (tallgrass prairie) and bermuda. Bermuda is a warm season grass and won't be available as early in the spring as native grasses, but it holds up to heat. With fertilizing it can put on an amazing amount of growth and be cut several times over a summer for hay, or grazed, rested a few weeks and cut for hay. It can be left stockpiled in the pasture for grazing later in the fall or winter and it retains a good protein percentage standing in the pasture for grazing when dried native grasses are mostly just roughage in the diet. We live in a southern clime. Bermuda does well here. It will take the heat. We fertilize it in may or early June after the Fescue and cool season grasses have gone to seed. When our native pasture is burned up from heat in July, we move our animals to Bermuda and can still get good gains in stocker cattle from it. I hope this helps you decide.
     
  9. jwcinpk

    jwcinpk Well-Known Member

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    I really like orchard grass. It seems to be good for everything I have horses, cows, goats. It's a little more expensive seed but I beleive I'll go with it. Possibly with a red clover blend or some timothy.
     
  10. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    I've heard orchard grass is good. I have no experience with it. We overseed bermuda with hairy vetch. It comes on in early Spring. We use the pasture for horses, goats, cattle and a donkey. We have fescue. It has uses, but the endophyte is bad for horses. It can cause abortions in horses. I've heard that it is bad for animals if it is stressed.

    Good luck with your pasture. Happy grazing