How much hay for winter?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by MN Mom, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. MN Mom

    MN Mom Well-Known Member

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    We have 2 does. One is about a year and a half and the other was born this spring. We bought them this spring so we've never gone though a winter before. What I am curious about is how to figure out how much hay they are going to eat over the winter. Neither are bred right now, but probably would be bred as late in the season as possible...we are in MN, so it gets quite cold here...not sure if that will affect how much they eat or not.

    thanks for any help. Sara
     
  2. lijj

    lijj Well-Known Member

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    For my two does, I put a round bale in outside their pen and they stick their heads through and eat that all winter. A lot of it turns into bedding... which is nice because it gets pretty cold in there...
     

  3. stacygoats

    stacygoats Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on what size/weight of bales, type of hay. are you feeding grain too and what type of grain, what breed of goat......
    I'd estimate about 8 bales a month if they are around 50 pound bales of decent hay.
     
  4. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They seem to waste a LOT too. I heard about a bagged feed with alfalfa and grain mixed but have no idea how much it costs.
     
  5. MN Mom

    MN Mom Well-Known Member

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    I wanted to respond to this. They goats are Alpines. I'm not sure if we would be feeding them grain...I think it depends on if we breed them, right??

    Thanks, Sara
     
  6. prairiecomforts

    prairiecomforts Well-Known Member

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    Here is what I do when figuring out how much hay to buy for the winter: First - take the number of goats you have to feed, and multiply that by the approx. number of days you will be feeding. Then take that number times 5. (I always figure 5 lbs. a day per doe to be on the safe side) Now that is the total number of pounds of hay you will need. From here you will need to take that number and divide it by the weight of the bales you will be buying. And you will have the total number of bales you will need to purchase! I hope this helps you and that I am not just stupidly pointing out something that you already know. Just trying to help!

    prairie
     
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  7. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    A good feeder will cut down a lot on the waste. Make them work to get to the hay and it will last a lot longer. Its easy to make one from a "hog" panel with 4 inch squares and make it high enough so they cant climb on top of the hay. Premier Sheep Supply has good plans for a combination hay and grain feeder that helps with the waste. I prefer to have seperate feeders since the hay will fall down in the grain trough and just be in the way.

    This may help: http://hoeggergoatsupply.com/info/nutrition.shtml
     
  8. prairiecomforts

    prairiecomforts Well-Known Member

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    You know - I wanted to mention something else to you. It was mentioned by I think fishead - about the bagged alfalfa. I think this would be a very expensive route to go. Because of the drought in this area and with having a hard time finding good hay - I did some pricing and determined that it would be extremely expensive to do this for a long period of time. (Luckly I have a good friend who lives north of me where it wasn't so dry so I was able to get hay.) I know some people say they like it because it cuts down on waste - but even if you make a simple hay manger of any kind - that will reduce the amount of hay that is wasted. Good luck!

    prairie
     
  9. pourfolkes

    pourfolkes Well-Known Member

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    I have an idea for the hay "feeder". I am taking several pallets and laying them down. Then take the round bale of hay and lay it on the pallets, this will keep it off the ground. Take hog or cattle fencing with the 4" holes and go all the way around the hay and zip tie (this would allow you to cut them and make it smaller as the eat the hay). Then put a piece of tin on the top to keep it dry. They can fit their snout thru the hole to eat the hay, but not soil it, waste it, etc. Just my rambling thoughts I come up with at 3 am when I can't sleep...lol What do you think???
     
  10. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    That should work fine. If you stand the round bale on its edge youll only need one large pallet. It may also be easier if you cut the hog panel in sections the same size as the bale. Trying to bend one around the bale is tough. Its a little easier if you can overlap them in more than one place. I tie mine with baling twine since I always seem to have MILES of it left over from small bales of hay or straw. A tarp will also work on top and is easy to attach

    Here is a ready made feeder I think would work well. It shouldnt be too hard to do something similar with hog panels, and it would be easy to move.http://www.jdlsalesinc.com/elk/off-ground-feeder.php
     
  11. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    YES!!!!!!
    Goats and Cattle both require more fuel(feed) for their furnace to keep their body temperatures up during hard cold weather. One of the tools to conserve hay is a proper shelter where the animals can get out of the wind and conserve body heat. Also, providing 50F -55F(heated) water in the winter versus cold well water means the animal doesn't have to burn as many calories to bring water up to it's body temp, and so requires less feed to maintain.
     
  12. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    I allow 7 lbs/day when I'm planning the big hay purchase and then get an extra 2 bales a head (these are 50 lb small squares).
    I also feed "all you can eat" and when it's -20 below they will go through probably 10 lbs each- that's inside the barn with warm water.
    If you're not going to breed them, then I would just grain the kid until she's about 70 lbs (should be close now) and the mom until she is dried off. If they get fat at all, they can be very hard to breed back.