How much hay?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by ShawneeVt, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. ShawneeVt

    ShawneeVt Well-Known Member

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    Greetings friends, It's finally dry enough to hay! The barn is nearly done and this little dream of mine is really going to happen! Now then, how much hay should a beginning dairy goat keeper put up? The details:

    --3 milk goats to start
    --first cut hay, 40lb bales
    --Vermont winter with a low of about -25 below zero on the coldest; mid-teens average
    -- 2 small pastures with some access to browse

    I really appreciate your advice and insights. My apologies for any redundancy; I searched archives and didn't find this info.

    Peace,

    shawnee at echo valley, vermont
     
  2. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    put up as much as you can afford to, any extra can be sold later, you need to count on feeding free choice hay, (what kind is it?) especially all winter, they will eat more to keep warm and sence your dealing with dairy stock, i am assumeing that you will be milking them? they need to eat ALOT to keep up with production, so what i would do is average out how much they eat NOW and then come close to doubleing it with some extra to be on the safe side,
    basically FILL your hay barn, keep the best for you, and sence the hay field is yours and you will be cutting next year as well, you can start selling some of this years off if you have extra, it will keep in a barn REALLY well, and you can get a good price.

    i am hopeing you have Alfalfa and will be getting multple cuttings? if so keep the best from each cutting for your self to fill your barn and sell some of the other off to help cover cost, just besure you have a FULL barn for the winter.
     

  3. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    I would estimate a bale a day starting when the leaves turn in the fall. Standard size does should eat 8-12 lbs of hay a day and they will also pull quite a bit onto the ground.
    Like KSALguy says, you can't put up too much hay.
     
  4. wooly1s

    wooly1s Well-Known Member

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  5. ShawneeVt

    ShawneeVt Well-Known Member

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    thank you folks for the help!

    Peace!

    shawnee
     
  6. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    related question, how much is the average price for a ton of hay? and how many large square or round bales are in a ton?

    Thanks
     
  7. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    You can't be too far away from me. Can I store most of it at your place please??

    No, I am definitely not blonde!! :D
     
  8. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I pay $90 a ton including delivery. I usually get small squares weighing 85-100 lb each. I'll have to get large squares this month as that's all he's put up so far. They average 1,800 lb. a bale.
     
  9. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    There are a great variety of bale sizes out there. But here's some examples using common packages- A 3'X3'X8' large square bale will average from 700-750 pounds, so figure 3 of these make a ton, allowing for a minor amount of waste. In round bales, a good estimate is 4X4 rounds weigh 700-750 pounds, so again 3 make a ton. 4X5 Round bales usually weigh 1,000 pounds so 2 per ton. Of course hay varies in type and density. Tightly packed dairy alfalfa wil weigh more than grassy type hay.
    Average price varies widely depending on dairy quality vs. grass hay lower in protien, region of country, and availability of supply. Localized droughts drastically affect hay availability and prices.
    As an example only, in Northern Wisconsin, mixed hay with some legumes suitable for beef cattle or dry dairy cows (10-14% Protien) runs about $40/ ton. Dairy Quality Alfalfa(19-23% Protien) runs about $90-$145/ton. These prices do not include delivery costs.
     
  10. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Shawnee - Using figure of avg. 10 LB hay/day for std. doe provided by Anna S., one of your 40 lb. bales will feed a doe 4 days. As your climate is similar to ours here, you need to budget for 200 days/year of hay feeding(180 days of winter feeding plus a safety net for dry pasture conditions in summer). So 200 days divided by 4 days/bale = 50 bales per doe, so 150 40 lb square bales would be minimum required for 3 does.
    As many others have correctly pointed out, much better to have more hay than you need to allow for waste, etc. :)