Pellets or bales? :|

Discussion in 'Goats' started by KayJay, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. KayJay

    KayJay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    Southwestern Wyoming
    I'm trying to decide if I should start buying alfalfa pellets.... How much do those of you that feed pellets tend to feed each goat per day?
    Right now the only alfalfa I can find is $11/bale and it's crappy, all sticks and powder and they don't tend to eat the stems much, so I have to figure in waste, while there's really no waste with pellets, which I can get for $9.35/50lbs at the local feed store, though I haven't checked around in nearby towns to see if I can find anything cheaper. (That was a run-on sentence if ever I saw one. lol)

    By the way, does anyone know of any bagged feeds that don't have alfalfa in them, or at least not a significant amount? (for my alfalfa allergic doe [strongsad )
     
  2. oberhaslikid

    oberhaslikid Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,521
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    Ohio
    I think you answered your own question.The pellets are 0 waste I have fed these for a few years and see no difference only no waste.I did give the stems to the boys to clean up When I did feed the bales.For the pellets I can handle the pellets and store them alot better than the bales also.
    I feed my 10 does a 4 gallon bucket I dont know how many pounds each a day. The boys get about 2 pounds a day and all the hay they want.
     

  3. full sun

    full sun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    357
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    I have just started feeding alfalfa pellets instead of hay. I just fill up a bucket and let them eat what they want. I throw them a little orchard grass hay when I feed the horses, just to give them something to do. I am trying to do as little hay as possible just because it is so problematic. So far (and its only been about a month) I am so happy with the pellets. And my goats love 'em!

    Jennifer
     
  4. gryndlgoat

    gryndlgoat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    567
    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree. Baled hay is good for its entertainment value, as in "How far can a bale of hay be spread...oh wait, here's a leafy bit, I'll eat that". I wish I could find a source of pellets- I have to buy alfalfa cubes and break them up. But still, zero waste with the cubes.
     
  5. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    NW OR
    I'm just moving to pellets too, and I think that question (How much?) is one everyone asks.. like one of the other posters, I feed a 4 gallon bucket to a mixed group of 10 does and yearlings. This lasts them about 24 hours, and they aren't screaming and begging for food, nor are they getting thin or fat (well, maybe fat, but they're bred, heh). For a feeder, I nailed a 12' section of 6" wide PVC gutter (garage sale, .50) along the wall of the barn, at about goat-nose high. So far, they haven't torn it off the wall, and so they have to stand next to each other - I'm seeing a lot less fighting for position.
     
  6. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    NW OR
    Oh, and as a comparison of price, the $9, 50 lb sack of feed lasts 3 1/2 days, and the $10 bale of crappy alfalfa lasted two days, and most of it was left on the ground, and I had to supplement with dry cob ($7.50 a bag). Now they're getting just the alfalfa pellets with a quart scoop of milk plus pellets dressed over the top.
     
  7. PygmyLover

    PygmyLover nigerian & pygmy breeder

    Messages:
    464
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Atco, NJ
    becareful there isn't always enough roughage in the pellets to be their whole diet. I would do half and half.

    I supplement my hay with the alfalfa pellets. I don't trust them to do well on pellets alone when they are use to and SHOULD be getting plenty of roughage.
     
  8. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,817
    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    North of Houston TX
    I keep grass hay out for the does, they eat it rarely, mostly when it's storming and they can't go out. I feed everyone 3 pounds a day, I have a red scoop that holds 3 pounds exactly. The 8 (4 bred) March through July kids obviously don't eat 3 pounds a day each, but it is there for them to eat. With our humidity I do clean all feeders compeltely out each Saturday, the younger does wasted pellets are eaten by the bucks.

    You may also find that when you move to pellets and away from hay that you end all pinkeye, respiratory wet noses, in your does. Alfalfa has alot of mold in it, not always bad mold, but certainly mold that can cause problems in us and our goats.

    The whole long stemmed roughage debate is dead and over. There are major herds everywhere moved to alfalfa pellets...all that is left are the other folks to catch on :) Honestly though if you live in the north and can get $2 a bale alfalfa like friends of mine, of course use it! I buy alfalfa hay for my infant doelings, since my pellets are too large for the infants to eat. They eat the leaves :flame: Vicki
     
  9. PygmyLover

    PygmyLover nigerian & pygmy breeder

    Messages:
    464
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Atco, NJ
    well I have my goats on grass hay and I still had pink eye.

    Really I won't trust alfalfa pellets to be their whole roughage diet when I know I can get better for them with the hay. They like the hay better anyway.
     
  10. Genevieve M.

    Genevieve M. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    359
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    Our new little ND doesn't seem to be eating the pellets. She was born on September 7th. Is she just too young? She has free access to coastal hay.
     
  11. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,817
    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    North of Houston TX
    Genivive, I have to drive over and hour one way to get pellets small enough for my infant goatlings to eat, so I do use alfalfa hay for them. Without it we simply don't get the size we need on our kids to breed them the first year. Vicki
     
  12. susanne

    susanne Nubian dairy goat breeder

    Messages:
    4,465
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    michigan
    i raise all my goats on alfa pellets and grass hay with a little bit of alfa mixed in. i just bought a doe that is about 6 month older than my kids from this year and she is noticable smaller. she does not has the belly mine have either. she was raised on grass hay and grain. i guess she also did not get the milk until she was at least five month old.
    now, i don't want to say it is only because of the feeding and maybe it is part of the bloodline too. will have to wait and see.
    i like the looks of my kids very much. big, slick and shiny.
     
  13. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Location:
    Eureka, California area
    Our local feed store has alfalfa pellets for $9 a bag right now; what size pellet is ok for goats? I think these are meant for horses; won't goats choke? Also, where can I figure out the nutritional requirements of goats...is 4-6% bodyweight about right? That would put a 150 pound doe at about6 pounds of pellets per day? That sounds high....just wondering! I might try it as I am basically mulching the alfalfa, they waste so danged much.

    Just found a site that said 4.5 pounds of feed a day, 10% protein. My goats have a little graze but are mostly drylot. Would I give free choice local grass hay and then the alfalfa pellets at a lower amount?
     
  14. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    NW OR
    My goats do have a full feeder of hay all the time, but they are barely touching it. We still have browse so that may be the difference - they are out on brushy weedy pasture for several hours a day - well, the barn door is open several hours a day anyway. They act like rain is acid or something. The only way I get them outside at all is to position their water across their pen. The way they mince through the mud as if it's lava is pretty funny to watch. My goats have been on pellets for a few months now and if there was going to be a gut problem, I'm pretty sure it would have shown up before now. I know lots of goat people who feed pellets exclusively.
     
  15. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    NW OR
    My feed store has pellets that are capsule shaped and about 1" by 1/4". It's rated at 11% protein. I haven't tried pellets on any animals younger than 6 months because I just switched over to pellets about 3 months ago. I haven't yet decided what to do about them, probably start them on regular dairy goat ration with hay as I have my others.

    They also have some larger square alfalfa pellets, but I think even my horses would choke on them - I think they're for cattle.

    I usually breed for kids starting to drop about the first of March. A couple of does had other ideas and I have my first doe due December 7th. Funny how the best plans work out, eh? Not exactly excited to be milking in the freezing weather.
     
  16. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Location:
    Eureka, California area
    Think of the name possibilities if they kid on that day: Pearl, ToJo, and if you had triplets, you could call them Tora, Tora, Tora!

    OK, totally lame and innapropriate.
     
  17. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    NW OR
    damn you! I was drinking coffee when I read that. Now my keyboard is all sticky.