Stupid question of the year..

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Kittikity, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Kittikity

    Kittikity Small scale homesteader

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    What is the difference between hay and straw? I feel so newbie to have to ask that.. I was born and raised a city girl and have only been in the semi country for 2 years now.. The only livestock I've had so far are chickens and nobody ever talks about hay or straw difference in goat care websites..
     
  2. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    To me hay is to eat straw is for bedding. I use hay for bedding as that is what we have.

    Patty

    The only stupid question is one that is not asked.
     

  3. gryndlgoat

    gryndlgoat Well-Known Member

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    Hay is food- very nutritious. Straw is bedding- little or no nutrition.


    Hay is grass or other plant material (alfalfa, clover) that is cut when green and full of nutrients, then dried and baled for storage.

    Straw is a leftover from grain harvesting. By the time grain is harvested (wheat, oats) all the nutrients in the grain plant are in the grain, and the stems are dried up and dead and not of much use for nutrition. But they can be baled and used for bedding.
     
  4. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hay has a lot of leaves and can sometimes be green. Straw is mostly stems and few leaves and can be "straw colored".
     
  5. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Not a stupid question. I wondered the same thing when we first started farming a few years back. :)

    Straw also has hollow stems and is golden brown, while hay should have some green in it.
     
  6. Bearfootfarm

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

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    Hay is the edible leaves of grass and legumes that are cut and dried for feed. Straw is usually left over stems from the harvesting of grains and is used more as bedding and mulch
     
  7. Kittikity

    Kittikity Small scale homesteader

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    Thank you so much for that.. I love coming here.. You are all so knowledgeable and helpful.. I'm on a couple other small forums but there is always some kind of information coming through here and I love that.. I still feel a little silly but at least I know I'm not alone in my naivitay..
     
  8. brierpatch1974

    brierpatch1974 Well-Known Member

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    Thats not a stupid question its one we have all asked at one time or another. My question is why the heck does a bale of straw cost mroe than a bale of hay around here? Thats one I can not figure out.

    BP
     
  9. Faithful Heart

    Faithful Heart Well-Known Member

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    brierpatch-
    Usually the price has to do with the availability. For instance, I used to live in Colorado ..... wheat, oats, and alfalfa grow really well there. So the price of a bale of straw was really cheap (people I knew even made straw bale houses there), and alfalfa was quite affordable but higher than straw. I now live in Georgia, and the main crops here are cotton and peanuts. Alfalfa is very hard to grow here, so most farmers have burmuda/coastal hay. Straw is also not as plentiful, so a bale of straw (at $3.50) is actually more expensive than hay (at $2.50).

    My goats don't like burmuda/coastal hay, so I'm hoping to get them some peanut hay. Only problem, is that it's only available after harvesting the peanuts (in the fall), and most only bale it in large round bales. I only have 2 goats right now, and really don't want to try and store one of those roles to get the best use out of it. But people around here don't feed peanut hay to horses, so there's just not a high demand for single bales of peanut hay. But I have a nice neighbor that said he would go the extra mile for me and bale up a large roll, into little square bales, for me so I can buy just the few bales I need. :rolleyes:
     
  10. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Me neither. I keep thinking that since it's the leftovers, it ought to be cheap. The hay and straw folks around here don't seem to agree though. :)

     
  11. silvergirl

    silvergirl Well-Known Member

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    Just a little added note - my Sadie-girl will eat straw just as readily as she eats hay, but the nutritional value or lack thereof has an immediate impact on her milk production - so I avoid giving her straw for bedding and put out the extra money for hay, knowing at least some of it will become bedding.
     
  12. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    That is not a stupid question. I had to think for a minute too!
     
  13. xoxoGOATSxoxo

    xoxoGOATSxoxo when in doubt, mumble.

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    Don't feel stupid! Most of my city friends don't know the difference either. Even the ones that have known me since grade school! It's just not the sort of thing most people know (or care) about in towns and cities. There's no such thing as a stupid question, doncha know.... :)
     
  14. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

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    Kittikity, just use this rule..... Green...hay. Yellow...straw. Sometimes hay is on the yellow side, but that usually indicates it is old hay. By the time it is yellowish, it has little to practically no nutrients left. Since stored hay will start to lose nutrients the day it is cut and dried, the longer it is stored, the less nutritious it becomes. Always get the greenest bales for your goats if you can.

    Goats will eat straw when you first put it down as bedding, but they are usually picking out the bits of grain that the thresher didn't get off during harvesting. Sometimes they will eat the stems, particularly of oat or barley straw, which gives them some fiber but little nutrition otherwise.