Supplementing from the veggie garden

Discussion in 'Goats' started by aussiechick, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. aussiechick

    aussiechick Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    I have a good sized garden and being summer here, I have lots and lots of stuff to share with the goats. Can I be using this to replace some of the hay? I'm paying up to AU$20.00 at the moment for small bales of decent hay!!!! Bit of a drought going on. I've been cutting back a little on their hay and increasing the veggies. Doesn't seem to be affecting milk supply. But reading that the goats need their roughage which always refers to hay in what I'm reading, should the veggies just be a treat? They are grain fed at milking time as well. They spend the day browsing in about an acre of native vegetation and small patches of blackberries.
     
  2. Jim S.

    Jim S. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,963
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Yes, by all means use your garden, and I mean every bit of it. You can feed them every inch of the plants you raise, provided you are not filling those plants with pesticides. I garden organically, and all my garden that does not wind up in our tummies gets tossed to the goats! Stalks, leaves and all. They then give me goat berries for next years compost!

    There is quite a bit of roughage in veggies, so you needn't worry much there. If you have enough garden waste, you could even restrict feeding hay to a daily supplement, and make the garden waste the mainstay.

    I'm in meat goats, so to me it's all about cost for TDN. If I faced $20 a square bale, I would definitely be looking for substitutes that are cheaper. I dunno what is raised over your way, but if there are ginning, milling or distillery operations, check into getting their waste products to feed your goats. Your local ag folks will know the TDN and protein in those products, or you can find it on the NET. Average goats can use a max of 16% protein a day, and if you are heavy milking, then maybe 18%. Anything over that you are feeding them is being peed onto the ground...literally, they are peeing away your money. So shoot for 18-20% protein in whatever you feed, and experiment a bit.

    In my own area, I have found that limit-feeding whole cottonseed from the gin saves me $80/ton over limit-fed commercial goat ration, for example. It's huge by percentage...almost 45% savings.

    Be cautious about switching diets, and do it gradually. Beyond that, look for what is cheapest and yet still gets eaten and get ths job done.

    As far as hay, get the good quality stuff no one else wants because it is weedy or otherwise not premium horsey fodder. No mold, put up right, just out of weedy pastures. You can get it cheaper and the goats will do BETTER on it.

    Hope it helps!
     

  3. Sweet Goats

    Sweet Goats Cashmere goats

    Messages:
    2,023
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    CO
    Yep, when we are domene with the garden we lets the goats go eat it up. We go to the farmers markets and ask for the "scraps" and we give them to the goats.
    WOW I thought we were paying a lot for hay. I won't complain anymore.
     
  4. aussiechick

    aussiechick Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks Jim and Lori. Yeah Lori, sometimes I'm reading thru older searched threads on here and I nearly burst out laughing when someone is complaining about paying US$3.00 something a bale of hay!!!! I think AU$20 is around US$15.00.

    The farmers around here have wrapped up any alternative feeds. One local dairy farmer is feeding his cows the waste from wine grapes (smells interesting when we go past!) and also from an orange juice factory not far from here.

    My gardens are all pesticide free. My biggest thing is trying to place all this stuff so that it doesn't hit the ground or get dragged onto the ground and thus, they are reluctant to then eat it! Fussy girls!
     
  5. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    467
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    NW AR
    does anyone feed storage type winter squashes or root vegetables as a treat/supplement in the winter??