Yes, goats can eat timothy hay. Legume hay (like alfafa) contains more protein and calcium than grass hay. By licking the mineral blocks a goat can help infuse more calcium, potassium, sulfur, copper, sodium, manganese, iron, iodine, and zinc into their system. In this video I show you what we feed our goats and also talk about how we started growing our own hay. Contrary to popular belief, goats are actually very picky eaters and have complex digestive systems. Goats will ingest approximately 120% more energy from an alfalfa hay that they would from an oat style of hay. This varies depending on the maturity of the hay or alfalfa and the way that its cured and stored. This type of snack is not necessarily deadly, but can lead to significant health problems – especially bloat. Goats are ruminant animals, they have four stomach chambers. Use caution when feeding cereal hay. Goats are browsers and not grazers like horses and cattle. The leaves of grasses change as the plant matures, making grass hays more digestible when the plant is fine-stemmed and immature. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Soil quality and growing conditions can vary within the same field. The unaffiliated grower had a range of quality standards available — this stack was rated excellent and priced at a premium. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. If your timothy was cut a bit late, add in a little alfalfa for some extra protein and you will have it made. In alfalfa fields, the use of molybdenum can alter the color, making the hay greener. Maturity can be determined by stage of flower or seed head development. Goat Mineral Guide. Place a salt block on a clean and dry spot to help the goat herd replenish essential vitamins and minerals they lose when expending energy, and especially during the hot summer months. This style of hay is a nice mix of essential nutrients, but it also has a lower protein percentage than alfalfa hay. One 50-pound bag of … Without factoring the content of the hay, all our calculations for supplementation are incorrect. Your Copper Guide. Just because your neighbor’s goats need supplementation does not mean yours do, unless you are feeding the same hay and have goats at similar life stages. … The quality and type of the hay provided to the goat herd matters a great deal from a rumen health and nutrient intake perspective. Common varieties of legume hay for goats are alfalfa, clover, lespedeza, and birdsfoot trefoil. The primary source of goat nutrition is hay or forage. I consent to Backyard Goats collecting and storing the data I submit in this form. There are three types of hay: legume, grass, and cereal. Many people have unknowingly starved their animals by offering what appeared to be hay for goats but had the nutritional value of straw. This highly digestible pellet can be used to completely replace loose hay or supplement pasture for horses, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, … Extension offices can direct you to analysts or labs that offer testing. Timothy hay is comprised of approximately 7% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. Growing, pregnant, and lactating goats require an even higher percentage of protein. Dairy goats are sometimes given more grain than meat and fiber goats in an attempt to enhance milk production. In alfalfa, avoid blister beetles which produce cantharidin, toxic to people and animals. My goats like Timothy. I am … Small animals also benefit from the high fiber levels of timothy hay… There are three different types of hay, Grass, Legume and Cereal Grain. Ideally, hay is tested by core samples taken from multiple bales in the stack or field. Mature goats, regardless of type, usually prefer a grass and legume style hay mix to fulfill their dietary needs. The long fiber lengths are necessary for this. Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day. Timothy grass is a good alternative of alfalfa. Food that is fed from the ground is far more likely to be subjected to soil bacteria, manure, and any worms that may be present in the goat droppings. Wethers (neutered males) have different dietary needs than does (females). Sweet mixed that have a high percentage of molasses should only be given (if at all) in incredibly small amounts or to pregnant and nursing nanny goats to give them a calorie boosts. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. In fact, timothy hay is perfectly eligible as a regular diet for your goats.. Hay is grass that has been cut and dried, then baled or collected to use as animal feed. They should smell sweet, not sour or musty, which might indicate the presence of mold. Each type can be successfully fed with correct management. Hay should be analyzed for protein content and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Barriers to testing range from costs to lack of availability of analysts or labs. If adequate pasture is not available, feed your goat grass-type hay such as timothy. If you dread choosing hay for goats, you are not alone … there is much to know about what to feed goats. Bales should be free of debris. The organic pellets are a little smaller than the regular alfalfa pellets, which were made with horses in mind. Chips are put into the bag and sent to a lab. Some of the reviews on this site may be compensated by the companies whose products were reviewed. Timothy hay, like orchard grass and cereal grain hay is good to mix with legume hay for goats but should none of these varieties should solely comprise the hay … Alfafa can have up to four cuttings per year. To visually analyze hay for goats, it is best to break a bale open. The secondary is a loose mineral. I am also buying some local grass hay this week. © 2020 New Life On A Homestead | Homesteading Blog, The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms, How to Identify, Treat and Get Rid of Leaf Miners, Garlic – in very small amounts and to help naturally prevent worms, Bananas – some goats prefer only the peels. The leaf-to-stem ratio is the most important criteria. For Morgan Filly and Goat Late season cuttings have the highest leaf to stem ratio. I get 4 - 5 deliveries a year. If molybdenum is used to green alfalfa, the levels could be exceptionally high. Hay harvested from roadsides and ditches is often contaminated with litter that can cause obstruction when ingested by the goat. The hay ferments in the container, adding beneficial bacteria for the goats' rumens. Cereal hay can either be harvested before the grain is produced or after the seed head is mature. Grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats. You can also feed it to your animal if you live in an area where you cannot let it free to browse for food by itself. If you give bread, crackers, or even graham crackers to members of your goat herd, do so as only a special or rare treat, and not a daily or weekly small amount treat. This type of hay is good for pregnant and lactating goats since their … We are enrolled in the Amazon Associates program, so we may earn a commission if you purchase something from Amazon after clicking one of our links. For this, your goats are the best judge. Read the list of “60 Things Goats Cannot Eat.” She includes azaleas and rhododendrons on that list. The stems become courser and more fibrous, so the values are highest when the plant is young. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, hay for goats should be 7 percent at a minimum for maintenance. Orchard grass hay is comprised of about 30% crude fiber and 7% of crude protein. These are the only plants that have made my goats VERY sick! Keep baking soda in a small feeder inside the goat pen so it is always available for herd members to munch on. Timothy is great hay for goats. Grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, brome, and bluegrass, is a suitable maintenance hay for goats. They can garner some if not all of their daily roughage intake while wandering around your homestead eating grass, weeds, brush, leaves, and similar natural items – at least during the warm weather parts of the year. Think of it as … The cost savings from eliminating the need for supplementation would more than pay for the test and result in fewer health care costs and better performance of the herd. For this article, we tested a stack of timothy hay, a common grass hay. How Your Water is Affecting Your Goats. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural toxin remover and deworming agent that may help prevent parasites and bacteria from harming the health of your livestock. Copper is an essential nutrient for goats. Grass hay … Grain feed should be only a small part – if at all, of the goat’s diet. Hay is sold as first, second, or third cutting. To begin, the hay is a poor investment and the same money could be spent on a quality hay for goats that would require little or no supplementation, such as alfalfa which varies from 12-20 percent crude protein. It is a sweet smelling, … Year before last we planted a small patch of alfalfa. A leafy legume type hay is recommended for goats. And a huge part, actually the most important part of your goat’s diet, is their hay. If not properly harvested, there is a risk of nitrate poisoning. Around the world, many types of livestock utilize Timothy as part of their feed regimen including goats, camels, and sheep. No hay is perfect, which is why nutritional analysis is critical. While we look for bright green hay, color can be deceiving. Although your goats may not find it as tasty as other grasses. If you do not have an analyst in your area, the tools required for sampling are a hay borer and a sealable plastic bag. You should assume any link is an affiliate link. Hay should have a high leaf to stem ratio. Never give off treats before the goats have eaten their daily ration of hay. Wethers: We recommend good quality orchard grass hay. her homesteading skills are unmatched, she raises chickens, goats, horses, a wide variety of vegetables, not to mention she’s an expert is all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping and many, many more. Nutritional needs are not determined by your region, they are determined by your feed. Legume hays, such as clover and alfalfa, usually have more protein, vitamins, and minerals, particularly calcium, than grass hays. Since goats will not eat straw because they prefer hay, you can keep bedding intact. Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. Grass hay provides a moderate amount of protein and energy for the goat diet. Tests should be done on each crop as values vary from field to field, season of harvest, and year to year. When a goat is starting to bloat or is bloated, it typically gravitates to the baking soda to help alleviate the increase in gas buildup. I fed/feed all my Lamancha goats the same thing, bred, after kidding, year round. In areas with longer growing seasons, a third cutting or even higher may be available. G… This recommended amount varies based upon the maturity of the goat, stature (miniature goats, standard goats), and takes into account the enhanced caloric needs of pregnant or nursing nanny goats. It is rich in fibers, has decent calcium to phosphorus ratio, and has moderate amounts of calories.It can tend to your goats… While goats are finicky eaters, just because they will eat the hay does not mean it is meeting their nutritional needs. Cereal grain hay is comprised of 9% crude protein, and also has a significant manganeses, zinc, and phosphorus content. Timothy hay can be as high in protein as Alfalfa. Hay borers are available online for $150. They get alfalfa hay free choice 24/7, a pelleted feed (16% with AC for the wethers), and whatever they can scrounge. This agricultural grade substance can be sprinkled over livestock grain rations or stirred into the grain feed storage tub to be fed as a supplement to the goat herd. It has less weeds, is finer-stemmed, fertilized, and grown during the optimal growing season. Goats require additional hay, which is roughage, for their rumen to function properly. This site may earn commissions when you click on certain links. The rumen is the first stomach compartment (rich in live … Mature sheep can get by on … You can plant many of these healthy treats in the goat herd browsing area, or inside their pen as a free choice snack. The closer you can keep to the traditional browsing habits of goats, the better the odds are that the animals will remain healthy. If you feed a mixed hay of orchard grass and alfalfa, alfalfa should not exceed 10% as alfalfa is thought to contribute to the potential for urinary calculi (blocking). Suffice it to say that all hay is not created equal. Timothy Hay – This type of livestock hay has a 32 percent ratio of crude fiber and a 7 percent ratio of crude protein. Testing only a handful, a flake, or bale is not representative of the hay crop. Alfalfa hay is comprised of roughly 15% to 22% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. However, it is not enough to tend to all… Most commercial feed for goats ranges between 11-18 percent protein. But you can feed your goats timothy if alfalfa is not available. Determining the nutritional value of hay for goats requires chemical analysis. A goat, or any ruminant animal that consumes too much grain will have digestion and gas build up problems. I feed mostly alfalfa hay which I get delivered in 5 - 10 ton lots at a time. Dirt not only increases the weight of the bale, and your cost, but contributes to respiratory issues when breathed as dust. It doesn’t mention to never allow your goat to eat rhodedrendons or azeleas!! This legume style hay boats a high protein, fiber, vitamin A and calcium percentage. Premium Timothy Grass Compressed Bales are formed by allowing Standlee Premium Western Forage to grow to the proper stage of maturity, cutting the plants, allowing them to sun-cure (dry) to an … A diet of only cereal grain hay would not be good for goats due to its lack of protein content, but mixing some cereal grains into your hayfield or buying hay from someone who does, will be welcomed as a tasty and healthy hay bale treat. Feeding goats properly is essential to the overall health of the herd, and to the success of any meat goat, dairy goat, or fiber goat homesteading operation. Bales should flake easily and not stick together. Below that, the rumen is compromised as ruminal microbes require protein. Your email address will not be published. There are two types of analysis — visual and chemical. A cereal or oat type of hay is lower in protein than either alfalfa or orchard grass hay but is comprised of a higher carbohydrate and fiber percentage. The leaves of grasses change as the plant matures, making grass hays more digestible … In summary, hay quality is much more important in determining suitability for goats rather than type of hay. Lab fees depend on the extent of the analysis: a basic nutritional profile is usually around $50 and results take one week. Some goats tend to be more prone to bloat than others, which means a keeper may need to adjust feeding habits slightly and provide more of an administered free choice supplement (baking soda) or keep bloat drenching. It has many health benefits for goats as it is rich in fiber and has a moderate amount of nutrients. Calcium deficiency can lead to complications with kidding and lactation. Much of the nutrition in the grass is preserved in the hay, and it makes great feed for goats. Immature grass hay or leafy alfalfa is usually the best feed for sheep. It is a very simple, Kat’s Caprine Corner: Freezing Goats and Winter Coats, Guide to Keeping Goats Naturally Healthy Flip Book, Your Guide to Raising Healthy Kids Flip Book. Alfalfa hay is … The chips from the core sample represent a wider geographic area and give the average of the crop on the field. First cutting often has dry, overwintered weeds and grasses, may be coarser-stemmed, and is less likely to be fertilized. Goats … Depending on the quality of these, a goat may need nothing more. We grew up in gardening families, without livestock. Rocks are hard on teeth and rumens. Required fields are marked *. Beyond visual analysis is palatability. Training the goats to stay in their pen, free range on your homestead, or simply to establish trust so the animals run towards and not away from you if injured or trapped in fencing are all great reasons for giving small amounts of healthy treats. Timothy. Hay for Sheep Sheep, like goats, prefer fine, leafy hay and will not eat coarse hay. This style of hay is a nice mix of essential nutrients, but it also has a lower protein percentage than alfalfa hay. The test results revealed that the hay had a protein content of 3.4 percent. Hay analysis is a worthwhile investment. It can be difficult for some goat owners not to provide too many healthy treats because the goats love them, but too much of a good thing can also cause rumen problems. Good hay should bend easily; if it snaps, it has high fiber and low digestibility. Also, sheep mineral blocks do not typically contain copper, which is a superb supplement for goats. Your email address will not be published. If the copper were available, over supplementation could result in toxicity. If they will not eat it, don’t buy it. Second cutting is generally the preferred hay for goats. In this analysis, all of the copper is bound, which indicates a need for supplementation. Sulfur, iron, and molybdenum bind copper: one part molybdenum ties up six parts of copper. and all of mine are STILL thin. Hay for goats should be in a similar range. A goat that consumes too much grain is at increased risk of health issues – like bloat. Even during the winter time goats can browse for a portion of their roughage intake, depending on your climate, and on how much space the herd has to roam and forage for food. Beautiful Timothy hay from Standlee's Hay Company. Many newbie goat keepers give salted crackers or bits of bread to their goats. I can’t even find organic alfalfa hay in my area, so this definitely fills a void. Most farmers will allow you to purchase a sample bale before committing to tonnage. Chemical analysis is the only way to determine straw vs. hay. (Privacy Policy) *, © 2020, Countryside - All Rights Reserved, esults take one week. When feeding hay as a primary feed, nutritional analysis is critical to the health of your herd. This type of hay is usually comprised of alfalfa, soybeans, vetch, and clover. Protein/energy malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies from poor quality feed lead to a host of disease states. They're dairy goats so don't bulk up like meat goats. But, if you go this route, expect the herd to devour all of the treats quickly – often before the plant matures and produces the produce is yields that they would most enjoy. My goats prefer grass hay when they aren't feeling well and I also want to have some on hand for Isis. Some goat supplements should be provided as a free choice “treat” on a daily basis, but others may need to offered only at specific times of the year or when a goat herd member is showing signs of a deficiency or illness. Sun can also bleach the exterior of bales, turning them yellow. It was a lifesaver last year when she had ketosis and milk fever. Cereal hay with seed heads must be fed with care to avoid bloat and urinary calculi. The cost of chemical analysis in this case would be cost saving. Beyond fiber level and protein, analysis gives mineral data. A goat should eat between 2 to 4 pounds of hay on a daily basis. Treats should only be given as a training aid or in small amounts on any type of a regular basis. The hay passed all elements of visual analysis and the goats were eager to eat it. The leafy fiber strands are longer than the ones produced by a grass hay. Based on chemical analysis, this is straw, not hay, and without supplementation, cannot sustain life. To keep the ruminant stomach chamber healthy and fully functional, a goat must eat enough roughage and avoid ingesting too much rich grain feed. Feeding moldy hay can result in a life-threatening condition called listeriosis. Moisture content should be below 15 percent or there is a risk of mold or combustion. Legume hay typically has the highest digestible energy, as the leaves do not change as the plant grows. It is a very simple process for the farmer or hay consumer. Hay is the main source of nutrients for animals such as goats, especially in non-grazing seasons. A mineral block for livestock works basically like a vitamin for human beings. Either buy goat-specific mineral blocks, or read the content label carefully to determine what nutrients the goat herd will ingest when licking the block. If hay is rained on and redried or overcured, it will be yellow or brown throughout. Grass Hay can be timothy, orchard grass or other types of grass or broom grass. Some mineral blocks also contain salt, but not all. Farmers that test will mention test results in their ads. Chaffhaye can be fed as a hay alternative, with more nutrient density than hay. Very coarse hay or forage is not readily digestible by goats, so they prefer not to eat them. Each type of hay has unique advantages and disadvantages. Legumes can have as much as twice the protein and three times the calcium of grass hays, so they are the preferred hay for goat kids and lactating does. This all-natural hay pellet is made from 100% pure sun-cured timothy. The best diet for your goat (or any livestock) is the most natural one you can provide. Always sample from the inside of the bale. Being a small to medium sized livestock, goats generally will not eat a grass style hay unless it is their only option. Goat kids as well as their nursing mommas typically thrive on a legume style of hay. All elements of visual analysis and the way that its cured and stored significant manganeses,,... And goat in summary, hay for goats are not well equipped to eat it don! Or brown throughout snaps, it has many health benefits for goats ranges between 11-18 percent.! Needs than does ( females ) ferments in the hay had a protein content and acid fiber! 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