I was thinking of adding pellet Timothy or Alfalfa to her diet since we are coming into winter and she won’t have as much access to pasture. You’d be fine letting them have as much pellets as they want as long they’re getting some regular hay or pasture or browse. So they need GREEN grass, leaves, bushes, weeds, etc. Hay should have a high leaf to stem ratio. (In nature, they consume very little grain — just a few seed heads on grasses.) I have never used alfalfa pellets but they should like a wonderful solution to keeping the girls busy while being milked without giving to much grain. Ive done this for years. Grain in any significant quantity should probably be avoided, or at least carefully balanced against alfalfa. Work with a farmer to make sure he or she can meet your annual hay needs every year. It can be a good choice for feeding milking goats as it has more protein, energy and calcium. Alfalfa has a 15:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio, which makes it a perfect complement to grain, which is high in phosphorus. We would leave the split door bottom open or could just close it without locking it so they push it open to get out if they want. However, this does not mean that goats cannot eat alfalfa in general. Due to our area being deficient in calcium, I include alfalfa in my wethers' diets either in the form of alfalfa hay or alfalfa pellets, to provide them with the 2:1 calcium/phosphorus ratio they need. Thanks for the tip! To put it in perspective, one 50-pound bag of chaffhaye is the equivalent of an 85 or a 100-pound bale of hay. Hay is the main source of nutrients for goats in non-grazing seasons, or all the time if they dont have access to browse. I am interested in trying pellets again though and these sound like they would work well seeing as they are a little smaller. Just be sure that your does have access to good quality GOAT mineral, NOT “sheep and goat,” which does not have copper in it, which will lead to copper deficiency in goats.). 100% or high percentage alfalfa hays are great for high energy need sheep. The goats went crazy over it. I don’t want to feed them too many pellets, and I don’t know what would be a healthy medium. Alfalfa pellets are fine now, but again, once the mama is not nursing, she doesn’t need alfalfa at all, and the kids don’t need it either after about six months. We will be getting two 5 week old and a 9 week old buckling tomorrow. This choice is good for the digestive system of the pet because it is combined with bacteria cultures. I’m so bummed about this. Feeds that are high in protein include fishmeal, soya bean meal, cotton seed oil cake meal and brewers’ grains. Fairly new to goats and am struggling with the idea that my bucklings shouldn’t get grain or alfalfa at all. They seem to waste a lot of hay. I am very happy to hear that someone is making organic pellets especially for goats, but not sure I can source them up in Northern BC where we live. Still, every four to six weeks you have to trim their hooves. Alfalfa is one of the best sources of calcium, which means it’s great for fast-growing, young kids (baby goats), does in the last trimester of pregnancy and does in milk. I have 3 Nigerian Dwarf does , if I decided to switch to pellets and also give some hay easy day..how many bags should I expect to go through in a month? Alfalfa. Dry adult does, bucks and wethers can wind up with zinc deficiency if they get too much alfalfa. It is only bucks or DRY does that do not need the calcium in alfalfa. But we do have alfalfa pellets and the cubes, in your opinion which would be better to feed a doe that refuses to keep weight on her? Love your site. Although they come in many forms, loose and block minerals are the most popular among farmers. Alfalfa is great for pregnant goats. Should I feed them alfalfa, timothy or whatever type is better. Here is more on zinc deficiency — Alfalfa hay is also popular for feeding goats and has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than grass hays, typically. I called my feed store to confirm. Thank you. I actually found a bag of the organic alfalfa pellets at my TSP. One of the vet texts actually says that the cure for vitamin A deficiency is green hay. The cow bell works with our goats. What kind of grain are you referring to? I have an urban farm and fresh browse is at a premium. But they don’t need alfalfa in their daily diet. Hi Glen Rose, I noticed you mentioned medicated pellets for feeding goats as though it’s not good to feed it to them? To not interfere with this process, it is advisable that you do not make drastic changes to the diet of your goad. and my goats loved the pellets, and in fact milk production increased. Sometimes my hay supply is not that good. Theres not alot of grass out front for some reason so I’ve been letting them into the back during the day. My Nigerian Dwarf does have eaten these alfalfa pellets their whole life. You can mix in alfalfa pellets or not. Also, one had died. I know alfalfa is a common GMO crop, is it likely that is the difference between organic and not organic at Standlee, not use of chemicals? READ: DAIRY GOAT BREEDS – CHOOSING THE BEST FOR YOUR FARM. They don’t have to chew or ruminate much with pellets. Thanks again! Im so happy I found this site. I have 3 acres and the grass is waste high but starting to turn brown. Goats should NEVER be given any type of medicated feed for an extended period of time. Just thinking/typing out loud, so to speak, but would love to find an already tried and true recipe. . I have no clue how much they weigh so I don’t know how much to feed them. I feed the timothy pellets to my bucks because they don’t need all the calcium that’s in alfalfa. And checked my receipt. The only possible problem with too much alfalfa would be too much calcium, which causes zinc deficiency, so if she starts to blow her coat in the middle of winter or foam at the mouth, I’d switch to timothy only. My goats (and I !) 3# per doe. Alfalfa is too rich for them because it is high in calcium, which they do not need, so they could wind up zinc deficient. What Goats Need Alfalfa Hay? It’s also an excellent forage for livestock, including pigs, horses, dairy goats, sheep and rabbits. It is like nectar for goats and other foragers and grazers. Keep good hay in front of your goats all the time. Right now they are getting about a cup a day each of alfalfa pellets with hay twice a day. yet. If you don’t raise alfalfa, but you want your goats to get that extra protein, then feed them alfalfa hay twice per day while they forage too. They all have side effects. Great tip for those in hot climates! you can add some grains powder or vitamins in your raw materials, I don’t think we are supposed to feed alfalfa to our weathers. Wethers only need a good quality grass hay and whatever they can get from the pasture. If you have meat goats, it may not a problem to go grain free. One crucial step that you have to make before you give access to the pet to pasture is to remove all the plants that might cause harm to them. My mini goats, horses and Piggies love the Chaffhaye. So I decided to give them free choice alfalfa pellets along with the weeds and grass found in their pen. Orchard grass hay pellets are also acceptable. It’s also an excellent forage for livestock, including pigs, horses, dairy goats, sheep and rabbits. As for the quantity you are feeding your bucks, I would not give them more than 1/2 to 1 cup of grain twice a day, depending upon breed (smaller breed would be less grain). We do plan on getting them banded when they are 12 weeks old. Will this work for the babies? He is not a good drinker either. Its protein content is about double that of grass hay. The leafy fiber strands are longer than the ones produced by a grass hay. Another aspect that you should remember is that older goats are more likely to suffer from obesity than younger ones. Minerals are also a vital part of the day-to-day nutrition of a goat. If you are concerned about GMOs, you should know that beet pulp is all GMO, and it’s really just empty calories. One of the folks told me she was feeding hers (the 5 weekers) grower grain mixed with alfalfa pellets 1/2 cup a day. Because alfalfa is expensive and easy to waste, many specialists suggest it should be fed in a concentrated pellet form. I also read to give a copper supplement a few times a year. Alfalfa is not only suitable for consumption by goats, it is also good for other ruminants, such as goats, cattle, camels, etc. We will be bottle feeding the two youngest ones until they are 8 weeks old and we also have timothy hay, loose minerals and baking soda available free choice. We’ve fed them to sheep before. Organic is a BIG plus! This is true because a byproduct of bacterial fermentation is heat. Is it okay to feed alfalfa pellets or would it be better to use timothy grass? Your email address will not be published. We get grass hay with very little alfalfa. I know hay carries phosphorus but without it being tested I don’t know the ratio value of C/ P. Wethers do not need grain and they definitely don’t need beet pulp unless you are just trying to fatten him up for butchering. I’m so glad to hear it’s helpful! I also give each kid 1/2 a cup and the momma 1 cup of grain in the evening (it’s like a treat). I have never used pellets with goats, but can see where this would be great in many ways. Alfalfa hay is comprised of roughly 15% to 22% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. Baking soda is always available free of choice for my goats. Thanks for the information. I give alfalfa pellets not only to does on the milk stand, but I also add it to the grain I give my bucks/wethers, to help balance the calcium/phosphorus ratio and help prevent urinary calculi. Luckily there are a few options to help remedy this. They don’t chew. You can, however, feed them grass hay pellets, such as timothy or orchard grass pellets. You can also use kitchen garbage bags if you have a chest freezer in your house, just take out flakes of the chaffhaye of what you use a day and store in those in your home freezer. If she is not chewing much, she won’t be producing much bicarbonate, so might need a little baking soda to keep her rumen working well. I have been using Standlee Alfalfa pellets with my goats for about 3 years now, great to see them adding an Organic option! Got my country home at the age of 52 in November love the new life and will not go back to living in town. Hope that helps! Or something else? Hopefully the organic will become more popular, and more stores will start to carry it. That’s where alfalfa pellets come in. But I was told that when it is cold out it is good to give them grain. Eating all of her hay does not mean your goat is getting the nutrition she needs! I’ll have to see where they are available in my area. If they start losing hair in random spots or foaming at the mouth, I’d suspect zinc deficiency. A Nigerian buck can go over-height up until age 3, so they do continue to grow a tiny bit after a year, but it’s not enough to require additional protein and calcium. He has pasture as well as Timothy hay and sanfoin hay plus a little bit of COB with powdered probiotic to help his tummy and add weight. If you have a good quality Alfalfa hay that has a ratio within the range of 2:1-5:1 (actually a bit below 6:1) it is FINE to feed to any goat, does, wethers or bucks. Giving a goat grain with poor quality brown hay can lead to vitamin A and E deficiency because the goat feed companies don’t put much of those vitamins in there assuming that the goats will be getting plenty from browsing and hay. Benefits of Alfalfa for Goats. For that reason, Alfalfa hay is a great choice because of it’s higher protein amounts. If you are planning to breed them — and they should be about 2/3 of their adult weight when you breed them — you can probably continue to feed them some alfalfa hay or pellets now through the time that they are pregnant and are milking. In fact, some vets argue that alfalfa is the only kind of hay that can provide lactating does with the necessary amount of proteins. I’m wondering how safe it is to feed the non-organic pellets. Nutritionally alfalfa is the same regardless of whether it is pellets, cubes, or hay, but goats really need the long stem forage, such as hay, to keep their rumen working. Kids that are fast growing can use all of that protein and calcium, but dry adult does can wind up overweight if you feed them alfalfa. We also feed alfalfa pellets to our American Guinea Hogs when they don’t have access to fresh pasture. IMO they're a waste of money. There was an error submitting your subscription. How much alfalfa pellets do you feed to your does? Alfalfa is used extensively in dairy operations where alfalfa helps deliver high protein and calcium needed for heavy milk production. I have actually been looking for a recipe to make some type of cake/biscuit out of the powdered pellets so that there is no waste. I top him up on ready grass and soaked alfalfa pellets. If it was one day that you saw him mounting her, and she wouldn’t stand, it’s possible she was in standing heat a couple of hours earlier or later then when you were out there, so she is probably not pregnant. But on occasion I give a handful as a treat in the afternoon or when I just want to spend a little time in the pasture with them. Find a hay that you can consistently feed your goats. One of my goats finishes her grain really fast and gets antsy that I am not finished milking. The majority of meat, fiber and hobby goats; however, do not require these high levels of protein. I have a 15 year old doe. They need the roughage to keep their rumens functioning properly. Where do you purchase your organic alfalfa pellets? I only buy horse quality hay. In the morning I will be giving them regular timothy hay and for the night, I just purchased an automatic feeder (it’s actually a pond fish feeder, will know shortly how well it works) and planning to have it feed the pellets before it gets dark (around 4 pm) every night as I don’t get home till around 5:30 pm. Unfortunately, the organic version is not available anywhere near me, and our local Tractor Supply can’t even order them for me. Since we live in Hawaii it’s pretty much impossible to get hay (we can grow it, just can’t ever dry it!) If we continue to offer, do you think they will come around? It is extremely rare for adult goats to have a problem with coccidiosis. Tractor Supply carries them. The only milk we consume for months is from our herd so I strive to make their diet as wholesome as possible! I use Standlee Alfalfa Pellets, but they don’t have the organic here. The alfalfa cubes that I’ve seen are way too big 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. The kids don’t really need grain after about six months, although if you’re in a really cold part of the world, you could wait until it warms up before you stop giving it to them. The size of the feeder is suitable for small pens or birthing goat stalls, being enough for 1-2 goats. Alfalfa hay is also popular for feeding goats and has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than grass hays, typically. You can email me a photo of her at deborah@thriftyhomesteader.com if you want me to take a look. Of course, goats are going to upchuck it all in a little while and chew it again, so I suppose that’s why they think they don’t need to chew the first go round. He gets 1 cup twice a day — nothing else. I am interested in trying these organic alfalfa pellets. They keep the weight on great throuh rut seaon and stay trim and active in summer months! It is vital that your goats have access to a source of water at all times. Plus, it gets more water in their diet, which is good for a milking goat. If you can find a good quality grass hay I would feed that before alfalfa. https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goat-minerals/ They free range and go into their pen at dusk on their own and we shut the gate. He can nibble grass but can’t chew hay. We can never be sure all their nutritional requirements are met when they’re free-ranging, however, so we offer hay and alfalfa pellets on a somewhat irregular basis, mainly because they have addictive personalities and will forego their grazing to insist on handouts if we’re not careful. Actually alfalfa is not a grass; it is a legume, like clover. 5 Tools That Every Goat Owner Should Have. It’s not any different than alfalfa hay when it comes to feeding. Please try again. The tea, which is prepared by using Alfalfa has a very good nutrient content. Around here they also cost more then good quality goat feed. We can’t get organic feed where I live either, so I feed the non-organic alfalfa. I want to do whsts best but every thing I’ve read it’s full of different opinions so I’m not sure what to feed. I don’t know how old the does are, but if they are still growing, that’s why you haven’t had a problem yet. Any other suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. They’ll do most anything for them. Do you think set up is okay for them? I want to feed Alfalfa or Timothy pellets to my 3 month old pygmy buck, but he keeps bloating ! Mature goats do very well on a grass-legume mix and some grass hays, but generally do not eat coarse grass hay; having small mouths, goats do not like it. You’re welcome! She was right at 60% of her adult weight (my plan was to wait another month, but our buck decided to get smart all of a sudden and figured out how to open the gate). I feel they look so much better when I mix it with their grain. Alfalfa hay is really ideal. This website is reader-supported. Some people choose to not feed hay during the summer months while their goats are on summer pasture, but at Goat Milk Stuff, our goats get free-choice hay year-round because I want the dry material in their rumens in addition to the wet pasture they are eating. Because we do not have continuous access to good quality alfalfa hay, we choose to feed good quality grass hay. My neighbor swears by mixing in a third of alfalfa pellets, but I never have…. If you read the label they are usually only 14% protein. Alfalfa hay is comprised of roughly 15% to 22% crude protein, and 32% crude fiber. Each animal needs between two and four pounds of hay, depending on its age and size. It should be possible! Here is more on minerals in goats: I think he had worms this late winter but I was slow in figuring it out. Rebellion Ranch 22,235 views. Great idea to offer it to pigs when pasture isn’t available… we’ll have to try it with ours this winter! If the reason is parasites, then treat that. What about grain, I was told they really don’t need it since they have hay and access to a pasture. Bucks get about 2 cups alfalfa pellets once a day. Only does in milk or pregnant does need that much calcium. Urinary calculi is more of a problem in wethers eating a grain mixture. However, a very small percentage (like single digits percentage) of does that may come into heat once or twice even if they’re bred. I am very interested in adding alfalfa pellets to their daily feed, as I’m concerned about feeding them too much grain. If not, you can mix it into chickens feed or sprinkle on your garden around your tomato plants. What specific mineral do you have available for them? I am planning on giving my does alfalfa pellets, veggies, BOSS and beet pulp or kelp if needed. I haven’t started feeding alfalfa pellets, but I’m thinking a bout it. Will look for it in the store. And grain causes urinary stones. Yes, Timothy is a type of grass hay. In fact, baking soda is an antacid, so you should hope that your goats do not ever need it. This way you can eliminate water waste. I have 12 does and they’re just pets. Do you have any advice for the situation? Feed your goats mold free qualified grasses based hay. Most grass hay protein falls around 7–8%. I’m so confused and I know I must be overthinking feeding my goats. Here is more on that topic — https://thriftyhomesteader.com/what-do-goats-eat-it-depends/, Oops my website is BrightLightsSolar.com and my email is transportablesolar@gmail.com. Hi! Its only been a few days but I am making some headway getting them to come when they hear the bell. Wethers do not need grain or alfalfa, but if you just give them a little bit as a treat until you’ve used up these bags, they should be fine. Since she is not milking or making babies, she probably doesn’t need as much calcium as if she were doing those things, but many humans do need calcium supplements when they’re older, so the timothy-alfalfa blend pellets would probably be best for her. Besides our horses we use them with our pigs and chickens. The feed store said they would have to order 5 tons of it and they don’t have demand for it. Being overweight is really one of the best case scenarios when over-feeding grain because too much grain can also cause enterotoxemia, thiamine deficiency, bloat, and other rumen problems that can cause death. So we should not feed alfalfa pellets to does that aren’t pregnant? However, hoof trimming is not very challenging. If you want to be extra safe, you can contact your local County Agricultural commissioner as he/she will be able to provide you with a complete list of plants that are poisonous. best fits the space that you have available, take a look at the models that we have selected for you and added in the buying guide that we have prepared on the topic. Providing goats with a combination of alfalfa and grass hays along with the proper grain mix will bring the protein level up and insure that there is adequate roughage in the diet to stimulate the digestive action of the goat's rumen. Please pick me! What can I do? The less growing they’re doing, the less they need the extra calcium. Hi, Due to the increased interest in soil health, and/or to minimize soil erosion, a perennial crop in the rotation is a good thing for many farms. Year before last we planted a small patch of alfalfa. Unfortunately we don’t have research on nutrition for older goats, so we just have to go on anecdotal information. Thanks in advance for your time. We had a “piggy” goat, that my 7 yr old daughter milked. They pick them out first because they live them. I would just as soon take her off grain, but with her still being young and pregnant I’m not sure what to do. Thanks in advance! In appearance, they looked far more like Pygmy goats than Nigerian Dwarf goats. Our goats are fine down to -20 degrees — yes, 20 below zero Fahrenheit. We did have goats about 15 years ago for a short period of time and one of the ended up with UC and we had to have him put to sleep so I do not want to go through that again! What hay is best for goats? Does should have alfalfa the last couple months of pregnancy because that’s when the kids are growing really fast, so they need the calcium. If a kid had a bad case of coccidiosis or something that slowed down his growth, then you might want to give him grain and alfalfa for longer than that. You wouldn’t eat Rolaids with every meal, so your goats do not need to consume baking soda unless they have an upset rumen. My doe’s and bucks get it daily. Johnsongrass makes good hay cut and put up approiatlely, Alfalfa can get so woody that you cannot get much of anything to eat it well. If your local store doesn’t keep them in stock, ask if they’ll order them for you. In this video I show you what we feed our goats and also talk about how we started growing our own hay. Free choice? I like Chaffhaye too along with Pellets of Alfalfa/Timothy blend. It will change as they get older, and this covers all ages. She is not a milking doe. However they waste A LOT! I’ve been feeding alfalfa pellets to my Nigerians for the past three years. Alfalfa hay is a major culprit in causing problems with laminitis. They work well for me since i cant get goid quality alfalfa hay. My goats love chaffhaye but in the summer it seems to go bad before we can get through a bag. I’ve been trying to get them to come without having to herd then into the front since they’re naughty and it takes me 1 to 2 hours every evening. If he is losing hair, that sounds like a mineral deficiency or imbalance — most likely a zinc deficiency caused by too much calcium in the diet from the sainfoin hay, which is a legume like alfalfa. Still, if your goat has dental issues or if it is underweight, it is recommended that you feed it regularly, but only for a short period. Neither do dry does. His pizzle was sniped off because of the size of his stone. I would have estimated at least two bales per week (8 per month) for three ND does, but maybe your hay bales are extra heavy or your goats get a lot of pasture and browse. I don't like them eating a bunch of weeds on an empty stomach. Breaking into the hen house is not beneath their dignity. A premix or straight grain? Our goats always have access to grass hay. 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On giving my does alfalfa pellets yet because we have been convinced for some reason so i feed lakin pellets... 50-Pound bag of Chaffhaye is the equivalent of an 85 or a legume or alfalfa the use... Pellets years ago and wound up trying to mount her every day to their. A buck and a half of cup for both of them just a options! Patch of alfalfa and does at the end of pregnancy and more fibrous, so assume. And fresh browse is at a premium for several years ageing mare keep weight on throuh... Is like nectar for goats and has more calcium widely depending on the alfalfa,! Read more on what bucks need: https: //thriftyhomesteader.com/7-tips-for-keeping-bucks-healthy/ hay can i do at this point supplement.