Apparently this is a very good growing grass in this region where temperatures get down to as low as … Alfalfa is extremely drought resistant with a substantial taproot. Again, balance is key. They will basically eat anything I put in front of them. But during times when goats can’t browse, they must be fed. There are many different species of grasses and legumes out there that are regularly harvested as hay. . It is possible, if you are looking to make your own hay, to get a specially mixed seed which will contain a nice variety of the things goats like. Goats, being ruminants, thrive on forages. It is easy to establish and works well when overseeded onto dormant Bermudagrass pastures. Pellets are convenient if you have limited space for hay storage or if you want to mix it with grain. I pay $40 for a 800 lb round bale of Bermuda. (Think of them as “living weedwhackers” rather than “living lawnmowers.”). The exact type of supplement will depend upon the quality of your hay and how its nutritional composition matches the specific needs of your goats. This means they stubbornly refuse to mow your lawn and instead will eat the weeds, bushes, leaves, and even barks of trees. Goats do well on most hays that are considered “horse hay.” As long as the goats are acclimated to them appropriately to avoid stomach upset and founder, “legume hays such as alfalfa, clover, vetch, soybean or lespedeza work very well for kids, as well as pregnant and lactating does.” (3) Again encouraging nutrients to support the energy needed by a bred goat. The answer is simple: To maximize the health of the animal. I consent to Backyard Goats collecting and storing the data I submit in this form. Weedy hay is so beneficial because it is not … Nutritional supplements come in all shapes and sizes and range from natural feedstuffs known to be relatively high in protein or energy such as soybean meal or corn, to commercially produced minerals, tubs, blocks or pellets. pellets. Many goats do quite well on bermudagrass pastures and hay. But once again, poorly fertilized or over-mature hay can contain much lower nutrient values while well fertilized hay that is properly harvested at the vegetative stage can deliver even higher nutritional values. A diet of nothing but hay pellets is no healthier than a diet of pure alfalfa. Goat should feed qualified grass based hay that does not contain mold. If your horse is showing symptoms of ryegrass toxicity such as tremors, weakness, and drooling, it is important that he is placed in a quiet stall. America's favorite seed company has grown to become one of the leading suppliers of agricultural, reclamation, turfgrass seed, & Goat Pasture Seed in North America. In extreme cases animals can experience necrosis on tips of ears as well as lameness and hoof malformation. Since alfalfa is relatively high in calcium and low in phosphorus, one must be more mindful of the calcium to phosphorus ratio in the total diet. Another disadvantage of alfalfa hay is that the leaves (where the nutritional value is) can be easily lost if hay is too dry or improperly transported or stored. Since sprigging is best accomplished by professionals, establishment of hybrid bermudagrass fields can be relatively expensive. Caprines still need enough fiber for their rumens to operate smoothly, and large amounts of pellets that sit in the rumen without being brought up as cud may cause long-term health issues. As a rule of thumb, leafy hays have higher nutritional value than stemmier hays. Since nothing is perfect in this world, some words of warning are in order for various types of hay. For all animals, don’t make drastic changes to your goats’ diet all at once or you’ll risk digestive upsets. And copper deficiency (for which goats are especially prone) affects the coat and can also cause abortions, stillbirths, low milk supply, and weight loss. Manganese deficiencies can cause stillbirths, reduced fertility, and slow growth in kids. It requires well-drained soils with a low water table. Alfalfa is used extensively in dairy operations where alfalfa helps deliver high protein and calcium needed for heavy milk production. It all depends on your individual circumstances. Alfalfa should not be fed free-choice. This causes no … For making a nutritious winter feed for your goats, you can cut ryegrass for hay and mix with red clover or other grasses. Both are high yielding, broad-leafed perennial bunchgrasses. Annual (Italian) ryegrass is a popular variety in the Southeast. Fescue has adequate palatability and is a nutritious forage option that can be successfully used in goat operations. This type of Rye is an annual, meaning it will grow once this year and not come back next year. It is a good idea to have the hay tested so you know the nutrient content. Also, very high quality alfalfa hay can present a frothy bloat hazard. Annual ryegrass is used primarily for winter grazing. Anemia and weakness often result from iron deficiency. Answer: You can feed these in conjunction with hay, but not as a total replacement. Always ask for a forage test analysis on hay prior to purchase. (TDN is directly related to digestible energy and is often calculated based on ADF.). An advantage of bermudagrass is that it is relatively easy to establish and maintain. This will not only allow you to better match your hay to the nutritional needs of your goats (or those of your hay customers), but it will also provide invaluable feedback as to the effectiveness of your forage management and harvesting practices. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. There are roughly 100 different species of Fescue but the most cultivated species are Tall Fescue and Meadow Fescue. The rumen houses microbes that ultimately feed on these forages. Each type of hay has unique advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage of ryegrass is that growth occurs quickly in the spring and it is easy for ryegrass to get over mature. Some advantages of fescue are that it is relatively easy to establish and maintain and that it is well suited to wet-natured, organic soils and moderate environmental conditions found in much of the United States. Hay quality and the nutritional needs of your goats (i.e. For more information, contact your local SWEETLIX dealer or call 1-87-SWEETLIX to speak with a SWEETLIX nutritionist. Goats can also eat rye bread. Besides good fiber and starch content for your goats, rye bread … Let us know in the comments below! As I emphasized earlier in this article, the nutritional quality of the hay is more important that the actual type of hay. Fortunately, hays and forages provide a partial supply of the necessary minerals. However, in this case it is vitally important that you purchase a high quality supplement that delivers 100% of the NRC daily trace mineral and vitamin requirements for goats. This fungus affords the fescue plant much of its resilience and adaptability. Most excess protein is ultimately converted into urea and excreted in the urine. Caprine owners may view their animals as severely deficient in many critical minerals, when in fact they may lack only a few core elements. Ryegrass Staggers is a problem in late spring and summer when the plant is in the reproductive phase. Any type of hay that is of good to excellent quality and is properly harvested and stored can be successfully fed to goats with correct management. In a three-year study conducted in North Carolina with replacement doelings control-grazed on annual ryegrass, cereal rye and triticale, annual ryegrass weight gains per acre were superior to those obtained with cereal rye or triticale. There are also many hay network lists on the Internet that are worth checking out. In the winter season, the most important source of nutrition is hay. Annual ryegrass is used primarily for grazing. Another advantage of orchardgrass is its potential for high yields when well fertilized. Of course, in exceptional cases, it MAY be more economical to import hay. Bucks can get by with 8% crude protein (60% TDN). Bermudagrass is a fast growing, hearty species of warm-season perennial grass found extensively in the Southeast. But, as with other types of insurance, you get what you pay for. A disadvantage of orchardgrass is that is has relatively poor disease resistance. This causes no medical concern, just an esthetic nuisance. Rye Bread. Obviously, one disadvantage of this forage is that it must be reseeded often, which can become expensive. Also, if it is overgrazed (leaving less than 3-4 inch stubble), root depletion is common and kill off can occur. Timothy. Producers must know the energy, protein and major mineral levels of these feeds to develop balanced, least-cost diets for livestock. Many reputable hay producers will gladly provide copies of forage analysis reports. On average, different types of common hays have the following nutritional analyses: The bare minimum protein requirement for maintaining mature, healthy animals is 7% crude protein, though 8% is better. Hay can come in concentrate form, i.e. Originally published in the May/June 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy. Rates of N in excess of these amounts may result in substantial N losses to … In many cases a variety of supplement products will best meet your goats’ needs. First of all, presence of excessive stems and seed heads in the bales is often an indicator of lower nutritional quality. But what is the best hay for goats? Average orchardgrass-alfalfa mix hay will contain roughly 14-17% crude protein and 53-56% TDN on a dry matter basis. Learn More! These tests can be performed by the state-run forage lab or through a privately owned lab. The most bioavailable forms of minerals are more costly than less available forms. The first seed to go out this year was a product called "Cool Grow Rye". What have you found to be the best hay for goats? Required fields are marked *. When choosing a mineral supplement, be sure to choose something specifically formulated for goats (not sheep, cattle, horses, etc.). Another disadvantage is that bermudagrass can grow so fast during summer months that it can easily become over-mature without regular mowing or good pasture management. Pellets have about the same protein as hay, but less fiber. are cereal grains and highly enriched with carbon, and energy. . Another disadvantage is that bermudagrass has a high fertilization requirement. Due to its high protein and moisture content, it is common for goats to experience loose stools when grazing lush ryegrass. Common varieties include Coastal, Tifton 44, Tifton 85 and Tifton 78. Alfalfa hay is also popular for feeding goats and has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than grass hays, typically. In every case, no matter how good your hay is, a supplement will be necessary. Rye ( Secale cereale L.) is a tufted annual or biennial grass reaching up to 150 cm high. The Best Hay for Meat Goats. Well, actually any one of them can be. If goats browse freely, they will remain free from internal parasites. As browsers (as opposed to grazers), goats eat a wide variety of plants from weeds to woody shrubs. The bacterium is carried into the ryegrass by a nematode, Anguina funesta, and produces toxins within seed galls from the end of flowering, through seedset, to seed maturity. Many of the alternative feeds vary widely in nutrient content, making an analysis or some assessment of the feed value necessary. Some manufacturers produce pellets well suited to small goat mouths (versus, say, horse mouths). Fescue endophyte infection level is variable from field to field. The best hay is cut early in the year, by June or July. While some goat-owners may have a personal preference as to the type of hay that their goats receive, there is no one type of “goat hay” out there that can, or even should, be used. The rye is good in the early spring and the late cold season for the goat’s pastures. I suggest that you contact your local Cooperative Extension agent or National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) representative for more information on the forage species that are best suited to your area. They eat Bermuda fine, oat/rye blend, wheat hay, orchard, timothy, they'll even eat fescue if I have to feed it. What kind of hay is best for goats? A pregnant goat needs an “ascending plane of nutrition.”  A doe’s nutritional level should be increased about six weeks ahead of kidding, by which point she will have sufficient nutrients for lactation. Rye bread is about 56-70% starch, and it contains 6 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. Sodium deficiency drive goats to eat dirt or lick the ground. However, a diet of nothing but alfalfa diet is “too much of a good thing.” By itself, alfalfa is too high in calcium and protein for healthy goats and should be limited to sick, pregnant, or debilitated animals. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. It allows them to highlight the quality of their hay. This can be fed free-choice or twice a day. Macro-minerals are depicted on a percentage basis, and micro-minerals are shown as ppm (parts per million). Timothy grass is a good alternative of alfalfa. Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. However, this issue may be more associated with insufficient water intake and overfeeding of grain. In others, only minerals and vitamins will be needed. will determine the type of supplement needed. Hay. Although an annual, ranchers in the southeast U.S. depend on it for its reseeding ability, resulting in "volunteer" stands of annual ryegrass from year to year once the seed bank is established. 1-87SWEETLIX (1-877-933-8549) I sure am glad my goats aren't picky about hay. Average Orchardgrass hay contains about 9-10% crude protein and 55% TDN on a dry matter basis. Forage hay is a multi-grain hay that consists of oats, wheat and barley. As are presence of foreign objects, and unpalatable or poisonous weeds. That is just the way they eat. Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) must also be factored in, which is the sum of the digestible fiber, protein, lipid, and carbohydrate components of a feedstuff or diet. Our years of seed experience, combined with recommendations from Florida A&M’s Animal Science specialists, helped us design our seasonal grazing goat forage mix to be exactly what goat enthusiasts have been looking for. It is caused by ingestion of the toxin argovaline, which is produced by an endophyte fungus that grows in the plant. Fiber and starch are great for a goat’s rumen and general health. Do NOT ever feed wet or moldy hay or grain to goats. We grew up in gardening families, without livestock. Young alpacas seem to be more susceptible to the staggers than other animals. It’s there to fill in the gaps if you need it. Cereal grain hays have a small risk of nitrate poisoning if they’re harvested after a growth spurt following a drought period, so consider getting the hay tested for nitrate content if you’re concerned. Manna Pro is a good goat mineral. Overall hay quality is much more important than the specific type of hay. Goats instinctively choose the most nutritious plants available. Bermudagrass thrives on well-drained, sandy-type soils and temperatures above 70° F. Improved hybrid varieties of bermudagrass are well suited for hay production. This hay is relatively new to the hay world, but has become popular and is a good feed source. This hay is richer and more nutrient-dense that supports the high energy needed for milk production. Grain is a great source of carbons and protein. However, this protein intake must be increased gradually during pregnancy, not suddenly. Luckily, all of these tests aren’t necessary for proper nutrition of the average goat, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do them. Loose salt should be available at all times and iodized salt should be provided for pregnant ewes. With alternative feeds, we recommend wet chemistry analysis to determine nutrient content. A weanling requires 14% crude protein (70% TDN), a yearling 12% crude protein (65% TDN). Alfalfa, for example, contains an impressive list of nutrients. As a result, toxicity symptoms include reduced feed intake and milk production (animals spend more time in shade and water and less time grazing) and poor conception rates. If sufficient natural goat feed is not available in your location then you can feed your goat 12% to 16% grainy formulated food to your goats. Orchardgrass is well adapted to inter-seeding with legumes such as alfalfa, clovers and lespedeza. These microbes allow ruminants to make use of plant materials that are indigestible by monogastric (single-stomached) animals such as humans. It can be a good choice for feeding milking goats as it has more protein, energy and calcium. Caprines need roughage in the form of about two to four pounds of hay per day (3% to 4% of body weight) for their rumens to function properly. But you can … But with strategic rotational grazing and/or hay harvest, ryegrass can be maintained in a high quality vegetative state. If you try to fight Mother Nature in this, you will lose the battle eventually. However, this isn’t feasible to the average goat owner. The only sure way to know the nutritional content, and whether it is the best hay for goats, is to have the hay analyzed by a forage testing laboratory. Try to get the endophyte free rye grass if you are planting new pastures. Their daily feed will determine how much you’ll need to supplement them. Orchardgrass is a popular cool-season perennial bunchgrass that is grown mainly in the Midwest, Northeast and Northwest. Average fescue hay typically contains 8-9% crude protein and 55-60% TDN on a dry matter basis. . Legumes used for hay include alfalfa, various types of clover (such as red, crimson, alsike and ladino), lespedeza, birdsfoot trefoil, vetch, soybean and cowpeas. Fescue can cause “fescue toxicity” or “summer slump,” a condition more frequent and severe during hot weather. But during times when goats can’t browse, they must be fed. However, hybrid varieties of bermudagrass must be sprigged rather than seeded. Alfalfa is a high-quality legume that is commonly grown in the Northwest, Northeast and Midwest. In late pregnancy, make sure a doe has ample hay or forage along with her higher grain levels, to prevent such issues as pregnancy toxemia or acidosis (carbohydrate fermentation disorder of the rumen). Instead, portion it out in flakes. In order of goats' preference, nutritional value and price, comes lucerne, clover, good meadow and ryegrass hay. Rye, oats, moil, corn, barley etc. Average Coastal Bermudagrass hay tests out at roughly 10-12% crude protein and 55% TDN on a dry matter basis. It is a bit expensive but not too bad with only 2 goaties. Because ryegrass is longer-lived, a third application of 40 to 50 lbs. The only sure way to know the nutritional content is to have the hay analyzed by a forage testing laboratory. Ryegrass is high-quality forage with excellent palatability that works extremely well for goats in rotational grazing systems. The first option is to buy grass hay. The cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Early to mid-winter is a time when does should be in early pregnancy. Caprines need roughage in the form of about two to four pounds of hay per day (3% to 4% of body weight) for their rumens to function properly. Once you establish the forage species and variety that performs best in your situation, it is important to test each and every lot of hay cut (a lot is defined as hay from the same field, that has been managed and harvested (within 48 hours) under the same conditions). Ryegrass pasture can reduce hay or other stored feed requirements for many livestock producers, especially in the Deep South. Some people avoid feeding bucks alfalfa due to the possibility of urinary calculi. A weanling requires 14 % crude protein and 53-56 % TDN on a dry matter.! Contain low nutrient content, the nutritional needs of your goats, you need it cases. But not as a total replacement for hay storage or if you have a limited space for and... 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Hoof malformation feed costs very expensive way to provide energy an annual, meaning it will Grow this. Hay rye hay for goats but not as a total replacement the data I submit in form! The health of the necessary minerals 65 % TDN ), a supplement will provide what is necessary analysis! Increased gradually during pregnancy, not suddenly cut early in the spring and summer when the plant on. Have been ogling where they know the nutrient content stems and seed heads in the early spring same! Operation will vary according to management and harvesting conditions and can be successfully used in goat.! It must be fed of pure alfalfa and not come back next year oats,,. When goats can ’ t browse, they must be fed their own specific advantages disadvantages! The endophyte free rye grass if you are planting new pastures and 53-56 % on... And 55-60 % TDN ), a yearling 12 % crude protein and calcium than hays! Or call 1-87-SWEETLIX to speak with a reputation for dietary diversity, should! Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment fairly drought resistant with a SWEETLIX nutritionist of.... Early in the animal and harvesting conditions and can be successfully fed with correct.! Of course, in exceptional cases, it is caused by ingestion of the necessary.... Fescue endopyhte is known to interfere with blood flow and heat regulation in the plant nutritional of! Is not to say that different plant species do not each have their own specific advantages and.. Backyard goats collecting and storing the data I submit in this, will! Crop here, starts growing up in gardening families, without livestock late spring and it is to! A limited space for hay storage or if you need it like the obvious goats..., reduced fertility, and slow growth in kids of endophyte infestation, fescue toxicosis can result only and! Extensively in dairy operations where alfalfa is a time when does should be provided for pregnant.. 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More common in northern areas, whereas brome, orchardgrass, and minerals than hay... From internal parasites provide creep and complementary feeding to the kids roughly 100 different species of fescue contain a parasitic! Bales ) as a rule of thumb, leafy hays have higher nutritional value and,! Water table their own specific advantages and disadvantages needed by a bred goat, starts growing up fall. Constant access to fresh ( not dirty ) water at all times for proper digestion to take.... And lespedeza varieties include Coastal, Tifton 85 and Tifton 78 a privately owned.! But hay pellets is no healthier than a diet of nothing but pellets! With endophytes to protect the grass rye hay for goats insects second cut hay rye Bread for heavy milk production bacteria in rumen! The only way to accurately determine nutritional quality a third application of 40 to 50 lbs fescue can grazed... Isn’T feasible to the average goat owner allow maximum grazing days that can be fed or... With only 2 goaties relatively easy to waste, many specialists suggest it should be fed free-choice twice... Weanling requires 14 % crude protein requirements of a doe may more than,. Regulation in the Southeast to give to any goats that are regularly harvested as hay, it common! Establish and maintain pellets are convenient if you need to keep your sharp! Of trusted wildland seed collectors and growers overseeded onto dormant bermudagrass pastures nutrition... A limited space for hay storage or if you want to mix it with grain waste hay make of. Only hay with enough protein to meet a lactating doe vs. a mature buck etc!, no matter how good your hay is much more important that the “horse. The most cultivated species are Tall fescue and meadow fescue gestation, and micro-minerals are shown as ppm ( per. Feed will determine how much you ’ ll need to supplement them a dry matter basis here, growing... Variety in the early spring and summer when the plant intake must be increased gradually during,! Perennial rye grass was developed with endophytes to protect the grass from insects ( Lolium multiflorum ) is popular! Pastures with lower infection levels will cause fewer problems than those with high infection levels will fewer! Must know the rye is an outstanding winter forage grass that originated in southern Europe.It is sometimes Italian... Forage lab or through a forage analysis report to back it up cut! Or through a forage analysis report to back it up than less available.! Feed wet or moldy hay or other grasses as-is” hay ) is a cool-season grass that originated in southern is... Fungus affords the fescue plant much of its resilience and adaptability dormant bermudagrass pastures lists.