How much hay for one lactating doe?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I'm new to dairy goats and have run out of hay that my father-in-law gave me for my one doe. I need to buy some and for the purpose of rationalizing the expense to my dh, I need to know approximately how long one typical square bale will last. One week? One month? Alfalfa hay is over $8.00/bale, and "plain" hay is $4.00. Thanks in advance
-- Elizabeth in e tx (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 10, 2001
I should add that dh wants to know if it's not enough to give her grain twice daily and all the green grass she can eat--here in TX spring has arrived and the grass is coming up like mad. I think she needs hay also, but what is the reason? More protein in hay? More roughage than in grass alone? Thanks
-- Elizabeth in e tx (email@example.com), March 10, 2001.
Lets see, if a chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, then...
-- WIlly Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 10, 2001.
During the winter, I would say probably one bale every four days plus grain. Thats with no pasture in the winter. I'm talkng 35 - 40 pound bales. If you're giving grain, I would feed "plain" hay.
-- David in NH (email@example.com), March 10, 2001.
Our grass is up too.My does have quit eating hay for this year.To answer your question,a large doe will eat about 5 pounds of grass hay per day when she has no green grass.You can usually buy grass hay ,in the field,for 2.00 to 2.50 per bale.You have to be there when they are baling it.This saves the farmer the labor of hauling and storing the hay so they are happy to sell it for less.
-- JT in Florida (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 10, 2001.
Is your doe pregnant or milking or is she just a pet or brush goat? If she is one of the latter and you have a lot of grass, she'll do alright on pasture. If she's pregnant, she should have some hay in addition to whatever pasture she wants and some grain (maybe a pound a day). If she's milking, she should have grain ( the amount depends on her production), hay, and pasture if you have it. My does will eat pasture even if they have plenty of hay. If you have really good milkers, alfalfa is the best, but sometimes you can find good grass hay. The problem is that people seem to think that any old hay, moldy or stems or whatever, is just fine for a goat. I feed my does grass and alfalfa, feed them the grass first, then the alfalfa as a dessert.
Is this the same doe that didn't get any water while pregnant? I don't know how she was fed before, but it probably wouldn't hurt her to feed her well at this point. I would get a ton of good quality grass or alfalfa grass hay and feed her a few flakes a day or as much as she'll clean up.
-- Rebekah (email@example.com), March 10, 2001.
The reason for both grain and hay is the amount of protein the goat gets. When our goats are in milk I make sure they get a high protein grain mix @16-20 %. If the grain happens to be less I purchase alfalfa hay to make up the difference. The goats prefer live grass and will generally go for the pasture over the hay when its available.In the summer I know we are buying high %grain so I get a grass hay, usually timothy, to supplement our sparse pasture.In the winter I pop for alfalfa because we get a general feed for all the animals. And the does are pregnant. Well off to milk.
-- pioneer patti (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 11, 2001.
I honestly don't think unless you are on milk tests, showing or selling showstock and need the alfalfa for PR, that alfalfa even needs to be in most goats diets.
I am also in East Texas, Cleveland north of Houston, and we keep grass (coastal or hay grazer) in the feeders full all the time whether we have pasture/browse or not, from about May until November the girls eat very little grass hay anyway, summers, opting to be out in the woods. I do feed my mature, heavy milking, heavy bred and heavy :) show does chopped alfalfa, it comes dehydrated in a 40 pound plastic bale, since it is chopped (and with enough length to be counted as hay/roughage) it can be fed in whatever you are using for your grain, with no waste. So the 8$ for 40 pounds of my alfalfa that I am buying is much more economical than feeding a similar normal bale of alfalfa which has about 1/4th waste to it, even with the very best of hay feeders. I feed the US Alfalfa brand that comes in from Kansas, though Purina also carries their own brand of this product.
For one doe I would put out a flake (the one section on the hay bale that comes off naturally by itself) in the morning, and perhaps refresh the hay if she eats all of this, so at least 1 flake a day. Especially if it is raining and she hasn't had a chance to eat outside.
For an average goat owner with pet/housemilk/meat provider type goats, aim for about a 12 to 14% total ration, so if you grass hay is 11% that means you should have some protein in her grain each day that is 13-14-or 15 percent to balance out the lower protein in the grass hay, which can eaisly be done with alfalfa pellets, Black Oil Sunflower seeds, and 1/4 cup serving of any of the nutritional supplements like Calf Manna, Head Start, Purina's Animax etc, or a small amount of soybean meal added to a 12 percent grain like oats or barley. Loose cattle or horse minerals will give you all the mineral requirements that you need. Or you can simply feed the grass hay with a 14% or 15%, 16% at maximum all grain ruminent feed. Most grain mixes are mixed to be fed at 1 pound per day per 100 pounds of body weight for maintenece, so 1 pound each day, with extra for milking, and the last 50 days of pregnancy. If they are dry, bucks not being used, or grown kids (8 months on through the first 100 days of pregnancy) they could eaisly be grown on hay and browse. Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh TX (email@example.com), March 11, 2001.