Hi, this has been my pet peeve, the HUGE amount of wasted hay in the goat pens!!! I have toyed with the idea of chopping hay and feeding manger style.... Anyone with experience with chopped? Any tricks or ideas? Here they waste a lot as all we can get is timothy hay and that has the drasted long stems on it, and they pull a bunch out, much what is in their mouths, drop the rest and go for more! We are thinking of going bigger with meat goats, but at this point, with the amount of wasting, there isnt much profit, if any. If we could just have them eat what hay we buy to put in front of them, there might be money to be made!
Any pros or cons of feeding sileage(hay that has been chopped/stored green and put in bags or a silo)?
Post by Rose's Goats on Feb 17, 2009 8:31:23 GMT -5
Goats can eat silage and do well on it. As with any animals you are feeding silage to, you have to be sure the silage is not moldy. Goats can get sick on moldy or fermented silage just as cows can.
As for wasting your dry hay, how are you feeding it to them? Do you have it on the ground or in a manger? Is it loose hay or bales? I find goats can annihilate a round bale in about 10 days if you just put it out for them without any protection around it. If doing round bales I would get some cattle panels to put around it so the goats can get on top of it and soil it. Premier Fence has a panel system for round bales that they use with Boers and sheep. If using loose hay, I would have it in a manger. You can build a manger with a tray underneath to catch the hay they spill. It helps to keep it off the ground (goats won't eat hay off the ground very efficiently). I rake up all my spilled hay and use it for bedding. That way I never have to buy straw or wood chips. I then use my bedding for mulch in my garden. It works good.
They have to put their heads through slatted bars, and the bales are inside that. They are small square bales, but they still waste a lot. It could be because its timothy that they waste so much.... I have not begun feeding round bales yet. I find with anything that they have to pull through squares, they pull a mouthful through and drop what breaks off when they chew.... the manger type works well. I am interested in trying chopping it and putting in a manger, that way, every mouthful will go in their mouth, nothing break off and fall.....
I fed baleage (sileage) for almost 2 yrs and only recommend trying it if you watch your herd closely. If you feed it properly there is less waste than dry hay but here lies the problem. What is wasted piles up on the ground just like dry hay......... and continues to ferment. Long after hay season is over does will try rooting thru where that sileage was kept looking for goodies. I had 2 come down with listeriosis (almost lost one) as well as 3 sheep. And yes we did clean up in the spring but you just can't clean it all up no matter how good you are. Ours came in 1500lb bales and if you didn't feed it fast enough in the warmer weather it was wasted.
I have since switch back to hay as it was 2 much of a fight watching the herd every single minute wondering who would be sick next. When feeding square bales I've learned to put out less than they need to start and add gradually stopping at the point where they clean up as much as I think they possibly can. We still have waste but I don't think anyone has found a sure fire way yet to feed it and NOT have waste.
I also do like rose and try to use as much of the "wasted" hay for bedding as I possibly can. Atleast then I don't have to purchase bedding on top of hay. We then take the pen material out and use it to fill holes or low spots in our yard and pasture as well as putting it on the garden. In the spring we run over it a few times with a rake behind the tractor, then a weighted down bed spring, throw seed on it and we have a filled in low spot with well fertilized seed growing.
I would never feed sileage for the reasons Bugsy just gave. Too much risk of listeriosis.
Goats waste hay. It is a fact of life. My mom picks up the uneaten hay and feeds it to her horse...who cleans it all up. I have a friend who feeds the uneaten "goat" hay to her alpacas...again...they clean up every bit. I have nobody to feed mine to so it ends up as part of the bedding or in the garden for compost.
The problem with chopping it or feeding hay that is too finely chopped, is that the goats need the roughage from the stemmy parts for their rumen to function properly.
I take the hay from the feeder in the barn and spread it out on the ground in the back of the pen where they pick through it a second time. It is easier for us to get to with the tractor so when spring comes, we bring the tractor in to do the annual pen cleanout and it all goes on the compost pile to use in the garden and/or orchard. If you don't have a garden, you can always offer the composted materials for sale to others who have gardens but no livestock to provide manure for fertilizer and/or mulch.
Post by missourigal on Feb 17, 2009 12:30:11 GMT -5
Well my tip is I dont feed my hay unless they are Sick, Gave birth, or its a cold winter day, or snow & Ice on the ground, or waiting for one to give birth.. Around here we turned them into the Food Plot which we dont use now.. It was planted for the deer, but deer season is over. It has turnips & Winter wheat in and their OK . Now we are having the grass is coming on. Due to warmer weather.. Just notice this the other day.. In the Ice storm we had allot of pine trees & ceder trees down so now they are cleaning it up..
When they do get hay in the winter when snow is on they will clean it up and that way they appreciate when they get it.. We just feed it off the ground in a new place every time.. may not be the right thing to do but it works for us!!! Need to add they get grain 1 time a day and they are all healthy and believe me they are not hurting..
Post by angelsprite on Feb 17, 2009 21:47:12 GMT -5
I've thought a lot about how to keep them from wasting hay and also how to keep them from eating it off the ground after dropping it. I got the cow tubs to feed it to them in, but of course, they still drop a good bit. I noticed though that as long as they have hay in the tub, they usually go for what's in the tub. The hay they "waste" isn't actually wasted because we are building with half-timbered construction. It's the Tudor style. You have to have straw to put in the mud. Since we have black gumbo here, mud and straw (wattle and daub) is the best, cheapest, strongest, and most environmentally friendly, not to mention the most energy efficient construction in our hot summers and wet winters. It's plastered walls and they look really cool. So, the hay the goats don't eat, we rake up and pile up next to our building site. Currently we are working on the hog house. We already built our little shop at the front of the property. When life gives us lemons (or needy, greedy, ungrateful, and wasteful goats) we like to make lemonade.