Can Goats Eat Alfalfa Hay? Is a question any goat farmer always asks. Goats can eat alfalfa hay but Grass hay is a healthy, reasonable alternative to alfalfa hay. While alfalfa hay is more nutritious for goats, it can cause urinary calculi and weight gain. In some cases, supplementation is necessary. Some goats need protein, energy, and vitamins, while others require none at all. Listed below are some benefits of grass hay for goats.
How Much Alfalfa to Feed a Goat
If you have a goat, you probably want to know how much alfalfa to feed your goat. Alfalfa is a great source of calcium and other nutrients and is as high in protein as commercial goat feed. You can feed a goat two to four pounds of hay per day (3-4% of body weight in pounds). Additionally, it is rich in calcium and phosphorus, making it the perfect complement to grain. While alfalfa is not the best choice for your goat, it is an excellent choice for the milk production of your goat.
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Benefits of Alfalfa
- Alfalfa is high in calcium
If you’re feeding a dairy goat, you’ll want to avoid giving it a diet that is high in calcium during the late pregnancy period. While dairy goats typically have plenty of calcium in their bones, they may not be using it all when milk production begins. This can result in a low blood calcium level, which is known as milk fever. Fortunately, Purina Mills has conducted research on milk fever and the effect of feeding goats a diet with a mineral balance.
- It causes weight gain in goats
One of the most common concerns about goats’ diet is that alfalfa hay can lead to weight gain. However, this isn’t always the case. Some goats may experience urinary calculi when eating buck alfalfa. This problem may be more associated with the overfeeding of grain, or a lack of water. If you feed your goats this hay, you need to monitor their fat intake closely to avoid the occurrence of urinary calculi.
It’s a fact that goats need plenty of fresh water to keep their body functioning well, so making sure that they get clean water is critical. Alfalfa hay comes in pellet form. Alfalfa, timothy, and orchard grass are common choices. Organic pellets are smaller than regular alfalfa pellets. Organic pellets are about 5/32 of an inch in diameter.
- It is a good source of nutrition
Goats thrive in semi-arid and severe climates. In many Asian countries, goat meat is the main source of animal protein. The Korean native black goat was domesticated about 2000 years ago. Over the last few decades, consumption of KNBG (Korean native black goat) has skyrocketed. KNBG is a nutritious food with lower saturated fat and cholesterol than beef or pork.
- It is convenient
The ration you give a goat should contain roughly two to three pounds of alfalfa per day. However, if you choose to feed more, you must adjust the amount to maintain the right level of protein in the milk. Goats cannot live on higher protein rations without a supplement. The higher the protein level, the more expensive it is. To find the right balance between protein and cost, experiment with different combinations.
- It is safe
Some people are concerned that feeding their goats alfalfa will cause them to develop urinary calculi. While there’s no specific cause of ruminal tympany, it is usually related to the diet. While goats need a high protein diet, excess alfalfa may reduce their weight gain. Additionally, it diverts energy away from useful bodily tasks.
Grass hay is a reasonable alternative to alfalfa hay
While alfalfa hay is beneficial to goats, it can also lead to urinary calculi. These problems are more likely to develop in males than females and are often a result of too much grain and insufficient water intake. To minimize the chances of urinary calculi, always provide your goats with fresh water and limit the amount of grain you feed them. Alfalfa hay is high in calcium and protein, but it also can cause urinary calculi and blockage in your goat’s urethra.
Although goats are natural foragers, they still have nutritional requirements comparable to those of other livestock. A good forage has protein and energy content under 7%, so it’s important to choose one that’s high in these nutrients. The ideal amount of protein and ADF should be between six and fifteen percent. Despite the low protein content of some hays, goats need as much as 7 percent crude protein to reach optimal growth and health. For pregnant goats, this requirement rises to as high as twelve percent.
Grass hay is healthier for goats
Grass hay is much healthier for goats, as they will consume it in a much larger amount. Goats prefer hay that contains high protein and calcium. Hay that is not clean or soiled will go to waste and the animals will not be able to eat it all. So, it is crucial to offer a high-quality hay to your goats. If you have an overabundance of hay, you should consider switching to grass hay.
Alfalfa and grass hay are also available in pellet form and can be fed as a grain substitute. Alfalfa pellets are not wasted because goats like them mixed with grain. Chaffhaye is forage that is packed in bags and contains beneficial bacteria. A 50-pound bag contains approximately 90 pounds of hay. Alternatively, goats can be given grain mixes, or even supplement their diets with hay.
Effects of Alfalfa hay in goat
Alfalfa hay causes urinary calculi
Although buck alfalfa hay can cause urinary calculi in goats, it is not necessarily the main culprit. Insufficient water and too much grain are the main causes of urinary calculi, but alfalfa can exacerbate the problem. Make sure your goats have clean, fresh water at all times, and limit the amount of grain they eat. You should also give them a variety of hays to feed.
A proper diet is essential to preventing urethral obstruction. It is important to make sure that your goats consume clean water at all times, as alfalfa hay is high in calcium compared to grass hay. Also, don’t feed more than one cup of grain to a fully grown wether. You can also add three to four percent salt to their ration, which stimulates water intake and may be beneficial.
It causes bloating in goats
You’ve probably heard about bloat in goats, but you may be unsure of how to cure it. Bloat is a complication of sudden changes in diet that can upset an animal’s rumen. The rumen is a critical stomach where bacteria digest forage. The problem with goats is that they can’t digest grass, so the rumen expands and can lead to bloat.
Bloat can be frothy or free gas. The latter is caused by grain. Goats often develop frothy bloat when they eat too much grain or green legumes. The problem is even worse if something lodges in their throat or esophagus. Goats can swallow large objects that cause bloat, so removing them from their diet immediately is vital.