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Feeding goats hay is one of the most crucial tasks in goat farming, and it is essential to ensure that they are fed properly to maintain their health and well-being. I believe that feeding your goats the right amount and at the right time is vital.
You might wonder, what is the best way to feed goats hay? Generally speaking, the best way to feed goats hay is off the ground in a hay feeder as it will prevent the risk of parasite infections and other health issues. Remember that goats need about 2 to 4 pounds (1 to 2 kg) of hay daily, 3 to 4% of their body weight. And, hay is crucial in providing the nutrients goats need, especially when fresh forage is unavailable
Read on to explore the best way to feed goats hay to ensure that your goats receive the essential nutrients they need. You might also enjoy reading How to Keep Your Goats from Wasting Hay: Tips and Tricks.
1- Choose the Right Type of Hay
The first thing you need to consider when feeding goats hay is choosing the right type of hay. Different types of hay have different nutritional values and compositions.
Generally, hay comes in different types, including alfalfa, timothy, and Bermuda. Each type has different nutritional properties, and it is important to choose the right kind according to your goat’s age, breed, and other factors.
- Alfalfa hay, for instance, is high in protein and calcium and is ideal for young and lactating goats. Alfalfa hay is an excellent choice for pregnant or nursing goats.
- On the other hand, Timothy hay is low in protein and better for adult or senior goats, making it an excellent choice for adult goats in maintenance.
2- Provide Fresh and Clean Hay
Goats are sensitive animals and will refuse to eat hay that is dirty or musty. Therefore, it is essential to provide fresh and clean hay, free from dust, mold, or other contaminants.
I suggest you store the hay in a dry, well-ventilated area to ensure it is clean. You can also use hay nets to keep the hay off the ground and prevent it from getting dirty.
3- Determine the Quantity of Hay
The quantity of hay your goats require will depend on various factors, such as age, weight, health, breeding status, and level of activity.
A general rule of thumb is that goats should be given 2-4% of their body weight in hay per day. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and you should adjust the quantity based on your goats’ specific needs.
4- Provide High-Quality Hay
The quality of hay is important for ensuring that your goats receive the essential nutrients they require. When selecting hay, choose hay that is free of dust, mold, and other contaminants.
I encourage you to check for signs of freshness, such as green color and avoid hay that is discolored or smells musty. High-quality hay will give your goats the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
5- Feed in a Clean and Dry Area
To ensure that your goats consume the hay efficiently, it is crucial to feed it in a clean and dry area. A dirty or wet feeding area can attract pests or contaminate the hay.
Also, I recommend that you ensure the feeding area has enough space for all your goats to eat comfortably and prevent overcrowding.
6- Store the Hay Properly
Storing hay properly is vital for preserving its quality and nutritional value. Hay should be stored in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent mold growth and spoilage.
In addition, hay should be kept off the ground to minimize contamination and damage. Remember to check the hay frequently for signs of spoilage and remove any damaged or moldy hay to prevent the spread of contamination.
7- Feed Hay Twice a Day
Goats need to have access to hay throughout the day, as they have a high metabolism and tend to graze constantly.
I encourage you to provide hay twice a day, in the morning and evening, to ensure that the goats have access to it whenever they need it. This will ensure that their rumen is always full and help prevent digestive issues.
8- Consider Feeding in a Hay Rack
Feeding hay in a hay rack can help prevent wastage and keep the hay clean. The hay rack should be placed at shoulder height, making it easier for the goats to reach the hay.
In addition, I believe that using a hay rack will help prevent the goats from stepping on the hay or soiling it with their manure.
9- Feed According to The Goat’s Needs
It is essential to feed hay according to the goat’s needs. For example, pregnant or lactating goats will require more hay than adult goats.
It is also essential to consider the goat’s size and weight, as larger goats will require more hay than smaller goats. I encourage you to always monitor your goats’ condition and adjust the amount of hay you feed accordingly.
What to read next:
- 13 Types of Goats You Can Find in Texas And What Makes Them Unique.
- 7 Tips and Tricks on How to Increase Milk Production in Goats.
- 5 Key Benefits of Using Electric Goat Milkers.
Feeding goats hay might seem like a simple task, but it is essential to do it correctly to ensure that the goats remain healthy. The key is to choose the right type of hay, provide fresh and clean hay, feed twice a day, use a hay rack, and feed according to the goat’s needs.
By following the tips outlined in this article, you will ensure that your goats are getting the essential nutrients they need and maintain their health and well-being.