Types Of Hay For Goats

Types Of Hay For Goats

The business of raising goats is a profitable commercial venture. There is substantial demand for goat meat in many parts of the world. Goats are also raised for their milk, hides, and fibre, amongst other things. Goat production is particularly easy due to the resilience that goats wield. This significantly reduces feed costs thus boosting the bottom line. It is important to note that what goats feed on does have an influence on their growth. Goats can feed on several different types of foods; one of them is hay. Hay is grass cut and dried for use as animal fodder. It can also be any mix of green leafy plants used as animal fodder. Here are the different types of hay for goats:

Hay For Goats In General

To understand the types of hay for goats you need to understand where it comes from. That will make it easier for you to appreciate what constitutes the best hay for goats. Generally, hay for goats comes from 3 main sources namely, grass, legumes, and grains. As such we can classify hay for goats into those 3 categories. There are several types of hay under each but we shall focus on notable mentions.

Grasses

Importance Of Grasses As Hay For Goats

The importance of grasses as hay for goats is in their role in digestion. Grasses are rich in fibers or roughage which is central to smooth digestion. If goats eat a diet lacking in or devoid of fiber, the digestibility of other feeds they eat is compromised. Plus indigestion can occur thus leading to for example, bloating in goats. For a goat diet to be considered healthy, it must have at least 12 percent of crude fiber.

Notable Grasses For Goats

Examples of grasses that are best for goats are Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, fescue, brome grass, sorghum, and millet. Other noteworthy mentions are Timothy, crown grass, rye grass, Napier grass, and cat grass.

Legumes

Importance Of Legumes As Hay For Goats

When it comes to what goats eat you need to seriously consider crude protein. Goats require significant amounts of crude protein at important stages of their development. Generally they need protein to grow but when gestating and lactating, protein is paramount. Goats normally need at least 7 percent of crude protein to sufficiently cater for their protein needs. Thus when you are looking into what your goats can eat, have that in mind. The aim should be to expose your goats to types of hay that have substantial crude protein amounts.

Notable Legumes For Goats

Alfalfa (lucerne) is a notable type of hay that goats prefer. It has superior nutritional quality. For instance, alfalfa has 19 percent crude protein and 26 percent crude fibers. The total digestible nutrients in alfalfa constitute 61 percent which is quite high. Goats can eat alfalfa raw or after it has been pelleted. Another notable mention is soyabeans; also rich in crude protein content. Moderation is important when feeding goats with alfalfa; too much can be detrimental. In fact, that is rule of thumb when it comes to legumes as hay for goats. Other notable legumes for goats to include here are cowpea, lespedeza, clover, and vetch, amongst others.

Grains

Importance Of Grains As Hay For Goats

Grains are an important source of calories for goats. Thus grains cater for the energy needs of the goats. It is worth stating that grains have not always been a traditional part of the goat diet. That is why you must not excessively feed goats with grain hay. Grain in a goat’s diet can range from nothing to at most 10 percent.

Notable Grains For Goats

There is a wide range of grains that goats can feed on. We are looking at examples like barley, corn, oats, wheat, and maize. In essence, goats can feed on cereal grains.

NB: You can find that some types of hay for goats can be termed differently. For instance, soyabeans are an option for important legumes goats eat. Soyabeans can be termed as a legume but some can term it as a grain. Another example can be that of sorghum and millet. Some refer to them as grains whereas some refer to them as grasses. All this does not change their importance as types of hay for goats.

Hay Bale Mixtures Are Essential

The general rule of too much of anything is bad applies in goat nutrition too. The hay you feed your goats must constitute a balanced diet. There is an option to feed goats with excusive hay. For instance, you can make or purchase hay that is exclusively legume-based. You could do this for all the necessary types of hay for goats. However, you might not be able to ensure the goats eat proportionate amounts of each. That is why it can be wiser to feed the goats with hay mixtures. For example, make hay that contains all the necessary types of hay i.e. grass, legumes, and hay. There is also an option to pellet the hay if you prefer it that way.

Feeding Hay To Goats

It is advised that you feed hay to your goats using feeders. Desist from the practice of just placing the hay on the ground. You must also monitor the daily hay intake of your goats. It is recommended that goats should only eat hay amounting to between 3 percent and 4 percent of their body weight daily.

Final Words

That is what you need to know about types of hay for goats. The working principle is that goats require grass hay, legume hay, and grain hay. What you will feed to your goats under each depends on your location. You would have to consider what is most nutritious in your location. It is important to ensure the ultimate diet is balanced. Wherever possible endeavour to have the goats feed on fresh hay for maximum nutrient intake. Despite the hardiness of goats, a balanced diet still matters immensely.