for people who love the littlest dairy goats
How many goats do you have? What ages? Milking, dry, or will they be pregnant over the winter? All ND?
I have two dry, non pregnant does and they eat roughly one bale of quality hay per month. I can't remember the size/weight of my bales. They are not the smallest (average size) but not the largest, either. I do supplement in the winter with saved dry leaves and other special treats every now and then.
I'm glad you asked because I am also getting ready to purchase hay to get my goats through the winter. I have 3 does (one in milk), and two bucklings who are just babes now but I'm sure will grow like weeds. I was just trying to figure this out and would love some feedback too!
Two doelings, both 4 mos old. We may breed one this winter, but I need to ensure she will be of appropriate size first. Both NDs.
Thanks Jennifer, for your input.
I would buy 10 - 12 bales.. I have 2 females a doeling who is about 4 months and one male and I figure I go through two bales a month. I think my bales are 100#.. It is better to have to much than to little.
If this is your first year with goats, you probably don't know when you'll need to start feeding hay -- and that can change depending upon the weather too. We're in Illinois and usually have to start feeding hay sometime between October and November, and then it is the primary food source until April most years.
You also need to ask the hay supplier how much the bales weigh. Ours weigh 50-70 pounds, depending upon who bales them. Although we have a lot of goats, we do have them split up into different pens at times, and I can't imagine ever feeding less than a flake twice a day, which means we'd go through at least a bale a week per 2 adults. When my milkers are in the kidding pens, each one goes through two flakes a day plus their grain. When you look at pounds of hay, my numbers are pretty close to Rolling Hills.
You should also consider the fact that a lot of people charge more for hay in the middle of winter than this time of year, so if you run out, you could find yourself paying a lot more per bale.
I don't like breeding does prior to 7 months of age AND at least 40 pounds, so some does don't get bred until they're 18 months. You probably won't not be breeding your doelings this winter, but even if you do, you wouldn't need to be increasing their feed until spring when you'll probably have more pasture available again.
To toss another thought into this, before you stock up on hay, you might want to try one bale to be sure they like it. I have bought local grass hay and eastern Washington grass hay and have found my girls like *only* one of them, from a particular farm here in Clark County. The rest wound up primarily as bedding.