Feeding Alfalfa Pellets
For those of you that have heard all kinds
of nightmarish stories about feeding alfalfa
pellets, I have taken some pictures of my
"set-up" and goats. Maybe this will help you
"To feed or Not to feed -- ALFALFA
For over fifteen (15)
years I have been feeding alfalfa
pellets instead of hay to my dairy
goats, feeder calves, and even pigs. I
started feeding pellets because of a
back injury that made it impossible for
me to feed hay. I had heard all the
horror stories that has been going
around and entered into this new feeding
program with concern that they might be
For the first year, I rationed the
pellets so they wouldn't bloat, or get
sick from them. Later I found that a
goat that had never had pellets got
along very well on free-choice. Since
starting on pellets, my goats have
never bloated, never showed
any rumen problems, and have milked
My herd has produced number top ten
breed leaders. There have also been
several grand champions.
The best example of the what my does
have done is GCH AJ's Udder Delight
Karlada 2*M, breed record holder for
butterfat production for Saanens.
She was raised on alfalfa pellets.
My calves have put on more weight in a
shorter time. The pigs had good weight
gain as well.
One of the best
reasons is that there is NO waste.
Very important when considering the
cost of hay.
NO hay mess to clean
up after the goats finish eating.
Another excellent reason is that
with a automatic feeder, you are not
having to handle hay twice or three
times a day
With a feeder, you
can fill it and then you are able to
leave for a few days without having
to worry about the goats being fed.
Less fighting since
the pellets are always the same,
bullies don't drive out younger and
weaker animals to get the choice
Animals are free to
eat at different times so are more
inclined to eat several small
"meals". Feeding hay, or pellets,
several times a day can increase
Pellets can be
stored in a smaller area.
There are probably more
reasons in support of pellets that I haven't
thought about. But there is one
BIG drawback. If you
have an easy keeper, one that will gain
weight quickly, they will become too fat on
free choice alfalfa pellets.
The proof is in the pudding:
The following are pictures taken
of some of my goats and of the
pellet feeder. I think they will say
more than anything else I can say.
This feeder will hold about 1800
lbs of pellets. There is a fence
that divides the feeding area in
half. One side the does have free
choice to eat. The other side is for
Beside the feeder is their water
barrel with an automatic waterer.
The roof keeps rain off the pellets
and give the goats a dry place to
stand when it's raining.
This is one of
this years doelings. She is a
few days over three months old.
She has been raised on pellets.
The kids have a pen that
they stay in at night where they
have access to the feeder.
During the day they are in with
the milkers with access to the
pellet feeder and pasture.
Allowing access for the kids to eat any
time they want will help them to grow.
It is kids nature to eat little but
During the day they can
go out with the adult does which helps
them to learn to get along with the
older does, yet they can eat pellets
whenever they want to. This gives them
the best chance to develop to the
fullest of their genetics.
|This is an example of
two of my oberhasli
yearlings. They had been raised
the left: New Pompeii
To the right: Nutmeg
||On the left is Pompeii
again. Kendra,age 4, on the
right shows how an
"easy-to-keep" doe will gain
My goats have been fed nothing
but pellets as their hay source for
a number of years. It has made it
easier for me to feed my goats.
Feeding alfalfa hay, grass hay, or
pellets is a personal thing. But I
hope this has eased your fears of
feeding pellets. They work for me.