Nigerian Dwarf
and Mini-Oberhas
li

Andrea Green,  Kennewick, WA


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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 decide:

"To feed or Not to feed -- ALFALFA PELLETS!!"

Testimonial:

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 true.

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 well.

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.

Advantages:

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 leaves

    .
  • 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 milk production.

     

  • 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.

  • Pellet feederThis 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 the doelings.

    Feeder

    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.

    Izzy

    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 hKidsave 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 often.

    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.

    Pompeii

    This is an example of two of my oberhasli yearlings. They had been raised on pellets.

    To the left: New Pompeii
    To the right: Nutmeg

    Nutmeg
    Pompeii On the left is Pompeii again. Kendra,age 4, on the right shows how an "easy-to-keep" doe will gain weight.

     

    Kendra

    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.

     

     


     

    Copyright @ 2010  -- AJUD Miniature Dairy Goatss

    "Take heed unto tyhself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."   I Timothy 4:16

    Eastern Washington, USA
    ajud@frontier.com

    (509)845-3646

    Last revised - 12-2010