Proper nutrition of livestock on the farm is very important for maintaining their health, as well as obtaining quality livestock products. So that goats do not feel a lack of roughage in winter, autumn and early spring, you should take care of the timely preparation of hay. Farmers and household owners care about how much hay a goat needs during stall housing. We will answer this question.
How much hay do you need
It is widely believed that keeping goats in winter is very costly. After all, animals need a full-fledged diet, which includes various types of feed, compensating for the lack of grazing on green grass. But this is only at first glance.
Good quality hay can more than meet the needs of goats for vitamins and minerals. The productivity of dairy goats will cover all feed costs. In this regard, one should take a responsible attitude to the quantity and quality of hay harvested for the winter.
In autumn, with the onset of cold weather, animals are transferred to stalls. Small kids are transferred first, and later – older individuals. The start-up period is very important and the goats need to adapt to the changes and the new diet. The first 2-3 days hay is given only in the morning, gradually increasing the amount. At this time, one goat receives 350-550 grams in the morning. And after pasture in the evening the rate of hay is about the same.
So, we can calculate that, on average, one goat needs somewhere around 550-650 kg of hay per season.
You need to calculate stocks based on the number of livestock. A goat that is milked eats about two kilograms of hay in one feeding.
Considering that it is recommended to feed the animals twice a day, we get 4 kg of hay per day per individual. Having received this figure, you can easily calculate how much hay you need to prepare for the winter. We multiply 4 kg by the number of days of stall keeping and get the right amount of feed. And for reinsurance, we also add 150-250 kilograms.
It is important for any farmer or owner to keep in mind that adult breeding goats eat more than milking goats. A goat can eat about 6 kg of hay per day, not counting other types of feed. For small kids, the norm is 1 kg of hay per day.
The owners of these animals should remember that you need to especially carefully monitor the quality and condition of the hay at above-zero temperatures. During frosts, goats become less demanding on food, especially on hay. Keep in mind that light frosts are very beneficial for their well-being.
How to prepare hay
When harvesting hay for the winter, you need to know which grasses can affect goat health and milk yield. Milk often has a bitter taste after feeding tansy, wormwood, mustard, horsetail, chamomile and other plants.
It is imperative to start haymaking before the herbs bloom. During this period, they retain the greatest amount of nutrients.
During flowering, the plant spends all its nutritional reserves and energy, later the grass becomes coarse due to the high fiber content in the green mass.
Cereals begin to mow at the very first stage of earing, and legumes early after the opening of the buds. Harvesting is usually stopped 7-9 days before flowering. The more leaves on the mowed grass, the better and higher the nutritional value of the forage. The protein content in green leaves is almost 3 times higher than in the stems, and the amount of vitamins is 9.5 times higher. Legumes are considered the most herbaceous; they contain about 50% green leaves.
You should not mow the grass in the early morning or after rain, otherwise, it will increase the drying time of the mown hay. During drying, you can use the wilting of herbs, which ensures the preservation of nutrients and accelerates the maturation of the hay.
An important process when harvesting hay for the winter is mixing (tedding) of mown grasses. This should be done especially carefully in areas with a dense layer. Initial tedding is carried out immediately after mowing, then the greens are well dried and blown by the wind. The next tedding should be carried out as soon as the top layer dries. When the moisture content of the mowing reaches 40-50%, drying in the fields ends.
If almost finished hay is exposed to rain, turn it over after all moisture has evaporated from the top layer, and so on until it dries completely. Then the herbs should be dried in rolls. In no case should overdrying be allowed, which entails a global loss of important nutrients, vitamins and trace elements. When the hay reaches 20-25% moisture content, it is transported to places of long-term storage.