Good quality hay is a main supply for your goats. Figuring out what to look for when choosing hay can be difficult at first. When we first looked for hay for our goats, we didn’t know anything about hay.
You’ve probably heard goats can eat anything. But that’s not necessarily true. You need to know exactly what your goats can eat so you don’t make them sick. Choosing a quality hay is a key component.
It’s easy to assume that hay is just hay. But, in reality hay comes in many different qualities. It is especially important particularly if you are feeding goats or horses (which can be sensitive to certain things) to know how to choose a high quality hay.
Here are a few tips to lead you in choosing hay:
You want to make sure that the hay you purchase has been kept dry. Hay that has not been kept protected from the elements may very well have gotten wet and rained on. Wet hay will mold. Mold can be very dangerous for goats and other animals.
Of course, there will be a small amount of dust possible in your hay. But, overall, when choosing hay you want the hay to be as dust-free as possible. Dust can actually be mold. Even if it is not mold, dust is still not good for the animals. Many animals can have allergy problems from dusty hay.
3. Extra Junk
Make sure that the hay you choose does not have excess debris, foreign plants or other stuff in it that shouldn’t be there. You want to be sure that no poisonous plants are in the hay, no damaging insects/bugs. And also, if there is a bunch of junk in the hay, your animals are not going to eat those parts and it will lead to a lot of waste.
4. Not brittle
When choosing hay you want to be sure that the hay will be easy to eat and digest. If the hay breaks easily, then your animals will have more difficulty eating it and it will not be as appealing to them.
Also, if the hay is all stems and not many leaves they will not like it as much and will waste a lot. Therefore, you want to get hay that is green, soft and a mix of leaves and stems.
5. Hay types
There are a ton of different types of hay you can choose from. The variety can be a bit overwhelming. The best type of hay for goats, especially if they are milk goats, is alfalfa hay. But any grass hay will do, such as Timothy hay or Orchard Grass hay.
You will want to stay away from Fescue hay. It can cause issues with your pregnant goats.
Once you have your high quality hay, you will also want to make sure you have a nice hay feeder to put it in for your animals so that they can easily eat it!
If you have difficulty finding hay or the amount of hay you need, you can also try supplementing with Chaffhaye.