Test…hay that is! Long stem forage is critical to rumen health and overall wellness of our kiko goats… especially this time of year. Purchasing GOOD hay is always a challenge, and total hay costs are a big ticket item in our feed budget each year. When winter comes, we use good quality mixed grass-legume hay as the cornerstone of our feeding program.
To get the most for our hay money we need to know how good it really is…looks can be deceiving. We always test our hay so that we can build a daily ration formula around it which will supply our doe herd with the nutrients they need for each stage of pregnancy, and particularly for the last third of gestation. The hay tests tell us what we need to add in the way of concentrates to meet those needs….the better the hay the less grain is needed.
We use the University of Maryland ration builder to evaluate the doe herd daily feed needs based on the hay tests. It also helps evaluate daily costs of your feed inputs, by allowing you to input your actual purchase cost. UME Ration builder link.
We like the hay to be a minimum of around 11-12% protein, 59 tdn and rfv 100. For more information on how to interpret hay tests follow this link. Forage test interpretation link