Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grass Hay

What kind of grass hay do you buy? Cheap? Wrong answer!! :)

I'm curious to see what kinds of grasses in your area you are feeding both in the pasture and in your hay. My dad seeded oats in a 20 acre field and i promtly followed him with a grass seeder that had 4 kinds of grass in it: Ryegrass, Bluegrass, Timothy and Brome. The label says "HORSE PASTURE MIX" but its not like the horsepasture mix we used in the new 3 acre 'pasture' we are fencing in. That horse pasture mix had orchard grass, clover and a bit of alfalfa also.

What are the maximum amounts of alfalfa that your sheep get? Do they really need it? What grass is best for them and which is the first they eat (if it is different from what is best for them) I know kids would rather eat candy than veggies but that doesn't make them better for you :)

My dad was calling me Johnny Grass Seed instead of Johnny Appleseed....i laughed..but do you get it? we are an odd bunch.


Angela Rountree said...

Hi, Garrett!
The only time our sheep get alfalfa is when I am forced to buy alfalfa pellets at the feed store. Our pasture is mostly fescue, with some red clover mixed in. I fed alfalfa pellets my first 2 winters, and fed a mixed lespedeza/orchardgrass/timothy/clover hay this past winter.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

My sheep get third cutting orchard grass; definitely not cheap! The pasture is a who-knows mix, but has some clover; this is the first year (starting last winter) that they have had much access to that. They never get alfalfa, and stay butterball fat (except for old Inky). They get a "handful" of grain each to bring them in and out each day, too.

Laura said...

I started out grazing just grass, but grasses don't grow well in hot weather. I graze Birdsfoot Trefoil (it also has a lot of tannins so good to help keep down worm and can last 20 years if grazed right), I also have a pasture with one rotation of 50% Alfalfa-never had bloat. I am planning on adding some Red Clover next year. Birdsfoot Trefiol is not steamy like Alfalfa and does not cause bloat (bees also love it.) Red Clover can be hard to turn into hay as it does not dry as well as Alfalfa.

This winter I fed grass hay, but fed Alfalfa in the past and I have to say I like the Alfalfa better. It is more nutritious and they actually eat less # of Alfalfa.


Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

On a new field, we sow oats and drill in brome. We found that combos like brome AND timothy gave the timothy too much strength to 'take over'. The money is in good brome, the sheep and goats prefer a good brome, and we're not growing hay for horse owners so the heck with Timothy. It takes 2 years to get a decent 'return' on the brome tho, much slower going here because of our very low Ph (which is only 5.7% thanks to boreal forest ground). Since we feed organically, we'll get a bumper crop of hay the first year with the oats, the 2nd year we'll have a nice but lower-volume take of brome......adequate enough to cover costs on mowing/baling tho. Brome has soooo much more leaf than Timothy, so foliar feeding really really works with Brome plantings too. We're going to experiment on a foliar feeding or two with added Selenium...then test it out to see if we get that 'back' in the baled commodity.

Oh, and as side note - my yearlings have begun to lamb now - ha! Told ya so - don't count out those young BFL's just yet.......

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

PS - I never feed the sheep Alfalfa. It's so touchy, if your loose minerals are bought for grass hays and you add in alf, then you must add in a loose mineral for an alfalfa feeding regimine in the same percentage. Optimum health, milk production, lamb production is dependant on that 2:1 ratio calcium to phosphorous. Alf take a different loose mineral mix especially is you are NOT going to grain to make up the phosophorous. That's why in milk dairies they feed straight alf and lots of grain - they balanace each other. If you want to feed straight grass hays like we do for our dairy, then you have to grain much less and depend on a concentrate more that has little grain in it. I sure hope I explained that right! LOL!

Gail V said...

Hi Garrett,
We have an alfalfa/ orchard/ brome/ timothy mix and the sheep love it and do well on it. If lambing rates are any indicator-- I dunno, are they?-- we get twins nearly every time-- 13 Shetlands had 24 lambs, or 185%--
but maybe that's just in their genetics.

Juliann said...

Cheap here! If it's green and ain't moldy, we feed it.
I do supplement with grain of alfalfa pellets if the sheep need it.

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