Thursday, November 28, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
What About Hay?
By Dr. Rick Machen
Associate Professor & Extension Livestock Specialist,
Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Uvalde
Ruminants (goats, cattle, sheep, deer, antelope, elk, bison, etc.) are, by design, grazing animals. Their rumen, the largest gastrointestinal compartment, is an environment wherein bacteria anaerobically ferment (digest) forages. This unique digestive process converts solar energy captured by plants into higher quality, more nutrient dense foods like milk and meat.
Compared to harvest by a grazing animal, hay production is an expensive process, involving fossil fuel, machinery and man-hours. Haying also involves significant soil nutrient relocation when compared to grazing. Protein (nitrogen) and minerals harvested and hauled off the soil of a hay meadow or field must be replaced if optimal hay production is to be maintained. Grazing, on the other hand, is part of a natural cycle. A portion of the nitrogen and minerals from the consumed forage is returned to the soil with urine and feces.
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Photo provided by Yvonne Zweede-Tucker.
Roughage and why goats like it
by Yvonne Zweede-Tucker
An excerpt from Yvonne's book—The Meat Goat Handbook, Raising Goats for Food, Profit, and Fun
Many meat goat producers have watched in amazement as their goats walk right past the beautiful, dark green hay available to them in the fall and winter and start happily devouring dry, brown grasses or weeds.
There actually is a scientific reason that goats prefer dry forage, and it has to do with slowly digesting carbohydrates (something called lignin) and dietary fiber. Wait! Before you eyes glaze over, there is an easier way to understand why goats eat what they eat.
When I first acquired goats, my mentors told me that goats are "roughage busters." Roughage is much easier to remember than slowly digesting fiber or lignin, isn't it? You will see your goats actively seeking out roughage as part of their diet when adult goats leave the beautiful grass in the pasture to munch twigs or weeds, or a kid, just a few days old, nibbles on a piece of straw or dried grass as it starts eating solid foods, and thereby gives its rumen something to start developing digestive enzymes for. During a cold Montana winter, our goats will happily eat straw in addition to grass-alfalfa hay because as their bodies digest the roughage in straw, they get lots of body heat from the digestion. Alfalfa hay has much more protein in it than straw, but alfalfa is digested much more quickly by the goat and does not yield as much warmth (body heat) for as long a time for the goat. It's like throwing paper on a fire, rather than a log.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Preparing Your Goats for the Winter Months Ahead
Autumn is a good time to make sure everything is in tiptop shape for the cold weather that's just around the corner. The preparations you make now can have a long-term impact on the health and comfort of your goats, so here are a few fall tips:
Even hardy animals like goats need a warm, dry place to get in out of the cold. Now is a good time to make sure your shelter can protect your goats from cold winds, rain and snow as the temperatures drop.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Waste No More
It’s a smelly reality you’ll eventually have to deal with when keeping animals on your farm: manure. Instead of groaning about the dirty chore of manure management, change your perspective—and build your soil—by turning animal waste into valuable fertilizer. We have the need-to-know stats on each manure type that will make management a breeze. More »
Friday, November 15, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Sheep, goat conference slated , Ava, Mo.Farm Talk
Parsons, Kansas — The “South Central Sheep and Goat Conference” is planned forat Ava Victory Academy, 1005 NW 12th ...
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- See more at: http://www.farmtalknewspaper.com/areafarmnews/x862206551/Sheep-goat-conference-slated-Nov-16-Ava-Mo#sthash.MFFX6bIP.dpuf