We often learn cost cutting when it comes to animal care BUT there are good ways and bad ways and the bad ways can cost you money and break your back my hopes here is to save you money and your back. #1 when it comes to Hay this is a no brainier BUT it took 1 season to learn the lesson on Hay. I was buying square bales of hay that were $6.00 each and each bale was about 40 – 80 pounds each.
When you get to the large round bales you can get them for about $40.00 – $50.00, they are anywhere from 800 – 1300 pounds. Myself I can get them delivered it depends on how many I buy. I had 7 goats last winter and I used 3 1/2 round bales. Mine are usually in the 1,200 pound range. Make some kind of manger to keep what you feed off the ground. We stand ours up on end because its easier to flake it off with a pitch fork. Make Sure to cover each bale with a tarp to prevent mold.
Goats will trample the hay as well as urinate and defecate on it then its wasted. I filled the manger and gave them all the hay they could eat. I don’t feed grain to them until I know they are pregnant then I mix in a big steel trash can 1 scoop of sweet feed 2 scoops of cracked corn when the can is full and mixed I give them 1 scoop of feed for each goat. (32oz Scoop)
In the Summer they get only Hay and pasture grass. STRAW it is a little different, We have more than one type of animal. We have Chickens, Ducks, Turkeys, Rabbits, Goats and the Metro East Farms garden. This is where it gets different, you can buy square bales of straw $4.00 – $5.00 per bale from farmers NOT farm supply or feed mills they will gouge you $6.00 – $6.99 a bale. DON’T buy round bales of straw. You can NOT move the straw with a pitchfork as well, it falls off the fork where you can move huge amount of hay in one fork. Square bales are the way to go, Carry one to the goat house, one to the chicken house, one to the duck house and to the garden it is just so much easier.
Grain is another thing that can save you money or cost you, but it depends if you want easy or savings. I can go to the local farm supply stores and buy bagged grain, Sweet Feed and egg laying pellets, but the secret is cracked corn. these will cost you more because of the convenience of being bagged. HOWEVER buy some 55 gallon barrels with removable lids. buy your Egg Laying pellets and Sweet feed you get a MUCH better price on your cracked corn sometimes up to a 40% savings. Take your vehicle loaded with your barrels and they will use an auger to put the grain in your barrels and then head to the farm.
I do a 3 to 1 mixture on the Goats and a 5 to 1 mixture on Egg Pellets I use for the ducks, chickens and turkeys. The corn is a good filler and I think personally it fattens up the goats up a bit. Unscientific but it seems when I give the goats grain starting in the fall I get more twins in kidding season and I get quite a bit of milk.
ALWAYS put tarps over your hay and straw and its best if you can to store all your feed in 55 gallon drums to prevent moisture and rodents. Nothing worse that holes or poop in bags of grain. Forget to close the shed doors and bags on the floors Opossum and Raccoon wont hesitate to find it. I hope this information helps you decide or educates you on cost control.