Friday, September 2, 2016

Heading Out Again?

 It is that wonderful time of the year again. Hay, hey or "Hey we need Hay!" So cause and effect September's first road trip in preparation. We are blessed with the most wonderful hay man. Brett of B and B Farms in the central San Joaquin valley of California. We have been purchasing hay from Brett since about 1991. He and his family have grown hay for 3 generations and Brett grows wonderful dairy quality hay. For those of you who don't know about hay here you go. 


Alfalfa hay which is higher in protein or "hotter" as we who grow hay or have dairy animals call it than other hays. It is usually the first through third cuttings that make the "cut" so to speak. Dairy producers like to see the test number hit around 53 to 55 percentage of TDN. TDN is total digestible nutrients and is usually made up of a fine stemmed leafy product. And Brett because he had been growing since he could walk is a master at this. So much so that this year the hay from his second cutting second year field was a thicker stem and yet my picky goats ate every last bit of it. Goats aren't big fans of thick stemmed hay. 
 
Goats picky? Don't goats eat everything? Sorry to burst the goat bubble but no they don't . The best way I can explain goat behavior is when there is something new to them they like every good toddler (even the adults) give it a good going over with their lips. They don't have opposing thumbs friends so that is the only way they can check it out. And on occasion it goes down the hatch. Not because they consider the object of their curiosity a food souce but because their lip smacking gets the best of them. In 31 years of goat keeping it has been my experience that unless a goat is starving they will stay pretty much to their regular diet.   

So much in fact I once had a Nubian doe that would dance through her grain bowl with her tongue and deliberately leave every piece of rolled corn in the bowl. Flag was not a big fan of corn apparently. 

So who is eating this wonderful hay on the farm? Well these two Libbie on the left and KC on the right.                                                        





And that good looking boy to the right Cloves. 


Not to be forgotten are Sundance Kid aka Buddy (white buck) and Longfellow Buddy's Sire below. Longfellow is our first home grown buck to linear appraise 90 EVE with the American Dairy Goat Association. That score will get some explaining as we get more into goat life here on Walnetto Farm.

  
 Hay is a very important part of a ruminants diet. Alfalfa is important because alfalfa makes milk. We have worked very hard over the years to establish a breeding program that presents does who give a minimum of 6-8 pounds of milk a day as first freshing two year olds. 8 pounds being a gallon. We have met and exceeded that goal while maintaining a 4-6% butterfat level. We have had some very high producing does in protein, butterfat content and pounds of milk produced in the day. That being when we were on offical milk test through DHIA (Dairy Herd Improvement Association)and had several does make it to Breed Leader status for the LaMancha breed with awards from the American Dairy Goat Association.

On the farm milk goes into just about everyone and everything. From the four legged kids to the orphan rabbits, barn cats, chickens, dogs , humans, cheese and soap. And we like our milk raw with never an illness linked to our raw milk consumption in 31 years. With that said you can see why we are very picky about hay quality here at the farm as there is a lot riding on good quality raw milk.

We wish everyone an epic weekend resting from your daily labor in a way that makes you smile. And look forward to seeing you again on Wednesday when we return with lots of photos of our hay trip.   


 

 

 



2 comments:

  1. Our animals receive better care than do we, eh? lol I'm grateful to Daddy John for putting up my hay; granted, it's round bales but it's still good hay and I supplement with square bales from the loft.
    I grew up on raw cow milk, butter, cheese and never had an illness.

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    1. Sandra you have pampered critters and good for you! I envy your access to be able to grow hay on your land. Around here all we would bale would be boulders from Lassens last bug eruption. 😉

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