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Author Topic: hay / haylage / silage  (Read 6439 times)


  • Joined Mar 2011
  • Dolau, Llandrindod Wells,Powys
hay / haylage / silage
« on: January 11, 2012, 09:57:15 am »
What do you feed? What is safe to feed to goats? Advantages and disadvantages - please!!!!


  • Joined Mar 2010
  • Shillingstone, Dorset
    • Bere Marsh Farm
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 10:25:03 am »
I just feed good quality hay to my goats - once had a bad big bale and they wasted most of it by chucking it on the ground!  Fussy eaters...

I don't know about haylage although I am sure I have read Silage is not good for them


  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
    • Facebook
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 11:16:27 am »
Ours have haylage most of the time.  We only swap to hay once the other animals are off haylage and its not worth opening a big bale as most of it will go off before the goats get through it.   But from around October through to May they are on haylage and they absolutely love it.   In fact everything here eats haylage, even the pigs get a small quota each day and absolutely adore it. :goat: :thumbsup:
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 02:25:48 pm »
Mine get ad lib hay. Never tried haylage or silage.


  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Barton Upon Humber
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 02:46:58 pm »
Mine get hay ad lib as well and seem to be happy enough with it


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 03:27:43 pm »
The main pros of hay are that the equipment to make it is cheaper
You can make small bales easily carried by hand and fed from a covered hay hake
The small bales can be stored in smaller spaces in sheds etc
Less risk from listeria/other soil borne bugs

Very weather dependent when being made and a lot of effort
Has to be kept inside in well ventilated barn, cant get wet

The main pros of haylage are
Can be kept outside as has waterproof wrapping
Not as weather dependent as hay although still need reasonable conditions
Can make small-ish bales tho not as easy to handle as small hay bales
Less dust
Higher nutritional value than hay

Too rich for very good doer native horses
Somewhat increased risk of listeria/soil borne disease
Goes off after 3-7 days once opened (depending on weather)
Bales may get punctured in handling or by crows etc if stored outside

The main pros of silage are
Availability in cattle areas
Can be stored in a pit if making large amounts
Can be stored outside
Highest nutritional value

Too rich for most horses
Higher risk of soil borne disease/listeria etc
Risk of bale puncture
Risk of it going off once opened.

We only have sheep and horses and we make small bale hay late on (August) which looks quite green when baled but has never gone bad yet and which they go crazy for. NB laminitis prone pony has bought in stalky soaked hay mixed with oat straw.


  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Port O' Menteith, Stirlingshire
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 05:42:14 pm »
Definately concur with the above. Hay is usually better when feeding small amounts becuase it is lighter and so easier to handle. It also won't go off like the others. Haylage is a fantastic feed, my prefered feed from all three but can be hard to come by. The silage is the hardest to use, goes off and is heavy to handle but it will be the cheapest by a long way. Good silage is often very siilar to haylage anyway.
It's always worse for someone else, so get your moaning done before they start using up all the available symathy!


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 08:53:50 pm »
Mine get hay most of the time, but just now I have the large haylage bales open for the sheep, (and this year it was so dry that it is actually like hay inside the bales!), so goats get it too.

Last year I was very short on hay (and the haylage wasn't good enough quality) and also fed horsehage in the morning - the goats loved it.

Silage is said to taint the milk, and if you only have a few goats both haylage and silage are spoiled before you get through the (large) bales.

Over the summer (well from May to October) my goats get mainly freshly cut grass from the various overgrown patches in our and neighbours garden, and no hay at all for the adults (as I didn't have any...) Worked well, just have to be careful with bottle fed kids. They still got hay (secret stash...).


  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Perthshire
    • Brucklay Pygmy Goats
    • Facebook
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 09:16:10 pm »
We uses 99% small bale hay for our goats, either made here or bought in but I did try a small bale of haylage just for a test last year - can't remember the reason now but sheep and goats loved it - we can get it nearby so I think it was a test just in case
Pygmy Goats, Shetland Sheep, Zip & Indie the Border Collies, BeeBee the cat and a wreak of a building to renovate!!

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 12:44:07 am »
I know what silage is but haylage?  Showing my ignorance here but if I don't ask I won't find out.  Mine have ad lib hay.


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 07:37:07 am »
Haylage is a mid way point between the two. It is a lot less wet than silage, but not bone dry like hay. It is wrapped in plastic like silage bales (not very eco), either as big round/square bales or smaller bales which are maybe 30kg but which are quite tricky to handle by hand as they are smooth and cube shaped and no strings to carry them by.

Quite a lot has silage style additive chemicals put in to try to prevent mould; there have been some reports of some animals rejecting the haylage due to the additive, and also of potential links to laminitis but these are anecdotal.

My frustration with haylage is getting a load delivered and then finding some bales fine and some either mouldy or smelling very strongly of chemical - like nail varnish remover. Because you dont know if each bale is ok until it is opened, it makes it complicated to return them easily. Small bale hay on the other hand, you can largely see what you are getting


  • Joined Jul 2010
  • North Yorkshire
Re: hay / haylage / silage
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 09:27:46 am »
I usually feed hay but for the first time bought a large bale of haylage.  The goats love it, as do the sheep.  In fact, since the sheep have been eating it they are not addicted to the Crystalix lick so it obviously has way more nutritional value than hay.


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