Hay prices are high around the country and in some places the hay is hard to come by. These reasons led Dianea Fay and her son Brandon Fay who raise Nigerian dairy goats under the herd name Beards and Tails Dairy Goats near Emporia, Kansas, to try Chaffhaye, a hay/fiber alternative feed for dairy goats.
"Our hay dealer lost his fields to floods the year before so he needed to replant and rotate his crops," Dianea Fay said. "We started feeding Chaffhaye late last fall as we were struggling to find alfalfa for the goats."
Chaffahaye is a source of roughage, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals, made from alfalfa hay. It is chopped and packed into special 50-pound bags that lock in freshness and natural plant juices. Fermentation agents are added, creating a mix that produces beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and yeast that aid digestion and helps maintain proper pH balance in the dairy goat’s diet. This allows the digestive system to extract more energy and nutrition from the forage.
"Once we started feeding Chaffhaye we were shocked to see improvement in overall coat condition, loss of hay bellies, and that infernal hay dust cough in our dairy goats," Fay said. "We also noted an increase in our milk production while they were on the Chaffhaye."
The Fay’s goats relish the Chaffhaye.
Fay said they feed their goats about two pounds of Chaffhaye each day, in divided feedings.
"You can increase or decrease the amount you feed on the condition or weight of your animals," Fay said. "We feed grain and then when the grain is cleaned up, then we go about and put the Chaffhaye in the feed bowls and they clean that up in record time. We have many bowls out so that everyone gets some. If I have a few smaller goats that I do not think are getting enough, then I pull them out and guard them so they get enough. But overall, they share well. If I have some brome or prairie hay then I will give a bit in the afternoon just to occupy them as we dry lot our goats."
Fay said the Chaffhaye has a two-and-a-half year shelf life without a loss of protein. It is also cost-effective because there is less waste than there would be from a normal bale of hay fed to the goats.
"I feel we are getting a better bang for our buck with Chaffhaye, because not only are my goats getting the quality alfalfa, but there is the yeast in there for probiotics." she said. "It is packed in water repellent bags that are easy to take to shows or move around on the farm. Tag is only 50 pounds but it is ‘packed’ and is equivalent to a bale-and-a-half of alfalfa. Actual bales of alfalfa currently weigh between 50-75 pounds and are selling in many areas for $10-$15 a bale. It is really hard to get good brome or prairie hay here in Kansas right now where I live, so Chaffhaye has been a blessing for us. A bale of Chaffhaye, depending on how far it travels to dealer, is running about $13.25. I know it sounds like a lot, but when you weigh all the benefits the goats gain then it is not so bad, and then factor in that it is a bale-and-a-half then you are paying about the same price."
At Beards and Tails, the does and bucks all get the same ration.
"We feed an all stock grain ration to the goats and those getting ready to kid get a dairy ration," Fay said. "I know many do not feed the goats year round, but as we have domesticated them they cannot live on hay alone. We also have mineral available for them all the time, and lots of water. They do not act as hungry when being fed the Chaffhaye. We feed all our goats the same hay. The bucks really like it and I have to say they have done well this year breeding, as we had many triplets and quads born. The bucks did not get real skinny during rut either. And I have to say this year they are maintaining weight pretty good too."
Fay said she and her son had to drive a few hours to get their first pallet of Chaffhaye, but it lasted them a long time and the goats loved to eat it. Storage was not a problem because the pallet of 50 pound bale bags had an additional tarp on it to add extra protection from elements. A ton of Chaffhaye occupies only one third of the space of baled alfalfa. It is also free of dust, mold, and blister beetles.
Fay said until the cost of good alfalfa hay came back down, her goats would not mind eating Chaffhaye, in fact, they seemed to prefer it.
"I can say that when the first pallet was gone the goats were really unhappy to have to go back to less than quality hay as that was all we could find," she said.
Fay said she encouraged other goat breeders to try Chaffhaye if they were having trouble locating a good hay source this winter.
"I am not saying it is going to fix all things but it sure helps," she said. "I believe in it enough to have become a Chaffhaye dealer. I won’t quit using but once we can get alfalfa out of the field at a cheaper price I will, but the show does will be eating Chaffhaye."
More information is available at http://Chaffhaye.com/Chaffhaye-advantage.