Goats

Can Goats Eat Alfalfa? (Health Benefits/Risks)

Alfalfa has an excellent nutritive value as a diet for goats, so yes, goats can eat alfalfa without any severe consequences in general.

Alfalfa, if fed along with hay, constitutes a perfect balanced diet for your goats. A single goat requires three to four percent of its body weight of hay every day to remain healthy. 

If due to some reason, enough hay is not available, alfalfa, along with some hay, is the best way to go.

Also, in non-grazing areas where enough pasture is not available, goat keepers can absolutely rely on alfalfa as a nutrition source for their goats. 

Also see: Can Goats Eat Asparagus?

Is Alfalfa Good for Goats?

Alfalfa hay is rich in protein, vitamins, and especially calcium. It has the ability to replace other sources of general fodder for goats.

Feeding alfalfa hay to milking goats is very beneficial due to its high nutritional value. 

Moreover, it has been frequently observed that alfalfa can be very advantageous if fed to pregnant goats. As when pregnancy kicks in, it is crucial to maintain the energy level of the goat.

Alfalfa is thought to be the only kind of hay that can provide enough nutrients to pregnant doe to maintain its health. And when lactation starts, the goat’s requirement of protein becomes twice. 

Typical fodder can not provide enough energy, so in those circumstances, alfalfa comes in very handy. Thus, alfalfa is good for goats undoubtedly. However, there is a heads up for you: Don’t overfeed alfalfa to your goats as it has a high range of nutrients, which in excess can cause health problems.

Can Goats Eat Too Much Alfalfa?

No. It is not advisable to feed your goats too much alfalfa as it has a high level of protein and minerals compared to regular hay.

It would be best if you add alfalfa to your goats’ diet gradually. Any sudden change in diet can lead to unfavorable circumstances.

The best practice would be to mix things up a bit. Feed alfalfa to your goat along with some regular hay. This way, it will not mess with your goats’ health. On the contrary, it will enhance the energy level of your goats.

Why Is Alfalfa Bad for Goats?

Generally speaking, alfalfa is not bad for goats. The case is totally opposite to this remark in actuality. Alfalfa can be excellent fodder for goats.

However, excess of anything is wrong. The same is the case with alfalfa but in its case, a little sensitive too.

The nutrient composition of alfalfa is such that it has 13-20 percent crude protein and 50-63 percent TDN. Where it is beneficial for goats’ health, it can also be detrimental if fed in excess. Watch out for that!

Can Male Goats Eat Alfalfa Hay?

Unlike the young goats and pregnant does, alfalfa is not so good for male goats. It can be probably because male goats do not require that much calcium in their diet.

But alfalfa is very rich in calcium, so when fed to male goats, it will react with zinc. Consequently, male goats will become zinc deficient, which will give way to more health problems.

So it would be advisable not to feed your male goats with alfalfa as it is best in their interest.

Can Goats Bloat on Alfalfa?

Goat Bloat

Yes. Any goat with mature functional rumen is at risk of bloating. Alfalfa can be a major reason for it.

Bloat will occur if you introduce alfalfa in your goats’ diet all of a sudden. If you do want to feed alfalfa to your goats, do it gradually. 

Try to feed typical hay first and after that, let your goats feed on some lush green alfalfa. This way, you can prevent the bloating of your goats.

How Much Alfalfa Pellets Should I Feed My Goats?

In general, goats need three to four percent of their body weight of hay every day. However, lactating does require more as their protein needs are almost double than a normal growing goat.

So, you may need to feed one to one, and a half-pound of alfalfa pellets to your young growing goat and two to three pounds of alfalfa pellets to your lactating does.

It might sound much, but you will see that your goats will look much healthier than they used to be.

Can Alfalfa Pellets Replace Hay for Goats?

No, it is not possible for ruminants such as goats to totally live on alfalfa hay. Grass hay is the best source of nutrition for your normal healthy goats.

Feeding alfalfa pellets to your goats are only advisable in certain circumstances, such as if hay is not available in enough quantity, your goat is in growing age, or if you have a lactating doe. 

Other than that, you might want to avoid feeding too much of alfalfa pellets to your goat. Mix things up a bit, and you are good to go.

Summary

Goats can eat alfalfa hay as it has many health benefits for goats. Pregnant and young goats should be fed with it as their protein and energy requirements are higher than those of a normal goat.

Feeding alfalfa hay along with regular hay is the best way to follow. You will avoid overfeeding of alfalfa hay to your goats, and meanwhile, you will get all the health benefits alfalfa hay has to offer.

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