It’s a myth that goats will eat anything. In the winter, when there’s nothing left in the meadow to eat, hay is their main food source. Hay is basically dried grass, but not any grass. Farmers devote fields to growing this stuff. Some farmers seed timothy, others seed alfalfa. Some don’t seed at all, and simply cut what’s there. The first mowing of the year is aptly named, “first cutting hay.” The stems are thick, the tops mature. If the hay has been baled and brought in before it gets rained on or baked by the sun, it’s green and smells grassy. Good to me. Not to my goats. My boys won’t eat first cutting hay.
Note their hay rack. The stuff it’s stuffed with all looks the same, right? But note that the boys are munching on the right side.
First cutting is on the left. “Second cutting” hay is on the right. Late summer hay is also known as “goat candy.” I still have two bales of the first cutting – bought when that was all that was available. It was 19 degrees this morning. Cold. The goats need to eat hay to keep warm. And yet, when I came into the barn, there they were, telling me they were starving. The hay rack was full. With first cutting. Even hungry, they won’t deign to eat it. It’s going to be some expensive bedding.