Friday, June 7, 2013

Product Review: Chaffhaye

*I don't get anything from Chaffhaye for this review* - Rose Bartiss

As you are all hopefully aware, a healthy goat diet must include some form of alfalfa. Alfalfa is naturally high in calcium. Goats have very high calcium demands in order to produce kids, milk, and meat. Goat milk contains more calcium than cow milk, so added dietary calcium is essential to replace the calcium that leaves their bodies through their udders. Over time, a goat's body becomes naturally deficient in calcium as the demands of kid and milk production take a toll. Older goats must have added calcium in order to maintain good bone density and blood calcium levels.

Unfortunately in the Adirondacks, baled alfalfa hay is very hard to find or extremely expensive. Alternatives to alfalfa hay have to be used in order to keep goats healthy. For years I had used alfalfa pellets for my calcium supplements. I fed my goats a diet of 1 cup of grain and three cups of alfalfa pellets twice a day per goat. The milking goats got more alfalfa pellets while on the milk stand. I chose alfalfa pellets because they were easily available at all feed stores and not very expensive.

Last year I learned about a new product called Chaffhaye. It's a bagged, chopped, alfalfa silage product. Being a silage product, it is slightly fermented and contains healthy yeasts. I started feeding my goats 2 lbs of Chaffhaye per day last fall. At first the goats didn't like it at all. For the first two weeks they didn't eat very much of it. After a few weeks they developed a taste for it and now they trample me over for their daily Chaffhaye ration. This trampling was a good thing because I could put out bowls of Chaffhaye in the pasture and they would run from the barn straight to the pasture without any issues. I no longer had to play "goat round-up" every morning to get the goats out in the pasture.

After six months of being on Chaffhaye, I can say I am very impressed with the product. I had two pregnant goats on the Chaffhaye for the winter. They have since kidded and are now in lactation. Both goats looked great during their pregnancies and both goats look fantastic right now. Anyone who has milking goats knows how hard it can be to keep a freshly kidded and now lactating goat in good condition through the stress of production. In year's past my Alpine, Lucy, has always lost a great deal of conditioning during lactation. She produces a gallon of milk a day, which takes a lot out of her. Usually I have to wait until the fall when her lactation slows down in order to start putting any weight on her and keeping it there. This year has been different. Lucy is mid-lactation and looks fantastic! She has maintained her condition much better this year and the only thing I have changed is she now gets 2 lbs. of Chaffhaye a day instead of alfalfa pellets.

Chaffhaye has an advantage over alfalfa pellets in the fact that it is a coarsely chopped alfalfa. It is very fibrous and adds to the digestive fiber for the goat. Fiber is important for goats because their rumens are designed to digest long fiber. The good bacteria in the rumen are healthiest when they have lots of fiber to digest. Alfalfa pellets do not contain any long fiber. A goat eating Chaffhaye has more fiber to digest for a longer amount of time. This is a good thing for their digestive systems.

Chaffhaye is also better than pellets because it is fresher since it is a wet fermented silage. Pellets are dehydrated and powdered alfalfa. The process of drying, powdering and compressing the pellets causes a major loss in nutrients. Chaffhaye is bagged directly in the field so nutrient loss from the field to your farm is minimal.

I am super pleased with my herd's condition after using Chaffhaye for 6 months. I plan to continue to use it as my calcium supplement. 

Chaffhaye is available in 50 lbs bags from Ward Lumber in Jay or Malone for $17.99 per bag.

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