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Is Oat Hay Good For Goats?

The number of people keeping goats has been steadily increasing over the last couple of years and we only expect the popularity of keeping goats to increase even more moving forward.

We have noticed that more and more people have been reaching out with specific questions about what they should feed their pet goats and there are a number of suitable options.

One thing that seems to be getting more popular as a goat food is oat hay and there have been a couple of questions about if oat hay is good for goats or not recently.

Due to this, we wanted to publish this article going over if you should feed oat hay to your goat or not to try and help any of our readers out there who are considering taking the oat hay route.

There are a number of suitable food options for goats out there and depending on your location, oat hay can actually end up being surprisingly expensive for goats.

You also have to factor in that oat hay is usually only good for goats to eat while it is still green too meaning it has to be eaten quickly preventing most people who keep a single goat from saving money by bulk buying it.

What Is Oat Hay?

Oat hay is basically just hay that has been made from oat grass instead of the usual grasses.

The oat grass is cut down before it has a chance to mature and start producing grain helping to keep the actual oat grass as nutritionally dense as possible.

Depending on your area, oat grass can be surprisingly difficult to grow yourself making it difficult to use as a food source for a goat kept in your own field.

Can Goats Eat Oat Hey?

The answer to this question is yes, goats can actually eat oat hay without any problems but there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.

First of all, it is important to remember that just because goats can eat something does not necessarily mean that they should be eating it as part of their regular diet.

There are a number of different food items that goats can eat without any problems but are not actually particularly good for them.

This is something you need to keep in mind when deciding what hay to feed your goat as there are a number of different options out there and not all of them are equal in terms of nutrition.

With that being said, oat hay can actually be a perfectly suitable option for goats as part of their regular diet providing that it makes up a small portion of their total hay intake.

Is Oat Hey Good For Goats?

The answer to this question is a little more complicated than the previous one.

As we just mentioned, oat hay can be perfectly fine for goats to eat and can actually be a suitable option for them to have as part of their regular diet.

However, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.

It Has To Be Fresh

First of all, oat hay is usually only good for goats while it is still green.

Once the oat hay starts to dry out, it loses a lot of its nutritional value and can actually end up being quite harmful for goats to eat.

This means that you need to be careful about only buying oat hay that is still green and not too old.

It Can Be Expensive

Another thing to keep in mind is that oat hay can actually be quite expensive for goats depending on your location.

This is something you need to take into consideration when deciding if oat hay is the right option for you and your goat.

If you are able to find oat hay at a reasonable price, it can actually be a great option for goats but if it is too expensive, you might want to consider another type of hay instead.

You Have To Harvest It Early

Once oat grass is actually producing oats the nutritional value of the grass starts to drop off making it less suitable for goats to eat.

This means that you will usually have to harvest the oat grass early and this discourages farmers from growing it in its highest nutrient form as they usually cut their oat grass after it has produced oats.

What Are The Nutritional Values Of Oat Hay?

Oat hay is not as nutritionally dense as some of the alternative options that are commonly fed to goats.

It does meet the basic requirements of:-

  • Crude protein: 10% 
  • Crude fiber: 31% 
  • TDN: 54%

The actual vitamin and mineral profile of oat hay is usually very low though due to it being hard to find oat hay that has been harvested prior to it producing oats.

How Much Oat Hay Should I Feed My Goat?

The amount of oat hay you should be feeding your goat will depend on a number of different factors such as the age and breed of your goat as well as the other types of hay and feed that they are eating.

As a general rule of thumb, oat hay should only make up a small portion of your goat’s overall diet with the rest being made up of other types of hay such as alfalfa or grass hay.

You should also make sure to provide your goat with plenty of fresh water at all times as they tend to drink a lot more than other animals.

Alternatives To Oat Hay For Goats!

Just because goats can eat oat hay doesn’t mean that they should and in our opinion, there are much better options available.

Here is a short list of some oat hay alternatives that can be used as feed for your goats:-

  • Alfalfa
  • Timothy
  • Meadow Grass
  • Fescue
  • Clover
  • Brome
  • Orchardgrass
  • Bluegrass
  • Bermuda Grass