In some areas of the country, good alfalfa hay is hard to come by and even harder to afford. Feeding a product called chaffhaye is an alternative to rounding up hay bales.
Chaffhaye is green-chopped alfalfa. It’s dried to 50% moisture, lightly misted with molasses, and compressed into air-tight packages. Anaerobic fermentation takes place inside the bag, which helps digestion and nutrient absorption by the animal.
Steve Radder is the president of chaffhaye.com, a company in Texas that produces the forage product. He says from a nutritional standpoint, a 50 lb. bag of chaffhaye is equivalent to about 90 lbs. of bailed hay.
"Really what’s important is the digestibility factor because you can have all the nutrition in the world in a bale of hay but if it’s not utilized by the animal it doesn’t do any good," says Radder. "So, with chaffhaye, the fermentation breaks it down which makes it more available for absorption, so that’s really where the nutritional kick comes with chaffhaye. Generally they can get about twice the nourishment out of chaffhaye as they could out of baled hay, or pellets, or some other processed feed."
A 50 lb. bag costs anywhere from $12-$15, depending where you’re located. Radder says one bag will last a horse about three-days.
"And there’s other factors involved with chaffhaye too, you don’t have the loss that you do with hay. Particularly in the cases of like goats and alpacas and those kinds of animals, they’ll waste a tremendous amount of baled hay by just throwing it around, rolling in it, or something like that," says Radder. "With chaffhaye, they’ll eat leaves, stems and everything, won’t leave anything behind. So, that actually kind of impacts your economics in that you don’t have the waste factor."
Chaffhaye does have a shelf life once opened, so it’s also available in smaller bags for feeding animals such as rabbits and chickens.
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