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How To Feed Hay To Cows

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Chop the hay into small pieces of about 5cm long using a forage chopper or a panga.

Mix the hay with fodder tree leaves such as gliricidia or any other forage legumes such as

lablab hay to improve the protein content of the diet.

Soak the mixture in a drum containing a mixture of molasses and water (ratio of 1:2) for about five minutes. This will improve palatability and increase energy content of the hay. Yeast from the breweries may also be added to the solution to improve the utilisation of hay in the rumen.

Supplement the hay with mineral blocks or nutrient feed blocks.

The animals must be offered clean water all the time

A cow consumes about 3% of its weight. For example, a 400kg cow will require between 12kg and 14kg of hay per day.

An average bale of hay weighs about 25kg. A kilogramme of hay cost about sh300.

Chopped grass or stover hay mixed with a legume such as gliricidia or calliandra leaf hay is soaked in a mixture of molasses and water in the ratio 1:2 to improve the energy and protein content of hay and acceptability by the animals.

Salty water can also be sprinkled in the absence of molasses. The soaked mixture should be supplemented with other sources of protein for example cotton seed cake, brewer’s spent grain and others, depending on their availability.

Intake of hay depends on live weight of the animal and, quality of hay and whether or not hay is the only constituent in the diet. To minimise wastage, the daily requirement of hay is 3% of the animal’s body weight with at least 30% of the total intake being legume hay.

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