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Old 07/18/07, 12:49 AM
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soaking grains

We are very new to goats and I have been going by the recomendation of my friend whom we bought the doe from. She advised us to soak the grains in apple cider vinegar. This is the proportions she uses
5 parts barley
2 parts sunflower seeds
2 parts split green peas
a dash of garlic powder
a little brewers yeast
I've been sorting through the threads and the first I have seen anyone soaking their grains is under the lentil thread. She said that soaking your grains eliminates the need to give the goat baking soda. But from what I gather goats have four stomachs for the digestion process. We both follow a Nourishing Traditions diet but is this necesary for our goats. Oh and I have been basically feeding this same feed to our ducks and chickens. The goat will be for milking next year.
Oh and our area is very depleted of A LOT of minirals...calcium, selinium, floride, ect.
Thank you for all the insight!
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Old 07/18/07, 06:38 AM
Alice In TX/MO's Avatar
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Location: Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
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MMMM...... my initial thought is that this is a lot of extra work. Also, soaking in vinegar adds acid, which is *exactly* the opposite of the baking soda.

I think you might not want to follow her advice.
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Old 07/18/07, 09:27 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Texas
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Vinegar is oftens used to prevent urinary calculi in bucks, but I wouldn't do it in feed. Yuck. And the hassle.

We feed dry barley - it's fine. I am unsure about the green peas.
All goats are different, but mine won't eat anything wet.

My 2 cents is it's not necessary to soak - and if the peas need it for some reason, stop feeding them. Substitute alfalfa pellets or a grain like oats for that in your mix.
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Old 07/18/07, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,528
Lora, Before you decide to change something you might want to ask yourself: 1. Do you feel your friend whom you bought the doe from is knowledgable? 2. Do you like the way her herd looks, acts and their health? 3. How about the doe you bought? 4. What does it cost you to feed this mix? 5. What will it cost you to change? 6. Why and what are you wanting to change? 'Course if you change something you know that you'll have to do it slowly; not only do goats dislike change but their rumens do too. Don't know how long you have been lurking /reading but it doesn't take too long to see that there are as many opinions and some even contradict! Since you just got the doe you might also want to investigate what feeds you can get in your area too. For instance in my area of NC I have a very limited selection compared to other regions. Hope this gives you "food for thought"!
Goat milk soap & Wool products
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Old 07/18/07, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Virginia
Posts: 362
In the logic of ruminants this seems impractical on all levels. Also agreeing with the vinegar, very acidic and will upset natural digestive fluids. You can as BlueHeronFarm mentioned use when UT problems are suspected, but again not a common means to solve the problem. I use vinegar to flush out wounds, and use on my horses legs to repell bot eggs. Great for skin conditions and any other topical use but to ingest vinegar is going to severely upset the flora in the digestive tracts.
Also soaking feeds is a bit over rated. If animals do not have a reason to need soaked feed (i.e. certain digestive problems, no teeth, injured jaw or throat area) don't feed it this way. They can eat all the above just fine without issue. Also like BHF said go with alfalfa or oats, alfalfa would probably be best. I'm a little curious why the seller practices this method of feeding....very unusual and not neccesary.
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Old 07/18/07, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Virginia
Posts: 362
Also if you do make the change as I assume this goat is used to this diet, gradually wean her off by adding the wet mixture with the dry, see how she does with this before totally making the move to dry. It will probably take several weeks to make this change, gradual is the key.
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Old 07/18/07, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Virginia
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Well said Liese.
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Old 07/18/07, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2,963
From a letter in a 1973 back issue of Mother Earth News:

Since I have a child who nearly died before we found goat milk, I have to have a year-round supply ... so I began looking for a second doe. I'd almost lost hope of finding anything worth having in my price range when a neighbor told me about a registered French Alpine, of champion stock, that was going cheap because her blemishes made her unshowable. She had just freshened for the second time and had given birth to triplets. Best of all, she cost only $35.00. I jumped at the bargain.

The papers were all in order and—since the doe looked beautiful—I bought her. The owners told me that she'd been attacked by dogs the previous year and that her bag was no longer perfect: Fluid leaked from tiny holes on the udder's sides during milking, but not when the animal was at rest. The bag was well-shaped otherwise, though, and I felt that I'd managed a "steal".

The next morning, however, it was obvious that my new goat was not well. Her udder was hot and red-swollen but without much milk. I was frantic ... we had spent every spare dime to buy the Alpine so there was no reserve with which to pay a vet. The sale was final, and I was stuck.

I had to call my only milk customer and tell her I had no supply available ... and her family turned out to have the answer to my trouble. They knew nothing about livestock but—being interested in everything to do with health and nutrition—they brought by a book called Vermont Folk Medicine. The author, Dr. D.C. Jarvis, had set up practice in a remote part of the Green Mountain State where he discovered that the old-time residents had a very profound, natural system for maintaining health, seldom needed his services and lived to a serene old age. They were more than willing to share what they knew, and Dr. Jarvis learned that the main addition to his neighbors' plain, unprocessed food was raw apple cider vinegar. The same substance was also used as a veterinary preventive and remedy.

My customers had brought a quart of the vinegar with them and the taste and smell were so delicious and appetizing that decided to try Dr. Jarvis' methods on my sick goat. The treatment was simple: two tablespoons of vinegar to one pound of dairy grain twice a day ... every day. The idea is to maintain the chemical balance in the body for prevention of illness as well as for the cure of specific infection.

It worked! By the fifth day our patient was eating normally, the milk was nearly clear and the rough coat and dull eyes were gone for good. We started using our new doe's output on the seventh day and were pleased with the rich, sweet flavor ... her milk has never tasted "goaty".

Darlene (the Alpine) loved the vinegar and didn't want the grain without it. The other goats started getting the same dose—you bet!—and total production rose even though the Nubian was due to dry up. In fact, I had to take her off grain and vinegar to stop her lactation.

Then I made a big mistake. After nine months of terrific milk production and an easy mating (Darlene had always been very hard to breed before, since she stayed in heat only six to eight hours), I dried the Alpine up as I had the other nanny. Because she was a little too fat I decided to cut the grain out of her diet ... and in so doing I got careless about the vinegar.

The doe was in blooming good health and looked ready to have quadruplets. She freshened easily with two delightful and devilish buck kids—very large and active—and I was thrilled.

At that point the result of my mistake became clear. Within 24 hours Darlene had raving mastitis, and the kids had to be removed for fear they'd get sick from her milk. I restarted the vinegar at once, along with every herb and plant I could offer her. She took comfrey with relish, and little else ... except the vinegar grain, which she ate with frantic speed. I mixed more of the acid in warm water with molasses, and my poor doe drank it in sobbing gulps.

That treatment stopped the mastitis cold, without vets or antibiotics. Darlene was well in three days, the kids were returned to her and the milk was perfectly normal.

My goat will never again pass a day without her dose of vinegar ... and neither will I. Darlene also gets fresh tomatoes, comfrey, cornstalks, leaves and a hundred other fresh, natural foods from the garden. When she bloats a little from a new bale of hay, I give her an armful of mint sprigs. It works. I just put all the feed where she can get it and let her choose.
Full letter here...lots of interesting experiences...
Jim Steele
Sweetpea Farms
"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." -- Robert Gates
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Old 07/18/07, 03:15 PM
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Thank you so much for all the replies. I have been lurking on here for a little bit, trying to look at past threads, so I can see that there are 100 different ways to feed your animals. . My friend is all very natural wants to use no medication/ vaccinations complete organic.... lots of really good ideas BUT she has not had goats for even two years. She has read lots and lots and that is where she is gleaning her info from. And now that she has some actual experience with goats she is changing some of her ways to be a little more pracitical. My dh grew up with goats and sheep and he felt it was too much of a hassle and so I wanted to do my own researching about soaking their grains. Cleopatra (the goat) likes the soaked grains but I do not do it every day and she does like it better dry - even the peas. The ratio she gave me was suppose to be for 18% protein.

That's a very interesting article. It doesn't say that the grains were actually soaked. And when I do soak them I cover the mixture in water and then just a glub of the ACV. Hmmmm, I'll do some more looking.

Last edited by mamatomany; 07/18/07 at 03:26 PM.
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