growing feed for goats

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Astrid, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. Astrid

    Astrid Well-Known Member

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    I am planning to grow as much feed as possible for my goats-2 milking does and a buck. Full sized nubians.
    At this point the plan is to grow mangel beets, timothy grass, clover, alfalfa and try our hand at a short season sunflower. We are in SE Alaska which has long days during the summer, gets a lot of rain, but doesn't get very cold-or very warm for that matter. Any tips about the types of plants that would do well in a cool rainy area? Think Seattle area on steroids.
     
  2. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Regular turnips will work well, too, and have a shorter season than mangel wurzel. We grew both this past season. Turnips did much better (we will never again use the Gardenway seeder.... grrr!)

    Next year's plan is to grow a good hay/legume mix, mangels, turnips, sunflower (for seed), and SQUASH. Oh, how my does love acorn squash, and it does so well here. Oh, and Reid's Dent corn. It doesn't make a huge part of their diet, but they are such big producers, I feel it makes a difference.

    ETA: We also have Nubians as well as two Snubians, so they're all BIG goats.
     

  3. andabigmac

    andabigmac Well-Known Member

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    Buy a bag of BOSS at the feed store and grow that.Mine like the stems too. Mine love pumpkin/squash also. I grew feed corn and fed it to them stalks and all. They'll eat just about any root crop except radishes here. I live in the desert so there isn't a lot of (okay, any) forage so I do it as a boredom buster. They also love willow twigs (my only trees). I have a really short season here because I'm up at almost 6000 ft. When cold weather threatens I put a really thick layer of straw on top of the root crop rows and they'll usually keep growing for a while. I just go out and dig as needed. I'm a mean mom though because I make them eat their hay first.
     
  4. Astrid

    Astrid Well-Known Member

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    Only problem is that MO has a very different climate and day length than we have. I don't know if we would be able to grow squash. I thought about sunflowers, but I don't think they would do well as our summer temps are way too cool. We also can't grow corn for that same reason.
     
  5. gracie88

    gracie88 gracie88 Supporter

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    I can't imagine you could grow squash there unless in a cold frame. You might try Jerusalem artichokes. I know my goats love the tops :nono: and the tubers are supposed to be a decent feed, though I haven't seen any breakdown as to how nutritious they are. They are almost completely maintenance-free, so I'm giving mine every benefit of the doubt :) You might try a kale variety, that should love your weather. Do they have access to brush or do you have to worry about bears? I bet they like salmonberry bushes.
     
  6. bee

    bee WV , hilltop dweller Supporter

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    Mine adore our scrubby local pine...do you have pine you can cut for them?
     
  7. farmerstac

    farmerstac Well-Known Member

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    Sorry wrong state. Oops. My bad!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  8. HappyFarmer

    HappyFarmer Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. Maybe a combination beets & spinach. Do mangel beets grow the root like regular beets or is it mainly the top you would feed?
    How are you planning on shredding the root, large quantities at a time?

    We have a longer growing season, and am thinking of moving to beets but we aren't sure how we would harvest them & shred them in quantity.

    HF
     
  9. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I let the goats eat the turnip tops out of the turnip patch. Gather the roots in buckets, chop them up as needed.

    Mangels grow mostly above ground, get quite large. The livestock eat the roots of the mangels; their growing season is 100+ days.

    If you start the squash indoors, they will do well. In my experience, it's not the heat the acorn squash needs, it's the day length.

    There is short-season corn. That said, we got ours started VERY late this past season, and even though it is 110 day corn, we got a very nice yield. Do some investigating; you may find that you can grow corn or sorghum, given the right variety.
     
  10. andabigmac

    andabigmac Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't AK have a seed company that caters to them? Ha! found it http://www.denaliseed.com/main.html Maybe something there will help. I slice my mangels with my meat slicer a few days worth at a time. They munch them like chips and I don't worry about them choking. I grow the yellow mangels because they don't stain as much as the red. They grow just as well here too.
     
  11. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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  12. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    w00t! Thanks, SammyD - that table is great!

    Good point about corn for silage. I didn't bag ours up, but the goaties do love their corn stalks. And bean vines. And pea vines...
     
  13. Astrid

    Astrid Well-Known Member

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    Those are really good ideas. I had read of a farmer who seeded one of his lots with mangels and rotated his sheep into the lot when they were ready. I thought of doing that. We have grass-that grows to about 9 feet high, but because of the amount of rain, I don't know how nutritious it is. I can try to cut it and dry it, but we are very humid and cold most of the time. I think I will try to plant a short season variety of corn. Our summer temps can vary greatly from 80 in June to 45 in July so maybe the stalks will grow.... I have tried to grow Jerusalem Artichokes but the mice seem to like the roots and they have cleaned me out. I think I need to get more cats... I think with the suggestions I am getting I will hopefully stumble on something that will work. Getting bagged feed is impossible unless I order it from SEattle and have it barged up here-which is very expensive.
     
  14. bee

    bee WV , hilltop dweller Supporter

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    I know this sounds silly..but Alaska has a native wild goat don't they? Mountain goats..?? What do they eat..I know yours are domestic and you want long term milk production which means supplements, but if you know what the wild goats eat it may help you find available wild stuffs to help feed your Nubians???
     
  15. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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  16. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    How long is your frost free growing season?
     
  17. Astrid

    Astrid Well-Known Member

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    Alaska does have a lot of wildlife including goats. We are thick with deer on our island and they eat a lot of all kinds of things. But yes, we are looking for milk production. We have cedar, spruce and hemlock as well as alder. Not much else. We do have large patches of salmonberries, hucleberries and thimble berries as well as red elderberries which are not fit for anything to eat unless the berries are heavily processed. The grass we have was seeded by the previous owners and is a mishmash of whatever they found at Walmart. It is supposed to grow to only 6 inches high, but it grows to over 9 feet!! We get over 60-90 inches of rain during the year but the temps seldom go above 80 and only in early June and early August. The rest of the time is is around 45-50.... even in summer.
     
  18. andabigmac

    andabigmac Well-Known Member

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    I'm originally from WA. We had the same problems with mice etc eating the jerusalem artichokes. My grandma grew them in a bathtub outside. You can make a box out of rabbit wire and put the tubers in there when you bury them too. Just make it big enough for the roots to spread.
     
  19. Astrid

    Astrid Well-Known Member

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    Do you think with the rabbit wire box they would be able to spread and get more established? I would just like them to multiply enough so that a few eaten by mice don't kill the whole crop.
     
  20. andabigmac

    andabigmac Well-Known Member

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    I saw on a video that they had them in boxes that were 1.5' x 1.5'. I grow them and have never seen them get a good spread on them. Here's a pic that shows what I've experienced also http://outofmyshed.co.uk/2011/01/30/favourite-veg-of-the-year-jerusalem-artichokes/. The tubers stay pretty centralized. Other people may have other experiences. If you just planted a few to get a good crop and used those for seed and you could keep them safe at first, they may have a chance.