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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We will probably go with a Nubian (or two:p). So, how many bales of hay will one nubian doe go through a week and how much grain?

We have two acres but there's not much browse. At some point, we will divide and seed it, but for right now, all their feed will be from hay and grain.


I know I saw that here some time back but I've looked and didn't find it.
 

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you can count on somewhere between 5 - 10lbs of feed per day. most of that needs to be hay or hay pellets preferably alfalfa. the density of energy in the feed needs to be noted and taken into consideration. for instance corn is about 80% digestable and alfalfa is only about 56% digestable. but goats need that "undigestable" feed to keep their rumens functioning properly. too much high energy feed can at best reduce production and at worst kill them. many people feed a few pounds of grain per day. you can feed less and possibly no grain if you feed alfalfa pellets. they can consume the pellet faster and in greater quantity than actual hay and therefore can get more energy into them from it. if your goats will only have access to grass hay then you will need to feed some type of dairy food for energy and calcium. I have moved to alfalfa pellets only and I am very happy with my decision but not all goats can do that and continue to be reasonably productive. if you want go grain free I would make sure you bought goats from somebody who raises goats that can do it.
 

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The actual costs depends on the cost of feed in your area. I agree with the above post except that 10 lb of hay would seem a little high...at least for my Alpines. When I gie them "extra" hay, they just waste it. While they are not milking, I feed 1-2 lb of grain. When they are milking, I increase the grain.

My goats do so much better when they have access to minerals, and they love kelp, so I give them some 2-3 times/week.

Good luck........and I hope that your Nubians are not some of the "screaming" ones.
 

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First of all, "a" Nubian is not a good idea. Nubians are great, (that's what I have), but goats are social--they have to have a companion, and if you only have one, guess who that companion will be? As for feed, I have 2 9-mo. old does and right now I have a young buck leased. The three of them eat about a bale of alfalfa per week. They don't much care for grains or pellets, which is unusual for goats. I make 'em clean it up. Research hay feeder designs. It's easy to build one that cuts down on waste. Mine also get out to pasture if it's not raining: various weeds, brush, dewberry vines. Minerals are VERY important, as is parasite control. Dairygoatinfo.com has a forum page called Goats 101 with excellent info. Vicki also posts here occassionally. She's very helpful, and what she doesn't know probably isn't worth knowing. Good Luck, and Merry Christmas!

Madfarmer
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice folks. Don't worry, there won't be just one goat. I'm just trying to get the per goat costs. Also, I will probably only have one in milk so that one will be eating more. It would be good if I could feed alfalfa or alfalfa mix only. Keeps it simple.

It's easier to convince dh that we need a goat for milk if I can show we will be pretty close to even on what we spend to feed versous what we spend at the store each week on milk. With 3 or 4 gallons a week, it adds up.

If they wouldn't wander off, I would turn them out in the woods behind my house. There's a lot of land and good goat stuff to eat but it's not mine and not fenced. It would be my luck the the goats would wander into neighbor's yards.

Would four strands of hot rope be good for keeping in goats? If that's the case, there will be some browse for the goats. The horses have eaten the grass for the most part but there is some stuff for the goats. We are planning to divide an acre and a half into 3paddocks and a dry yard so hopefully there will be some grazing and browsing. We want to seed it but don't know if that will get done before it gets too hot or not.

Thanks
 

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We always figure on 1 ton of hay per goat/per year. That is too much, really, but when the kids start to eat then I am not concerned about my hay supply - and I don't like the idea of having to buy hay at premium prices at the feed store right before hay season starts!

You don't mention where you are located. Cost will vary for that, but so will the quality of the hay. IF you can buy by the ton, you will get a better price than by the bale at the local feed store. However, you will need a place to store the hay. One reason that some folks go with alfalfa pellets.

The hot rope sounds ideal. If there is plenty of browse, then they shouldn't challenge the hot rope, although you should check daily that it is on.... Goats are very smart but also tend to believe that the "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence", so they will check to see if the electric is indeed on.
 

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T10 lb of hay would seem a little high...
that would be very high for actual hay unless including waste although my milker can easily consume 8 lbs of alfalfa hay pellets every day. I don't think they could go through that much of actual hay, it takes more chewing :)

I feed roundbales in the winter and scrape up the waste and toss it in the barn for bedding. so the waste isn't really wasted. its cheap bedding compared to bales of straw or shavings. when checking out prices on hay ask about the weight of the bales and compare the prices with hay pellets. I have found that for the price of a good bale of alfalfa I can get two bags of pellets and have virtually no waste and the goats can eat more which equals higher weight gains and more milk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm south of Houston, in Alvin, Tx. I already buy my hay by the roundbale for my horses. Right now I go through 1 a month with each bale around 1000 to 1200lbs each. The cost is $50 to $55 per bale and is grass hay. I peal if off and feed it as needed so there isn't much waste. Sounds like I could just feed a little alfalfa pellets on top of this and I'm good.

Anybody use a hay bag to help with waste? The bag not the net thing. I think someone mentioned using one but don't know if it was here.

On the hot rope, I have a pony/small horse that regularly tests it already. We had to keep them in the backyard after the hurricane until we got electric back! Right now it's actually 3 strands on two sides, and 2 on the back by the woods and then field wire where it share a fenceline with my backyard. We will be putting hot wire on top and middle of the field wire and are planning to make it 4 strands wire/rope around the pasture and for the dividing it. I would love it if you told me 3 would work! But don't want to take a chance though.

You guys are being so helpful!
 

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Unless you have magically found good alfalfa hay in Texas, your primary feed is going to need to be alfalfa pellets. Good dairy milkers need lots of alfalfa to make milk and to make babies. Ours get free choice alfalfa hay year round, as we milk at least 10 months and then the last 2 months are right before they kid (need the alfalfa big time then). Use the grass hay for roughage.

Folks who use pellets make sure they have good pellet feeders so there is little or no waste. So figure on spending a little more for your hay costs. But it will be worth it - lots of outstanding milk for your family, and many times enough left over for cheese, yogurt, and even some for the chickens and pigs.

Most don't like hay bags - the goats try to commit suicide with them. They don't even like them at goat shows, when they can keep a pretty close watch on the goats. A nice keyhole feeder is fairly inexpensive to make. We have one that is made from an electrical spool. My husband then cut a piece of plywood into 4 equal sides and cut the keyhole out of each side. Screwed and glued this into a box shape and placed on the spool. Then put a little lid on the top, with hinges. Works great and plenty big enough for 4 goats to eat from.

I think that as long as the electrical is working, 3 strands would be fine. But then, we use stock panels, no electric, so someone else will need to chime in here. The electrical will also make it nice when you decide to get a LGD. They hate electric, so will always stay in the pen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have another question. How far would they roam if they had plenty of browse? And how long would they need to settle in before they could be allowed to roam?

One side of our property is over 400ft long and there is nothing but woods and brush back there. The road deadends at our place with the neighbors before us having one acre properties. The gate into the woods is about the middle of our property line and there is a LOT of scrub and vines and small trees back there. Its' so thick, I couldn't walk through it.

There is a path about 30 feet behind our fence that runs parallel to the fence and goes up behind the neighbors on this side. And a path that goes away from our property. I think people used to 4 wheel back there but not much any more. Anyway, other than the paths, it's thick back there. Would they stay back there and not wander over to a neighbors?

Thanks all! You've been most helpful.
 

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MadFarmer and another dairy gal live in Alvin, visit them. I am a couple hours north in Cleveland (well Coldspring) visit!

We don't have the winter weather most do on this forum, my girls were out all day today in the woods. So hay feeding for us isn't the life and death situation during the winter it is up north. I don't even feed one ton of hay for the whole herd a year. I don't even have a hay barn anymore. I purchase 2 bales of grass hay a week from my feed dealer and feed alfalfa pellets for the whole herd. I buy hay from Thanksgiving day until easter. I do keep some hay around for hurricanes or really wet weather when the girls are forced to stay in the barns (it keeps fighting down) the rest of the time they are out in the woods and on tall pasture for their roughage needs.

You will soon find out the alfalfa hay situation here is horrid. Hay feeders are of the utmost importance. As is a good mineral, and sound worming and parasite practices.

My does are costing me $2 a day when in milk, with goat milk selling for $10 to $15 per gallon for your milk, you may want to keep two does in milk, sell the other gallons you don't drink. Add eggs to your little farmette, veggies, honey, soap etc...I started my little 'farm' like that. From just wanting projects for my kids, house milk, I now have a very nice buisness, you certainly have a much better location than mine! Vicki
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Vicki, I got some milk from the dairy gal here in Alvin earlier this year so my family could taste it. She was very nice and probably wouldn't mind mentoring me, I hope! I'm a planner though so try to do lots of research before I do anything.

The woods behind me are not fenced. That's why I asked how far they will roam or how close with they stay? There's lots of browse back there for them.

Is that $2 per doe per day? Does that include hay or just the alf. pellets?

Thanks
 

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It includes everything.

Before I could afford to fence in my property I just had a fenced corral around the old barn, then twice a day me and my children would walk the girls out into the woods, sit and read a book, learn firebuilding skills, or just play. The girls would eat for about an hour before wanting to heat back home for water. One of the main reasons I started with bottle tame gals was so they would want to stay right with us. We would put the herd queen on a leash, between us and her they would stay very close by.

On days you can't get them out to eat their roughage, really good grass hay (coastal or sudan/haygrazer) will be a must, so depending upon how much labor you have to give to the interprize (or free labor in the form of children :) will depend upon how much hay you will have to feed. But do look into excellent hay feeders before you even start.

Also I don't have one thing left for sale next year but perhaps a few bucks if I am given a buck year...so run passed me what goats you are purchasing, and from who. There are lots of breeds who don't milk well, and don't think just because we all have them you have to get a nubian, like LaManchas or minimancha's they simply milk more everyday of the year than any Nubians do down here. Be as smart with your purchase as you are with asking questions. And check out dairygoatinfo.com Vicki
 

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Dani, if you find out "How far will a dairy goat roam?" you're onto a fortune:bouncy: They'll roam: 1) Farther than you think. 2) right before a gullywashing thunderstorm breaks. 3) When you're late for an appointment & dressed in your best clothes. 4.) The day you've taken their collars off to wash them. But seriously--if you're only going to have two or three milkers, + their kids at times, 1&1/2 acres in three paddocks is plenty of room. If you've been pasturing horses, you may not even have to worry about planting anything for a while. If your place is anything like mine, you've probably got dewberries, curly dock, McCartny rose, tallow, maybe even poison ivy--all goat delicacies.

Madfarmer
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Vicki, I did not know that about LaManchas. I think they're cute but don't see them advertised much around here. I do keep my eyes open though. I regularly check Craigslist. I'm sure I'll be posting links with a "what do you think about her?" LOL I tried DairyGoatInfo and it was down. Maybe it was just that day. I'll try again.

Madfarmer, I'll keep that in mind and only take them out in the woods when someone can be with them. We have just over 2 acres with front and back yards. 1 1/2 is going to be fenced specifically for them but our front is fenced so the horses get time in the front yard and backyard now and then. We'll do the same with the goats. Yes, we have poison ivy. Is tallow the china berry trees? We have those and I'm sure some of the other stuff you mentioned.

Once we get the 'dry lot' fenced, the horses will be kept there so the rest can grow. By the time I'm done researching and actually buy the goats, I'm sure they will have lots to eat without going in the woods.
 

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iv got lamanchas and my girls have graze time during the day(trees, blackberry bushes, various grasses) then at night when they are in thier pens they get alfalfa hay(for the milkers) or a combonation of wheat and alfalfa hay(for babys) with grain and minerals, about one scoop of grain per baby and one and a half for milkers. i go through about a bag of grain every few (3 or 4)days and thats for five goats. i use purina dairy goat chow and purina minerals. so i hope that helps :D
 

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Hey. Dani! Tallow is probably what you're calling chinaberry, although they're different. Tallow is the everywhere-you-look fencerow tree that makes the seed capsules that split open and EVERY ONE sprouts. My last goat was a single, and I couldn't pasture her because the only paddocks we had were for horses, and the horses hated her. Every day I cut her armloads of Tallow sprouts & she almost drowned us in milk. It adds a little taste to the milk, but not bad.

Madfarmer
 

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China berry trees will cause diarrhea, not illness just diarrhea. I worked really hard when we first moved out her to cut out and burn all of them, on my land but also my neighbors places before they moved out. We have none that I know of now. But it is what your goats are used to, I am sure if they eat it alot they will get used to it.

Craig's list isn't the best place to start purchasing animals, it's soo much better to join the SCTGA it's a .com or .org, google it, and network with the rest of the gals around you. Arm yourself with really good basic information about testing, don't think because they show that they test, ask for testing before you even bothr to visit. LaMancha's are so prolific in our areas that they are right up there with Nubians for the amount of goats at a show around here. It's really the wrong time of year for milkers, and kids sales are righ around the corner. You might want to get on some lists of those with LaManchas, most of us who show will sell our does who freshen without showable udders, you would be competeing with dairy prices in LaManchas so likely no more than $300....Nubians $500.
No idea why you haven't been able to get on DGI, we haven't been down at all. Vicki
 

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Hey. Dani! Tallow is probably what you're calling chinaberry, although they're different. Tallow is the everywhere-you-look fencerow tree that makes the seed capsules that split open and EVERY ONE sprouts. My last goat was a single, and I couldn't pasture her because the only paddocks we had were for horses, and the horses hated her. Every day I cut her armloads of Tallow sprouts & she almost drowned us in milk. It adds a little taste to the milk, but not bad.

Madfarmer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_tallow
Is this what you are talking about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I still can't get on. We have just started with Cricket Broadband so I will try on another computer. I have tried several ways. I deleted all my cookies and history and still no go. Push comes to shove, I can get on when I start back to school.

I don't have to start with a doe in milk or even pregnant. I could start with kids. That might be easier than jumping in at the deep end. It's good to know LaManchas can be found easily. I'm going to go check that site out.

Mad, that's it. We have several. It's the ONLY trees we have on the property. I'm glad whoever cleared the property at least left something for shade.

DaniR
 
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