Feed for goats question

Discussion in 'Goats' started by cdann40, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. cdann40

    cdann40 Member

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    When I first started looking into goats i was thinking that I would be able to stick them out in the pasture, which I planned on rotating, and they would be fine. I realize I would have to give them a little hay or grain, primarily during winter since I live in Pa. Am I wrong? Do I have it backwards where it is only hay and grain with very little pasture?

    Chris
     
  2. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    My experience has been that if you think that goats are going to graze your pasture--don't sell that lawnmower--you're gonna need it! Our girls have a small--very small yard. We STILL have to take the weed eater in there!
    I think there is a generalized feed ration chart for different stages on life on the fiasco farm website---
     

  3. mammawof3

    mammawof3 Well-Known Member

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    Pasture is great,as long as its producing-you would only need hay in the winter--times of drought ect. You would need a shelter of sorts--goats dislike rain--and need some shelter for snow--kidding ect. Depending on what breed you want--Boer (meat) would not necasairily need grain as long as they had enough pasture/hay--should feed some while nursing kids though. If you go w/dairy--then yes you will need grain for milk production. A full rumen is what you want--wether that be pasture or hay--(not grain!) :)
     
  4. trob1

    trob1 Well-Known Member

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    well lets start here. What kind of goats do you have? How old are they? What kind of pasture do you have, grass, weeds or both? Are they pregnant?
    My goats are pygmy and I have 7 girls. I give them 1 cup of feed in the morning around 8 am and by then they have been grazing on a 3 acre weed and some grass pasture for about an hour. After they eat their grain they chill out in the barn for awhile. Then throughout the day they graze and chew cud. By dark they are in the barn eating hay. Next day same thing. My girls are now pregnant but next spring when the pasture is full I will decrease the feed some but never remove it totally and hay will be put out year round. Now of course on rainy days the hay goes fast and on sunny days it is hardly touched but it is there and their choice.
     
  5. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    It depends on what kind of goats, what you're using them for. If you're milking, you'll probably need to supplement. Goats prefer to browse over graze, so if it's just all pasture grass, you'll probably need something else. If you've got a lot of weeds and brush, you're not milking, and they're hardy goats, they would probably be fine with just supplementing hay in the winter. You'll also need to provide minerals.

     
  6. cdann40

    cdann40 Member

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    I'm looking at raising dairy, most likely nubians, in terms of pasture, right now their isn't one. We(wife and I) will be strarting a farm next year and I'm trying to get as much info as I can. We will be working with about twenty acres and I'm trying to decide if goats are the way to go rather than cattle. Right now the pasture is used for crops by a neighbor so we get to really start from scratch. In terms of goats I'm trying to wiegh pros-cons of dairy and meat because my goal would be able to farm as a living. We do have a chance to expand at least another 15 acres and possibly more. If any other info would help please let me know.

    Chris
     
  7. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    Goats are browsers, like deer, not grazers, like cattle. They will eat grass if nothing else is offered, but they need other kinds of feed for a healthy ruman, plus minerals. Typically, good producing dairy animals need high quality protein, and enough calories to keep weight on. Some people do achieve this with pasture only, but they don't live in northern climates. I live in the north coast range of oregon, and there's no browse left - all the leaves are gone. My pasture is done too. I let my goats out and they "browse" but they certainly couldn't support themselves on what little is out there. They have grass hay available in a covered feeder all the time, plus each one gets a 1 lb ration of dry cob - 9% protein and 2.8% fat (because they are either dry weanlings, yearlings, or bred dried off adults). I don't milk in the winter. When they freshen, or when I start to condition the younger ones for show, I switch over to regular dairy goat ration that is 16% protein and 2% fat and alfalfa cubes - about mid Feb. Year round they have loose dairy minerals and sweetlix meat maker blocks available. My meat goats are pasture only from June to November (I have 28 acres of good goat browse), and then they are supplemented with grass hay. They are pretty fat naturally and I don't grain them.
     
  8. trob1

    trob1 Well-Known Member

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    Well if you are wanting to farm as a living how about having the dairy goats for the milk and having a few beef cows in with them and they will eat the grass and the goats will eat the weeds and scrub. When deciding between dairy and meat goats think about what you are wanting to market, milk or meat. Also think about milking it is a twice a day chore and they need more supplemental feed to produce milk. Meat goats will graze all day in heat, rain and cold but dairy goats are more tempremental and run with the first drop of rain for cover. You are doing good by learning now before getting goats.
     
  9. Key

    Key Well-Known Member

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    I am also a resident of the Keystone state, and I have to supplement more than I orginally thought with my Boer goats on pasture. There are some important things missing from just PA pasture even in the summer (selelnium, etc). I have nto had success getting my gaots to lick a goat mineral balock or eat the loose minerals. I give hay about 8 months of the year, and I give grain year-round ( but more obviously in the winter). Some may say this is overboard, but my lovely ladies don't have kidding problems with thier multiplies and a phone call to the vet is very rare. This may be dump luck, but it may be that we get out of our naimals what we put into them. A little grain in the summer allows me to check the herd closely and ensure they are truly getting what they need. I know they love multiflora rose bushes, but I like to see them eat alittle grain for their rumen's sake and their mineral balance. You can also have Penn State test your browse and literally tell you what is in the forage. It is pretty cheap-like $10-$15 if I remember correctly. Penn State also tests hay.
     
  10. ChickenMom

    ChickenMom Well-Known Member

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    Our Boer goats eat everything, grass, trees, bushes, briars. My dairy girls will nibble on brush and tree leaves but they are "too good" to put their noses down far enough to eat grass. LOL (or maybe they're just spoiled) They like hay and grain, but there's only 3 of them. We have sheep that we run in every so often to mow.
     
  11. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    I am not familiar with "multiflora" rose bushes, but apparently goats like all rose bushes - the one time my does got out and went "walkabout", they headed straight for the neighbor that raises fancy expensive ornamental roses, ignored every other bush and plant, and ate those roses right down to the ground..

    If you goats don't eat minerals, they may be getting what they need somewhere else. Who knows, maybe roses are high in selenium. :)