Feeding questions

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Kathy'sKID, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Kathy'sKID

    Kathy'sKID Kelly in Nebraksa

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    AFter reading another thread I've got some questions. We have several buck kids. Oldest is 5 months old and the rest are less than 2 months. They all get grain. It was my understanding that they should get it their first year. They also get alfalfa hay. So.....is the grain okay to give? How much? When, if ever, should we stop?

    Now...what about the girls? We have a four year old who is currently dry. She does not get any grain...just alfalfa hay. Two other does (1 year old) are currently milking. They get 3 pounds per day each plus alfalfa hay. I'm wondering if they need more. Their sides are very hollow looking but that's normal, right? (These are all nubians.) Their hip bones on top seem to stick out. But you cannot see their ribs...their bellies don't look fat but look full. What do you think? Am I feeding them enough?

    Oh, and there's one little girl....7 weeks old...she sneaks grain from her momma's.

    KathyNE
     
  2. trnubian

    trnubian Twin-Reflection Nubians

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    It sounds like you are doing ok to me. Here are some things that I would do.

    Give the bucks over six months of a a small amount of grain ( 2 cups a day) and feed good quality grass hay. Feed the grass hay to your bucks to help prevent urinary calculi. Too rich of a diet with alfalf can also make them sterile for a time. Bucks under six months of age should have a little more grain than the older bucks. Give 2-3 month olds free choice grain if they are still picking at it. If not, limit them to about 5 cups a day, with free choice grass hay. And of course free choice clean water.

    For your you doe kids feed them about the same as your boys grain wise or just go by how they look. If they are too fat, cut back, if they are a little thin, increase. Give your little girls free choice alfalfa hay and water.

    Alfafla hay for your older dry doe is fine, she does not need grain.

    For your mikers feed her all the grain that she will eat, unless she is a big pig and would founder herself on feed. Also go by how she looks, is she fat, skinny, or just right. Feed her free choice alfalfa.

    It would be a good idea to offer a loose mineral specially formulated for goats. Or a mineral that is made for beef cattle on pasture will work well. This helps them get all of the minerals they otherwise may be lacking. Provide Baking Soda free choice for them as this acts as a rumen buffer, or like tums would for us. They know when they need it and will eat it only then.

    Yes, dairy goats are supposed to have that sort of sunken in look. Their hips are hard to cover in flesh and you have to have a really fat goat in order to do this. To tell if they are fat or sknny look at their ribs and just behind their elbow where it meets the barrel wall. If you can see the ribs, she is too thin. If you can't see the ribs, but can easily feel them, she is just right. If you have to press, or dig to find ribs, or if there is a little pouch behind her elbow, she is too fat. I would rather have my does a little on the chubby side to help get them through the cold winter, than thin or even just right.

    Also, depending on what protein percentage your grain mix is, would help you to know how much you would need to feed or supplement. Our grain supplement is a 16% protein grain mix. We have our own grain mixed at our local elevator. It is cheaper averaging about $6 a 50lb. bag, and I know exactly what goes in it. I can also change it slightly periodicly if I want to.
     

  3. Kathy'sKID

    Kathy'sKID Kelly in Nebraksa

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    Thank you! This was very helpful. :)
     
  4. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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  5. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You might check the feed label on what you are giving the bucks. Ammonium chloride should be in the bucks' feed to keep them from getting urinary calculi.
    mary
     
  6. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    Yikes! My 3 month Toggenburg whethers are getting 1/2 cup a day of grain. They also get alfalfa/grass hay and they are in a very weedy paddock. We also take them out walking for an hour every afternoon to browse around the fields.

    They are not really fat, but they sure are healthy looking!!!! I can't imagine feeding them even 1 cup a day, let alone 2 or 5 cups. They'd be obese in no time.
     
  7. goatchops

    goatchops Well-Known Member

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    I thought you weren't supposed to feed males hay!!
     
  8. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    It's grain that causes the urinary calculi, not alfalfa. If you're going to feed males grain at all, they need ammonium chloride added to that grain to keep their urine at the right ph.