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Legally blonde!
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I feel like a goober for asking but I need to ask.

How do you go about feeding your young bred does?

I have always bred my does to kid out as 2yr old FF's so by that time I was easily done graining. I had a few does kid out as yearling FF but it was always a WHOOPS! thing not a planned thing. My normal feeding program is I grain until the does are a year of age, not large amounts of grain but I do grain. My main concern is making sure I am giving proper nutrition to a young growing doe while also giving proper nutrition to her babies. I don't want to end up with large kids because I am giving to much grain or grain for too long.

These does are 7-8 months when bred and will be kidding out at 12-13 months of age. I normally would be giving grain until they where 12 months but since these does are bred that changes things a bit. In my mature does they don't get grain until a month before kidding when I started adding it back in to their diet. Obviously many people do grain different ways :). I am looking for feedback on how many of you feed your bred upcoming yearlings.

Okay now I hope that made sense :). You would think for all the years of breeding goats I would know this stuff but like I said I have almost always bred for 2yr old FF does. This is a new leap for me :).

Justine
 

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Ages Ago Acres Nubians
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We too hold off until 2nd brithday babies..EXCEPT for last year when I didn't get Bill E Gumbo out of the doeling pen quick enough LOL... He got two of the six pregnant.. I was clueless until I noticed udders on both Three and Luna.. I drew blood that morning on both.. sent it right off.. BUT.. they both kidded BEFORE my pregnancy tests results came back LOL.. (each had a single.. Luna's boy Dusk weighed just over nine lbs.. she pushed him out quick and easily.. we had found Three's little girl the day before when we went out to feed breakfast.. she was all cleaned up and snuggled down in the hay..all the teens were very pleased with themselves (I however was feeling guilt over having moms who were only 11months old!!!.. but like Luna..Three looked to have had no issues during her labor/delivery.. single girl weighing just under nine lbs).. since that entire pen was suppose to be doing NOTHING but growing up.. they were on good grass hay (24/7) and a little (I mean a LITTLE) bit of oats & alfalfa pellets 2x a day... just enough for every one to get a few bites worth from two communal bowls.. Both new moms held their weight well.. while neither were record breaking milkers.. they milk just fine for 11 month old mommies.. (both nubian, both carrying a lot of old amberwood and copper-hill lines).. if we were to ever do it again (on purpose) that young.. I would for sure add a little more grain and a lot more alfalfa pellets (it's hard to get decent alfalfa around here.. esp.. alfalfa that is the same from one time to the next, so pellets work best for us).. it's now 10 months later.. BOTH does that kidded/milked kept up growth wise with the other four... Luna is actually the 2nd largest of the six... all six should be pregnant .. I'm looking forward to seeing what this year brings ... number of kids/amount of milk.. when I compare my loose floozies to their good girl, pen mates LOL..

susie, mo ozarks
 

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Legally blonde!
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Discussion Starter #3
We too hold off until 2nd brithday babies..EXCEPT for last year when I didn't get Bill E Gumbo out of the doeling pen quick enough LOL... He got two of the six pregnant.. I was clueless until I noticed udders on both Three and Luna.. I drew blood that morning on both.. sent it right off.. BUT.. they both kidded BEFORE my pregnancy tests results came back LOL.. (each had a single.. Luna's boy Dusk weighed just over nine lbs.. she pushed him out quick and easily.. we had found Three's little girl the day before when we went out to feed breakfast.. she was all cleaned up and snuggled down in the hay..all the teens were very pleased with themselves (I however was feeling guilt over having moms who were only 11months old!!!.. but like Luna..Three looked to have had no issues during her labor/delivery.. single girl weighing just under nine lbs).. since that entire pen was suppose to be doing NOTHING but growing up.. they were on good grass hay (24/7) and a little (I mean a LITTLE) bit of oats & alfalfa pellets 2x a day... just enough for every one to get a few bites worth from two communal bowls.. Both new moms held their weight well.. while neither were record breaking milkers.. they milk just fine for 11 month old mommies.. (both nubian, both carrying a lot of old amberwood and copper-hill lines).. if we were to ever do it again (on purpose) that young.. I would for sure add a little more grain and a lot more alfalfa pellets (it's hard to get decent alfalfa around here.. esp.. alfalfa that is the same from one time to the next, so pellets work best for us).. it's now 10 months later.. BOTH does that kidded/milked kept up growth wise with the other four... Luna is actually the 2nd largest of the six... all six should be pregnant .. I'm looking forward to seeing what this year brings ... number of kids/amount of milk.. when I compare my loose floozies to their good girl, pen mates LOL..

susie, mo ozarks
Haha oh Susie I have been there! I have a few loose floozies that got pretty much the same as your doe kids did. I about DIED when I saw those tiny little udders on my "babies". This year I decided to bite the bullet and breed everyone since they all reached weight just fine, shoot two of them (Eleanor and Sarah) are little fatties :D.

I have been thinking about the grain thing for the past few days as all the young does are coming up on 21 days. I decided I needed to bite the bullet and just ask, even if I do look like a goober :facepalm:.

Justine
 

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I would probably just continue as you are with the grain and then increase slowly up to about 1/2 what you will likely be feeding when they are in milk starting a month before kidding. Make sure they have alfalfa also. I always feed alfalfa year round, so not sure what to advise if you don't. My Nigerian kids don't get any grain except for a short time after weaning, to get them their coccidia meds. The alpine kids I start grain right before weaning, and then keep graining until they kid, unless they don't breed the first year like my 2 dry yearlings I have right now (and I'd have cut them off much sooner if I'd known...ah well). My yearlings have not had any bigger kids than the adults. I think excess protein is more likely to cause large kids than excess grain.
 

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Justine, We have only bred doelings the first year to kid by their 1st birthday or shortly before/after. We have never held any of them for the extra year that lots of very good breeders like you do. Sometimes I feel guilty about it actually. lol. We have big does with mostly old line Nubian genetics, we feed MILK for 7 months and absolutely no grain at all to kids. We have not yet had a doeling who was not plenty big enough to breed the autumn following her birth...no one less than 120 pounds and some bigger. Ours (as I know you know) are full sized Nubians and we do not have grass pasture, live in heavy, heavy woods, dry woodland setting (no worms! is the main benefit). We start feeding grain to expectant moms roughly a month before kidding time...just a handful at first as a treat and then increasing to about a pound at birth...whole oats, a few sunflower seeds and Purina Noble Dairy. Once they are in milk they often get a great deal more grain than I have ever seen advocated here, but it depends on how much they milk. We drop the grain when we start the dry off in the fall prior to breeding. We feed alfalfa hay and I worry constantly that we are courting disaster when I read about all the "calcium" problems caused by feeding alfalfa to some does...but we haven't experienced it YET and it was the way we were encouraged to feed when we began raising goats (by the best, most experienced Nubian goat woman we knew). Sometimes I think we worry and worry over what somebody else experienced as a problem rather than just saying, "Hey, this appears to work in OUR SITUATION." I am always open to new ideas and greatly appreciate help, but I really and truly believe that sometimes we second guess ourselves to death! I say this as another way of saying, "your herd looks great! and you appear to know what you are doing!!".
 

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Legally blonde!
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Discussion Starter #6
Sometimes I think we worry and worry over what somebody else experienced as a problem rather than just saying, "Hey, this appears to work in OUR SITUATION." I am always open to new ideas and greatly appreciate help, but I really and truly believe that sometimes we second guess ourselves to death! I say this as another way of saying, "your herd looks great! and you appear to know what you are doing!!".
Thank you Dozedotz :). I think you are so very right, I know I worry myself to death over certain things. The good thing is while these does are Standards I have them bred Nigerian Dwarf so if for some reason the babies are big it won't be huge like if they where bred standard. I have to laugh though Dozedotz because you said sometimes you feel guilty, I have felt SO guilty sometimes when I look at my little girls. But I know they are plenty big enough and if need be I can always dry them up early if I feel like they are not growing well.

Having all this feedback/input really helps me think about how to go about this. I have also asked for some feedback on another place and it seems like I will continue with how I thought of doing it. I will be feeding my 18% grain in moderation with the Chaffhaye for the first 3 months of pregnancy then I will slowly switch over to the normal 12-13% protein grain my normal milking does get.

Keep the feedback coming because I do love hearing how different people do it.

Justine
 

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Hello Justine,

Food for thought...you may have access to superior alfalfa. So if you are feeding it (around here ours can run 26% protein) and a 16% pellet, you can run into protein edema if you are not careful (especially 2nd fresheners and on up).

Many dairy breeders now feed their young stock (kidding at 13-16 months of age) a modicum of grain with the good alfalfa, but about 1 month before kidding they will switch to 12% maintenance grain.

With older does they (and that includes us) will switch to alfalfa/grass mix and some 12% maintenance feed until after the doe kids. We no longer lead feed (have the doe eating as much grain as she would at close to peak milk) and have found we have fewer problems with edema, overly large kids, sluggish births (that showed up a few times in the Boers) and our lactations have been longer and stronger this way (we actually get more milk with less worry - I love it!).

Always a work in progress, but if I were to change one thing it would be to lower the protein percentage your girls are getting with their grain. YMMV :)
 

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Legally blonde!
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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Camille! I actually only feed 18% protein to growing kids :). All my adults get 12-13% protein grain and the bucks get 13-14% grain. I feed the adult does a mixture of Barley, Oats and BOSS then my bucks get a Senior Horse feed that is higher fat and lower protein. The Senior Horse works great for helping to keep weight on them while in rut.

I used to feed higher protein to milking does and bucks but I was running into horrible udder edema and urine scald on the bucks so I quickly switched the past two years to something lower protein. But this is why I am asking you guys about the grain with the kids because I am going to be milking them as yearlings. What do you think about my idea to feed the 18% for the first three months and then switch them slowly over to my lower 12-13% protein grain?

Justine
PS: For alfalfa I feed the Chaffhaye so I am not sure how that compares protein wise. I would have to actually email the Chaffhaye people and ask, the bag says it can vary.
 

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Hi Camille! I actually only feed 18% protein to growing kids :). All my adults get 12-13% protein grain and the bucks get 13-14% grain. I feed the adult does a mixture of Barley, Oats and BOSS then my bucks get a Senior Horse feed that is higher fat and lower protein. The Senior Horse works great for helping to keep weight on them while in rut.

I used to feed higher protein to milking does and bucks but I was running into horrible udder edema and urine scald on the bucks so I quickly switched the past two years to something lower protein. But this is why I am asking you guys about the grain with the kids because I am going to be milking them as yearlings. What do you think about my idea to feed the 18% for the first three months and then switch them slowly over to my lower 12-13% protein grain?

Justine
PS: For alfalfa I feed the Chaffhaye so I am not sure how that compares protein wise. I would have to actually email the Chaffhaye people and ask, the bag says it can vary.
That seems like a reasonable plan to me. Keep good records and make adjustments as needed the next time. Finding out your protein % is always a good idea, even if you stay with your same routine...at least you know. :)
 
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