First goats - newbie questions

Discussion in 'Goats' started by christij, May 21, 2006.

  1. christij

    christij Well-Known Member

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    I have my first two ND whether boys! Here are my you can tell I'm new questions!

    1.) Is the baking soda you get at the store okay for use or do I need a special livestock formulation??

    2.) What do you think of feeding 12% Sweet Feed to them? They were born in March. I only have an Orcshlan and a feed store that I haven't been to b/c I always have my 4 month old daughter in tote with me!

    3.) Should I limit their time in the pasture -- I don't want them to get bloat.

    4.) Any tricks to teaching them to lead - I just put collars on them yesterday and they do not like to come when I give a tug! =)

    I think that's it for now. They are friendly and always greet me when I come into thier stall -- I don't think it's me though I think they are just looking for more grain!

    Christie
     
  2. trappmountain

    trappmountain Well-Known Member

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    Question 4 I have some help for you. Put a leash on them and call them to you try not to tug on them too much at first. Hold food out for them talk nicely and when they come to you give them a scratch and a happy voice and a bit of the food. Soon they will follow you almost anywhere. There will be times they won't but for the most part they will. Food is a great motivater. It works great for goats. It can be a handful of feild grass, a little grain, or whatever you have that they especially like. I use cracked corn as a treat for mine and they walk right into the pasture after me for it. In fact they usually beat me to it now!
     

  3. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I'll take #2. No grain. If they're skinny, get them alfalfa pellets. Otherwise, browse, hay and a loose mineral. Sweetlix Meat Maker 16:8 for Goats is a good one. If you can't find that, Purina will do. Just make sure that whatever you get does NOT say it's for sheep too. The low copper levels in sheep minerals will cause endless trouble for your goats.
     
  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    OK, I'll take #1 and #3, too! :nerd: :)

    #1. Lots of folks feed baking soda, and it's recommended. That said, I haven't provided it for years. When I did, it just got dusty, and I'd have to throw it out. Nobody's died yet for lack of it, but then I don't feed a lot of grain, and what they do get doesn't have molasses, like sweet feed does. Grain and molasses will both tend to acidify the rumen, and baking soda helps to neutralize the acid.

    #3. Unless they're grazing in an alfalfa field, they're highly unlikely to bloat on browse. Browsing is what goats do best. I'd let them have as much as they want.
     
  5. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

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    yes that is the same stuff, but you may be able to get it cheaper from your feed mill in a 50lb. bag. However, don't ask for 'baking soda' cuz most times they'll look at you like they don't know what you are talking about. (probably a man thing, LOL...no offense guys out there!)

    Ask for it by 'Sodium Bicarbonate' or 'Bicarbonate of Soda' at the feed store or tractor supply.

    Allof my goats LOVE the stuff and eat it all the time. Most goats seem to like it, but there are some that won't touch it as in Laura's case. If they don't get much grain, they may not feel a need for it. You can offer it to them and decide once you know their consumption rate. I put mine in a small pail I hang up off the ground on a stall wall so they can't poop or pee in it.
     
  6. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    1. the baking soda from the store is fine and may actually be a better idea, storage wise, since you only have 2 small goats. A 50# bag would probably last them at least a year if not two. I would definately have some available for them free choice, especially now as any change, such as a new home and feed is stressful to the goats.
    2. I would not recommend pure sweet feed for them. Molasses isn't good for the rumen. When I feed sweet feed, it's something I add to dry COB and whole oats. If these goats are kids, a goat developer pellet with coccidiostat would be best. Adult wethers do not need grain and if you do choose to feed it, give them each only about a handfull per day.
    3. As for time in the pasture, this would depend on what they were fed before you brought them home. What will cause rumen upsets is a change in diet. If these guys were fed grass or alfalfa hay in their former home, feed them the same type of hay in the morning before turning them out. If they were on pasture, then allowing them out to pasture shouldn't be a problem, unless it's an alfalfa field, which can cause the goats to bloat.
    Goats need mostly roughage in their diets, be it hay or pasture. Grain is just a supplement, especiallly for the non lactating goat. Alfalfa pellets and hay are fine, but grass hay and browse are actually best in preventing urinary calculi in the wether.
    4. I do not keep my wethers so have not taught them to lead. I do show my does, however, and it's basically time and work with them to get them to lead. Most of my does are full size goats, so I just lead by holding the collar. Same with my NDs but since I don't show the mimi breeds, I haven't really trained them to lead.
     
  7. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    Most of my goats learned to lead with cereal. Anything that went stale but Honey Comb seemed the best, easiest to use. You don't have to give them much and after a while, only the crinkling sound of the bag is enough.

    This one doe seems more afraid then others so I alow her to put her head in the feed scoop, pulling the scoop back to get her to follow along and scratching her neck. She will back away at the neck scratching at first but wants the food more so will tolerate it.

    Most of us will cut sweetfeed down with Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS) Mixing 1/2 and 1/2. I also mix my alfalfa pellets in.

    My goats will not take baking soda. One looked bloatie and I only got her to take it by mixing it in some grain. They do like the mineral salt lick though.

    My goats like the woods better then pasture.
     
  8. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

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    You said these are wethers, right? Grass hay and no grain or you will have problems with urinary calculi. If they are getting straight alfalfa, they can have a little grain - literally a handful, to balance the calcium/phosphorus ratio.

    I bought baking soda for my gang too, a 50 lb bag - they won't touch it. Oh well, I'll use it for cleaning! :dance:
     
  9. christij

    christij Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone!! The breeder gave me some hay since I'm new to my area and don't have a source. Other than that I have alfalfa pellets. I have read that grain is an issue with wethers - I just wasn't sure about them being kids when they got it and when they didn't. I have only been giving a cup in the morning and at night for the two of them.

    So far Huckleberry is the only one that touched the baking soda! =)