Free choice alfalfa pellets

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Nancy_in_GA, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    My goats were on mostly browse all summer, but we had our first frost Monday. They will eat all the dead leaves off the ground before they will touch hay. Spent two weeks intoducing them to 100% alfalfa pellets (but not free choice). Three days ago I opened the feed bunk and stood back.

    They have been stuffing themselves ever since, puffed up like toads, drinking gallons of water, soft green poop all over the place. Did I do something wrong? Please reassure me they won't all be sick, or tell me if I did something I shouldn't have.

    Nancy
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    While I won't *guarantee* that they won't get sick, the soft green poo is most certainly their body's reaction to a new and over-indulged-in food. Make absolutely certain that they have probiotics and baking soda available so they don't get bloated and that their runems have the bacteria necessary to adjust to the new diet. But they will adjust and slow down soon. As with any little kids in a candy store, they're going to pig out for a while before it gets "old" enough to not be nearly as much fun...

    Keep a close eye on them, baking soda and Probios and they should adjust.

    Sarah
     

  3. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Sarah. They have baking soda out free choice, and I have Probios in the refrigerator.

    Just got my goats this spring and do not feel confident about anything yet. I've read everything I can about goats on these discussion boards, but reading about it is just not the same as when you actually experience it.

    Nancy
     
  4. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    I hope they will be ok. watch them close. You should not have done that but now that you have then just keep a very close eye on them and go ahead and give them a good dose of probios. Also, are they up to date on their shots? Like the one for overeating?
    I am also getting my goats to eat alfalfa pellets and they like them too much so I just pour some in the hay feeder along with the hay twice a day. They fight for it. I don't know if I can ever give it to them free choice. I have eight goats and I give them about a gal of pellets at a time right now. I worked up to that amount over several days. I think that along with their hay that that is probably enough anyway.
     
  5. Stacy Adams

    Stacy Adams Well-Known Member

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    When I started my girls out on alfalfa pellets, it was a handfull to thier food, then two, then I waited untill they were done eating and offered them another handfull, then 1/2 a coffee can, then a whole one, then I moved the pellets to a separate area.. and kept increasing the ammount of pellets untill I noticed that they were leaving some in the feeder.. they all eat about/average 3-4 pounds a day
    Nancy, I would bet your goats will be just fine. Give 'em the probios for sure, and if they still look like they've overindulged today, you can give 'em a dose of baking powder by licking your finger, sticking it in the BP and wiping it on their tongues or the roof of their mouths.. they'll slow down and their bodies will regulate and get back to normal, maybe today??
     
  6. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    Actually they are all acting really good. Much more playing, running around, and getting into mischief. Could be just the cooler weather, or maybe more free time to goof off, rather than forage.

    And it seems that my being there triggers their eating impulse. When I'm not close by they don't fool around the pellets. When I show up, they race to the pellets.

    I probably didn't increase the amount enough before offering free choice. Next fall I'll do it more carefully, like you did. But I think it's going to be o.k.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with me.
    Nancy
     
  7. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    What kind of hay are your goats on and are they eating enough of it? Mine are on a grass hay and I supplement the pellets in their grain twice a day. But they don't need much. I have nigerians and my seven does only get 2.5 cups per day (that's total for all.) I saw a big difference in their condition just by adding that little bit. I think free choice pellets would be overboard and goof up their crucial calcium/phosphorus ratio.
     
  8. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Actually, I am thinking very seriously of going to all pellet feeding next year. Well, I'm sure they will have a little hay of some sort on the side <G> But the thought of no waste is VERY compelling.

    I have had mine on free choice pellets and hay. When I took away the pellets, they didn't look nearly as good, so now they have both again. Sigh. Spoiled just a tad.

    Here is a gal who has done it for years now --

    http://www.nwinfo.net/~milkmaid/feeder.html


    Tracy
     
  9. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    moonspinner: Been offering coastal bermuda and grass hay since the hurricanes came. They won't touch it. Ends up as bedding. Even got a bag of crushed alfalfa hay (very expensive). No dice. But they eat dried leaves off the ground, which I hate because we have lots of whitetail deer here.

    Tracy: They are doing really well. It took about 3 days to settle down. Nice round firm goat berries now. My two shy thin picky eaters are even looking really good. With 14 goats it looks like 100 pounds will last only about 2 days come January. Pellets are about $13.50 for 100 lbs here.

    Read an article that said a little grain supplement was good with alfalfa pellets to keep up the Ca to P ratio. Will probably continue to supplement with a cup of medicated pellets, with a scoopful of sunflower seeds, until the med. pellets are gone. Then maybe try some grain mix. But it's so hard trying to feed a measured amount of anything as a group, because some will hog it all.
    Nancy
     
  10. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Not sure you could find a better calcium to phos ratio for goats than alfalfa hay or pellets and browse or alfalfa pellets and grass hay! The perfect protein level also. Vicki
     
  11. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    That is good news! The youngest just turned 7 mos, so I figure I can stop the med. feed, and just monitor fecals for coccidia, etc. This hassle of trying to make sure each one gets a certain amount of stuff every day was really getting old fast. Thanks. -Nancy