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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am trying to get a better handle on how I should feed the soon-to-be-arriving kids. The three images show the three pastures they will have access to on a rotating basis. Obviously the main goat area is the image with the red mini barn. The grass is very lush right now, we have been fortunate to have an early Spring. There is also clover and wild strawberry and other weeds mixed with the grass here and there.
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It is kind of hard to see, but there is a 30’x 24’ goat pen fenced off by green fence panels in front of the mini barn; we will be adding 4’ woven wire to the green fencing to beef it up. The goats will spend their time in this area + the barn while we are at work. I don’t expect the goat pen to stay grassy for long!

So now I have questions regarding feeding them. Obviously they will be getting hay, but how much hay considering they will have access to grass forage? I was planning on giving them some feed (not a lot), mainly for the ammonium chloride for the wethers. There will be free access to minerals and sodium bicarbonate, and of course access to fresh water buckets.

I don’t want to make the same mistake that I did with two of my hens from my first flock: over fed them with treats which ultimately led to their untimely passings. 😔

All advice and suggestions are welcomed from all of you goat experts! 😁
 

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For lush forage, you may find it best to make sure your goats have an annual CD&T vaccination. It can help guard against bloat caused by too much 'green.' Beyond that,

Understand that there are a ton of perspectives on this and not everyone agrees - some folks disagree pretty passionately.. Also, diet and supplements are very much determined by what you have naturally available to them and whether your land (and therefore their forage) may be short something. We live in an area that is short selenium and short copper therefore we know we need to supplement.

So this is what we do generally.
- all should have free choice quality hay, goat specific minerals and fresh water. I also offer everyone free choice Thorvin Kelp. Everyone periodically gets additional Selenium/E gel and a copper bolus.

If either of your boys are intact/bucks - they may need some supplemental grain feed during rut. Some forget to eat much during rut (my current one goes down to bones if we're not careful, my previous buck not so much) and so he gets a bit of grain feed sprinkled with ammonium chloride to avoid urinary calculi during rut.

When your girls are pregnant or lactating - they will need supplemental grain. We feed a dairy goat pelleted feed and pelleted alfalfa. Quantities change as they develop further into the pregnancy and then based on milk production.

Again - there is no single answer. Some goats need more, some need less. Some work harder (pack goats) and need more groceries, some laze around. Some react to different things uniquely - I've got one doe that has trouble if she gets more than a teaspoon of BOSS. Also, different regions have different nutrients available through natural forage.

Hope that helps.
 

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So I am trying to get a better handle on how I should feed the soon-to-be-arriving kids. The three images show the three pastures they will have access to on a rotating basis. Obviously the main goat area is the image with the red mini barn. The grass is very lush right now, we have been fortunate to have an early Spring. There is also clover and wild strawberry and other weeds mixed with the grass here and there.
View attachment 95370 View attachment 95371 View attachment 95372

It is kind of hard to see, but there is a 30’x 24’ goat pen fenced off by green fence panels in front of the mini barn; we will be adding 4’ woven wire to the green fencing to beef it up. The goats will spend their time in this area + the barn while we are at work. I don’t expect the goat pen to stay grassy for long!

So now I have questions regarding feeding them. Obviously they will be getting hay, but how much hay considering they will have access to grass forage? I was planning on giving them some feed (not a lot), mainly for the ammonium chloride for the wethers. There will be free access to minerals and sodium bicarbonate, and of course access to fresh water buckets.

I don’t want to make the same mistake that I did with two of my hens from my first flock: over fed them with treats which ultimately led to their untimely passings. 😔

All advice and suggestions are welcomed from all of you goat experts! 😁
We just put the seats down in the truck and put tarp Down with hay/alfalfa and stick the goats in there if we pick up but we have a trailer so it’s very rare they get the luxury ride in the truck haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the thorough reply, mzgarden, esp. regarding the CD&T vaccination, that is the first I have heard about that. Bloat is something I would be concerned about b/c of the grass foraging.

These first three goats will be the more lazy goats, I will never have a buck, only wethers, and don’t plan on having my doe impregnated until I’ve got a good handle on caring for goats, so their nutrient requirements at this time sound like it should be pretty basic. I never heard about kelp for goats either, so I went and read about that, very interesting! You mentioned that you still need to give your goats a copper bolus, is the trace amount in the kelp generally not enough or is this more specific for your goats?

So it seems that the goats will be teaching me through my observations on what I need to provide for them. I love learning and taking on new challenges, so for a city girl who has only been a country girl for 5 years, having four-legged critters, aside from dogs and cats, is unchartered territory for me. But this adventure that has been long in the making and I will finally be there in 9 days!

Thank you for your advice, mzgarden, you have been most helpful! 😁
 

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If you intend to keep just three goats in that pasture, all they will need is salt, and clean water. Goats have evolved to live in deserts.
 

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You really need to talk with your county agricultural agent to find out what nutrients your area is deficient in. Our area here is deficient in selenium; however it is not deficient in copper and has very little iron in the soil/water. What this means is that I only supplement the goat herd with a selenium nutrient (Bo-Si is a good one but is RX.). Replamin Plus is also a good one but does contain copper. Also what some in here use as supplemental feed may not be good for you to use. I say this because a few years back I was hearing so much of the benefit of Black Oil Sunflower Seed (BOSS); then when I started using it I discovered my entire herd started showing symptoms of copper deficiency, which of course I then started supplementing. Then I discovered BY ACCIDENT that it was the BOSS that was causing the copper deficiency because I ran out and could not get to a store to get any for quite a few months. During those months their symptoms of copper deficiency disappeared. Thus I learned the hard way to talk with an agricultural agent and get to know your own specific area's deficiencies. Now I still use BOSS but very sparingly and only for those I want to gain more weight for whatever reason.

Also when you talk with your agricultural agent, take some vegetation from your pastures with you and have them analyzed for nutrients. This will tell you a great deal of what your goats will be getting from the pastures. (My pastures presently need renovating; however, when I first set them up I seeded them with New Zealand grass because that grass is endophyte free, a very healthy/nutritious grass for goats.)
 
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BOSS consumption by goats should be very limited. Perhaps 1/4 cup per day to provide natural oils and a smidge of protein.
 

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As a suggestion, as I did this for myself, I reached out to a local tree cutting service to try and secure the branches/brush they cut. In some cases, it may save them money if they pay to get rid of them at a drop-off site.
 
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