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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I brought home 3 nubian wethers on June 30th. For the first week I kept them in an open air shelter and fed them hay and calve grower like the seller had been doing. Since they are in a weedy pasture I didn't want them to overeat.

As it turns out there wasn't any chance of that. I've now got the shelter open but they still spend most of their time inside and seem to only pick at the weeds when I'm there watching. When they eat leaves they act like it tastes terrible but I'm assuming that's because they aren't used to fresh vegetation.

Looking at the weeds around the shelter I don't see much evidence of browsing.

How long can I expect them to just nibble and not really eat? They get 1/2 of a 2+ lb coffee can full of calve grower split into 2 feedings each day between the three 40-50 pound wethers.
 

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Cut out the calf grower. Let them forage for all their needs.

They are not rejecting it cuz they don't know what it is, or cuz it tastes bad. I doubt that. Something is amiss, and you may have caught it early through observation.

When I intake goats, I now routinely worm them and offer Sulmet or aureomycin/Sulmet in their water for the first 7-10 days. That has cut death loss to near zero.

All intake goats get forage only. It seems easiest on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought for the first week or so I would continue feeding what they had been used to eating and gradually switch them to only browse. Prior to moving to my pasture I don't believe they had ever had fresh browse of any kind.

They will strip leaves almost normally for a short time but then quit. I'll try to get out tonight so I can watch them closer. I'll also cut the grower ration down by 1/2 until it's gone in a couple of days.

They don't seem the least bit slow and when spooked they run around the shelter like deer. Also their rumens seem fine but not very large.
 

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Hmmm...might be just that you are feeding them too much, so they figure why bother??? Seriously!

On the other hand, I nearly always intake by the method I decribed. (I make an exception if the goats wer already on coccidiostat and wormed before I got the.) I have lost too many goats that started out OK after a month from sickness that an antibiotic in the drinking water could have prevented. That's a straight bottom line loss to the herd, then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll pick up some Sulmet tonight if they have it. Will that upset their rumen?
 

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A lot of goats are "feedlot" type goats and not used to browsing. My wife's dad bought 3 Boers that had no idea what browse was, let alone a pasture! It took a bit of work, but they eventually learned to eat on their own. Try going out and cutting some grass/weeds from your pasture and feeding it to them. They might take the hint. :rolleyes:
 

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I'm thinking that they've never grazed before and may have been raised either in a dry lot or on bottles. The fastest way to cure this is to get a herd queen to s how them what to do, but if that isn't an option, I guess you'll just have to be patient. I would really limit the grain, they don't need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tonight I had the time so I played head goat. The friendliest one followed me out into the weeds but the other two stayed at the shelter and bawled. I'm thinking they are afraid of the bogey man hiding in the tall weeds. It's head level and higher.

Finally after watching the goat with me not get eaten and after some coaxing they joined us but I could tell they were scared. I led them to a patch of black rasberry vines and they chowed down until the head goat headed back to the shelter after 20 minutes or so. Then they got 1/4 can of calf grower. They get penned in at night for safety.

Tomorrow I'll give them 1/2 can in the morning so they won't be so likely to pig out. The grower is almost gone and I won't be buying any more this summer.
 

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If your grass is that high you might want to cut some paths in it. I notice the taller my field gets the less the goats go out to graze. You also might not want to totally cut out their grain just yet but you might try cutting it down to night only and lessen the amount slowly. It will take time for them to learn to forage for food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This morning on the way to work I coaxed them out into the pasture and they found the sheep sorel. That seems to be a favorite of the goats I've had. They grabbed some of that before following me back to the shelter and getting a 1/4 can of calf grower. I think they will be browsing without any encouragement soon.

There isn't much grass. It's mostly weeds like golden rod, rasberry, asters, willows, and sedges.
 

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Yea mine isnt really grass either but they seem to like the paths when everything is really tall. When I got my spoiled little grain fed goats I had to take them out to graze 2 or 3 times a day and now they are real pros and spend most of the day out eating and get alittle grain each night.
 

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Glad to hear you think they are getting the hang of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Who would have thought I'd have to coax a goat to eat weeds. :)
 
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