How "pudgy" is too fat?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by jill.costello, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    I have read with delight past posts about "fat" goaties-

    that they're considered "healthy", and if they're really really fat, they're considered REALLY healthy!! ha ha...

    However, I'm starting to get concerned about my little "Coffee"; she's REALLY FAT! She grazes free-range the same amount as my other goat (her 1/2 sister/cousin) and the babies, but Coffee has started PACKING on the pounds in pure blubber.

    She has about 3/4 of an inch of padding on her chest, and about 1 inch of blubbery fat covering her ribs!

    She doesn't get any extras. She "vaccums" up after the horses after morning grain, so she MIGHT be gleaning 1/4 cup of horse feed at most, but nothing I would think would make her as rolly-polly as she is!

    Her breeding is 3/4 Alpine, 1/4 mutt, but she has some developmental problems that make her appear like a Pygmy or a Dwarf.

    When my neighbor comes by, he always says "that's ONE FAT GOAT!" and I always answer "awww, she's just got a THYROID PROBLEM..."

    Should I be worried about her health? She plays and runs and is bright and cheery. DH thinks she's going to have a heart attack :-(
     
  2. crazygoatgirl

    crazygoatgirl Well-Known Member

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    Are you planning on breeding her or is she bred? If you do not have a job for her to do other than be a pet then the only thing that you might be doing is shortening her life expectancy some. If you are planning on breeding her or if she is bred you are setting her up for one heck of a hard pregnancy and a hard delivery.

    As far as hear attack...it can happen...heat stroke is also possible in the summer cause all that fat will hold the heat in and she will not be able to cool off as easily as the "thinner" goats.
     

  3. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    I understand your concern!
    When my Alpines were getting just a tad TOO chubby, I cut back on their grain...grain is the major culprit in fattening animals!
    My little Nigerian Dwarf is sooooo tubby! She is in with all the dairy babies because she is just to little in size to be with the big girls. the other doe I have that is about her age (4 months old) is a Nigerian-Alpine cross, but she has a very assertive personality and could be in with the big girls even though she is a lot smaller than them. She holds her own. But the little one is afraid of them. At 4 months old, she is smaller than my 6 and 7 week old dairy goat babies, while the cross is just a little bigger than them.
    I said all that to say this: I can't really restrict her grain intake because I offer to the babies free choice. Everytime I look in the window she is either at the hay basket or the grain bowl!!! And boy is she a little fat roly-poly! She also tries to get hooked onto the milk bucket when I bring it in! There are 10 nipples and 10 dairy babies and if she can she will muscle her way in there and latch on! Since I weaned her she has slimmed down a bit...
    When the dairy babies are big enough (in about 2 months or so) I am going to mix them all together as I will need the kidding stall for my pg mama goat. I imagine she'll begin to thin out then...
     
  4. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    When I took my girls off of pasture this October, there were a few that were about as wide as long. I am worried about one that is obviously "fat" but I think for most it was just that their stomachs had gotten larger to take in more grass verse hay (larger amount of liquid verses nutrients). A few still look large but they now have their winter coats on. I am not sure what to do with the fat one, she had triplets last year. Can't really put her on a diet, she is the third in the queen-runner-up line. They are just on alfalfa and grass hay with a grain mix used more as a treat than a feed.
     
  5. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Being too fat is not good for goats. They develop fat on their ovaries and sometimes cannot conceive. If they do conceive, it is easier for them to have metabolic and other problems. Having kids and being in milk actually helps them to lose weight. My fattest goats are my Boers. Due to my small setup, they are housed with the dairy goats who require a higher level of nutrition. These are the goats I lend out to eat weeds so they are not in the pen when I am feeding the richest feed to my milkers and growing dairy babies. I also breed them annually, even the doelings. Chocolate Mousse (translate to moose) is now in with my friend's Boer buck. She was getting very chunky already as a kid. She gets good hay but no grain where she is staying.
    You mention that your goat has some problem which stunted her growth. This problem may actually be causing thyroid problems. It might be wise to have your vet check for that. Alpines are usually a thinner breed of goat.
     
  6. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

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    Actual fat is not good. People sometimes mistake a big belly, which indicates good body capacity, as fat, when it isn't. I don't think dairy goats should ever be fat, period, and I have a strong tendency to cull any animal that looks as if she has the inclination to pack on meat/fat, because they usually don't milk well.

    This sounds harsh, and I don't mean for it to... :)
     
  7. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    no harshness taken- If I were in the goat "business", she wouldn't have even been allowed to live, let alone get to be a fat 2 year old! (she couldn't even walk for the first three days of her life)

    No, she just a pet, and "auntie" to the other doe's kids. But, because she's a pet, it would be that much more of an emotional tradgedy if I let her get so overweight that it affected her health!

    I think her developmental issues are contributing to this "metabolic" problem. She has a full-sized goat body, on little stumpy dwarf legs.

    I love her so much... shoot! I just started crying. The thought of having to tie her up or pen her for several hours a day to reduce her intake just breaks my heart! She's "slow", mentally, and never gets over change of any kind. She cries and cries when she loses sight of the other goats, and had such a hard time when she was younger.

    She's a very quiet, slow-moving goat, and seeks me out all the time. If I give in, we sit together on the ground. She climbs up on my lap (a full-grown goat!), and she lays back and lets me rub her tummy for 10-20 minutes.

    I think I WILL have her thyroid checked. sitting here writing about her made me realise how important she is to me!
     
  8. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear.... :)

    You don't have to pen her up....and no, I don't think you should cull her. She's a pet, and you both recognize and accept that. What is she eating right now? Just don't give her any grain, and if you can, when spring comes, try to provide some exercise for her, such as a boulder to climb on, and feeding them outside of the pen so they have to walk to the feed, etc...
     
  9. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

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    A big 'stomach' is a sign of a good functioning rumen. Fat on the other hand is a different issue. If a goat is on the 'pudgy' side, you can feel the brisket (this is the lower chest area) and if it feels mushy and fleshy, the goat is a bit overweight.

    If there is also a fleshy 'fold' behind the elbow, then the goat is grossly overweight. Goats store fat internally first, before it becomes visible outwardly, so if you judge your goat to be fat just by looking at it, then it's already obese interally.

    Fat around the internal organs puts undue strain on goats, can compromise their health....and shorten their life span.