How to put weight on miking does

Discussion in 'Goats' started by GoatGirly, May 23, 2016.

  1. GoatGirly

    GoatGirly Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I'm pretty new to goats and I have 5 milking nubian does right now their all 2 year old first fresheners but one who is 4 a year old. Any way we can't get weight on them. We've been switching to different grains trying to find the best one for us. And we just wormed them. We've been getting tons and tons of rain. It's been hot and sunny one day and cold wet and rainy the next, could that be doing it?
     
  2. jwal10

    jwal10 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Careful with a lot of switching, that can put them off or give sour stomach. How long have they been milking? You may never get them to gain weight while milking heavy early in the lactation, they may put it all in the bucket. Many times you just maintain until they start to dry up. Give them the best you can. If on grass they can't eat enough without getting loose. Feed good hay before turn out. Keep loose minerals available....James
     
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  3. GoatGirly

    GoatGirly Well-Known Member

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    Oh thanks, I didn't realize switching a lot could be really hard on them
     
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  4. mzgarden

    mzgarden Well-Known Member

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    One milking doe started to lose a little weight about 8 weeks into her lactation. She is on dairy parlor commercial feed, has grass hay, baking soda, goat minerals free choice and is on the pasture all day. She is not fighting for her food as each is fed separately.
    I added a generous handful of BOSS to each of her feedings and that seemed to help. We also did a fecal test to rule out worms.
     
  5. marusempai

    marusempai Well-Known Member

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    All of mine loose weight when they're milking, no matter what I feed them. Some amount of weight loss is normal. That said - things that I find to prevent *excessive* weight loss are alfalfa pellets, chaffhaye (if you can get it - it's fermented alfalfa and both basically goat crack and very good for them), and black oil sunflower seeds (too many gives them upset tummies though - something like a quarter cup, twice a day, seems to be the upward limit for mine).
     
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  6. nehimama

    nehimama An Ozark Engineer Supporter

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    I've found that beet pulp (shreds or pellets) currently help my milkers keep a decent weight. The goats find it quite palatable. They also get alfalfa pellets. Grain on the milkstand.
     
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  7. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    First, send of fecals to Mid America Ag Research. What dewormer did you use, and what dosage?

    Goats that are good producers in early lactation are expected to lose weight. Lactation is the most demanding life stage, even more than growth. They shouldn't ever become dangerously thin, and should gain through middle/late lactation, be near ideal at breed back, and be high-ideal at kidding to start the cycle all over again. :)

    To prevent metabolic problems, a goats' diet should always be FIRMLY based in forage. Increase your hay quality and quantity first. 2nd cutting alfalfa, for example, is grown during the heat of summer, and will be more stem and less leaf. First cutting and 3rd cutting are usually more nutritional. Personally, I prefer a grass/alfalfa mix, 2nd or 3rd cut. Pure alfalfa always seems to be mostly stem, and the dried leaves like to fall from the stems like chaff. :/

    Grain is rapidly fermenting and can lead to acidosis if not fed appropriately. Protein needs are approximately 16% for adult lactating goats. More than that is just an expensive way to provide energy, as excess protein is just digested as energy instead of being useful as protein. (Energy is more cheaply and easily had from the rest of the grains like corn and oats). Chronic acidosis can lead to maldigeston, poor appetite, rapid weight loss, and decreased milk production.

    You can often increase fat in the ration SOMEWHAT. Beware of poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which can lead to milk fat depression. Rumen bacteria cannot tolerate PUFAs, and must saturate them, which is inefficient and decreases production of VFA's and thus milk fat production.

    I have posted my grain mix a few times. Ours includes a 'grain base' which we have mixed by our feed mill. Soybean pellet, oats, corn, Vit E/Se supplement, and a small amount of wet molasses to keep it from being dusty. The corn, oats, and molasses are all rapidly digesting carbs. Soybean dairy pellet is for protein. I take 12 parts of this grain base and mix it with 6 parts alfalfa pellets, 3 parts shredded beet pulp, and 1 part BOSS. It was really helpful after struggling with a doe that had chronic acidosis for an entire freshening (really hard to get out of the cycle of acidosis during a lactation).

    Also, try not to change diet rapidly, that could be causing your maldigestion issues. They are ruminants, and their large fermentation vats should remain as stable as possible throughout the day and from day to day for optimal health and to avoid opportunistic pathogens or metabolic problems.
     
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  8. GoatGirly

    GoatGirly Well-Known Member

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    Thank you guys for all the advice! Very helpful!
     
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  9. smwon

    smwon Escapee

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    Can you tell us what the proportions are for your base mix, or direct us to a post that tells this information?
     
  10. cfuhrer

    cfuhrer Wood Nymph / Toxophilite

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    Not only the switching. But if you switch too often and too soon you may switch off of something that would have worked if given a longer test run.