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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, all the starving/not starving photos and threads have gotten me a little worried about my milking Nubian. As soon as I can figure out how to post a photo I'll do so, but she's got hay, she gets a pound and a half of grain a day, and she's got 4 acres of grass, trees, and weeds that she shares with 3 other goats. So she's got plenty of forage.

Thing is, she's dropping weight quite a bit since we got her. I've got two kids on her who are past weaning age and I'm about to take those off, but I'm having trouble with the whole "thin/not thin" line.

I'm assuming that I shouldn't really worry too much about a goat that's being regularly wormed and has plenty of hay, grain, and pasture to eat. It's probably the milk that's sucking her dry. Am I correct?
 

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If she is a nursing kids or being milked, is eating well (where is she getting her calcium?), if she does not have a parasite load and if she is of good general health, then thin is in for dairy goats. That is what they do. Lactation strips the excess weight off of any species of animal. The fat stores are used to feed the young. You don't want an animal to get so emaciated that she has to start breaking down her own muscle tissue in order to survive though. But a dairy animal is often thin when hard-working giving milk.

About calcium. Milk is made out of calcium. If she is on browse and hay and 1 1/2 lbs. grain, I would be concerned with that.

Unless the hay is alfalfa and the "grain" is actually an alfalfa based pellet, then she is not getting enough calcium to maintain herself and make milk. Add alfalfa pellets to her diet, eventually getting to free-choice, all she can eat or about 3 pounds a day. And make sure she is not wormy.
 

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Kids, heat, etc will all contribute to a milking doe thinning down. Also as the summer gets hotter, most places the quality of the brose goes downhill so though there may be plenty of it, she may not be getting much besides roughage from it.
Another big question is what is she being wormed with??
Besides being thinner, does her hair coat look slick or rough and sparse??
 

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I feed 1 lb grain for each 3lbs milk made. Add some on top of that if you're also having kids nurse her.
 

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Menagerie More~on
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I bought a bony Nubian doe in milk at the beginning of June. She'd freshened with quints early February and was giving a gallon and a half per day. Since the move, change of feed, etc, she's giving a gallon a day and her loin has filled out a bit with the decrease in milk production.

My grain mix is a recipe with added copper, calcium and salt, so I can squinch a little with the alfalfa pellets (SUPER expensive up here). The guy I bought my goats from never gave alfalfa pellets because of this grain mix (he designed it).

In a ton of feed, there's equal parts corn, barley and oats, and then the minerals added in, then a few gallons of molasses to make it all stick together. I just found the slip from the coop and lost it again, otherwise I'd post the actual amounts.
 

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It's hard to know how much she's producing, becaus eher kids are getting all the milk. I generally feed about 2# a day to my Alpine milkers, who give roughly a gallon a day, plus some black oil sunflower seeds, which helps to keep flesh on their bones and makes for richer milk. The grain is a 16% protein dairy goat pellet, not sweet feed. Additionally she should have access to salt and minerals, and ideally alfalfa hay or pellets, but if not, the minerals I use have extra calcium in them.

I'll bet she's just milking it off, you don't need to dry her up once the kids go, she's just doing what she was bred to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmm... alfalfa hay is what she's on now, but she doesn't eat a lot of it. Just sort of pulls it down and kicks it about. :)

I've got her on a natural wormer that I got from Hoegger's. Seems to work fine ... her stool is small pellets like it ought to be. Her coat is the same as the rest of the goats, just sort of slicked back and not standing up or anything.

Sounds like she's doing ok though. I'll make sure she has plenty of free-choice mineral salts and maybe sneak her some alfalfa pellets (can't afford to feed ALL of them those) and see if that doesn't help.

Out of curiousity, where does a ruminant normally get their calcium? I'm not providing any sort of a calcium supplement, so unless it's in the feed (there's everything from barley to corn to wheat to chickpeas in that mix) then I don't know where she gets it.
 
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