MUST Feed Grain

Discussion in 'Goats' started by canine14, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. canine14

    canine14 Well-Known Member

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    I rescued a Boer/Nubian wether last summer who was so weak that he couldn't walk due to starvation. He weighed about 75 pounds at the time. I have managed to get him up to about 125 lbs. now.

    I had to call the vet out for Gordon's shredded ear last month and I asked if Gordon was shivering due to shock. The vet said that it was because of the cold and that Gordon should gain more weight, even though his coat is now thick and beautiful and all of his sores have healed. I told the vet that I feed free-choice hay and that I give him about 3/4 cup of grain a day. He said that that was fine but that I should double the grain. Gordon is now getting about 1 1/2 cups every day or every other day, all in one sitting. The feed consists of whole dried corn and some other whole grains (I am not sure exactly what) but the feed store said that it was an all-purpose grain that could be fed to chickens/goats/pigs. I had tried goat pellets but Gordon turned up his Romanesque nose at them.

    I have lately been reading quite a bit about bloat on this site and am worried that I am not doing Gordon any good. If I HAVE to feed grain/protein, what can I do to avoid bloat? I plan to put a pan of free-choice baking soda in the pen today but other than that I am at a loss. Gordon is the greatest goat in the world and I love him dearly. Please help.

    Thanks,
    Lisa and Gordon.
     
  2. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    doesn't sound like too much, but i would've raised it more slowly. anyway, keep out the baking soda for him. go down to 1 cup of grain, add a little alfalfa pellets (1/2 cup). what is the protein of the feed you have? it should be 9-12 % for a wether. keep out the hay at all times, does he have a shelter? even a dog house will help him stay warmer if he's the only one you have-and nubians and nubian crosses HATE to be wet, so he needs a shelter from the cold and wind and wet.
     

  3. festus

    festus New Member

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    You will know if Gordon is bloating, especially if his left side is distended. Yes, grain, or COB (corn,oats and barley), is good for Gordon. Yes, he probably could use some baking soda, but be sure to put it into a container that's hard for him to step in. There are some pvc styled feeders that are good for this and you can make one yourself. Also, you can give him flavored tums and that will relieve bloat, plus they think it's candy. If you do start him on a grain regimen, you should also consider giving a half cup apple cider in his water every other day. This will help him to not get urinary calculi as he gets older. He should have no more grain after age three or four, as he will no longer be growing and probably won't be shivering anymore, either. Hope this helps! :baby04:
     
  4. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bloat USUALLY appears with a radical change in diet or sudden overindulgence. If he is already used to the change I'd say you don't have too much too worry about.
     
  5. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds like Gordon's come a long way!

    For my buck and wether I just sprinkle (about 2 or 3 teaspoons) of baking soda over their grain along with a good shake of salt. ( I just shake the soda straight from the box so I'm not sure exactly how much it is.) Anyway they gobble it all up. I don't have to worry about if they are eating it or not. or if it's getting damp sitting out there in a feeder. The salt is to make them thirsty so they'll drink plenty. I Also make sure to give them warm water during the winter. They really look forward to that.

    Good luck. I hope he continues to do well.

    Pauline
     
  6. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Posted twice, sorry.

    P.
     
  7. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I don't think you're feeding him nearly enough grain to cause bloat problems. One thing does worry me about your feeding program, though. Well, a couple things. First, I didn't hear you mention loose minerals, which all goats need, even wethers.

    The big issue I'm seeing is the phosphorus/calcium ratio. If you're feeding alfalfa hay, disregard what follows. However, if you're feeding grass hay and grain, you're definitely setting your wether up for urinary calculi. He needs to be given an adequate calcium source, like alfalfa hay, to balance the phosphorus in the grain. Also, if you do feed alfalfa, he will bulk up much more quickly than he will on just grass hay.

    Your boy is lucky to have found such a caring owner! Good luck with him!
     
  8. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    Beet pulp will also help him gain weight with little worries about bloat. I would also add the alfalfa pellets.
    Good catch Laura minerals are important .

    Patty
     
  9. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    Double dittoes on the beet pulp; a great way to keep weight on, although I read somewhere last year that beet pulp should not exceed 15% of total daily intake, and I don't know why.
     
  10. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Thanks Patty! Beet pulp is good for weight gain, but needs to be added in slowly because it can cause diarrhea if added too quickly. I fed mine dry along with the grain when I was feeding it. Since I've had my goats on free-choice alfalfa pellets, minerals and grass hay, with a little grain, they've kept in good enough shape that I haven't felt the need to feed beet pulp.
     
  11. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    This was posted on dairygoatinfo.com on beet pulp.

    ho this was written for Horses it would apply to other animals.

    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/hrs3243
    Myth: "Beet pulp is a just a filler."
    Most old-timers will tell you beet pulp has no nutrition, "it's just a filler." Again, science has proved otherwise. Beet pulp is the fibrous material left over after the sugar is extracted from sugar beets. It's an excellent source of digestible fibre for the horse and can be fed in addition to, or instead of, hay. Recent research has shown that the fibre in beet pulp is easier to digest than the fibre in hays. In fact, horses may derive as much energy from beet pulp as they do from oats (Table 4). In other words, a pound of (dry) beet pulp has almost the same amount of calories as a pound of oats. Because beet pulp provides these calories as fibre (as opposed to the starch in grains), it can be safely fed in larger amounts without the risk of colic or laminitis associated with feeding a large amount of grain. Furthermore, the protein content of beet pulp (averaging 8 to 12%) is comparable to most grains and good-quality grass hays (Table 4). And, beet pulp also provides a reasonable source of calcium, intermediate between the high calcium in alfalfa and the lower calcium content of grass hays, but much higher than grains (Table 4).
    Whether used as a source of forage or as a replacement for oats, beet pulp is a useful addition to the diet of many types of horses. Beet pulp has been successfully fed at levels up to 50% of the horse's total ration (approximately 10 lbs for a 1000 lb horse). More commonly, owners choose to feed 2 to 5 lbs of beet pulp per day. The high digestibility of beet pulp makes it a good choice for horses that are "hard keepers" (it's very good for encouraging weight gain), as well as horses with dental problems, or older horses who have trouble chewing or digesting other types of forage. Beet pulp is also used as a grain replacement in the diets of horses that suffer from tying up (providing calories as fibre rather than starch). And the low potassium content of beet pulp makes it an ideal forage replacement for horses with HYPP. Finally, endurance riders favour beet pulp because its high water holding capacity provides the horse with a larger reservoir of fluid in the digestive tract that can be used to help prevent dehydration.
    Table 4: Comparison of the nutrients in beet pulp with the nutrients in other common feeds.*
    Feed: Fiber(Confused Energy(MCal/kg) Protein(Confused Calcium(Confused
    Beet Pulp 20 3.15 10-12 0.70
    Oats 11 3.30 12 0.09
    Barley 6 3.70 13 0.05
    Alfalfa Hay 28 2.30 15-18 1.30
    Timothy Hay 35 1.95 6-9 0.35
    *Please note these are average nutrient values and are presented on a 100% dry matter basis.
    Myth: "Beet pulp must be soaked before you feed it."
    "If you don't soak beet pulp before feeding it, it'll swell up and rupture the horse's stomach." "Beet pulp will swell up in your horse's esophagus and cause choke if you don't soak it first." These are just a couple of the diabolical warnings surrounding the feeding of beet pulp. Because beet pulp seems to "grow" when water is added, somebody surmised that it could be a hazard if fed dry because it would absorb saliva and gastric juices, swell up, and block the esophagus or cause the stomach to burst. Although inaccurate, these evil predictions deter many horse owners from even trying beet pulp.
    Beet pulp may soak up water like a sponge, but it cannot soak up saliva quickly enough to expand in the esophagus and cause choke. Instead, choke associated with beet pulp (particularly the pelleted form) is often in response to the particle size and the horse's aggressive feeding behaviour, rather than the actual feed itself. Horses that bolt their feed without sufficient chewing, or do not have adequate access to water, are far more likely to choke, regardless of the type of feed, compared to horses that eat at a more leisurely rate.
    Nor is it likely that dry beet pulp will rupture the horse's stomach. The equine stomach holds 2 to 4 gallons. This volume is equivalent to 4.5 to 9.5 pounds of dry beet pulp, which is more than most horses receive in a single meal. Likewise, most food that enters the stomach passes on to the small intestine within 15 minutes or less—and for those of you who have timed how long it takes beet pulp to expand, it's longer than 15 minutes. Assuming free access to water, horses will voluntarily drink enough water to adequately process any amount of beet pulp consumed (1.5 to 2 litres per pound of beet pulp). Along with this drinking water, fluid is constantly entering the digestive tract, so beet pulp will not "suck the horse dry." Ultimately, the 40 to 50 gallon capacity of the equine digestive tract is more than sufficient to contain even a very large meal of beet pulp. The only horse in danger of a gastric rupture is one suffering from impaction or other severe lack of normal peristaltic movement.
    So, contrary to popular belief, you don't have to soak beet pulp (either the pelleted or shredded form) in water to feed it safely to horses. Research at several universities, including some of my own studies, have fed dry beet pulp in amounts up to 50% of the total diet without choke or other adverse reactions. Likewise, many, many tons of dry beet pulp-based feeds are fed annually without incidence. For example, most commercial feeds designed for geriatric horses contain large amounts of beet pulp and are fed straight out of the bag without being soaked first. If you choose not to soak the beet pulp before feeding it, make sure your horse has access to as much good, clean water as he wants (which should be the case no matter what you feed).
    Although soaking beet pulp is not necessary, there are several good reasons for wetting it down before you feed it. Soaking beet pulp may make the feed easier to chew, particularly for older horses with bad teeth. Soaked beet pulp may also be more tasty and it provides a useful method for hiding minerals or medications. If your horse gobbles down his feed or is prone to choke, it might be a good idea to soak your beet pulp. And while horses will drink water on their own, pre-soaked beet pulp is a good way to get some water into your horses, particularly in the winter when they may not be as inclined to drink what they need. So, if soaking beet pulp fits into your feeding management, by all means, do it. You don't have to soak beet pulp overnight-most of the expansion takes place within the first 3 to 4 hours.

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  12. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    ammonium chloride should also be given.

    Patty
     
  13. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    Go to hoegger.com and order some ammonium chloride to put on his grain. If he won't eat it off the grain, drench him with it. I always worry when I have to feed wethers grain, lol. Especially with the risk of UC.
     
  14. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    The post above mentioned great info regarding beet pulp for horses which are single stomached. I wonder if that would hold true for ruminants as well. Has anyone seen any info on that? I mentioned earlier that somewhere I read about beet pulp being limited to 15% of the ration. I'll try and dig it up too.
     
  15. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    I read that beet pulp contains .7% calcium and .1%phosphorous. Perhaps this is the reason that I read somewhere it should be limited in a complete ration. While it was a cheap feed additive in the past, it could throw off the 2:1 calcium/phosphorous ratio that is needed for good calcium absorption? Anyway, I found a great resource called Langston University. They've got an online ration calculator with a gazillion foodstuffs you can choose from to see how your ration balances out for all the different feed needs from growing, pregnancy, lactation, etc.
     
  16. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I see that Gordon gets his grain on an irregular basis. The rumen needs a steady flow of nutrients to process. I would suggest keeping him on a steady diet.

    Also, thanks for rescueing the boy. I hate to read stories about neglected animals but it always gives me hope to hear when they are rescued.
     
  17. canine14

    canine14 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    Gordon does have a mineral block specifically for goats in his pen. He used to go to town on it but now he gnaws on it only occasionally.

    He has a 12 by 12 luxury pen in our barn with about 2 feet of bedding that he made for himself with his leftover hay. He had been kept tied in a 3 x 3 pen by his previous "owner" with NO bedding whatsoever.

    Gordon grazed everyday last summer but now we are in a deep freeze so he stays in. The hay I give him is grass not alfalfa.

    I should mention that the vet said that Gordon is already an adult, based on his teeth, but that the exact age could not be determined.

    So from what I gather:
    1. Add alfalfa pellets.
    2. Keep the free-choice baking soda.
    3. Make sure he always has his mineral block.

    Questions:
    1. Do I add beet pulp too or is it alfalfa pellers OR beet?
    2. Do I add cider to the water for UC or is it overkill with the alfalfa or beets?

    I LOVE this forum and the way people are so kind to newbies like me! I truly believe that I can learn more from experienced folks than from goat books, even though I do try to read those too!

    Lisa and Gordon (The World's Greatest Goat)
     
  18. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    Beet Pulp is optional, ALfalfa is really a Must, ACV is a good idea regardless if you add alfalfa pellets or not,

    also if you can find Loose Minerals that would be good as its hard for a goat to really get enough out of a Block because they need more than what their little mouth can get from a big hard block.

    add the Alfalfa pellets to his feed, and ACV to his water, if you can find Beet pulp you can add a little of that to his diet too but its not a must have, when you get the Alfalfa pellets you can feed him up to 3lbs. a day of that plus his cup of grain and all the hay he can eat, and you will be fine, just dont add the whole 3lbs at once
     
  19. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    I of course see it pretty differently. He is an adult wether, he will not father kids, milk or have kids himself. He only needs to maintain his body condition, he needs no energy to do anything standing in a stall (meaning he is not pulling a cart, growing etc.) so grass hay to keep his rumen full and keep himself warm, and loose minerals (gnawing on a block is very hard on his teeth, and since he will live forever being a wether, he needs them teeth when he is 15!). You want him to gain some weight, he doesn't need bone growth from calcium, he needs carbs...so how would you gain weight if you needed to put on a few pounds, eat bread, and bread is made of carbs from grain, and the best grain for goats is oats. So start him slowly on oats, increasing the amount with ammonium chlroide at 1 teaspoon per day, it won't stick to the oats so use some cheap corn oil from the grocery store, until he has put on the weight you want, but certainly no more than 1 pound in the am and 1 pound in the pm. As long as it took him to get that thin it will take him that long to put the wieght back on without problems. Once he is up to weight this late summer, than take away his oats, or just give him a handful as a treat twice a day. For his longevity if you plan on keeping him for a pet and not eating him, he should stay long and lean, fat is not his friend, and at anytime you can not easily feel his ribs, he is way to fat and you have taken years off his life. Keeps his feet trimmed, he really should be the easist thing on your place to keep. Less is more with a wether.

    Be very careful of letting him have grass hay as bedding if you have high moisture in your barn, spent hay in barns if the goats it eat will cause listerosis. Vicki