thinking about grassfed next year..

Discussion in 'Goats' started by dk_40207, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if anyone on here does "grassfed" dairy goats? I know that folks do it w/ cows by providing pasture, hay, and alfalfa pellets. I am hoping to get some insight on doing the same thing with our goats next year. I was thinking about free choice hay, alfalfa pellets, beet pulp--and growing mangel beets to supliment. Any thoughts on this?
     
  2. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    One of the women in our county is running 300+boers on lots of dairy cow acreage...however, since goats tend to be more browsers than grazers, I would think th ey'd thrive more on brushy land. I have heard and had a tiny bit of experience with dairy goats needing more concentrates since they are producing milk. If they were grained at milking time, perhaps that would take care of their needs. However, the grass would need to be good grass since off-flavored grass can produce off-flavor milk.
     

  3. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    I've been reading on another list about this - apparently people are successful with it. It really depends on how much protein you can provide. I assume you'd still have to provide loose minerals or blocks. I think it would be impossible here because our hay doesn't test high enough in protein (9%), and it's so cold the girls need that 2% fat in their cob to maintain condition. I've tried taking the grain away during the winter when I don't milk and I just wasn't comfortable with their condition - they lost thrift and were pretty ribby when they freshened. I'm curious about milk production and will stay tuned if you decide to try it. Personally, I take my girls off alfalfa when they're in milk because I don't like the flavor (too much like store bought cow's milk) and they go to grass hay, pasture, browse, and 1lb of dairy goat ration per milking (2X a day).
     
  4. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've had my dairy girls on just hay/pasture all thru winter and one that didnt like to be milked nursed her kids on just hay and pasture...one kid became a herd sire....my nubian thru triplets on just hay in winter here in Maine---my hay was really good grass hay and fed generously. minerals/salt/baking soda avail.

    I grew the mangels from Shumway seed and the goats love them! As does the calf. Pumpkins also make a good feed crop....sell what you can for Halloween and feed the rest....the mangels were super easy and nothing bothered them bug wise and my pumpkins were mostly volunteer...a happy accident!

    Pumpkin seeds have selenium in them and protein value :)

    Sweet corn stalks were also a boon for the goats/pigs/calf :shrug:

    You'll have to watch them to make sure they are thriving....I'm still milking once a day over grain but not much!
     
  5. lyceum

    lyceum Well-Known Member

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    I would not reccomend just grass feeding dairy goats. We rescued some from a farm where they had been grassfed with no grain. The goats were in pretty bad shape when we got them. They look amazing now with grass, hay and grain. If you are going to grass feed, make sure that you still grain them and that hay is available when there is little grass. A neighbor that raises boer goats for show had his goats on grass without hay until a few weeks ago. He does not grain his does either. When they started to kid they did not have enough milk for the kids.

    Lyceum
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You know I always wonder what they feed the goats in Africa :shrug:

    It all looks like desert and they certainly dont have grain available....something to consider...
     
  7. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    Yes butI think they are also herded, not contained, and wander over acres and acres of land every day, moved around as well.. Pygmy goats there climb the trees, as well. Goats tend to not be raised where there is alot of browse, it's more cattle in the plains/grassier areas, and goats in the hillier, more brush filled land. I can only assume, however. Never been to africa! LOL
     
  8. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It certainly is easier to buy a bag of grain than to herd them here in USA!

    I know because I've herded mine( 7 goats) daily when there was a hay shortage a few years ago....and cut hay by hand for them to have on rainy days (goats hate the rain and will not go out to eat to save themselves)....got chased by a black bear that "we" woke up. I think the bugs ate on me better than the goats ate on the browse :help: And this was in the foothills of Maine in Summer.

    I dont recall grain being fed in the book "Hiedi" either....but they were herded to high meadows daily. I do let my goats roam freely after the gardens are fenced now that I have a border collie. She is like a live fence though :shrug:

    Those Africans need some dogs.....
     
  9. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Of course you could do meat or dairy goats with alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay and browse/pasture. It's all mine get when dry. Well and minerals :) But come the end of pergnancy my girls can't carry quads or come into milk in good shape, without energy from something. They don't shave down in the spring pretty without some fat in the end of pregnancy also. They also don't milk well enough with no grain...yes they would milk, but not like I would want. They also would move down in the showring with the other goats who are in less than wonderful shape. Nope would rather just have less goats if I couldn't grain them. I also know 100% that I would have to hold kdis over to kid at 2 instead of one without grain...and no dry yearlings are allowed here, Nubians get spoiled beyond belief when dry for too long. Vicki
     
  10. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    Okay...thanks for the input. Just to clarify--I didn't mean that I was wanting to just put them on pasture...I was wondering if anyone used alfalfa pellets as their ration. I do know of folks doing it w/ dairy cattle, and, yes they produce a bit less. I guess I was wondering if they could get thier protien needs from alfalfapellets/beet pulp and energy from mangles or other food crop I could grow for them...
     
  11. dap

    dap lilsparrow

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    Alright folks, I know this sounds ignorant, but-what are "mangles"?
     
  12. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think Mangle Beets??
     
  13. dap

    dap lilsparrow

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    Oh, thanks. That helped, I was able to google it with that!
     
  14. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

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    I googled mangle beets too and read the Countryside article so far. At a caprine outing this fall alot of people mentioned feeding beet pulp to their horses and cattle. I hadn't heard of beet pulp before and really didn't have the opportunity to get more information there. Is anyone growing beets for their goats and how do you store them, do you know how to make them into the pulp sounds like it was dried as someone mentioned soaking for horses and how much do you feed to the goats? Free choice or limited amounts. I love to garden & would just as soon be doing it to lower feed costs. My goats are a little particular though I had pumpkins but can't get them to eat them and would really like to if the seeds are a good source of selenium as we live in a deficient area. We have boer/x's and feed a very small amount of pelleted feed and free choice 2nd cut clover/grass hay as that's what we produce on our farm. Any experiences with the root crops would be helpful!