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Foggy Dew Farms
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Been looking at getting our own feed ration put together at a local feed mill. We have Boer goats, so that is what I am primarily concerned with, and yes, we will eventually be showing them. We are interested in a quality feed.

Running thorugh the basic recipes, the local mill offered us these prices:

For 1500 lbs, $241.88

If we want Decoxx in it, it is $326.07 for the same amount....

So, the rate per 50-lb bag is $10.87 with Decoxx, $8.06 without. (Do I even need Decoxx???)

And then there is the worry that the goats aren't getting all that they need.

Am I better off just spending $9.00 for a bag of pellets or pre-mix feed at TSC??????
 

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Too high, all the way around. You can find some 55-gallon barrels with lids, explore the cheapest feedstuffs in your area (Google feed values or some such, there's lots of info), and go to the mill or gin or whatever and have them fill your barrels.

I paid 10 cents a pound for my feed of choice, whole cottonseed, last winter (I do not feed for 3 seasons, as they have adequate browse). I have been beaten badly on that price by others here, who have paid as low as 7 cents a pound for their choice of bulk feeds.

You got Boers? I'd say subscribe to "Goat Rancher" and read everything Dr. Frank Pinkerton says on nutrition and relative feed values. Or call Frank, he loves phone calls.

The key to any cost-effective ration is to meet the goat's needs without exceeding them. Anything they don't utilize goes right on the pasture, along with the money spent for it.
 

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The problem is, you don't know if you are meeting their needs until they start dying. Winter is the difficult time b/c it is almost 1/2 the year in many states. They aren't getting near the vitamins and minerals on straight hay and an unbalanced ration lacking even one thing can cause a trainwreck. Does anyone know of any single grain that is totally balanced? I'd love to buy a bag of something that I know would cover it all and only pay 10 cents a pound. Jim....does Frank has articles online that we can read too? I'm not intentionally sounding argumentative but we've had an awful time here keeping everyone healthy. We've stepped it up a notch and we, personally, have found that you can pay for it up front or pay for it in animal losses later. I think it also depends on what you are breeding for and the cost of your original stock. I would pay less for feeds for animals I only paid $50 each for but animals that cost, say, $300 and up, I might invest a little more in those animals to protect my investment. All in all, what I'm trying to say is, different strokes for different folks. I think some animals are born deficient too and it takes some really good feeds and minerals to help them come out of that. I have a doe right now that I think fits into that category and she came from show stock. For animals going to slaughter, it might not matter as much but for breeding stock and show stock, it makes all the difference.

If you are planning to show, you will probably have to pay more for a really good feed ration. In my opinion, pelleted, manufactured feeds are equal to TV dinners. Do you really know what is in them? I looked at our label on what we were using and it had animal proteins in it....AKA dead animals....my goats are vegetarians, how bout' yours? We have mostly Boers and we too are planning to someday show them...and are definently hoping to cater to show people. I have a ration that I put together and I'll share that with you. I didn't add any deccox but it has DE in it and I can topdress it with medicated calf starter whenever I have kids on the ground. I didn't want to medicate my adults. That is why I went this route. Here is the ration:

Cracked Corn 230#
Alfalfa Pellets 180#
Whole Oats 150#
Beet Pulp w/molasses 150#
Soybean Meal 49% 100#
BOSS 100#
Molasses 50#
Calcium Carbonate 7#
Sodium Bicarbonate 10#
Diatomateous Earth 20#
Rumicult 40 5#
Grazier's Choice 3#

This is just over 1000#. We brought the Grazier's Choice, Rumicult and DE in ourselves. Those contain probiotics, yearst, vitamins, minerals, kelp and the diatomateous earth, of course. I believe this is a good ration. I'm waiting to see how it does. The goats love it!! It is 16% protein and is $191.44/1000#. That price includes the stuff we brought in. I also keep free choice mineral, baking soda and goat builder blocks out. I believe that almost all goat illness are deficiency related. A goat's immune system has to be strong but without all the proper nutrients, it won't be. High maitenance animals...yes but I can't help it. I love my goats and I love seeing them in this great of condition. Hopefully, other people will see how much effort we put into the health of our animals and will feel confident buying animals from us.

Jim, I wish we could get by with using simpler feeds like you.....just doesn't seem like anything is easy over this way!! Don't know why!! All our animals our so healthy now though. If I had a huge commercial herd, I'd have to do something different so I understand why you do it that way.
 

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Milk N Honey, looky here:

http://www.goatworld.com/articles/nutrition/

These are NOT milker articles, but there is a lot there for the milk crowd who wish to do it in a least-cost way. The philosophy is worthwhile, if nothing else.

Now time for a rant....lol...

I dunno, about "unbalanced" ration causing a train wreck. I do know about herd management. And I know a lot of folks, on here and also just out in the wide non-Net world, who are raising goats successfully on hay, grass, browse and a supplemental ration that is cheap in their region. Some of the stuff they feed would send many here into spasms, so I won't go into all of it.

The point is, if you can buy lentils for 7 cents a pound, as someone here does, then feed them along with a high quality hay, that's a darned good ration. But you have to LEARN what the goat NEEDS, then work back to getting that as cheap as you can by learning what the feedstuffs contain, and matching the two relative to cost.

Your ration overfeeds just about any goat I know of, show or not. Look at the links I provided. A lot of what goes in the goat in your ration is being peed out. If they were mine, I'd view it as money being peed on the ground. It costs money to buy that much protein, and to overfeed it to them. But it will indeed puff them up and may cover some genetic deficiencies with flesh.

As far as easy, the farther away from nature you go, the harder it gets. The management of many show animals I have seen is so far from nature, it's no wonder they are hard to keep. Then folks wonder why so many commercial farmers want nothing to do with the show animals, and wonder why the show world is like a world unto itself. It's because those animals are so pampered that it is hard to tell what is genetics in them and what is pumped up or poofed up by rations, hairstyling, dyes, and etc. Dollar and cents commercial matters like hardiness, fecundity, worm resistance, hoof groth rate, and being "good-doers" all around all go by the wayside in show herds because the goats are all over-managed to ensure maximum return of dollars in the show world. Styled and manicured, and fed out to the upper limit. And they don't do well on the production farm.

No breed is free of this show stuff, because desireable show characteristics in goats vary widely from what matters in actual production. You can see it in some of the laxity in breed requirements. Boer goats must have their first kid by 2 years of age? Man, I'm feeding her all that time! Stuff gets by that would never work at a commercial farm. For example, I'd rather see the GENETIC expression of conformation and meatiness in my meat herd, rather than to have them FED up to where they look really meaty. Meat from genetics is cheaper than meat that is fed onto an animal. It's the same for all breeds, meat or milk, it is so very often difficult for the commercial producer to look at show animals and be certain of what is genetic and what is "created."

Commercially, folks want the most milk or meat for the least money. The show ring is not about these values. It is another world, all right, and that is a shame. Because were it to come more in line with what producers need, the entire goat world would benefit.

Anyway, soapbox removed. Here are the sites. I post them all the time:

Nutritional requirements of meat and fiber goats:

http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/U/UNP-0081/

Energy and protein nutrition of goats:

http://www.tennesseenutritionconference.org/pdf/Proceedings2005/JohnNiver.pdf

Feed values:

http://beefmagazine.com/images/feedcomptables.pdf

I've posted these and other links a lot here.

As far as not knowing you aren't meeting nutritional needs until they are dying, I can tell a lot sooner. They get thinner before they die. They get more lethargic, too. They'll give you a lot of signals, if you watch. A body condition score works with goats just the same as with cattle.
 

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Foggy Dew Farms
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much to both of you. I really appreciate how much effort you both put into answering my questions!

I had hoped for some other Boer breeders to chime in, but I am certainly taking everything into consideration right now - especially with the price of hay....cheapest I found so far has ben $5.50 a bale!!! One guy wanted $8.00 a bale! That said, I have to cut costs somehwere, but I am bent on making sure it is quality food that the herd is getting...

Thanks again!
 

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I can't recommend this site enough if you mix your own feed. You can pick your ingredients, and put them into the mix at your proportions, and it will generate the nutritional content vs the recommend nutrition for your goat's type. I just used it and developed my own ration. However, I am paying 22 cents per pound. Is anyone feeding for less than that? If I fed pellets, I would be at 16 cents per pound. If you are feeding for less, what are you using?

Here is the link:

http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/research/nutreqgoats.html

T
 
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