Your Thoughts on Feeding?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by EatChevre, May 8, 2006.

  1. EatChevre

    EatChevre I Brake for Dairy Goats

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    Hello All:
    I really could use some feedback on how/what I am feeding my goats...

    In the morning the two girls each get about a cup and a half of grain with Vita Plus sprinkled on top. There is a constant offering of Timothy orchard grass hay, and occasional alfalfa hay thrown in. Twice a day they are taken out for browse for almost an hour each time. In the evening, they are again given a cup and a half of grain (Blue Seal Caprine Challenger). They have free choice loose mineral and baking soda. I just bought a salt lick as well (because they seem to want to eat road gravel and occasionally lick people’s skin). Neither of the goats is interested in the hay after the first five minutes of it being brought to them. Their most favorite food is the browse.

    One of them (4.5 month old Saanen) behaves as though she is starving to death when I give grain and take them for browse - she can't eat it fast enough, and never seems as though she's satisfied. According to my goat tape measure, she weighs 66 lbs.

    The other (11 week-old Togg) seems more indifferent about eating. She eats one morsel of grain at a time, taking FOREVER to eat it, and is more pokey with the browse. She also seems to drink less water. She is a skinny, small little thing. I am worried that she isn't growing as she should. Her hips seem pretty boney compared to the other doe. According to my goat tape measure, she weighs 33 lbs.

    Both have been wormed recently and seem to be in good general health. Do you think they behave normally for goats – even though they act so different from each other when it comes to eating?
     
  2. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    What jumped out at me was how different you feed than I do, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing. My goats get free-chioce alfalfa pellets as they contain calcium which is necassary for the developement of bones and growth. Later on that is necessaru for milk production. My goats have it in front of them at all times. If you start feeding alfalfa pellets free-choice, start slow. Another thing, your smaller goat seems young to already be weaned, just my opinion. As far as feeding habits, each goats has a differnt personanlity and status in the herd. Is the smaller goat intimadated by the older goat? often that is the case. Also, make sure that the first worming took care of the wormes. perhaps take some fresh goat poo to the vet for analysis. Worms can really drag a goat down and certain wormers are not always effective.

    Back to the topic of feeding. My goats get browse, coastal grass hay, alfalfa pellets (not cubes) in the pen at all times. a mixture of whole oats, a bit of corn chops and Black oil sunflower seeds wuith the shells left on (BOSS)twice a day (half a pound of this grain mix each). No other goat ration. Loose goat mineral salt and fresh water. Good luck with your goats!
     

  3. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    You say you have to take them out of thier pen to browse? Maybe the reason they are 'starving' is because most of a goat's diet is browse, and they will spend thier whole day out in the pasture grazing. Maybe you should consider expanding their current pasture and making maybe two other pastures for rotation, that way they an get all the browse they need... :)
     
  4. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    When my girls hear the grain can, the neighbors might guess I was torturing them they make so much noise. Goats are bimbos for grain, the sweeter the better! If I was a goat, I'd want to live at your house! My goats get hay, graze and grain. On the weekends I get to pay a little more attention to them.
     
  5. nubiannana

    nubiannana Willow Pond Farm

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    Mine act like they are starving when I go to feed them.
    I feed about 2 cups each of 12% sweet feed, and a block of alfalfa hay twice a day. At the moment mine are in a corral, because we are working on fencing the goat pasture. But they seem to be doing ok on what I feed them and they look good. They just think they're hungry! lol
    I only have 2 Nubian does, that just turned a year old. I'm also bottling feeding a Nubian buckling and a Toggenburg wether, (company for the buck). :eek:)
     
  6. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Is the 11 week old Togg still getting a bottle? If not, then that one, especially, should be getting alfalfa pellets, or free-choice alfalfa hay for the calcium. The orchard grass and Timothy hay don't supply enough calcium to grow out kids. They're just too young to be treated as adults, really. Both of them should have alfalfa available (in one form or the other) at all times. Grain? Probably not even an issue. They don't need it.

    How long ago were they each weaned? I keep mine on the bottle for 12 - 16 weeks, depending on their eventual use. And nobody gets grain until they are 4 months bred and/or milking. Just hay or alfalfa pellets and free-choice mineral and baking soda.

    -Sarah
     
  7. EatChevre

    EatChevre I Brake for Dairy Goats

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    The 11-week old was weaned at 2 months and the 4.5 month old was weaned by her breeder at about 10 weeks.

    Your goats don't get browse at all? My girls don't seem too interested in the alfalfa hay. Where do you get your alfalfa pellets, and what brand are they? How do you feed them and for how long?
     
  8. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    I live on less than 4 acres in the middle of farm country - no browse to be seen for miles. I have dairy goats and I want to know exactly what each goat is eating at all times...I have complete control over it. They get a garbage bag a week of dried leaves in the middle of winter as a treat, though. :)

    I order the alfalfa pellets through the farmer's co-op here, the same place that I order my whole grain mix for the milkers. I just tell them what I want in the mix and they grind it, mix it to my specifications, bag it and deliver. Usually within a day (sometimes I think they get bored out there at certain times of the year). The mix is corn, oats, wheat bran, soybean meal, salt and a touch of molasses (2%). Off the top of my head I can't think of the brand of alfalfa pellets and it varies depending on who they get it from throughout the year. It's 100% alfalfa with a minimum 17% protein. They have a dry lot to run around and play in but if they want feed, they come to the hay feeder. I haven't had a problem getting anyone to eat either the hay or pellets, though the kids prefer the hay and the adults think the pellets are the greatest thing they've ever eaten. :D

    The kids get their lambar/bottles twice a day right now (one 9 week old, two 7 week olds and 2 five week olds - who are about to be separated out because they are bucks and the others are does!) and they have access to water, alfalfa pellets and alfalfa hay 24/7. I have a hay feeder for the hay, one 2 1/2 gallon bucket for the water (that gets changed twice a day so it stays fresh), and a fence feeder for the pellets. How long? All their lives. The doelings will get bred in the fall and the least month of their pregnancies I'll begin with a hand full of grain (always on the milk stand!) and slowly, over the course of the entire month, work them up to one pound of grain a day. When they freshen they get up to but no more than 2 pounds of grain twice a day, again, working them up to that slowly over several weeks. The grain is to give their bodies the extra calories while the hay and pellets are making the milk and babies.

    I don't do things the same way you might or others might. Some people insist on browse. Others insist on hay only or pellets only. Some give a combination of the alfalfa and the grass hay. You have to find what works best for you and what is growing the kids. Your kids sound like they are probably right on target for growth, but without the birth weight it's hard to say for certain. The rule of thumb is birth weight plus 10 pounds for each month old they are. More is generally better as long as they aren't FAT. :) So they probably aren't starving, no matter how loudly they yell (and they will!). But keeping hay in front of them at all times, and offering it in the form of alfalfa, or the hay you have plus alfalfa pellets, might make them happier and easier to deal with.

    Good luck!

    Sarah
     
  9. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Oh - and the bucks get weaned off of the alfalfa when they get to be 18 months old. Then they just get a good quality horse hay and water. The occassional handful of alfalfa pellets as a treat if they aren't obnoxious with me! :) The adult bucks and wethers tend to get urinary calculi if their feed doesn't have the 2:1 calcium/phosphorus ratio they need. Alfalfa is too rich for them then but the younger ones need it for good growth.

    -Sarah
     
  10. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    But your does keep getting alfalfa pellets free choice????
     
  11. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Yes. It takes them (I have three adult milkers together with a guard alpaca) about 5 days to a week to go through one bale of alfalfa hay and one bag of alfalfa pellets, depending on many factors (weather, milk production, excerise levels, etc.). And the grain on the milk stand for the girls.

    -Sarah
     
  12. EatChevre

    EatChevre I Brake for Dairy Goats

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    Thanks, Sarah J, for the detailed answer. It really helps to hear the whys behind the answer.
     
  13. cjg24

    cjg24 Cindy

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    I am in Arizona and have irrigated pastures of bermuda grass. From Feb. to Oct. my goats get just pasture plus salt lick, and alfalfa twice weekly (to keep their rumen making the right bacteria to digest alfalfa for winter feedings). I rotate them between the pastures as the grass gets eaten. I do not give them grain at all unless they are close to delivery or nursing babies. I let my babies nurse as long as they like. If bottle babies, I bottle feed milk until 16 weeks. My goats are healthy and run around playing, get pregnant easily and have healthy babies.