What to feed my nigerian dwarf goat

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Steph7768, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Steph7768

    Steph7768 New Member

    Mar 26, 2012
    I have two Nigerian Dwarf goats, they are both wethers and are going to be 2 years old. They get grain once a day and hay 24/7. Their grain is a mix between the blue seal medicated and the caprine challenger, and their hay is 2nd cut. The boys are both on the chubby side, and I them to loose a little weight. I know everyone will say cut down their grain. I have cut their grain down, but the only problem is they dont eat hay that much. Even though they have it all the time, they don't eat that much daily. What else can I feed them to replace more of their grain with?
  2. Goat Lover 98

    Goat Lover 98 Nazarene Valley Saanens

    How much grain are they getting? They probably only need about 1/4 cup a day to keep them in good shape. Too much grain can cause urinary calculi. Does the medicated feed have ammonium chloride in it? If not, you should buy some to mix with their feed or minerals. You can feed beet pulp as a good bulk feed. Soak it in water first to prevent choking.

  3. firelight27

    firelight27 Hopelessly Addicted

    Apr 24, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    I would stop feeding them grain altogether and feed them some alfalfa pellets if you'd like.
  4. liz

    liz New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Training 2 year old wethers to the idea that they don't need to get grain is an ear piercing ordeal.... I have a 4 year old wether that screams his head off at feeding time if he doesn't get his handful. I'd consider cutting out the medicated feed...or if it's one that has AC in it, cut out the Challenger.

    My goats have alfalfa hay, they get broken alfalfa/timothy cubes and my mama's get 3 cups Caprine Challenger mixed with Manna pro goat balancer twice a day, dry does that are over 15 months old get no grain. I provide all with freechoice loose minerals...a good one for boys would be one with added ammonium chloride...Manna Pro carries a decent one.
    Also, remember that if you feed bucks/wethers alfalfa hay or pellets you will need to supply them with some grain to balance the calcium/phosphorous ratio to help prevent UC.
  5. naturalgoats

    naturalgoats New Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    If they have pasture and are on the chubby side I would strongly suggest cutting the grain entirely... If you want you could replace that feeding time with half a carrot each or a small handful of beet pulp. If you do that and give them basically free choice grass hay they should do well and will be at significantly lower risk of UC.

    If you do choose to keep feeding grain you can balance it with either alfalfa or beet pulp. Just remember that alfalfa is high in protein so once again they shouldn't have much of it... You want your Ca:p to pan out to about 2:1
    Good luck with that!
  6. Steph7768

    Steph7768 New Member

    Mar 26, 2012
    They are not on pasture. They have some grass in their paddock but they wont eat it. I am not looking to take them off grain. They prob get about 1/2 a cup of grain each, once a day. I am just looking for a little something to help replace some of their grain. They dont eat much hay, even though they have access to it 24/7, they probably only eat about 2 flakes of hay a week.
  7. liz

    liz New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Try adding the broken up hay cubes.... Standlee makes quite a few types, alfalfa/oat hay...alfalfa/timothy hay as well as just alfalfa cubes...for wethers , if you go the route of the hay cubes, go with the timothy mix...I flake mine apart and on chilly days I even soak them in hot water for a warm meal.

    My goats have actually been preferring the broken cubes to the hay I place in feeders.
  8. Dandilyun

    Dandilyun New Member

    May 21, 2012
    Antelope Valley CA
    What are the cubes? Are they little pressed cubes they have to break up?

    I have two Nigerian Dwarf goats, one doe, one wether (his goodies are just about to fall off). They were born March 12 and 16th, and are about 11 weeks old. I got them May 21st. They weighed 10 lbs 3 oz each. This morning, they are 11lbs 1 oz each. Yay! They are growing! The feeding of the goats....so many opinions, it's confusing. I swear, I just read that wethers shouldn't get too much alfalfa for fear of UC, then saw that you should give them alfalfa. I don't want my goaties sick lol. The breeder I got them from says they would probably go through maybe 2 bales a month. I have had them almost two weeks, and they haven't even gotten half way through one bale. I'm not complaining mind you, but still...that's a big difference. AND they wast a lot of it.

    It's normal for them to always seem hungry, right? They greet me, and want food, sniff me for treats. Right now I give them about half a flake a day of #1 Alfalfa. I didn't know where were different grades when I bought it. They like to eat all of the leafy stuff, and leave the hay parts. My breeder said to expect this, and by 6 months, to start forcing them to eat more of the hay as well, but for kids, this is normal, and to expect lots of waste.

    They get 4 cups of steamed oats once a day. Now....I realize this may be a lot, but before everyone has a heart attack, this is where one of my question lies. The oats are not what I expected. I have a 50 lb bag in the garage, and it looks like my kitchen oatmeal, mixed in with wheat looking things, which I determined to be curled up hulls. The goats pick through and nibble, eating only the kitchen looking oats. Since it's mostly hull, most of it gets wasted. Is this normal? Every day I go out, stir up the oats in their bowl, they pick a bit more, and then at night I refill it, throwing the old stuff off in the dirt. Should I be more hard nosed, and expect the dish to be empty? Am I spoiling them, or is it normal to expect waste?

    I put a dish of Manna Pro goat minerals with AC out for them. I have never seen them touch it, the quantity doesn't change, and they could care less. I put some baking soda out for them....could care less. I mixed the minerals with the baking soda (is that bad?) and they could care less. This worries me. They also have a salt lick, which I know many don't believe work, which is why I offered the free minerals. Doesn't look touched.

    They get browse, but I live in the high desert. Mostly it is dried foxtails, green small tumbleweeds, some bramble stuff, some dead leaves, and a small elm bush that they already polished off. SO! My questions:

    Am I feeding them enough?
    At this age, should I expect a lot of waste?
    Should I give them BOSS? Or is that for other breeds?
    The next hay bale....should I get one of those mixed bales, with timothy, oat or some other grass? Should I not give the #1? It WAS nice and leafy and green.
    Should I make them eat more of the hill things in the oats, by offering less and not putting out more until the bowl is empty?
    Can I start offering them treats from the kitchen? This morning I had a ton of strawberry tops...they may not have wanted them, I know. I tried a bit of summer squash clippings, and nope, they didn't want them. I have bits of salad (dark greens only) and cuttings from veggies from salads...is there anything they CAN'T have?

    No wonder they always beg. They eat SOME hay, SOME oats, and SOME browse. Plenty of fresh water daily too. BUT, they are gaining :)

    If you had two 11 pound goats, what would you feed them? :) BTW, I know many may use some kind of chow, and I am curious to know what works for you. But my breeder stated that she never uses chow mixes, they have some not so good things, can cause UC's, etc. But I am curious to hear other opinions.