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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first winter with my goats, and I feel like they are continuously dropping weight. I have nigerians, 3 wethers, all about 11 months old. This is their diet:

1/4 cup Homestead Harvest grain 1x/day
1/3 cup calf manna 2x day
Free choice orchard grass hay all day, it never runs out
occasional flake or treat of alflafa hay
free choice minerals w/weekly AC added 1x month

I can feel their ribs, spine, and withers very easily, they understandably have almost no browse except bark but they also are not super interested in their hay. They have a few bites in the morning and I assume they eat overnight since it appears disturbed, but they surprisingly aren't necessarily "acting" hungry. It is very good quality hay.

How skinny should they "feel"? I know if this were my horse, she would be underweight, but I'm not sure how to keep weight on them without overfeeding on grain.

I'd attach pictures but they are so fluffy it wouldn't matter.
 

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This is my first winter with my goats, and I feel like they are continuously dropping weight. I have nigerians, 3 wethers, all about 11 months old. This is their diet:

1/4 cup Homestead Harvest grain 1x/day
1/3 cup calf manna 2x day
Free choice orchard grass hay all day, it never runs out
occasional flake or treat of alflafa hay
free choice minerals w/weekly AC added 1x month

I can feel their ribs, spine, and withers very easily, they understandably have almost no browse except bark but they also are not super interested in their hay. They have a few bites in the morning and I assume they eat overnight since it appears disturbed, but they surprisingly aren't necessarily "acting" hungry. It is very good quality hay.

How skinny should they "feel"? I know if this were my horse, she would be underweight, but I'm not sure how to keep weight on them without overfeeding on grain.

I'd attach pictures but they are so fluffy it wouldn't matter.
What is their famacha? Have you noticed any itching , biting at their sides a lot or licking and cowlicks on their bodies?
 

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Here's a guide on how to body score goats so you can judge them properly. However, if they're too thin, you need to get to the reason for it.
Have you had a fecal done by a Vet? Did he check not only for worms but also coccidia? (Very important) have you had them tested for the big 3?
(Johnes, CAE, CL) (also very important)

http://www.luresext.edu/sites/default/files/BCS_factsheet.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What is their famacha? Have you noticed any itching , biting at their sides a lot or licking and cowlicks on their bodies?
I havent noticed it any more than usual, my one particular goat seems to be a bit itchy on the sides but it doesn't seem excessive. I havemt had them tested for any of those things you listed, the breeder I bought them from did and it was negative. I've debated calling the vet out for a fecal and certainly can, I will double check famacha this morning I last checked it a week ago.

They are all drinking fine, peeing and pooping well. Coats look good too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I might need to get famacha tomorrow, theyre squirmy little suckers. I'm going to try again in the morning. Based on that bcs chart I'd say they're a 2.5, my smallest goat is probably around a 2. I can't go by the visual aspect of the guide due to all the hair it's just what I can feel.
 

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I havent noticed it any more than usual, my one particular goat seems to be a bit itchy on the sides but it doesn't seem excessive. I havemt had them tested for any of those things you listed, the breeder I bought them from did and it was negative. I've debated calling the vet out for a fecal and certainly can, I will double check famacha this morning I last checked it a week ago.

They are all drinking fine, peeing and pooping well. Coats look good too.
You can collect poop. Meadowmist lab is a good one to send poop to for fecals. Or if you vet does them just take poop to him instead of a farm call.
 

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As a wether owner, I can say that the little dudes are pretty hardy - they shouldn't have too much trouble keeping weight on if healthy and definitely not with the diet you have them on.

Are FAMACHAs good?

Are they disease tested?

I would run fecals for sure. www.meadowmistlabservice.com

If all is well - yes, we can get weight on them via a feeding regimen but something still seems fishy :waiting:
 

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Are they eating a good loose mineral? One of my goats (same age as yours) dropped a little weight at the beginning of winter. It turns out he wasn't eating any mineral (even though it was available to him), and so his winter coat wasn't growing in well, and he was burning all his calories just trying to stay warm. Once we got him to eat his mineral regularly, his coat grew in and he put the weight back on really quickly.
 

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Another thing to consider is their hay to alfalfa ratio. I'm not exactly the most qualified/experienced goat owner, but the recommendations I've gotten from reputable breeders is that wethered goats should be eating at least 50% alfalfa, and shouldn't be eating Calf Manna after about 8mo. If you can, contact Dwite Sharp and ask about his feeding guidelines - he has been super helpful with this for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm mobile so I'm not going to reply individually right now but let me answer as many as these questions here:

I am going to try and tackle checking famachas now. I check them about once a week but im not good at it, and might need a second pair of hands to check tomorrow.

I will collect samples for a fecal. Should I just do the standard test?

They were disease tested by the woman i bought them from, do I need to do that annually?

I will upload some pics but they are so hairy it won't really make a difference.

They only started calf manna over the last month when they wouldn't maintain weight. I still feel they are getting skinnier. They definitely do not get 50% alfalfa, it's more I'd say about 10%. Most of what I read led me to believe wethers shouldn't be getting much alfalfa.

They do have access to sweetlix minerals 24/7.
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I'm mobile so I'm not going to reply individually right now but let me answer as many as these questions here:

I am going to try and tackle checking famachas now. I check them about once a week but im not good at it, and might need a second pair of hands to check tomorrow.

I will collect samples for a fecal. Should I just do the standard test?

They were disease tested by the woman i bought them from, do I need to do that annually?

I will upload some pics but they are so hairy it won't really make a difference.

They only started calf manna over the last month when they wouldn't maintain weight. I still feel they are getting skinnier. They definitely do not get 50% alfalfa, it's more I'd say about 10%. Most of what I read led me to believe wethers shouldn't be getting much alfalfa.

They do have access to sweetlix minerals 24/7.
View attachment 198047 View attachment 198049 View attachment 198047 View attachment 198049
Like I said, I'm really not an expert. But the advice that I've gotten from reputable packgoat breeders is that wethers should be eating mostly alfalfa. Urinary Calculi is usually caused by excess phosphorus, not excess calcium. But don't take my word for it. I suggest contacting Dwite Sharp or Dr. Deb Mangelsdorf for advice on feeding.
 

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The calcium to phosphorus ratio in the total diet should be 2:1 - if you purchased these goats as babies there are no accurate tests for CAE, Johnes etc until at least 9 months of age. I would get the fecal done as a starting point - you could also add a SMALL amount of beet pulp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
How much is a "small amount"? I'll do whatever they need, or whatever is the most best. I couldn't get famacha today but I'll have help tomorrow to hopefully get it on all three. They seem to enjoy eating their hay if I sit out in the barn with them but I can't do that as often as even I'd like to.
 

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Just a small handful sprinkled over the feed to begin with. Your first place to start is a fecal exam and a temp. Cocci/worms are often the cause of unthriftiness. Getting a handle on this early is best. Otherwise severe problems can come later, and goats can be stunted an not able to absorb nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just a small handful sprinkled over the feed to begin with. Your first place to start is a fecal exam and a temp. Cocci/worms are often the cause of unthriftiness. Getting a handle on this early is best. Otherwise severe problems can come later, and goats can be stunted an not able to absorb nutrients.
Okay. Before I change anything I'll send a fecal in for everyone. Hopefully I can get that mailed off tomorrow. I totally forgot to print the form at work but I'll see if I can find a way to do that.
 

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Try to catch the poop pellets before they hit the ground! Or, grab from the snow. But, since it is winter- most parasites don't lay eggs as the baby worms would not survive the cold after they hit the ground. (supposedly, how do momma worms know its cold???) The famacha is a good tool for blood sucking parasites.

They may be going though a small growth spurt and using more energy to grow rather than gain weight. Also, winter stresses them more and they use more calories.

You have a very nice barn! A suggestion is to raise the water bucket up, so they don't poop in it. I know what its like to have to haul water in the winter! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Try to catch the poop pellets before they hit the ground! Or, grab from the snow. But, since it is winter- most parasites don't lay eggs as the baby worms would not survive the cold after they hit the ground. (supposedly, how do momma worms know its cold???) The famacha is a good tool for blood sucking parasites.

They may be going though a small growth spurt and using more energy to grow rather than gain weight. Also, winter stresses them more and they use more calories.

You have a very nice barn! A suggestion is to raise the water bucket up, so they don't poop in it. I know what its like to have to haul water in the winter! ;)
I had the water bucket raised but they quit drinking out of it. We do check it twice a day and they have access to an outside trough also so they do always have a clean source of water. And yes, I have tobhaul water from the house ‍♀ but it does encourage me to do it morning and night. I'm going to sit outside with my ziplocs tomorrow and stalk some goat bootyhole to get my samples.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So I finally got our fecal in and the results came back with barberpole and bankrupt worms. It says they're are few eggs which is good, but i think they must have enough that it's causing a struggle so im going to consult with my vet for the best plan.
 

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So I finally got our fecal in and the results came back with barberpole and bankrupt worms. It says they're are few eggs which is good, but i think they must have enough that it's causing a struggle so im going to consult with my vet for the best plan.
What is the epg count?
 
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