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So my boys are now between 6 and 9 months old, and have been doing really good on their feeding schedule until recently. My youngest now seems to always be over eating and always has a huge, full tummy and gets pasty poop. We haven't made any changes in their feed amounts, but they're all really growing and I feel like I should be adding more feed based on their weights, but I don't want this one to continue eating too much. We only have one fenced area and one house they share, so I don't know how to go about giving them all different amounts. (He has had all his CD&T shots) It only seems to be a problem with alfalfa that he over eats on. I know a lot of people say free choice alfalfa for kids, but I can't imagine what they would do to themselves with free choice alfalfa! Right now, between the 4 of them, they're all getting 1/2 pound of grain (2/3 Nutrena naturewise goat feed to 1/3 COB) each day, and we alternate between 3 flakes of orchard grass hay every other day, and 2 flakes of alfalfa on the alternate day. They have some grass to browse on in their fenced in area as well.
 

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If you can get orchard easily...I would quit the Alfalfa. Let's see what others say. I am a VERY conservative feeder. My boys probably had a bag if even that of livestock blend grain (14% protein) between the 6 of them in their lives. Never had alfalfa. Had only orchard or timothy grass hay (plus some grass and browse) up to 1.5 or about 2 years old. Now only get Blue grass hay which is less protein than orchard or timothy. They are 2.5 years old. They are all healthy and big. In fact...some have asked what I am feeding them...and I just reply...we have so much mud here in NW Washington coast...they just grow taller to keep their bellies out of it. ;)

Or maybe you will have to tie them for feeding times. Check to see if the youger is bullying the older out of the hay.

Also...I don't like the idea of free choice hay. For me it's too darn expensive to be wasting...any more than the goats already do. I like to feed just the right amount. If there is hay left in the feeder then you may be feeding too much. My boys eat it empty each day. I have a great feed equation from Donna Semasko if you are interested. I will see if I can find it and post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your advice! I actually based my feeding amounts off of Donna's equation that we got from her packgoat seminar. I would love to hear everyone's thoughts though, all the advice is so helpful :)
 

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I'm certainly not the goat feeding expert here, but I've never fed my goat alfalfa or more than a couple of handfuls of grain (as a treat) his whole life, and we got him very young. Looking back, I think he may really have been too young even to be off of milk, but we took him straight from nursing off his mother and put him right on hay and pasture. He had free choice pasture in the summer, but never free choice hay once the pasture was gone. And it was always plain timothy grass hay. Somehow he turned out alright and will be nine years old in a few months with nary a health problem in all the time we've had him.

I know more about horses than goats, but my general rule is that if you're going to err, it's almost better to under-feed than to over-feed a young animal. Young animals ought to be slim and fit. Their weight will catch up with them eventually, but if you start them off fat you'll be battling health issues their whole lives. I like to see some ribs on a young animal, and they should certainly be easy to feel. There's plenty of time to gain weight when they're middle-aged and over. ;)
 
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