Feeding - Quantity/Quality/Protein

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by Anita, May 16, 2009.

  1. Anita

    Anita New Member

    30
    May 12, 2009
    Davidsonville, MD
    Hi all. :wave: Only my second post!

    How much difference does protein % make? I'm feeding a 16% now (because it's the only organic feed I can find). If I added protein to bring it up to 18%, about how much more milk do you think that I would get? 10% 25%?

    Also - for those with Nigerian Dwarfs - how much grain do your top producers eat? Do you figure what to give them, or just let them have all they want on the milk stand?

    Background: One of my does was sold to me as producing just over a quart per milking. I have absolutely no reason to doubt the seller's word, she's become a friend and has never told me wrong on anything. I did have issues with this doe after kidding, but she's in great shape now, just not eating very much on the stand. I put 3-4 cups on the food pan, but she eats 2 or so and then walks away. I thought goats would kill themselves on grain! She's producing about 3 cups per milking (after straining, no foam) I can convert all these quantities to pounds if that is helpful. Does she need to eat more, or do I need to up protein?

    Also feeding free choice Chaffhaye.

    Thanks for any help/suggestions/comments!
     
  2. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    2 cups of grain would be equal to 1 #......I do have a pb nigi and a pygmy/nigi that I am currently milking, both are 8 weeks fresh and each get 1 cup of 18% and 1 cup of alfalfa pellets at each milking.....I get 5 cups from the pb nigi doe after a 12 hour fill, her doeling is with her throughout the day, the pygmy/nigi is more difficult to milk due to a meaty udder and tiny teats but I get about 2 cups each milking...this will be the first full day without her kids as they have gone to new homes, so I'll see how she does.

    My does have freechoice browse as well as mixed grass hay and the above amounts in feed. There a saying that says that what a doe eats, she puts half in the milk and half for her condition. If she gives a pint then she needs double that in feed to keep condition.....Mine get a "quart" of feed going by cups per day and I get that back from my pb doe....but not so from my cross.

    If your doe is later in lactation, they do have the tendency to back off or you may try making her feed more enticing by adding a small amount of molasses or even some raisens and granola, see if that helps with her production.

    I do have a pygmy/nigi cross doe that is still in milk after 15 months, she gets 1 cup grain as well as 1 cup alfalfa pellets once a day, she gives me just under 2 cups with milking 1x a day, she's retired from breeding but is my best behaved and strives to please me on the stand.
     

  3. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    how long ago did she kid? they dont reach their peak production of milk till 6-8 weeks after kidding. A doe will stay at peak for a couple weeks then start to diminish to a lower rate which is more steady for a time till she starts to dry up.

    As to protein -- 16% is adaquet. You can add some BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) to up the protein if needed - it is also great for their coat.

    Also does seh have loose minerals available? those will have salt in them. They need salt to produce milk.

    I have a doe who doesnt really like grain either but she does like the EZ Pelz by Blue Seal :shrug:
     
  4. Anita

    Anita New Member

    30
    May 12, 2009
    Davidsonville, MD
    Thanks for responses.

    The doe kidded March 3. I do have free choice minerals out. Seems to me that she needs more protein. I will work on that. Sounds like she is getting enough quantity.

    Any other thoughts welcome!
     
  5. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    I would give her time -- she isnt nowhere near peak production yet ;) Protein doesnt really effect the milk production that much. I wouldnt worry about upping it at this point since she is fairly close to the 1 quart mark and isnt near peak yet.
     
  6. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    I've found that more protein is a misconception when it comes to feeding milking does. We feed 13% protein to our girls and they are all in great condition and milking well.
     
  7. Anita

    Anita New Member

    30
    May 12, 2009
    Davidsonville, MD
    She kidded Mar. 3 - that's 10 weeks or so, shouldn't that be at peak?

    So if it's not protein, then what is holding her back?

    Does anyone else have any specifics about what you are feeding and the milk production? Of course, I know that a substantial amount of milk production is genetic, but this doe has a history of better production than this.

    Thanks everyone!!
     
  8. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    I can't really help out a whole lot, since I am not milking my Nigerian doe yet (her boys drink most of it). They will be ready to wean soon though, so I need to start milking her.

    I now follow GoatHappy's advice to give more carbohydrates than protein. I don't really know the exact % of protein in our grain mix since I throw a lot of different good things in it. It contains (starting with the largest amount) barley, oats, corn, dairy pellets, black oil sunflower seeds, and alfalfa pellets. Since I haven't been milking, I can't say if this is really working as far as production but my doe, Claribelle is feeding her triplet, 7-week old bucks with ease and they are growing very well. And she is only a yearling! So, that's pretty good imo.

    I also like to top dress Fastrack and kelp meal (ran out of kelp meal though).

    Does she have access to lots of water? (the more water, the more milk) Does she also have a loose mineral salt to pick at? The salt will encourage her to drink more water.

    Maybe because she had those issues after kidding, that just brought her milk down for the whole lactation? :shrug:

    Is this doe larger or smaller? How many kids did she kid with? Have you been milking her since she kidded? These are all factors that have a bearing on milk production.

    The Chaffhaye you are feeding - is it the Alfalfa or Bermuda kind? If it's the alfalfa, then that's good. We feed that as well. Love the stuff. :)
     
  9. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    oops sorry - I read May 3rd instead of march 3rd :oops: I quickly skim through so I can reply to as many posts as possible. sorry about that.

    As to her production - she may not give as much this year as in years past, was she ever on milk test to confirm the exact amount she was giving? Someone can say "oh she gave a quart a milking" but that doesnt mean they actually measured it out and were being as closely attentive as you were. I guestimate all the time on things that arent as important to me.

    I guess I am not gathering why this is such an important thing for you. not saying it shouldnt be but it would better help me give some ideas to you if I knew why this has you concerned.

    Also you said they had kidding difficulties and I dont know which of the two does we are talking about -- but many times a doe isnt 100% for a while after a difficult birth or complications. I never force them those are the does who get lots of TLC and I say "we will try again next year"

    When the lady milked her before you how long did she milk her for? was she raising kids as well and then filled on occasion to see what her production level was? That makes a difference on the amounts they produce. A doe who is filled once a day with a 12 hour fill then has the kids nurse all day, will look to produce more then a doe who is milked twice a day on a shorter fill each milking. to see what my doe is producing while raising kids I will remove the kids at night milk the doe in the morning and then measure. I dont milk every day till they are older so my checking production is more of a "spot check" to see how well they are producing.


    There are quite a few variables besides feed that go into how much they are producing is what I am trying to say.
     
  10. Anita

    Anita New Member

    30
    May 12, 2009
    Davidsonville, MD
    Thanks everyone!

    Stacey - Yes, perception is everything. It is possible that I was told what the previous owner believed was the absolute truth and that this doe is producing now at her normal rate.

    Why it's important - I need more milk. I don't want to purchase another doe unless I know that I am doing all I can reasonably do to get the best production I can from the two does I have now without stressing them.

    Kidding issues - This doe, Tigger, had a textbook perfect kidding, but problems afterward. She was stressed, clingy, lack of appetite, extremely vocal to the point of being annoying. And yes, I have considered that the several weeks after she kidded when she was in this condition may have lowered her production, and I'll not be able to get it back until next year. She's back to her normal easy going self now, thank goodness, happy and healthy.

    My other doe, Una, kidded May 3 with a difficult labor, I pulled one very large stillborn buck kid out. She has recovered beautifully, no problems at all, but has a meaty udder, so is progressing slowly with milk production, but I'm going to give her considerably more time since it's only been two weeks today.

    Neither of these does have ever nursed their kids. All of their kids were pulled immediately and bottle fed. I pulled them this year also and bottle fed. So, the doe I'm asking for help with was milked by her former owner twice a day during her former lactations, which ran generally for 8-9 months. Sometimes with a milking machine, sometimes by hand. This was Tigger's fifth kidding.

    Capriola - Your feed sounds pretty high in protein to me, but as you say, we don't know exactly.

    Yes, plenty of fresh water, and free choice minerals.

    Tigger is on the large size for a ND, but within standard. Triplets for the last three years straight. Yes, I've been milking her on schedule twice a day without fail since the morning she kidded.

    Alfalfa Chaffhaye (I didn't know there was another kind!).

    Thanks everyone! All great comments.
     
  11. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    well another member and friend said she has found great results with adding EZ pelz to her goats grain ration. This is basically a pelleted grain but I wouldnt feed it as the sole source of food. It is made by blue seal.

    I had the local Blue Seal carrier special order it for me since they dotn keep it in stock. So just ask if they can special order it for you.
     
  12. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    What kind of hay are you feeding? Good hay is the staple to a good lactation. Personally i like lower protein grains. I know most people suggest a 16 percent protein but i like between 11 and 12. They are getting protein from the hay too.
    beth
     
  13. Anita

    Anita New Member

    30
    May 12, 2009
    Davidsonville, MD
    Hadn't heard of EZ Pelz, I'll look into it.

    I have been feeding regular grass hay with some Alfalfa Chaffhaye.
     
  14. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    Olivia, I'm glad that is working for you :)

    Olivia's feed sounds like it is around(guesstimate) 14-15% protein, which isn't too bad. The idea for feeding grain to milking does is high protein low energy or low protein high energy, I prefer the latter.

    Hay does make a big difference in milk production, its always important that the does have access to high quality hay at all times.

    I forgot to mention that my brother feeds his boers nothing but oats and average quality hay and his goats are in great condition and his kids are extremely fat and growing well. Oats are around 11% protein if I remember right.
     
  15. grandmajo

    grandmajo New Member

    352
    Oct 14, 2008
    Pioneer, Ohio
    For my milkers I feed whole oats and BOSS at a ratio of 2 parts oats and 1 part BOSS on the milk stand. In their pen they each get about a pound of alfalfa pellets each ( 2x per day), because right now my hay is about a 50/50 alfalfa/grass mix. Once I get new hay this year (better quality alfalfa hay) then they won't get as much alfalfa pellets.

    Personally I haven't found that increasing the protein % in their grain made much difference in the quantity of milk. What did it for us was incorporating enough alfalfa in their daily feed. If I remember correctly, alfalfa has calcium in it, so more calcium in their tummy equals more milk in the pail.
     
  16. Anita

    Anita New Member

    30
    May 12, 2009
    Davidsonville, MD
    Thanks again everyone.

    Grandmajo: What kind of goats do you have? How much grain do they get on the stand?

    Update: I did change my goat's feed. I think part of the problem may be that they simply didn't like the first feed and so weren't eating enough. I switched them to Blue Seal Caprine Challenger and added alfalfa pellets about a week and a half ago. They both have much better appetites and I believe that I am just now starting to see better production on the milkstand, although not sure yet.

    As far as quantity of alfalfa pellets and grain, I've seen everything from (1) one cup of grain and one cup of alfalfa pellets two times a day when milking up to (2) as much grain as they can eat on the stand, as much grain as they can eat in the middle of the day in 15 minutes, and all the alfalfa pellets they can eat. That's an incredible difference!

    Regardless, what I was doing, which was a 16% general livestock feed which was labeled for dairy goats, but not a dedicated dairy goat feed, and free choice grass hay and Chaffhaye (alfalfa), was simply not working. I was basically letting them eat all grain they wanted on the milk stand, but that only amounted to about a cup for each of them morning and evening, and my milk production was plummeting.

    The breeder I bought them from last year was feeding an 18% feed, all they could eat while they were being milked, alfalfa pellets free choice, Chaffhaye free choice, sometimes Calf Manna. So, now I'm pretty close to what she was doing. I'm watching them closely. Looks to me like they feel better, and they definitely have better appetites!

    But, it's too soon for a final report.
     
  17. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I do feed mine the Caprine Challenger as well as Alfalfa pellets, mixed grass timothy hay as well as free range browse, and of cours a lot of fresh water.

    I hope that your girls find the Challenger as enticing and palatable as mine do. I've always had great results with it.
     
  18. kannm

    kannm New Member

    267
    Mar 18, 2009
    We use purina noble goat. It is a dairy ration and it has really helped our goat. We were using some other type of grain and it was not really something she liked so she would not eat it all. Now she looks wonderful.
     
  19. grandmajo

    grandmajo New Member

    352
    Oct 14, 2008
    Pioneer, Ohio
    Anita,

    I have 1 nubian and 1 kinder in milk right now, with the other nubian due to kid June 14th.

    The kinder gets 3/4 of a pound of grain at each milking (2 x day), and she is producing 2.25 to 2.5 pounds of milk at each milking. She is a FF and quite a bit smaller than the nubians.

    The nubian in milk is getting about 1.25 pounds of grain at each milking and she's producing 2.5 pounds of milk at each milking. She is also a FF

    The nubian that is due to kid soon, was getting 1 pound of grain at each milking, and she was milking around 2.5 pounds at each milking too as a FF.

    I found that each goat has a little different requirement for the amount of grain vs. the amount of milk output and overall body condition. The nubians I started with 1 pound of grain at each milking, and adjusted it slowly until their body condition looked good and milk output was consistent. The kinder I started at 1/2 pound and slowly adjusted as well. I think that the 1 pound of grain per 3 pounds of milk is a good general guideline to start with, but not a hard and fast rule. I guess that I take the view that goats are like people, we all have different calorie requirements to maintain our ideal weight and body fitness. (Just my opinion though.)