Grain for boys?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by OHMYKIDS, May 18, 2009.

  1. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    I'm so confused...we got 3 1/2 month old goats. 2 girls, 1 buck, 1 wether. The girls are doing good. The boys are getting a belly. Yesterday I felt the bucks' belly and I was concerned. It was tight and hard and when tapped it sounded like a drum. Although this morning it was soft and mushy. They both race to eat grain and the buck usually wins to eat most of the grain. When should I stop feeding them grain? Can it cause bloat?

    What's the age that the boys and girls should be off of grain?
     
  2. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Welcome!

    Depends on the breed of goat as far as how much grain they actually need. For my minis, bucklings, doelings and wethers I reccommend a handful 2x a day until they are at least a year old. Mass feeding is not reccommended because of course you will have the gluttons that think they need more....I feed each separately and always make sure they have access to good quality hay and browse if available. Most goats are still growing til they are 2 1/2 years old, adequate nutrition is a must for them, to reach full potential in their growth.

    The tight bellies are because they are full....but if all they are getting is grain and no hay or browse, then yes it will contribute to bloat, feed each separate with a rationed amount and add a teaspoon of baking soda, and never feed grain or green browse on an empty belly, give them hay before....easy way to do this is to leave hay out freechoice. And always make sure they have an adequate supply of fresh water as well as a freechoice loose mineral...loose because goats can't readily get what they need with a hard block.
     

  3. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    We have standard sized dairy goats and I feed my bucks 2 cups each once a day out of breeding season and during they get around 4-6 cups once a day(they never eat it all anyway)
     
  4. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    We have Kinder goats. I give them a handful each but in one pan twice a day. I saw today the buck pushing the wether, so I will have to put them in different pans.

    So I should always have hay available? I feed orchard grass with alfalfa. They seem to clean it every time I feed. I thought they were just hungry boys but maybe I'm not feeding enough.

    They do have loose mineral.

    So should I always add baking soda to the grain when I feed?

    You guys have been sooooo helpful. I'm so new at this. I've had the goats for 2 weeks now.
     
  5. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    Baking soda should be left out free choice. We leave free choice hay out for our does as well as our bucks :)
     
  6. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    When it sounds like a dum chances are they are bloated. When they are ful the bully should be a mushy hard. If you push on it it feels kind of like a balloon with flour in it.
    My bucks only get grain when they get copper and a little during breeding season. A good quality hay is usually enough to keep them in good condition.
    beth
     
  7. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    sounds like they are getting a full hay belly.

    I tie each of my goats to the fence at feeding time so that no one gets to much and I know that each goat got enough.

    As to the hay - I also only feed it twice a day. sometimes it is left over sometimes they eat it all in an hour. I know what is enough for my goats so I dont feed it free choice (to much waste).

    As long as they are "deflating" then it isnt bloat. Leaving baking soda out free choice is a good idea - as long as you dont have kids who jump in the feeder like I just realized is happening :GAAH: LOL
     
  8. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    yesterday, I put half a flake for the boys and it was all gone. These are little ones....I think if I give them free choice they will eat and eat and eat. I thought half a flake would last but it didn't. Never gave them that much before. Should I still do free choice hay?
     
  9. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    First of all I am not sure if I welcomed you here. If not WELCOME. :wave: Glad you are here.

    I wanted to tell you first of all, that goats eat a average of 8 times a day. So you need ot leave them enough hay to eat when they are hungry. Does that mean a lot of hay all the time? No, just make sure they have enough to net be starved when you feed at night. If you do that they tent to inhale the food and that is one reason goats bloat. I never give my boys grain unless it is breeding season. They do not need it and it is just a better chance of them getting UC.
    Like goathappy said, leave baking soda out where they can eat it when they need it. If they have a tummy ache they will eat it, or if they feel gas, they are very smart animals so they know when they need it. I never put it in the grain, just leave it out where it will stay clean and dry. Same goes for loose mineral. They will eat what they need and when they need.

    Now you will see we are all different and we all raise out goats different. Some people feed their goats grain all the time where others do not, some leave free choice baking Soda others not, and so on. It is really what you find is best for you. It is a trial on what works for you.

    Have you posted pictures of the goats? We would love to see them.
     
  10. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    Hi Ohmygoats & welcome!

    Your hay sounds really good yes they should be getting it free choice & boy howdy do they ever waste it! :hair:
    I have Boers; the kids get grain till they start fiddling around with it, usually around 10 mos.

    Sweetgoats I guess I wil have to throw hay 8 times a day then...heck Im out there anyway right? Hehehe
     
  11. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    Thank you all for the nice welcome. Today I tested it out and have them a bit of hay and when I was outside, they cried for me, like they were hungry. So I think I'm gonna fill it up with half a flake because they looked like they had alot more energy when they ate that much. Running around in the pen. The wether seems alot more interested in the hay than the buck. So what if they eat and eat and eat and get bigger, I guess I should cut it down to less hay?
     
  12. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    Pretnear all of us throw hay so its available 24/7. Especially if they are growing pregnant or lactating.
    You never want to hold back on hay,they need it. It helps keep their rumen functioning properly. If they have access to browse they will need it before they are turned out.
    You will find as they grow they will need more and when it starts getting cold, then throughout winter.
    Right now we have 18 of various ages. They go through a square bale per day.
    Count yourself blessed with your beloved flock!
     
  13. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    anyone have any idea how much hay they should be eating? I was told by the previous owner the they were eating about 1/4 of a flake if that for the girls and for the boys. I thought that rather small. My flakes are about 5 inches and the boys can easily do 1/2 a flake by themselves from the morning feed till I'm ready to feed again in the evening. Because of what was told to me of how much they were fed, I'm overly cautious of overfeeding. Also, with the previous owners they all didn't get any grain. Although the girls were not weaned yet.
     
  14. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    At 3 1/2 months old, the buck is capable of breeding your little does....too young to be mommies, so I will suggest separating the buck with the wether. For each pen put a flake in a basket or rack each morning, then again in the evening. If all they have is hay to eat with no browse then leaving it out for them freechoice would be ideal, they will learn it is always available and they won't be inhaling it within a short period of time.....also, if any iss left over, it helps to fluff it up and flip it, this way you trick them into thinking it is "new".

    I have 3 mini boys together and do feed grain in separate pans as well as give them a flake and a half split into 3 racks so each gets a share.
     
  15. Suellen

    Suellen New Member

    467
    Mar 9, 2008
    Paragonah, Utah
    First WELCOME to our group! I don't feed my goats hay in the morning because if I do they won't be motivated
    to go and eat some of our weeds and grass. They become lazy goats. Sometimes they scream at me telling me they are starving and
    wondering what kind of place I am running here. They always think they are starving. I want to see pictures of your new goats too

    Liz -"also, if any iss left over, it helps to fluff it up and flip it, this way you trick them into thinking it is "new"." I have to laugh because I do
    that too and it works everytime. I also sweep up what they drop and put it in the hay trash can (what I carry hay in). Later I bring the
    trash can out and they think that hay is new and wonderful. They are very smart if I take the trash can of dropped hay into the barn
    and then come right out and feed it back to them They know! and won't touch it. I have to wait LOL

    Suellen
     
  16. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    This is awesome information. I don't have much weeds and grass, so I will give them hay. The boys are separated from the girls.


    I tried to upload pics my I have to shrink them again because it's too big for here.
     
  17. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    BTW, the information here has been wonderful, thank you all for taking the time to help me :grouphug:
     
  18. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    Glad you are enjoying it here. Stick around, it is amazing what you will learn. :)
     
  19. bheila

    bheila New Member

    644
    Jan 9, 2009
    Kent, Wa
    :wave: Glad to see you joined TGS OHMYKIDS :stars:
     
  20. OHMYKIDS

    OHMYKIDS New Member

    23
    May 18, 2009
    Yes, I will stick around, I have lots to learn. And thanks Bheila for the link.

    A great thing that is happening since we've been loading up the hay feeders, this morning the boys weren't loud at all and didn't seem like they were starving at all. I'm kinda weaning them off of grain and they looked at the grain for a bit (couple of hand fulls) , not sure if they wanted it, nibbled on hay, then went back. They were full. They normally scarf down the grain like no tomorrow. I think this will be easier to get them completely off of grain. The girls on the other hand was still looking forward to grain, they look like they need it, still alot smaller.

    Thank you all for the help.