Grass Fed Goats

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by toi, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. toi

    toi New Member

    14
    May 23, 2008
    GA
    Hello. I've heard of grass fed beef, but does anyone know about grass fed dairy goats? Are there certain grasses or vegetation that are better than others? Do people normally seed pastures or do they just have the goats graze and browse on whatever is there already? Any comments or your experience in feeding goats, in general, are welcome!

    (By the way, I was going to post this in the Goats 101 board but it wouldn't allow me to.)

    Thanks!
    Toi
     
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    goats 101 is for me to post in or move post to that I think are good reference tools for people.

    I am going to move this to goat frenzy.


    As to the grass fed --- goats are browsers not graisers and dont' usualy eat grass.
     

  3. enjoytheride

    enjoytheride New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Humboldt Co Ca
    I have 3 Boer does on about an acre (with side forays into other places) of grazing and they will graze it down to nothing. But there are management issues with this. Most grazing animals have poop places (roughs) and eating places (lawns) fi they have enough room to make this choice. Goat poop where they eat- I think because they are natural browzers. Imagine the poop fertilizes the growth while the goat eats above the worm level.

    With grazing, there has to be enough area to do a good rotation otherwize the worm issue would easily be out of control.

    I think this might work for Meat and Fiber goats but a dairy goat in milk needs a lot of provender to produce. Also calcium is not high in grasses- and growing alfalfa does not seem so tasty (to my girls at least.) So there might be management issues with a goats being able to consume enough graze tomake the large amounts of milk that's normally wanted.

    I dare say that enough good graze would produce some milk but that is not in my experience.
     
  4. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    Tell that to our hundred goats :ROFL:

    Our goats will eat grass, I don't know whats in our pasture though. I think orchard grass.
     
  5. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Mine eat my hubbys freshly mowed lawn and completely "overlook" the 3 acres of fields and browse! Goats that get enough of a balance in their diets will produce the best milk...you can't really expect a high butterfat and milk yield without the help of "additives" such as a balanced protein grain as well as quality hay....though my mini girls tend to fill up even more when they do decide to attack the browse on the hill. Mine do seem to enjoy the alfafa hay as opposed to growing alfalfa, they don't touch it unless I pick it and hand feed it to them...they would rather have the groing timothy and orchard grass.
     
  6. toi

    toi New Member

    14
    May 23, 2008
    GA
    Thanks for your comments! I'm worried about having goats for the first time and want to give the best food available. I guess I'll plant some alfalfa for hay and then let them browse and graze on what's out there, then supplement with high quality grains.

    Toi
     
  7. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    If you plan on having milking does go with a feed mix that has at least 16% protein. Personally I feed a 18% and my minis do well on it, there are alot of different brands available too, DuMor, Purina, Blue Seal( I use this one) whichever is easily accessible to you is fine...or even ask the breeder you purchase your goats from the type of feed they use.
     
  8. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    Actually if you feed the right balanced ration, you can get away with feeding 12-14% grain. We feed a mix of barley, oats, BOSS, wheat bran and cottonseed hulls(its a filler to stretch the feed) and it is around 14% protein. That is what we feed and our girls do great on it.

    The idea is to have either low protein high energy or high protein low energy(I prefer the former) You can even get buy feeding just oats if you have really high quality hay.
     
  9. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    I saw oats for 11.00 or 12.00 a bag and I thought I remembered reading somewhere that oats are good for milk production, is this correct?

    My goat feed is up at 14.50 a bag! :shocked: So I am needing to come up with other ideas or stretch it somehow without compromising
     
  10. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    Oats are expensive, in fact there are no oats around here. We are lucky enough to have grown our own so we have enough for this year, with all this rain though I hope that this years oat crop will be ok :(

    With oats, you do still have to feed a high quality hay.

    Stacey, have you tried mixing cottonseed hulls with your feed? Its $8 for a 50 lb bag and it really helps to stretch the feed out. You don't have to add taht much, it adds fat and fiber to their diet too.
     
  11. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    At times, which is usually when the girls are dry I do feed a stock mix type sweet feed...manufactured...I don't have the time or resources to "mix" my own, The lowest I will go with protein is at 12%, and I don't have the $$$ for "top end" hay...they all get an orchard grass mixed with a small amount of alfalfa...which I do get at $2.50 a bale but the 18% Blue Seal has always been easily accessible and I do go thru 100# in 6 weeks for 2 milking does...2 dry does 1 doeling and 3 bucks all of which get different rations for different needs.

    It is great that some of you can grow/mix your own feeds but with the small herd I have as pets/hobby it's just easier and much more practical for me to go with the manufactured grain...even if it is almost $14.00 per 50#,

    Would TSC carry the cottonseed hulls??
     
  12. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    You would have to check, if you can't find the cottonseed hulls, you can also feed cottonseed, the cottonseed will add a little more protein and fat to the diet.
     
  13. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Ok, so if I went with the cheaper stock mix at 12% and added the cottonseed to it, it would be enough protein for growth and milk production? Or can I add the cottonseed to the feed I already get and they are used to and jst be able to feed less of it and have it stretch further?
     
  14. toi

    toi New Member

    14
    May 23, 2008
    GA
    I have another question, not related to your discussion on cottonseed hulls...

    What is a typical feeding schedule for goats? Also, do they need to be confined to an area where they cannot browse or graze at some point during the day? Or, are they always aloud to be munching.
     
  15. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    If I could trust that mine would "stay put" they would be out browsing all day...though usually they avoid the noontime sun when I am off work my girls are out as soonm as I milk that morning...they go eat and come back to be lazy when the sun is high. I do have a schedule for grain because I milk 2 of the girls at the moment. With my work schedule being basically the same on a daily basis, I milk and grain the girls at 4:30-5 am and they all get hay racks filled. At 4-5 pm the girls are milked and grained again and the boys get their grain at that time also....and really depending on the day, I will alternate between the boys and girls as to who gets out of their pens first to browse...the ones that don't get their hayracks filled again.
     
  16. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    Liz, I will look up the nutritional content on cottonseed and let you know.

    Toi, Our girls have full access to hay and browse. They have hay in the bunks all day long and they should have some kind of hay/dry matter in their bellies before they go out to graze on fresh grass.

    We put hay out twice, sometimes three times a day. In the morning and at night we hay the girls before we feed them or milk them. For milking, all the girls get tied up on chains and they get part of their grain off the stand, and a portion on the stand so that they sit still.
     
  17. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    I will have to look into the cottonseed


    As to the browsing etc --- THere is not reason to take them away from it unless you have to. For me the area for browsing isn't fenced in so I cant let them out 24/7 or I would have goats in my backyard and all over. But if it is fenced in and part of their pen there is no problem with them having food available 24/7
     
  18. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Illinois
    http://www.cottonseed.com/publications/ ... sguide.asp There is some good info there Liz, cottonseed has more protein that I thought! That great thing about is you really don't have to use to much of it. Your girls may take a little bit of time getting used to it. Is the feed you are feeding pellets or a sweet feed that has grain in it? I think it would mix better with a sweet feed type feed. Cottonseed is also great for putting things in the food, like minerals and nutritional yeast, it sticks right to the cottonseed since it is fuzzy.
     
  19. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Thanks Sarah, I'll check that out...the grain I use now is mixed..pellets, crimped oats and crimped corn...and sweet too.
     
  20. toi

    toi New Member

    14
    May 23, 2008
    GA
    Thanks so much! More questions to come, I'm sure. I'm looking forward to the day I'll be able to answer a question.

    Toi