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OK I'm looking for advice on designing a home grown, grain free diet for my dairy goats.

I don't feed grain, and the unlimited pasture and browse does quite well for most of my goats, but it is time to admit that it is just not good enough for Samantha my highest producer and I am going back to the drawing board. I'm having to grain feed some weight back on her, and need a permanent solution.

What crops can I grow for her, and how much?

I'm living self-sufficient, and I'm a firm believer that I can give them a complete healthy ration on a home grown organic diet, but it needs careful planning and probably root crops. I just found a slightly old thread on feeding roots which to my surprise seemed to contain a lot of people that think the same. I thought I was strange!

I'm looking at starting to grow comfrey, mangle beets, lupin (greens and seeds) and sunflower (also greens and seeds). Any thoughts on how much to feed, and other plants that would be good?

I have a good start in that my pasture is good, I live in a mild temperate/ semi-subtropical climate, so no snow, green grass year round (although much less of it in winter). I can simply walk into the forest at any time of year and cut them green, lush tree branches.

I have lots of blackberry and roughage available too. I have kept goats on this and loose minerals for years with no issues, on changing to dairy goats I have discovered most of them lose some weight while milking, and put it back on afterwards before the next season.

I manage them so each goat is only asked to milk for about 7 months.

However I would like them not to lose that bit of weight they do, and I have one really high producer who I actually try to dry back to about half her production level because she loses too much weight and has trouble putting enough back on for the next season. Trying to dry her off is almost impossible, and this year she has lost way too much condition, obviously for this girl her current diet is unacceptable.

So I need a permanent solution which will keep them on home grown organic natural feed just as well as they would on hard feed from the store.

I am looking at growing them lots of Comfrey (Which is comparable to Alfalfa in protein, high in minerals and vitamins, herbal tonic), Lupins (which can only be fed in small quantities, but are high in protein), Sunflowers (the leaves are pretty good for protein, and we all know about BOSS), and some root crops, possibly turnips, definitely giant Mangle beets, which are supposed to be good for carbs and energy I believe.

Any suggestions on feeding quantities of roots etc for milking goats on a grain free diet, and any other crops I can grow for them?
 

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I would love to hear how this worked out for you! I've have had my girls grain-free for about half a year and it seems to be doing great. I read that there were some new studies that comfrey in large quantities can be dangerous and would love a more knowledgeable opinion on that if anyone has one.

This year I'm going to try growing a bit of alfalfa and possibly some oats or barley which obviously are grains but at least I'll know how they're grown and that they're completely organic and non-GMO. I grow a ton of extra peas every year so that I can sprout them for them in the off-season when there's less browse, and same with boss (they love them plain but they also enjoy them sprouted). Squash is a really easy thing to grow but mine still hate zucchinis in pumpkins, the weirdos. I'll keep trying. They do seem to like radishes but they'd only tried them a couple of times, same with carrots. I'm going to grow a lot this year of each and parsnips and other roots. I know this is an old thread so I'm probably just babbling to myself. ♡
 
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