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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How can I gradually wean the goats from a feeding schedule of twice a day to once in the morning? I have read about some people feeding once and I like the idea of it. I feed the Dumor Goat Pellet for all life stages. I keep free choice hay at all times, mixed with alfalfa for dams with kids, and free choice minerals. Any thoughts or advice welcome. Right now they scream for a while before “dinner” time which is 5:30pm now since it starts getting dark so early. The goal is to feed in morning only so I don’t have them screaming in the evening calling the coyotes in. Thank you 🙏
 

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I have not tried to reduce feeding times. Mine would complain too.

Might try just going out to the goats at feeding time and not feed them anything. Just spend time with them. After a week or two they may figure out that evening food is not to be expected, but since you are there they may not feel the need to remind you that it is feeding time.
 

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It takes a few days for them to get used to the routine. They are creatures of habit and think they will die without food...but after they realize you aren't coming they'll get over it.

My goal is to feed once a day...working on setting that up this week. I know mine will yell at night...they're spoiled brats LOL. They had SO much brush today as we were clearing out our fence line, like fat fat rumens full of brush, and yet 5:00 they were screaming like they're starving for their alfalfa pellets. 🙄
 

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I feed mine once in the evening. I had been doing twice a day, and realized they were wasting alot of feed. So I cut the morning feed in half. Fed regular amount at night. Then after 2 weeks, went to 0 at morning. Mine now eat pasture, weeds, and hay all day. They about trample me to go into the pen at night. So much easier this way. They are full of pasture & feed at night when the predators are out. The LGDS are ready & waiting!
 

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Reducing slowly to zero has worked for me, as well as replacing it with something boring like cucumbers (we have lots of those right now), and they get the hint that things have changed. The screaming may just be for a couple of days (I hope, for you).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Could you please tell me about reducing to zero? How long have they been on zero feedings? Do they simply eat forage, pasture? Do they get enough minerals for their diet. Just super curious how this works. Would love your view on it. Thank you!
 

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Could you please tell me about reducing to zero? How long have they been on zero feedings? Do they simply eat forage, pasture? Do they get enough minerals for their diet. Just super curious how this works. Would love your view on it. Thank you!
Ok, an example to clarify, when I said reducing to zero. I fed kids a small ration twice a day. Then I reduced their a.m. ration and added that to their p.m. ration until their a.m. ration was zero. When they were 6 months old, the p.m. ration was slowly reduced to zero.
Another scenario, my wether got some BOSS and oats while I had only alfalfa mix hay one year. When I got new grass hay, I reduced his grain/BOSS ration to zero, and all he found in its spot was cucumber slices or a banana peel.
My wether and dry does don’t get any grain, just hay and loose minerals.
 

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If they have natural grazing or shrubs to eat on and you want to feed 1 x a day.
I would just feed in the evening.
And stop the morning feedings.

If it is winter, however, plants and grazing areas do not have proper nutrients in them, but may be mostly water and not beneficial for winter nutrition. If this is the case, I would feed twice a day but feed a bit less, per feeding, if they are wasting it.

Starving the rumen is not good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If they have natural grazing or shrubs to eat on and you want to feed 1 x a day.
I would just feed in the evening.
And stop the morning feedings.

If it is winter, however, plants and grazing areas do not have proper nutrients in them, but may be mostly water and not beneficial for winter nutrition. If this is the case, I would feed twice a day but feed a bit less, per feeding, if they are wasting it.

Starving the rumen is not good.
I definitely don’t want to starve the rumen. They don’t waste any feed, they do eat it all. They also eat tons of hay and forage all day so they never look hungry, they look VERY full by the time they go to bed. I do lock them in the barn at night. Maybe I can get change their 5:30 pm feeding time to when it’s getting dark when I lock them up? I know it’s hard with goats, but I would like to stop the calling and screaming towards evening time because of coyotes. Just hoping there is something I can do with that.
 

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They need a full rumen at night, it helps keep them warm. One problem that people do, when they only feed at night is the temptation to only go out to the barn when
its feeding time, especially in inclement weather. Your (not you specifically!) goats could then go 24 hours with out being checked on- or not having water, being caught in something etc.

Start feeding at 5 pm or whatever is half hour before dark, so at dark they are all quiet. (coyotes already know where they are!)
 

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Were you asking about feeding hay or feeding grain? I thought this question was about feeding grain. I am confused now.
 

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Could you please tell me about reducing to zero? How long have they been on zero feedings? Do they simply eat forage, pasture? Do they get enough minerals for their diet. Just super curious how this works. Would love your view on it. Thank you!
Ours will have access to a round bale of good hay 24/7. They also have access to4 acres of brush during daylight hours. We close the gate in the evening to keep them in the main pen overnight. Our intentions will be to put up "chow hounds" which are self dog feeders. We will fill ours with alfalfa pellets. They will have that and the hay and the pasture all day long. Our girls do not overeat the pellets so I'm not concerned about that. We don't feed anyone that is not in milk, grain. So basically, we'll go out in the mornings and make sure pellets are full, water full (going to set up automatic water at some point) and open the main gate to the pasture. At night, just make sure all are in and lock the gate. Therefore just "feeding" once a day in the morning. When we are in milk again, we milk twice daily anyway so that just leaves us with milking vs milking and feeding everyone. Those girls WILL get grain twice daily in their bowls while we milk. But this set up shoulddrop our labor a good bit hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ours will have access to a round bale of good hay 24/7. They also have access to4 acres of brush during daylight hours. We close the gate in the evening to keep them in the main pen overnight. Our intentions will be to put up "chow hounds" which are self dog feeders. We will fill ours with alfalfa pellets. They will have that and the hay and the pasture all day long. Our girls do not overeat the pellets so I'm not concerned about that. We don't feed anyone that is not in milk, grain. So basically, we'll go out in the mornings and make sure pellets are full, water full (going to set up automatic water at some point) and open the main gate to the pasture. At night, just make sure all are in and lock the gate. Therefore just "feeding" once a day in the morning. When we are in milk again, we milk twice daily anyway so that just leaves us with milking vs milking and feeding everyone. Those girls WILL get grain twice daily in their bowls while we milk. But this set up shoulddrop our labor a good bit hopefully.
This sounds great. So it makes me question, why am I feeding a goat pellet to my goats, (unless in milk). Do they get enough nutrients from just good hay, alfalfa pellets and forage and free choice minerals? I know that question could probably go a million different ways. 😬
 

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This sounds great. So it makes me question, why am I feeding a goat pellet to my goats, (unless in milk). Do they get enough nutrients from just good hay, alfalfa pellets and forage and free choice minerals? I know that question could probably go a million different ways. 😬
It really depends on the circumstances. What do you have? Wethers? Does? What breeds?

In general, you could get by on hay and forage, and both should be fine with the addition of alfalfa pellets. But they don't usually need grain. There may be occasions you feel you need to add some (like my bucks in rut, they lose too much so they get grain for a couple of months). But no, I watch them, if they aren't getting enough, we up the alfalfa pellets, if they need something else then we address it. As always have minerals out. Ours are cafeteria-style so it supplements when the hay/browse changes. Right now they are eating a ton of Selenium and Vit C/B which coincided with opening that pasture up to them, whereas before they weren't really eating a bunch of anything.

But milkers are using energy to make all that milk and keep themselves in condition so they get some extra. We just feed them oats and BOSS that are fermented, and sometimes a little calf manna on top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you for that info. I love your explanation and thank you for your time writing that out. I’m interested in your cafeteria style supplements. Right now we just use an all in one Goat mineral. Where can you purchase selenium, vit c, vit b supplements?
 

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Here is the thread I'd started a while back that has all the info in it :)

 
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