How do you feed a show goat? Judge thinks too "narrow".

Discussion in 'Show Circuit' started by ruedyranch, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. ruedyranch

    ruedyranch New Member

    67
    Jan 14, 2011
    We are new to showing and goats. I have done extensive reading and talking with people who raise goats for show but never really got into the nitty gritty of how to feed a show goat to keep them in "show" condition. Everything I read basically states that graining goats is a controversial subject and each breeder has their own opinion. I bought two Saanens this spring from a great breeder who is part of the DHIA and we chose her because of her herd's numerous GCH placings. She uses a lot of grain and alfalfa in her feeding program and keeps all her goats on a dry lot sighting that it increases milk production when the does aren't wasting energy on foraging and all those extra calories go into making milk. We started off the year great and the won a couple of blue ribbons and a Junior Reserve champion. Now the girls are 4 months old and they are placing farther and farther back. I notice significant differences in body condition at the shows. My girls are very thin compared to other "show" goats. When I look at the other kids in the class I would describe them as overweight with my novice eye. Everything I read states that a goats primary diet should consist of hay and that a lot of grain isn't good for them but after spending five days at the county fair with 100 other goats and paying attention to how they were fed it was very clear that the only ones who were receiving free choice hay were does in milk. The kids were given a flake in the evening and had free choice or large amounts of grain. Meat wethers were fed the same way. We also have a small herd of commercial boers which we don't show because I don't feel good about giving them all grain and limited hay to prevent them from getting "hay belly". I should mention that I have not completely weaned the does yet either. Just a couple of weeks ago we cut them back to half the milk they were getting and they still get a 36 ounce bottle in the evening. If on their dam she would still allow them to nurse so I haven't completely weaned them because of the fact that I don't give them grain. I like the idea of feeding them in the way they would eat in nature. I also discovered that all the does in the show were kept in dry lot situations as were the market wethers. My doelings are primarily pasture raised with the rest of the herd. The only goats getting any grain are my weaned market boys (also on pasture-approx 1/2 lb per head per day) and my milking doe who get as much as she can eat while being milked. I am only milking her once a day. She milks a little more than 1/2 a gallon per day (2nd freshener). None of my goats are any where near emaciated but they almost appear under fed when lined up with all these show goats. So my question is this, I don't want to dry lot my Saanens and am interested in showing some market wethers next year but is it possible to be competitive in the show ring without limiting the wethers hay and grass intake and heavily graining them and my dairy kids to keep a lot of weight on them? The judges comment was that they had great dairy "potential" but they were in his opinion too "narrow" (aka thin). Any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. ruedyranch

    ruedyranch New Member

    67
    Jan 14, 2011
    And by the way, I should really do some research on show feed but what exactly is in them? I know they contain a lot of fiber for rumen development and a moderate amount of protein but is it really healthy for them for the long term?
     

  3. Burns Branch Boers

    Burns Branch Boers New Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    North Texas
    Hi there, I do understand your frustrations.

    We have boers--I walked into my first show the beginning of June. I was the ONLY one w/a hay bag in tow. As I looked around it became clear to me--really fast--that all those goats got was grain.

    We won 1st but the judge said that our buck had good muscling ability but needed to develop the muscles (aka stores of fat!-lol!)

    I did alot of thinking about how I wanted to handle the situation because my buck had access to pasture, hay, alfalfa and did get some grain 2x's a day. I knew this diet was healthier than free fed grain.

    However, the main reasons we got into goats was to breed and show good quality boers. There had to be a happy medium so that we could be successful in the show ring. I chose a food that is properly formulated to maintain the health of my bucks rumen and that can (as much as possible w/grain) guard against urinary calculi. I went w/a grain that is high protien and high fat.

    In 2 months my buck has gained almost 20lbs and is looking very much like the typical show-goat. I do still allow him pasture (we dont' have alot of trees, just pasture) and I give him sudan hay free fed. Tomorrow will be the 1st day he will go into a buck pen and he will have access to all the grain he wants and sudan hay. He will have limited pasture access.

    However, my does I still keep them as I feel the diet is best for them. I don't show them so that have pasture access all day, sudan hay free fed and get grain 2x's a day. They don't get "show goat" label but a they get a "complete meat goat" diet.

    Keep in mind mine are boers-not dairy goats.

    Basically I think it boils down to----do you want to play the showing game or not??? I agree, they don't put the goats best interest first in the show ring. But we want to be competetive in the show ring--so I have decided to show my bucks but not my breeding does. That meant I had to change up the bucks diet so that they had a chance in the ring.
     
  4. ruedyranch

    ruedyranch New Member

    67
    Jan 14, 2011
    I totally agree with having to change my feeding program to be more competitive if I want to show the boers. We just spent a small fortune on a Tarzan son to improve our herd but I just didn't realize that these show wethers were so aggressively grained and stunned that they received virtually no hay. I'm not familiar with sudan hay. We live in MN so it's pretty much timothy/alfalfa mixes here. Can you recommend protein and fat percentages? I guess I must be pretty old school. My does only get grain 1 month prior and 6 weeks post kidding and hay only in the winter. Their body condition is great, just to wedgy for the show ring!
     
  5. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    When showing, it's all about the ribbons. I know SO many boer breeders around here that feed and feed and feed them til they look all bulked up and meaty, and then you buy them, and suddenly they are only getting fed once or twice a day, not all the time, and they start loosing weight and don't look like that show quality goat that you bought and oh so desperately wanted. I've had this happen to me a few times when I was raising boers. I was feeding 18% grain with supplements out the wazoo and these does just kept loosing weight. Wormed them, everything.
    Also, there are some judges that just go by the breeder, not the goat. Theres one breeder around me that has National winning goats, then they sell that goat, and it never wins again.
    Popularity is what it boils down to, how well your name is out there.

    Okay, now that I'm done ranting :p
    One thing you don't want your goats to have is a hay belly. You want to give them hay, but definitly not an all at once thing. I keep mine out 24/7, but I don't raise boers anymore.
    Feed the grain off the ground and make it to where the buck has to stand on something, and that builds his butt and back muscles as well as flexes his tummy.
     
  6. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    And I have just come to realize that you don't raise boers. *FACE PALM*.
    Arrgh. Take anything I just said with a grain of salt. LOL
     
  7. Burns Branch Boers

    Burns Branch Boers New Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    North Texas
    well I really like alfalfa--I think it is great for them. But...I do notice that when Titan (my buck) eats it his tummy blows up like a balloon-lol!! I will still feed alfalfa to my pregant and lactating does in the future.

    We have switched over to just the sudan hay (which is a more forage based, high fructose) type of hay. It really offers no protien just simple sugars and roughage.

    For grain I suggest poking around a bit more at the dairy shows you attend--try to see what brands they are using (some people keep the bags in the areas where they store their gear :laugh: ) I went with a grain that has ammonium chloride (imp. to ward off urinary calculi) and I don't remember the %'s right now but it has somewhere between 17-20% protien and just a % or two less in fat. This should be fine for the boer wethers but I don't know about the dairy goats you have.

    We got my daughters wether in June and he is going in the buck pen w/Titan. He will be fed the same diet.

    I will conceed and feed more grain but I refuse to feed them no hay at all, I just refuse to be THAT competitive with their health :laugh:
     
  8. Burns Branch Boers

    Burns Branch Boers New Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    North Texas
    she does have boer wethers :)
     
  9. ruedyranch

    ruedyranch New Member

    67
    Jan 14, 2011
    Last year I fed an alfalfa/grass mix hay and this year we have a straight grass hay. We get it from our neighbor who trades us hay for storage in a poll barn. They definitely do not like the grass as much as the alfalfa. They don't get the same full belly on it either. Usually after being out all day they have barrel bellies from the pasture but in the pen at the fair and constantly having their heads in the hay feeder they didn't get that same full bodied bloat on the grass hay! So it seems I won't have luck with the wethers without more grain. I did ask at the show and everyone is so varied. A lot feed calf formulas. I suspect because meat goats are not as common here as in other parts of the country and not as readily available. I saw a huge variety of pelleted feeds and custom mixed. A few used Noble Goat. I saw both dairy and wethers being fed this. Any thoughts? I am fortunate to have a fabulous feedmill just down the street with a great variety and they custom mix just about anything as well. For the boers we are using a 16% Kent meat goat formula in small quantities. We feed their "house" dairy goat feed and it seems superior to most. Whole grains with added pellets and molasses, 18% protein and I mix in a little BOSS for my milking doe. Can anyone suggest a "show" feeding regiment for my diary kids and does anyone else show dairy that they also keep on pasture?
     
  10. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    Did the judge mean narrow as in weight or narrow as in build? Because when I judge says your goat is narrow, they're usually talking about the build. If they are talking about a goat that is to thin, they usually will say underconditioned or something about weight.

    Now a young goat labeled as narrow could be going through a growth thing where they bloom and look much wider as an adult. Or the narrowness might come from conformation genetics and the goats behind it were lacking in body width. Or your doe was just more narrow compared to the other kids in her class. You doe might also not be in ideal weight making her looks more narrow than she is....this can be from growing fast or going through an awkward stage or you might want to up her feed intake a bit. Do you have any recent photos of her?

    I would not do what the people at the show were doing where they were free choicing grain and not feeding much hay. This is terrible for goats. They really need to be on a mainly grass/hay diet supplemented with a good quality grain 1-2x daily. They really don't need that much grain in their diet to stay at good weight and be healthy as long as the hay and pasture is good quality.

    To help prevent hay bellies before a show, limit the hay that morning and throughout the day. Then after the show feed them like normal. This will make their bellies look nicer. The alfalfa will really give them a hay belly if they eat a good amount so for shows, it's good to limit that days feeding. :thumb:
     
  11. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Narrow does mean.. not very wide and even with a good feed program... the goat cannot get wider..... I agree with Kylee...

    You hear about the big show breeders... that are losing their top show animals at a very young age... it is that they are not feeding hay to them... only pelleted ect types of feed.......
    to me... it isn't worth a short life of a goat...I want that animal to be around and live a full life... not a couple of years....goats need roughage.... or they will die.... I have heard of many beautiful... very young goats.. that had died... it is just heart breaking... that some breeders... rather get ennoblements and ribbons... to get there name out there.... :(
     
  12. ruedyranch

    ruedyranch New Member

    67
    Jan 14, 2011
    What made them look "narrow" was their weight. The other does in the class were thick like wethers with big full bellies. My daughters doe was the youngest but the tallest. They have a lean build. I also suspect that the judge preferred them because he raises meat goats. Both my does had a much nicer top line than the two that placed before them. I will admit that the heavier does looked nicer from the rear. The extra weight gives their legs extra fullness which gives the allusion of potential for better udder capacity and they were very deep bodied. My girls are more of the slender build but he did complement their spring of ribs. The breeder I bought them from says she always brings pure alfalfa hay to shows because they love it so much they pig out and it gives them a very full appearance. I did look at the hay these other two were fed and it def had a lot of alfalfa. I will try to get some pics up if I decide it won't completely embarrass me! lol
     
  13. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Yeah.. I'd like to see pics... it is hard to judge without them....I am just going on what the judge said and you.... So that will help... me give a better opinion on her.... :wink:
     
  14. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    I also would really like to see the doe. Judges judging a dairy goat show aren't going to go with the goat that looks most like their breed. They're going to take the breed standard and compare it to the goats in the class. Which goat in the class best examplifies the breed.

    The narrowness you are referring to doesn't have anything to do with the belly. It's the body structure. Feeding lots of hay or grain on show day or all the day before won't give your goat more width...it will just make them look bloated...hay belly. It sounds like your doe is narrow and/or underconditioned vs. the does ahead of her... which didn't help her in a class with does with more body width and capacity. :shrug:

    Get a picture of her...we won't embarrass you! :hug:
     
  15. SDK

    SDK New Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Yucaipa ca
    narrow is a term used for the body structure, not the animals current condition, changing your feeding regimen is not going to make the does any wider, only breeding will solve that
     
  16. Burns Branch Boers

    Burns Branch Boers New Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    North Texas
    Here is an example of what "feeding for show" can do. I am not very happy with our newest picture (the 2nd one) but that night it was the only one I could get of titan at a straight level--he kept running around and jumping around with Macho :p I will try to get a better one today and update again.

    This is Titan the day before we went to the June 12th (it was taken after bath time :love: )

    [​IMG]

    This is Titan on July 18th!!! What a difference? Hu?

    [​IMG]

    The officiators of the show I went to were so very nice to me--the judge gave me lots of tips in the show ring (um...embarrasing :oops: but---well appreciated! LOL) and then the man who hosted the show spoke with me after and shared with me that Titan had the correct "muscling ability" but that I needed to feed towards that. He also explained that the muscling would begin in the neck and chest and travel towards his butt which is exactly what has happened. His rump or (twist) is beginning to fill out.
     
  17. RMADairyGoats

    RMADairyGoats New Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Colorado
    We feed TONS of grain to our milking ND does! It really can be the key! Did the judge say that they were thin, or did he just say narrow? If he/she said narrow, that might be that they have a narrow build. Do you have any pics? Can you see your does ribs?
     
  18. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    We have a few Boer show gals. Basically they dont get fed any different. If they are lactating of course they get grain. We do however let the hay belley shrink a bit during showtime by not giving them quite as much. :wink:
     
  19. ruedyranch

    ruedyranch New Member

    67
    Jan 14, 2011
    Thought I would post a follow up after fattening them up a bit. So yes, by narrow I am sure he meant too thin. I have been feeding them grain (and lots of it) and have also added some BOSS to help them gain faster after one got sick and lost waaay too much. I also spoke to a breeder who said something to me that really struck a cord and made sense so I will share with you ... "High input, high output". Thanks for the advice.
     
  20. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    "Narrow" refers to build. Judge would use the term "underconditioned" if she was thin.