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.