How do you feed?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by simeo, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. simeo

    simeo Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    Howdy, I have a "feeding routine" but I'm curious about how y'all feed. I have five pregnant does and one buck. Due dates are between "any moment now" and the end of April.

    I have ~1.25-1.5 acres of medium quality pasture I'm working on building up in 5 divisions and a 1/4 acre dry lot. I just ran fecals and counts are really low. (One girl had zero eggs, and we ran her fecals twice!) Of course it is winter so the girls aren't on the pasture now but it should be ready for grazing again ~March-April.

    My feed mix for the does in milk has varied over the years. Sometimes I gave free choice alfalfa pellets. Sometimes I made a mix of calf manna, boss, and sweet goat. Sometimes I tried a straight dairy goat feed on the stand. I'm struggling to find a routine and stick to it. When I talk with local farms I get statements all over the place but most people have only dry lots. No pasture. The amount of pelleted feed they give seems enormous. When I've tried to feed my girls the way some people say they start to have clumpy poo and digestion issues. It's also very cost prohibitive!

    The only choice we have for hay around here (and I've checked around quite a bit) is fescue/grass mix. I leave this out free choice always. In the summer they rarely touch it though because they're grazing.

    At this point I'm leaning toward for the does in milk:

    4 part Tucker Milling Goat Feed Pellet (16%, no molasses)
    1 part BOSS
    1/2 part Calf Manna

    24/7 Hay and Alfalfa Pellets semi-free choice to everybody. (A limited amount every day. )

    I don't know if this is a good plan. Should I be giving them some in pregnancy? I do now, but I'm not sure how much I should or if it's required. Should I feed pellets to the buck(s)? Should I plan to pellet or creep feed the kids?

    Nobody's ever taught me how to feed my goats, I just try to stay as consistent as possible for the milking does.

    We've gotten by for the past 4 years but I'd like to have some practical direction (Not "Well you need to feed them Purina Show Goat 4lbs per day while giving them 3lbs of Alfalfa pellets every day per doe and 2tbs of linseed oil with 1/4lb of Calf Manna, BOSS and drizzle with a little molasses and some corn with free choice kelp and sea-90 salt with one banana a day on the milking stand..... and don't give anything but hay and grass to your buck." True story I've been told that.)

    Thank y'all for your help!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    Lstein likes this.
  2. Suzanne_Tyler

    Suzanne_Tyler GreenTGoats

    Jul 19, 2014
    If what you’re doing is working for you, stick to it. There isn’t really one nice, easy diet that will work for everyone. A lot varies with location and the needs of individual goats. The plan you outlined sounds fine to me Also, be sure to give free choice loose minerals.
    simeo and goatblessings like this.

  3. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2011
    Oregon Coast Range
    I about died laughing when I got to the banana part lol.

    So you just want a basic run down?

    I am feeding dairy goats. I have limited summer pasture plus the use of 2 acres of overgrown apple orchard. There really is more water than nutrition in Oregon pastures though.

    They get a variety of local and eastern Oregon grass hays and oat hays. I think variety is good in this case and every load is a different type.
    I give enough alfalfa pellets or Chaffe hay that they eat them up but they last most of the day.

    My grain mix is a bit different for boys and girls.
    4 parts whole oats
    2 parts rolled barley
    1\2 part boss

    4 parts whole oats
    2 parts rolled barley
    1 part boss
    1 part Animax (Purina's calf manna)
    1/4 part split peas

    They get amounts ranging from 2 cups a day to a couple lbs a day depending on what is being expected of them.

    Each goat's Replamin Plus is mixed into their grain once a week.
    This must be fed with alfalfa as it isn't adjusted for calcium/phosphorus balance.
    When I get lazy I feed Noble Dairy parlor.
    Kids are creep fed.

    They have free choice Purina Wind and Rain minerals, a cobalt block, and occasionally kelp.

    In season I give them squashes, windfall apples and pears, garden greens, etc. For treats they get peanuts, apple horse treats, crackers, etc.
    SalteyLove and simeo like this.
  4. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    simeo likes this.
  5. simeo

    simeo Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    Awesome. Thanks for the confidence boost! I'm still entertaining points here just to see if there's anything I should change. I do leave out the Sweetlix Meatmaker loose mineral free choice. Forgot to mention that.

    Thank you for the input Goathiker! You're the main person that got me thinking about feeding alfalfa semi-free choice. How much, approximately, do you leave out for them daily? Like.... 1-2lbs per head per day? Or...? I also just checked out the label on the Purina Noble Goat and it is nearly identical to the feed I'm using now with very small differences. I'll look into the prices of Barley and Oats here to get an idea of the cost for a mix.

    Why split peas?
  6. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2011
    Oregon Coast Range
    The split peas are a good source of copper, b vitamins, and calcium. More important though, they contain an enzyme that helps fix calcium to the bone. They protect people from osteoporosis and goats from milk fever.
    simeo and glndg like this.
  7. Goat_Scout

    Goat_Scout Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2017
    I agree, if what you’re currently feeding is working for you, I’d not change much, if anything. ;)

    During the spring/summer we rotationally graze the goats all over our property. They usually have brush to eat, too.
    In the fall/winter, each day they sometimes have a couple hours’ access to the woods, but for the most part they are in a large pasture with free choice, horse quality hay.

    This year, we gave a little bit of alfalfa hay in the last couple months of pregnancy (and for the lactating does if they could use it) but other than that - unless they are thin or otherwise could use it - I don’t give them grain/feed except as a snack. Mine get so bratty once they start getting daily feed!

    My milkers get about 2 cups of alfalfa pellets during milking. I just started giving a couple of them 3-4 cups of grain (organic from New Country Organics) instead of 2 or less each day. Those two are putting a lot into their kids so they are on the thin side... :/
    simeo likes this.
  8. tippycanoe

    tippycanoe New Member

    Jul 11, 2016
    Curious - would field peas have this same effect?
    simeo likes this.
  9. intrepid-dreamer

    intrepid-dreamer Active Member

    Jan 2, 2017
    I feed my boys and girls pretty much the same. They all get free choice grass hay and I feed alfalfa twice a day. They get extra depending on their individual needs. Right now the hay and alfalfa is keeping everyone in great shape except my pregnant girls and my buck. I make my own grain mix that is made up of 2 parts Haystack Special Pellet Blend, 1 part Barley By-Product meal (barley and malt sprouts steamed pressed into a pellet), and a top dress of SureChamp Goat, which is a vitamin/mineral supplement. When I can't get baled alfalfa, I feed pellets. I usually keep a 1 gallon bucket out that I refill as it empties. They also have free choice wind and rain minerals and a cobalt block.
    simeo likes this.
  10. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2011
    Oregon Coast Range
    Yes, they are the same thing in unprocessed form. I can't get field or feed peas, so mine come from the bulk bin at Winco lol.
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  11. simeo

    simeo Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    Awesome! So I'm not crazy or cruel for not giving my goats 3 quarts of sweet feed mixed with XYZ + BOSS + Calf Manna + Molasses Drizzle + Linseed Oil + + + + !

    One local person showed me her feeding routine my head was absolutely spinning. Thanks guys for putting my mind at ease.
    intrepid-dreamer likes this.