How much to feed my goats?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by shanzone2001, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. shanzone2001

    shanzone2001 New Member

    119
    Nov 8, 2009
    In one corral I have 3 wethers...1 large Alpine and 2 smaller Nubians. :love:
    In another corral I have 2 possibly pregnant ND does. :love:

    How much hay and what type? The only thing they like is alfalfa.
    Grain? I have Purina grain because I need to feed sheep and goats.

    I don't have a scale, so it would be easier for me if suggestions were in the form of 1 flake, 2 flakes, etc. I measure my grain with the "green" scoop which I think is 2 cups.

    Thank you for any advice!
    :wave:
     
  2. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I have pygmy/nigi and nigies, how I feed my girls is this way....not preggy, no grain: 61-120 days preggy 1 cup 1x a day, 121-delivery 1/2 cup 1x a day and then up it to 2 cups 1x a day while lactating, along with this I add 1 cup of alfalfa pellets.
    My bucks get 1 1/2 cups 1x a day and they all have a loose mineral specific to goats because they NEED copper, sheep cannot have copper so be careful with where you place the minerals for your goats. I use 18% Blue Seal feed and Manna Pro goat mineral.

    I have an alfalfa, clover and mixed grass hay that I feed this way....for 3 nigi and pygmy bucks, I give 2 flakes separated between 2 racks in the am and 2 flakes separated in the late pm. For 6 mini does, 4 flakes separated into 3 racks am and pm.......during the growing season, they get half the amount of hay as they have plenty browse.

    My mom has large breed goats and for her herd of 10....1 togg doe, 2 boer/nubi does, 2 boer wethers, 2 nigies, 3 togg wethers, they get free access to a 4x5 round bale or 2 square bales mixed timothy each day as well as 5 pounds of grain in the trough and freechoice minerals.

    I use a 1 cup measuring cup from a set of cheap plastic cups I got at the dollar store....no guessing when it comes to measuring feed:wink:
     

  3. shanzone2001

    shanzone2001 New Member

    119
    Nov 8, 2009
    Thanks, Liz. I feel like I ask sooooo many newbie questions! It is so great to have a place to get the info I need. I do have another question...what about alfalfa for goats? They love it, but I heard it was not too good for wethers. Any thoughts? :shrug:
     
  4. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    alfalfa is high in calcium - this throws off the calcium to phosphorus ratio (which you want 2-1). If this ratio is off it could lead to a case of UC (urinary stones).

    I suggest you get some Ammonium Chloride either in their food or minerals.

    Grass hay is best for the wethers
     
  5. shanzone2001

    shanzone2001 New Member

    119
    Nov 8, 2009
    :wave: Thanks, Stacey! You and Liz are both so knowlegeable and I appreciate your advice (so do my goats!)
    Shannon
    :)
     
  6. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    I don't think I am adding anything new here, but just wanted to back up some thoughts and add some support!

    Alfalfa is a good choice for all goats, even whethers. But it is high in calcium which can lead to stones. Find a mineral with Ammonium Chloride to offset it. I have a friend who has 3 whethers on straight alfalfa with free choice mineral with AC and has seen no issues in 7 years. Otherwise the high levels of vitamins, calcium, and especially protein is ideal for goats especially breeding stock and kids. Just be aware for the whethers ;)

    I also use a measuring cup to feed my grain. My buck gets 1/2 cup a day. I plan on getting a whether soon who I will also feed 1/2 cup a day. The grain adds vitamins and minerals as well as calcium and protein. Though, of course, again here you need to watch out for high calcium intake. My girls currently get 1 cup grain a day because they are pregnant. I'll bump that up to 2 when they are lactating. Then back down to 1/2 cup when they are not bred or lactating.

    I use two flakes a day to feed my 3 goats. I spit one flake in three feeders in the morning, then at night. A lot of it gets wasted because they like to eat the leaves and flowers and dump the stems on the ground. But I don't sweat that because I use straw bedding which only runs $1 less per bale then does the alfalfa. So, the wasted stems just add to the bedding! I would suggest you go out in the morning and drop roughly half a flake per small goat and a whole flake her large goat. Then come back midday and see if they have eaten all of it, or it some is left. If they ate ALL of it, add more. If some is left, come back in the evening and check again. Feed the same amount you did in the morning if that seems like it held them all day, or add more or less as needed. That way you find the exact amount your herd needs! Good luck!

    Oh and don't feel bad about the questions. I've asked a lot and learned a lot here myself and from searching the web, reading books, and from other veterinary students and instructors at school. Just keep asking, that's the best way to learn all this stuff! :thumb:
     
  7. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    see i feed 3 flakes (we call them laps here ;) ) per feeding for my 6 does.

    I have found that nomatter how much I provide for them, they eat it all!
     
  8. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    EXACTLY!! I did find that if I do just give the 3 flakes once a day they are screaming for more within a few hours, giving the 4th seems to make sure the smaller ones get what they need and they aren't screaming as soon as they hear me. The smaller/younger girls also seem to be the ones acting like vaccuum cleaners, they eat what the bigger pigs drop on the floor.
     
  9. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    Hehehe lil goatie vacuums. Sooo cute! :love: :ROFL:
     
  10. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    Adult wethers don't really need grain, IMO. I've only ever fed grain to goats that are: 1)pregnant, 2)lactating, or 3)less than 1 year old--for growth. It is your choice, of course...I just see it as an unneeded expense when they can be perfectly happy and healthy without it.

    My adult wether gets mainly grass hay and browse. He gets alfalfa 3-4 times a week in the winter for extra nutrition since browse is not available. He has minerals and baking soda available free choice.

    As far as urinary calculi goes--I think part of it is dietary and part of it is genetic. I have seen people feed their wethers the worst diet imaginable and they never had any problems and I have seen others did everything to prevent it still had goats with issues. A good diet can certainly help avoid UC in goats that are prone to develop it but it can't always prevent it.

    Personally, I don't use ammonium chloride. My belief is that it causes excess urea in the bloodstream that has to be filtered out by the kidneys. This is not usually an issue in younger goats with effeicient kidneys but could become a problem for older goats with naturally decreasing kidney functioning.
     
  11. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    Are you feeding purina goat chow? If yes keep the sheep out of it as it has copper in it. Sheep cant have copper.
    beth
     
  12. shanzone2001

    shanzone2001 New Member

    119
    Nov 8, 2009
    I am feeding the Purina grain in the brown bag. It is a wet cobb that is ok for both sheep and goats. Good point for you to have mentioned because sheep can't eat the same stuff as goats, but goats can eat the sheep feed. It can become confusing for pet sitters when we go out of town!!! I have a dry erase board in the feed barn with feeding instructions...I am a little over concerned when I leave my babies. :tears:
    About the grain, I can't help but give it to them because they LOVE it and it makes them so happy. I do need to cut back, though, after reading everyone's fabluous advice. My wethers are bottle babies and eat it out of our hands...I am totally smitten with them!
    :love: