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I'm looking for tactics to maximize my kids' size. Not sure if nutrition beyond meeting their basic needs makes a difference.

What kind of impact does leaving them intact for 5-6 months make, vs banding a few days old?
 

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joecool911 said:
What kind of impact does leaving them intact for 5-6 months make, vs banding a few days old?
although maybe not so much on size but surely on minimizing risk for urinary calculi - can't be said often enough.

You don't pack size, you pack attitude. The biggest goat with a crappy work ethic isn't worth anything to you.

They need to have a back long enough to carry a saddle without it sitting on the lumbar vertrabraes and a rib cage wide enough that the saddle will fit althoug that you can solve with the adjustable custom fit saddle from Northwest.

And then they need to have the will and stamina to work with you.
 

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Since how much a goat can carry is a function of the goat's weight and condition, I can see why wanting bigger, stronger, goats would be desirable. So going back to the original question, how can one get optimum growth out of a kid? If there is a danger to "over growing" them, then how can that be avoided?

Not being an expert in packgoats, or anything else, it would seem to me that raising packgoats is a lot like raising athletes. The right nutrition plus the right kind of exercise and training would make a bigger, stronger, tougher, more skilful packgoat or athlete. Not having enough of the right things to eat as a kid has got to have a negative effect on the goat as an adult. So, assuming the goats have a good attitude, let's hear some advice on how to make them grow up big and strong.
 

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OK,

there's the late weaning, for one thing. No matter if I have the kids on their mother or bottle raise them, they are getting access to milk until they are about 6 months old. When bottle raising, no skipping meals/cutting down on the milk for money or to spare the effort (I've placed my schedule on this forum somewhere).

feeding grain is something I do or don't - depending on the goat. If it has more boer blood I might skip the grain or give less than for a kid that is purely dairy bred.

it it's a tripling birth, I bottle feed or give grain to at least one of the triplets as soon as I notice that one start's to keep behind in growth

regular worming

enough hay during the winter, access to minerals

castration not before age of 6 months. Although a castration much later doesn't do anything good in terms of growth/muscle development as I'm learning now. I see how my late castrated (18 months) last bunch of bucklings is developing now they are turning 3 and there's no difference in size, muscle or bone to the ones that have been castrated with 6-9 months

and at last: waiting until they are grown at age 3 or 4 years. If you don't have goats from proven packing lines sometimes it will take that long to see if there's enough size for packing. In some cases it can even take 5 years.
 

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I like you JRoss am not an expert but I did end up with 2 Oberhasli goats that are tall and heavy for the breed. One was 216 lbs and one at 204 at the last rendy goat weight in. My boys have genetics that came directly from Oberhali Swisserland. The imported semen came from a 42" tall buck. That is the genetic story.
The breeder had been perfecting her heard for 18 years when I met her. The herd was CL and CAE negative with no history of UC. These boys were picked out as packgoats specifically for their physical and personal attributes at a very young age by an experienced breeder. She was careful to guide me in her feeding program and I studied the book "Diet for Wethers" by Carolyn Eddie. My boys went to 2 bottles a day at 1 month. Many of the bottle receipes are on this forum. I added a bit of goat yogurt to the bottle. They weaned themselves at 3 months. They had free choice grain and alpha hay until around 6 months. Then they went to a morning meal of alpha hay and evening meal of a grass hay mix with grain in the morning. Sunflower and Flax seed were added to the grain. At one year I eliminated the alpha hay and kept the alpha mixed hay with the grain. At 2 years I eliminated any alpha and most of the grain and they have remained on this, now age 4.
They were neuter at 5 months. My breeder was a big advocate for "chelated mineral". This is very hard to find in the west so I had grain with chelated minerals shipped from the Blue Seal company in the east. It was called "Caprine Challenger". In addition I use kelp meal mix 50/50 with Hoggers Golden Blend minerals. We have selenium deficent hay here and the Golden Blend covered that.
I have never wormed my boys and they are examined anully and given shots by my goat savy vet. They have been hiking since they were 6 weeks old and live a relatively low stress life style. Goat size is genetics and environment combined.
 

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All good information from everyone. After years of raising packers my own opinion is that it is a combination of genetics, parasite control and the right feed. I've seen great goats stunted by feeding low quality feed or by untreated parasite infestations. I've also seen front legs bow after trying to feed too much protein in an attempt to maximize the growth of promising young packers. It is a balance that you have to work out on a goat by goat basis. If you search the forum you'll find a lot of info on feeding programs that can help you get on the right track.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Agreeing with the posters. Genetics first. We raise our kids on milk a min. of 3 months but more often then not to 4 months. By that time they have weaned themselves for the most part. Dont do grain as there is no need to. If you keep dairy quality alfalfa (20-24% protein) in front of them, then they will grow at a good steady pace. Any working goat should not be feed grass hay IMO. After 20 years of raising dairy goats on nothing but the highest quality alfalfa, we have always had big, stronge powerful does. We did a test one time and fed a good quality grass hay to our girls for a week. Their milk production was less then half their normal amount which breaks down to less milk for growing babies.
 

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sanhestar said:
OK,
......

feeding grain is something I do or don't - depending on the goat. If it has more boer blood I might skip the grain or give less than for a kid that is purely dairy bred.

........
Just curious...why wouldn't you grain or less grain if kids have more boer blood?
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Boars are meat goats and will get fat on to much grain.... or possibly any grain :) Am not a boar goat person but makes sense.

Rex has it closest IMO. Choose from big correct confirmation bloodlines, feed quality hay and keep ahead of the parasites. Top it off with free mineral salt and routine trail walks. This is all you need to have a good healthy pack goat. (And yes, speaking in basics. I know everyone has a dozen more things to add, but this is the core of it).
 

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Dave said:
Boars are meat goats and will get fat on to much grain.... or possibly any grain :) Am not a boar goat person but makes sense.
Even when they are still kids and are growing? i am asking because I have two 4 month old wethers and I like to train them for packing. I am also concerned with UC. I want them to grow properly with enough calcium but I don't want to risk them getting UC. At some point I will stop...just can't decide when. It seems if you ask 10 people you get 10 different answers. I do watch to make sure they don't get fat.
 

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We always feed grain and high quality alfalfa to our growing goats. Alfalfa is high in calcium and grain is high in phosphorous. Both are needed to build muscle and bone. I have seen many young goats that never reached their potiential because of a poor dietary balance. The amounts recommended by nutritionists in Carolyn's book "Diet for Wethers" is a ratio of 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorous. You can't get that from hay alone. You have to add grain for the phosphorous portion. Once our boys start slowing their growth at around 3.5 yrs we move them slowly onto a grass hay and pasture diet to finish out the last of their growth. No alfalfa or grain is fed to them after 4 yrs old beyond an occasional handful as a treat. They don't have a need for high protien diet when they stop growing and do much better on roughage. Hay and browse.
 

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Thanks Rex,
I give them alfalfa hay/pellets free choice and about 2+ cups of grains a day. They also get to browse on our property all day if they want. They seem to be doing well and are growing at about .4 lb/day rate. I didn't realize it takes them 3+years to mature. I will reconsider and will keep them on grains longer.
Eliza
 

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Rex said:
We always feed grain and high quality alfalfa to our growing goats. Alfalfa is high in calcium and grain is high in phosphorous. Both are needed to build muscle and bone. I have seen many young goats that never reached their potiential because of a poor dietary balance. The amounts recommended by nutritionists in Carolyn's book "Diet for Wethers" is a ratio of 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorous. You can't get that from hay alone. You have to add grain for the phosphorous portion. Once our boys start slowing their growth at around 3.5 yrs we move them slowly onto a grass hay and pasture diet to finish out the last of their growth. No alfalfa or grain is fed to them after 4 yrs old beyond an occasional handful as a treat. They don't have a need for high protien diet when they stop growing and do much better on roughage. Hay and browse.
+1
I have been raising wethers as packgoats for 6 years and out of all of the suggestions, I like Rex's feeding program the best. I have never had an issue with UC (think heavens) and have received lots of compliments over the years on how my packers look, even from John Mionczynski, who we went out with a month ago.
 
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