Mixing your own feed / grain blend

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by ScottE, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. ScottE

    ScottE Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2019
    So I've gone a year without any grains at all and making my girls hustle for their food and so far it's working quite well. Well except for one goat who has gotten skinny :( we're already feeding her extra cause she gives us about a gallon and a half a day and is still nursing on top of that, we just can't keep pounds on her and she is the reason we are starting to research extra feed options.

    However, when I got these goats I wasn't focused on milk production, I mostly wanted cheap brush clearing and a little extra milk for the family and now that we're considering becoming a dairy spending a little more money on feed to ramp up production does make more sense for us now. Having said that I refuse to feed corn or soy, and I won't feed processed grains or by-products. the reasons why are beyond the scope of this post, let's just say that I've gotten pretty granola in my views on food.

    I finally found a decent supplier of whole grains for prices that I can afford to buy in bulk and am looking at mixing my own feed blend. I would love some feedback on nutrition and ratios from those that know more about this than I do.

    The primary ingredients that I'm looking at are:
    Whole Oats
    Feild/split pea
    Peanut (might do this instead of or half and half with the sunflower)
    Black oil sunflower
    alfalfa pellets (this is mostly there to slow them down a little and it's what we're using on the milking stand now)
    kelp (maybe not because whew that stuff is PRICEY)

    Outside of corn or soy are there any other ingredients that should be included? Again my girls (except for the one) have been maintaining weight on nothing but forage and a little hay so far and will of course still have access to that. Are any of these unnecessary?

    Also if I'm not crazy and this does sound like a decent mix, what ratios would any of you recommend? The bulk would be the barley, oats, and pea, with the flax and sunflower and or peanut just there to supplement fat.

    I would love feedback from any of you that have mixed your own grain blends or that know a little more about goat nutrition.

    Thanks all!
  2. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    PetLover and healthyishappy like this.

  3. ScottE

    ScottE Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2019
    Thanks that's super helpful I didn't know that about barley.

    I cant find split pea but I can get field pea, I wonder what the difference is?
  4. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    You can get split peas at a bulk food store.
  5. ScottE

    ScottE Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2019
    The feed stores near me sell processed feed or stuff that's $30 for a 50lb bag and up. The only decent grain supplier I can find sells stuff for $10-15 for 50lbs and they dont have split pea.
  6. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    I have fed field peas before.
  7. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    I actually don't use that particular recipe myself anymore. It is a good one for people new to mixing grains because they tend to need weaned off the idea that they need minerals in their food.

    The recipe I used this last year is:

    100 lbs whole oats
    50 lbs rolled barley
    50 lbs mixed field peas
    20 lbs boss
    Serve half and half with alfalfa pellets.

    Peanuts are reserved for after milking treats and I don't use flax.
    Dwarf Dad likes this.
  8. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    So no Calf Manna then...
    PetLover likes this.
  9. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    No, I can't get a response on eight the Calf Manna or the Animax on the amount of GMO products are in the feed.
    The mill I buy from guarantees their feeds and feed ingredients are GMO free.
  10. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I've never used it. I have used Beet Shreds for an underweight girl...
    healthyishappy likes this.
  11. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    The alfalfa pellets I am usually able to get come out of Canada and are GMO free. It is Summit brand. Can't always get them, but usually. I really like them. Good price and not dusty/crumbly.
    goathiker likes this.
  12. ScottE

    ScottE Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2019

    Why no flax and what are you thoughts on kelp?

    Also why no sunflower or peanut I thought the extra fat might be important?

    Lastly I've been reading it's about a pound of feed per 3-4 lbs of milk, what are your thoughts on that?
  13. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well first boss is black oil sunflower seeds.
    Second I do give peanuts daily as a treat, they also may or may not contain a copper bolus.
    I don't give flax because it does exactly the same as boss. No need to repeat.
    Nigerian dwarf goat likes this.
  14. ScottE

    ScottE Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2019

    I'm a dork on the boss my wife told me so no long after I posted the question :p
  15. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Kelp, $80 a bag, sea salt $14 a rock... That's my thought lol

    Goats don't over eat whole grain unless they're starving. Mine eat until I'm done milking, I release the headgate on the few I need it for, and they go to the chaff pen on their own when they're done.
    These are third generation now though. It was a little confusing at first.
    Iluvlilly! and mariarose like this.
  16. ScottE

    ScottE Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2019
    I appreciate the feedback, especially on the ratios your feeding, that was hugely helpful. After doing a little research I'm going to include the flax for the high ratio of omega-3's vs 6.

    I'd still love your thoughts on supplementing with kelp?
    mariarose likes this.
  17. ScottE

    ScottE Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2019
    Lol thanks! kelp around here is $100 for 50lbs :p The reason I'm asking is I've gotten recommended by four separate people at the county and state level to talk to a local goat farmer thats quite successful. She's got her own feed blend that includes kelp and talked up the benefits of kelp quite a bit. But if it's mostly a mineral supplement I'm struggling to see the value based on the cost.
  18. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    @ScottE You know how people love their superfood fads, like goji berries of recent years, and soy of years long past?

    Well, I view kelp as sort of like that. A superfood fad for goats.

    Kelp is a really good source of nutrition, There is nothing wrong with feeding it. People on islands who can't get minerals should definitely see if they can get seaweed.

    But it isn't magic. People have very successfully raised goat without it for millennia. If you live in a place where it is easy to get and reasonably priced, that's just fine to give it. If you don't, it is just fine to find other ways of supplying trace elements and amino acids.

    That's how I see it, anyway. People are free to disagree with me and if they give me compelling reasons to change my mind, I promise I'll do so.

    P.S. I prefer flaxseed to BOSS. So do my goats.
  19. singinggoatgirl

    singinggoatgirl Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2016
    the deep south
    I second kelp being a fad mineral supplement. Good for them? Yes! Necessary? No, if you’ve got other ways to supply the same minerals cheaper, there’s no need for the $80 kelp when you can get a sea salt rock for $14.
  20. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    To be fair, there are a few ways that kelp differs from a sea salt rock. It is higher in calcium that most sea salt is. It is higher in iodine than most sea salt is, because iodine is volatile and evaporates easily as the salt crystalizes. The minerals in kelp are already in an easily digestable form, thanks to the magic of plants. Finally, it has fiber/roughage value, because it is dried plants.

    All these things are easily worked around on the mainland areas, such as most of the U.S. These things make seaweed meal, kelp valuable for island goat owners where access to alfalfa, etc, may well be much more difficult.

    I hope this makes sense, to anyone.

    Big Box Stores often carry boxes of seaweed meal in their gardening areas, for people who'd like to try it without the big expense of ordering an entire bag. Just make certain it is only seaweed, not mixed with other fertilizing materials, such as crab or oyster shells. Save that for your chickens...

    If anyone wants to give it, That seems just fine. It's a good supplement. Most of us can find other ways, and that's just fine, too. My other way is to give multiple salt licks, most of them iodized, and including a Trophy Rock (which is a Redmond product)