New goat owner with ?'s about diet

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Shungoat, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Shungoat

    Shungoat Guest

    12
    Nov 19, 2009
    When we bought our weanling horse in August, we found ourselves being gifted with a half boer half pygmy ( :roll: ) goat to 'keep the pony company' lol. While we appreciate the gesture, and we think this goat is really awesome, we have found that he is now more spoiled than our very spoiled horse.

    This dang thing just will NOT eat grain OR hay. When our horse had to come off of alfalfa pellets, we tried giving him those. Nothing. Beet pulp with molassas? No way in heck. Dumor sweet goat feed? Oh no, I don't think so. He won't eat timothy, alfalfa, or coastal hay. The only thing we have seen him actualy eat is... onion grass :sigh:

    Each morning when we come to do barn chores we stake him out beside the barn to let him get whatever forage he will from the surrounding area. At first he would eat anything and everything: clover, weeds, lush grass, whatever was within reach. Now he just sits out there, eats the onion grass, and then cries until we go over to see him. He'll eat a handful of grain from our hands, but nothing more and he certainly won't eat it from a feed pan.

    What am I supposed to do to feed this goat? He seems otherwise healthy, clear eyes, good gum color, soft shiny coat. We worry about his health though if he won't eat grain, that seems like the best delivery method for required vitamins and minerals. :? :?
     
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    Welcome to TGS :wave:


    how old is this goat?


    Goats are not graisers but browsers so they like to eat anything that is up off the ground. Once he has trampled on teh ground he wont touch it.

    He sounds lonely -- I suggest getting him a buddy who already knows abotu eating hay and grain and he will quickly catch on. IF he was real young when you got him he may not have learned to be a goat
     

  3. Shungoat

    Shungoat Guest

    12
    Nov 19, 2009
    He's about 5 months old, Im racking my brain trying to remember the month he was born (he was born on this same farm) and that's what comes up.
    He is VERY lonely but Im hesitant to let him out with the rest of the goat herd because we've had a couple of the smaller and younger ones get caught in some of the new fencing and I'd rather not come see my goat strangled like that.
    We was taken from his mother late last month and brought up a pen beside the barn so that we could socialize him. The entire herd was fed grain and hay quite often and he certainly understands that he's supposed to eat it, but its almost like he'd rather not eat at all. Getting another goat is sadly out of the question, the horse has stretched our budget enough :sigh:
     
  4. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    you said you have a herd of goats? why not bring a goat up to be with him? or put him out there, goats need to be goats even when they are pets

    a depressed goat can get sick easily and that adds to the cost.
     
  5. Shungoat

    Shungoat Guest

    12
    Nov 19, 2009
    The owner of the barn has a herd of goats, and I hadnt wanted him out with them because we've had a string of goats being caught in some new fence that some new boarders put up for their horses. That and the two billy's down there are downright mean.
    I sometimes think about turning him out with our horse, but then I have to wonder if we'd ever get him back again! We've found it quite hard to catch a goat in a several acre pasture :greengrin:
    I suppose I can try it tonight and just hope that he comes back to us.
     
  6. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    he has been socialized and knows food comes from your hand -- you should be able to catch him again
     
  7. Shungoat

    Shungoat Guest

    12
    Nov 19, 2009
    So that just leaves me with figuring out how to get him to eat grain. If you were thinking maybe he doesnt understand the purpose of grain, do you suppose he could learn it from one of the ponies? Those other goats are really, really hard to catch and I'd hate to have to go after them and brave those billy goats.
    He seems to really adore my horse and has gotten loose to be with her before, so maybe she could teach him the joys of being a pig :roll:
     
  8. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    He might learn-- but grain isnt the huge issue as he doesn absolutely need grain its the hay/browse he should be eating.

    if you horse comes when called and he is attached to her -- then you will probably find him following her like a shadow
     
  9. Shungoat

    Shungoat Guest

    12
    Nov 19, 2009
    We will give it a try then, shes the one following us like a shadow, no matter where we go we can't shake her off!

    But he doesn't really eat the hay either is something we've found. We usualy give him the loose bits that have fallen in the hay room, but I see alot of mentions of goats being picky. Do you suppose he's not eating it simply because it's been laying around? Im not sure how he'd know that, anyways, it's still fresh and green hay.
     
  10. Shelly Borg

    Shelly Borg New Member

    361
    Nov 2, 2009
    Redding CA
    I would feed him with the pony. Goats like to do stuff with there "herd" even if his herd is a pony. is he fixed yet?
     
  11. Shungoat

    Shungoat Guest

    12
    Nov 19, 2009
    I wish that he was, honestly. We were going to do the banding method but it appears that he may have grown a bit too big for the banding process.. I've never done that, it's my girlfriend who is the one experienced in banding!
    I should think that it would be really easy for them to get infected by fixing them that way, would I be wrong?
     
  12. 3pygmymom

    3pygmymom New Member

    134
    Nov 16, 2009
    Lancaster, PA
    Try getting a cheap laundry basket from the dollar store and put the hay in that, i learned that tip on here :greengrin: . I would not recommend the banding that is VERY painful, it is like putting a rubber band on your finger tightly, waiting for it to fall off. As for the hay if its a billy, I wouldnt do the alfalfa, not good for the urinary tract .
     
  13. Shungoat

    Shungoat Guest

    12
    Nov 19, 2009
    The alfalfa was just an effort to get him to eat something, anything :) We had read that alfalfa wasn't good for billies. And I agree about the banding, it seems like it would be terribly painful.
    We turned him out this evening with the pony, attached to a lunge line of course because you can never trust a young animal. He went for her grain, got the evil eye, and promptly left town by scooting out under the gate.
    One of the bottom pastures has been escape proofed, so we'll put him out there tomorrow with the ponies. He did pretty well on the 'come when called' test so hopefuly we won't have to spend an hour looking for him :greengrin:
     
  14. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    yes if its been on the barn floor they know it -- very keen sense of smell!

    Goats do not eat just anything -- they want the best of the best!


    As to banding -- I choose this method and if done properly there is no issues. But for a 5 month old he might be a bit big BUT it depends on the size of the bander you have -- calves are done this way and they are much bigger then goats :wink:

    I am sorry but there is no painless way to wether a buck no matter the age.

    The benifit of banding is that with in a couple hours the area is numb and they go about as if nothing happened.
     
  15. Shelly Borg

    Shelly Borg New Member

    361
    Nov 2, 2009
    Redding CA
    We are getting ready to take 3 4 to 9 month old bucks to be banded by the vet. He has a bander that will work on a full grown bull!
     
  16. 3pygmymom

    3pygmymom New Member

    134
    Nov 16, 2009
    Lancaster, PA
    Ahhhhhhh I see about the banding, goes to show not to listen to everything you read in books! Thats why I love this place! Banding is the least expensive I think and was avoiding that method because of the bad rap it got in books that I read. My billy is 8 months and since I can't keep him from getting in with my doelings, he is getting wethered and I was not looking forward to the bill around the holidays!
     
  17. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    whenever banding an older buck make sure you have someone who is experienced do it and watch the band area just in case of infection at the band site. One way to keep infection away is to use alcohol on the band and at the site where the band will be before the procedure.
     
  18. 3pygmymom

    3pygmymom New Member

    134
    Nov 16, 2009
    Lancaster, PA
    I am going to have it done by the farm vet when he comes to trim hooves. I am afraid to trim the hooves myself and would just rather pay 45 dollars to have three goats trimmed than an injury because I have cut too close :( Yes, I am a little bit chicken lol.