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I have 5 Nigerian Dwarfs, about 3 or 4 months old.
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I'm trying to figure out the right way to feed them.

There are 4 whethered males, 1 not. I'm presently feeding pellet and they graze all day long, with minerals at their leisure. Should I be leaving a feed down all day? Or just bring it out to them? What about hay? What kind? How much? All year?

Thanks!
 

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I leave hay out all year. We feed an alfalfa grass mix. Something with his nutritional value but yet, thin enough stalks.
 

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I feed my boys twice a day (morning and evening). They get about a cup and a half each at each feeding. Mine are between 6 and 7 months old (and are a large breed - Saanen and LaMancha) I've just started putting hay out because they had plenty of browse, and we'd had lots of rain up until the last couple of weeks. Whether you keep hay out year around would probably depend on how much browse they have in the spring/summer, but certainly keep it out for them during the fall, winter and early spring. Always keep a good loose mineral out free choice too. Good luck with your guys!
 

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Do your goats not have any type of shelter? Do not feed grain or any type of feed all day. Just a little once a day is fine. I would pick a time and then feed them about the same time every day. I would feed in their shelter so they know the shelter is a good place and you can easily get them if needed.
 

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You are going to get many different answers to your questions, because one size does not fit all and everyone tends to do it differently for their own reasons. :laugh: I do not feed anything except minerals and water free choice. I feed once a day in the evening because that works best for me during the spring and summer months. I also do not feed grain/pellets to anything except the weaning kids as a general rule. We raise our own hay and I will feed 2 lbs of alfalfa pellets in lieu of hay if we are running short. I also have some dairy girls in my herd, and I will separate them and feed 1/2 - 1 lb of pellets if they are having trouble raising triplets. As far as hay is concerned, I like a good grass/alfalfa mix because it balances itself out when it comes to uc, it provides good nutrition, and it helps keep them warm during the winter months. I do not feed straight alfalfa to anything except lactating does and wethers/bucklings I'm feeding out for slaughter. If your pasture is holding up well during the summer and early fall I'm not sure I would feed hay at all, but I cannot say that definitely because I have no experience with goats and pasture. They will need hay during the winter, though. Be careful with the pasture in the spring, though. The new, lush spring grass can cause bloat and founder due to the sugars in it. Load them up with hay prior to turning them out, and limit how long they are out on it until they become acclimated to it or it has a chance to grow and mature. I hope this helps.
 

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CD bacteria accumulate on lush, wet spring grasses.
Vaccinating for CD/T right before kidding and even again right before turning out in the spring if you live in a wet area is a good idea.
We feed out hay first thing in the morning, wait until the does stop to chew their cud, then separate them and feed the ones in milk and the ones still growing grain.
They get kelp, minerals and water free choice and we turn them out after grain to browse.
Our bucks only get grain once they've started being weaned up to maturity and while breeding.
Excess calcium in the diet can cause urinary calculi for bucks, so avoid high protein feed mixes, alfalfa and beet pulp.
Interestingly enough, alfalfa has a compound that reduces appetite. :p
When they come in at night, they clean up the rest of the hay. :)

Edit: Avoid EXCESS alfalfa and beet pulp!
 

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Goat Crazy's method for preventing bloat and founder on lush grass works for CD bacteria too.
Eating small amounts and building up in increments allows the goat to become used to toxins produced and in practice vaccinate itself.
If you do find a goat in lush, wet grasses, treating for CD toxin with an antitoxin should be considered alongside bloat treatments.
It's cheap and easy to administer and could save your goats. :p
 
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