Nigerian Dwarf goat feeding questions - please help

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by q2quest, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. q2quest

    q2quest New Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    I have 2 pet Nigerian Dwarf goat brothers that are neutered. They are not quite one year old yet. I've been getting alot of conflicting information regarding their feeding and I was hoping to get some help. I had been feeding them grain and alfalfa during the summer when the grass was dead but now I would like them to graze in my field. I have cut back on the Alfalfa and am only giving them a small amount of grain but they just won't eat the grass. Should I start feeding the Alfalfa again? I feel bad for them and want them to be happy but I also would love it if they would mow down some of the grass in my field.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    If you want a lawn mower, you need to buy a sheep. Goats eat brush, not plain grass. :p

  3. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    Alfalfa is not good to be giving to wethers - it can cause urinary calculi, which can lead to death. Wethers need a high quality grass mix hay, maybe a little grain, but at about a year, they do not need grain anymore.

    Our goats would pick alfalfa over their pasture too! Let's see. I would stop the alfalfa and just give them a good quality grass hay in the am, let them out for grazing, (they should at least pick at the grass). Goats are very picky about eating close to the ground, so if the grass is short, they will more than likely not eat much of it. Then give them some more hay at night. The hay in the morning is a good idea as a "buffer" for their tummies so as not to upset them with rich grass.

    As you can see in the photo in my signature, our goats love eating mixed grasses in their pasture.

    Maybe try planting some different types of grasses? Timothy, orchard blend with some clover? The more variety to a goat's diet, the better. Like Sterling Acres said, goats prefer brush.
  4. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    I was totally joking by the way. I wasn't trying to be a smarta**.

    You should grab "Storey's Guide To Raising Dairy Goats". Although you have males, it has some very helpful basic care information inside. Alfalfa contains more calcium than their bodies can use and can lead to kidney stones.
  5. q2quest

    q2quest New Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    Thanks for the information capriola-nd. I appreciate it.
  6. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    Just a slightly different take - alfalfa is a fantastic choice for all goats, sexes and ages considered. However, it does contain quite a bit of calcium. You can help combat that in a number of ways. 1.) choose a grain or loose mineral mix that contains ammonium chloride. or 2.) choose a grain or mineral high in phosphorus. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, often referred to as BOSS, are high in phosphorus and are a good choice. Goats get fat on them fast though! So, mix it in your grain with a ratio somewhere between 1:6 and 1:8 grain to BOSS.

    Whethers, after a year old, do not need grain. But, it's good for them just the same. Especially a well formatted grain. Again, look at calcium and phosphorus. you want a 2:1 ratio. The grain will provide valuable protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals.

    As for getting them to eat the grass - as mentioned, they are not usually mowers. You could try removing the hay completely (or replacing it with grass hay, which they like less), but you might end up with a couple of starved goats. Adding more types of grass to the area is a really good idea.

    As mentioned, the Store's Guide would be a really useful book! Just read it critically because some of the information is out of date and has since been proven wrong.
  7. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    As Capriola said, any goat will pick alfalfa over pasture :greengrin:

    With wethers, urinary calculi can be an issue so the feeding of grains needs to be very minimal.... 1/2 cup each am and pm would be plenty for growing babies til they are a year old and then it can be cut by half. A good mixed grass or timothy hay would be better for your boys too...alfalfa is too rich in calcium and may cause the UC. Providing a loose mineral with added ammonium chloride can help ensure the urinary tract stays healthy that I use is from Manna Pro, it comes in an 8lb bag and costs around $9.

    As far as them not eating your have them spoiled, mine won't venture out to their pasture at all if I have hay in their racks. Goats will generally eat "high" or browse as sterling acres said, they are more apt to go for low tree limbs or brambles than they are to graze as cattle , horse or sheep do. Mine will eat the grass in my yard.....they just don't "graze" at it, they pick here n there for certain plants...dandelions, clover and plantain are favorites.

    If you put a half leaf of hay out in the am, they'll be hungry enough to want to try the grass in the yard or drive you nuts screaming for more hay.....and always, be sure to provide good clean water at all times, the more your boys drink the more they'll dilute their urine, also helping to keep the stones away.