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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
And dry ones, pregnant ones, and growing kids.I would just like to know what's the best kind of grain to feed, how much, do you grow it yourself, etc.
We've just been looking into getting organic feed, and the prices are just shocking! I don't think we'll be a able to afford it, so I'm trying to find out how little we can buy, what we can grow ourselves, and what's the healthiest for the goats. We'd like to not feed any corn or T least non-GMO if possible.
So whats's your advice? We've basically always fed grain by the instructions on the bag, or in the books, but it seems everyone has a different way of feeding. I think maybe we could stand to feed less grain to our milking does, but I could use some advice.
 

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I raise meat goats, and I don't normally feed any grain except to the weaning kids. Replacement does get around 1 lb of pelleted meat goat grower for 45 days following weaning, bucklings/wethers get the same until I ship them. If I have a lot of does raising triplets, I will sometimes give those girls a pound or so of grain/pellets if they start losing a lot of condition. I never feed corn. Dry does, pet wethers, and bucks don't need any grain - just good quality hay. Short-bred does don't need grain until about 3 months into pregnancy, then their nutritional plane needs to be stepped up if feeding grass hay. If you are feeding alfalfa or grass/alfalfa and it's good quality, they should be ok with no grain, too. Of course, a good loose mineral is always required.

Do you know the quality of your hay? I would ask your supplier if he tests his hay and get a copy of the results. That way you know what your hay is supplying and can make an informed decision on whether you need to feed grain or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've been wanting to get our hay checked; we probably will soon, but we're thinking of putting them on a rotational grazing system, so then they would be eating our grass on our property. I think it's Bermuda? Is that a good grass for them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I cannot help you with that one, sorry. I have absolutely no experience or knowledge about Bermuda grass. I found this article about Bermuda grasses. The relevant points are crude protein and digestibility - page 4. The higher the digestibility, the better the grass. I hope it helps. :)

http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/flpmsot7578.pdf
Thank you. I didn't look at it in depth yet, but it looks very informative. I found out that our grass is actually Jiggs, a type of Bermuda. I'm going to look and see if I can find anything on that.
 

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I do things a little differently than normal. None of my milkers get grain. They get very high quality alfalfa pellets on the stand -- usually as much as they will eat (as long as they aren't fat, haha!) which is 2 cups for my little doe, 4 cups for my larger doe, and 6 cups for my Lamancha. They also get a high quality grass hay, which has been the biggest factor production-wise for me.

I did not notice a difference in production when I changed my Nigerians to this diet last year. The Lamancha produced a tad less, but we actually WANTED that, as she was producing a gallon and a half day as a FF and needed to slow down and gain some weight. Now she's just producting a gallon. :laugh:

My kids and bucks only get alfalfa pellets too. My 6 mo. old bucklings share a cup a day (to make sure their ratio stays correct, as grass hay can sometimes be a little high in phosphorus), and my kids nibble from their momma's alfalfa bowls.

I don't have anything against grain, but I like the simplicity of knowing exactly what they're eating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cool 3havens! What a cost saver! We've been seriously considering going organic, like I said at first, but waaay too expensive! We may do what you do, sounds like it would work great! Our goats give too much as well, they're from champion bloodline s, I think, and our two 5 year old alpines are giving around 2gallons a day. We're trying to switch to milking once a day, so as to get less, but maybe with this way of feeding, we could milk twice and get the right amount. :)
 

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I never thought I would say one of my goats was making too much milk. I adore the milk. But her udder would actually seep milk in the morning, the poor baby! Now she doesn't, gladly.

We prefer once a day milking as well. We actually keep any kids that don't sell with their moms as long as they are here. They take care of the evening milking, and we get the morning milking. That way we also don't have to wean, which I absolutely hate doing (unless we have bucklings that are staying intact). I like the security the little ones have getting to stay and grow up with their moms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We prefer once a day milking as well. We actually keep any kids that don't sell with their moms as long as they are here. They take care of the evening milking, and we get the morning milking. That way we also don't have to wean, which I absolutely hate doing (unless we have bucklings that are staying intact). I like the security the little ones have getting to stay and grow up with their moms.
That's basically what we did this year. I absolutely HATE weaning as well. We've tried taking them off as soon as they are born, or after a week or a month, it's all bad. Our doelings are about two and a half months old, and we just moved them to a pen right by their mamas, so they will be weaned without being stressed. They can see their mamas all the time, so I think it works out pretty well.
 

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This has been a great thread! I haven't really been wanting to put my girls on grain because I've been scared that it would upset their tummies and make them ill. Right now they have free choice alfalfa, minerals, and baking soda and browse.

I think they seem thin (dairy goats), so I may switch them to pellets to see if I can encourage them to each more. Does does 6 cups seem right for a non-milking Nubian?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think they seem thin (dairy goats), so I may switch them to pellets to see if I can encourage them to each more. Does does 6 cups seem right for a non-milking Nubian?
Well, i think Nubians are a bit bigger, but for most dairy goats, I've heard 1 pound of grain a day for non-lactating does is enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Does any one know how much alfalfa would be too much for an alpine in milk? I'm afraid if I give it too them free choice without grain, they'll eat themselves sick. They really love their pellets.
 
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