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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a couple of lamancha does who are due soon. I will only milk once daily. I leave kids on mom during the day, separate kids at night, milk mom in the morning, then kids are back with mom until evening. Kids always have free access to hay 24/7. I will leave them with mom until she weans them. My question is, at what age should we start graining the kids? How much?
 

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I don't grain my dam-raised kids at all. Mine are always so fat already that I don't think it would be healthy to push even more calories at them. However, my goats also have access to 40 acres of very lush pasture and scrub brush, so it seems like a waste of money to buy grain when they really don't need it. If I have a kid whose mother weans him early (sometimes happens with the bucklings), or if I have a set of triplets and one isn't thriving as well, I'll feed grain to those. My goats are Alpine and Alpine/Nubian crosses.
 

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With my ND's I've been putting mom outside and then giving them access to grain for 5-10 minutes then picking it up. and then I put them out and I just do the reverse when I bring everyone in for the evening. They're still nursing since they're only 9 weeks old. It seems to be working pretty well and I can keep an eye on them so they all get to eat. No one is getting over weight.

Edit: I must add I have no way to creep feed at this time due to storm damage. Last week straight line winds at 96mph destroyed my newly repaired barn.
 

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We raise Lamanchas, Nigerian Dwarfs, Mini Lamanchas and a Nubian scattered in here and there.

I prefer to raise the Nubians and Lamanchas on free choice feed. If the kids are raised this way, they will not overeat. As they grow older you can start limiting it as needed. The Nigerians get too heavy to do this so I have to be more careful. At about 10 days I start putting pellets down for the kids. They will play with it but don't eat it. By a few weeks old they are nibbling the pellets. I have also found that getting chopped hay can help encourage kids to eat.
Since the kids are separated at night I'd start putting pellets down in their stall at night and see how much they are eating. If they are gobbling it down limit it, if not they should be okay.
 

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I should note, a lot of our land has been damaged with tremendous about rainfall. When we had plenty of forage our kids needed very little feed. Now kids are raised more in a "dry lot" and rely on hay, minerals, and feed (and milk when young).
 

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Creep feeder for me as well. Same as salteylove I start them at 2-3 weeks, at that time they are more nibbling then anything but are starting fairly well by 4 weeks. As goat whisperer mentioned this is a natural way for them to increase their intake on their own and they won’t over eat. This is easiest for me so I don’t have to worry about one getting more then their fair share and over eating or anyone getting pushed away. It is always full and always ready for anyone to eat. Kids grow fast, I have boers but the year that I started to creep feed I noticed a huge difference in how less engorged their dams were at weaning time, meaning they are not nursing as much. For me that’s awesome because I don’t enjoy milking, for dairy I would imagine it would still be as awesome because because that should mean more milk for you lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies! We have pretty much a dry lot. Last year, I didn't grain the kids, but I felt that their growth was a little slow. I still think they're smaller for their ages (not really thinner) just smaller. I'll try offering free choice grain at night for this year's kids and see if I notice a difference. While, we're on the subject of graining, I'm curious to know how much grain you dairy folks are giving your does during milking. I give my doe 1 pound at the milk stand, but it's not always enough to get me through the milking before she gets wiggly, so sometimes I have to offer more. She is grained 2x daily I know there's a fine line between too much grain and the right amount. I should also add, that the past few summers have been so wet that the protein level in our hay has dropped to 11%, so for us, graining is a must to keep on weight.
 

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Thanks for all the replies! We have pretty much a dry lot. Last year, I didn't grain the kids, but I felt that their growth was a little slow. I still think they're smaller for their ages (not really thinner) just smaller. I'll try offering free choice grain at night for this year's kids and see if I notice a difference. While, we're on the subject of graining, I'm curious to know how much grain you dairy folks are giving your does during milking. I give my doe 1 pound at the milk stand, but it's not always enough to get me through the milking before she gets wiggly, so sometimes I have to offer more. She is grained 2x daily I know there's a fine line between too much grain and the right amount. I should also add, that the past few summers have been so wet that the protein level in our hay has dropped to 11%, so for us, graining is a must to keep on weight.
Put some large rocks or some hay in her feed bowl while on the stand. @Trollmor calls this a "goat crossword" and make her have to dig around, in turn eating her grain slower. Make sure the rocks are too large to eat and small enough to move around with her nose.
 

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Or hay/grass/leaves. Unlikely to cause damage if eaten. But you got the point, Dwarf Dad, the trick is to make her busy and concentrated, not able to just dig in like an excavator!
 
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