The Goat Spot Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got two six month old wethers, they each get about 1.5 cups of grain (half Purina Goat Chow, half COB) twice a day, for a total of three cups each per day, plus alfalfa and browse...

I'm obviously no expert, but I think the alfalfa that I have is pretty good, but the boys will still eat only the leafy part, and leave the stemmy part . This seems a bit wasteful, is it normal?

At this rate, I think I'm going through a bale a week. I'd like to buy the best alfalfa now, while I can, to store for the winter. Thats 40 bales for 10 months, again, does this sound right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
There are a few posts I read a while ago that address this. Some even have books on the subject.

If I am understanding what I have read, you may be feeding them too "hot" with the grain. It may be why they don't finish the alfalfa since I think some would say the alfalfa diet without the grain may be a bit hot. I know this is a quiz and the pros will score me on it. ;-)

I have not been able to use the diet recommendations yet since mine are still primarily on browse of stuff that isn't listed in the diets. I put out Timothy hay so they can get it whenever they want, and I am still working on a ten pound bale after a month. I probably still have four pounds left. I occassionally give them a handful of the goat pellets, but mostly as a treat, and two of them don't care for them. I had the molasses mineral mix for free access, but I think one of them was eating it like a meal, so I close it up and offer it from time to time.

I don't know if Box Elder, Apple, Cherry, and Chinese Elm leaves are hot or not, but they basically have free range on them. I try to keep the number of apples they eat to two or three each per day.

They get a veritable smorgasbord of stuff when we hike on the weekend.

Someone should be by who actually knows what they are talking about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I don't feed nearly that much grain! but.. i'm very skeptical because we've lost goats to overeating on grain.

I would agree with that their getting a far too "hot" diet.

I would say cut the grain back and see if they eat the hay better.

My packer in training is in with my doe kids for the show strings... each gets about 3 ounces of grain, a half pound of alfalfa oat pellets, and, between the 5 kids, roughly 8 pounds of alfalfa. they don't get browse because i board. but they clean up and thrive on it..

so if the hay is getting expensive, maybe get some pellets and supplement with half pellets and half hay.. i know here in socal a bale of good hay is about 16 and a bag of good pellets is 9 and i use about one of each a week for 15 head
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
peak said:
I've got two six month old wethers, they each get about 1.5 cups of grain (half Purina Goat Chow, half COB) twice a day, for a total of three cups each per day, plus alfalfa and browse...

I'm obviously no expert, but I think the alfalfa that I have is pretty good, but the boys will still eat only the leafy part, and leave the stemmy part . This seems a bit wasteful, is it normal?

At this rate, I think I'm going through a bale a week. I'd like to buy the best alfalfa now, while I can, to store for the winter. Thats 40 bales for 10 months, again, does this sound right?
Hi Jeff, I don't really see a problem with your feeding regimen. Leaving the stems is normal for goats who, like us, like to eat the good parts and leave the rest. You may try cutting back on the amount of hay to force them to eat more of the stems before you add any more hay. First cutting alfalfa is the worst for big heavy stems. Each cutting after that (2nd, 3rd and 4th cuttings etc.) have smaller and smaller stems and as a result more of it is consumed by the goat. Many times the later cuttings cost more because they are better quality. If the stems are very heavy and course I pull them out and toss them in for bedding. If the stems are small like in the later cuttings I leave them in the feeder until they clean them up before putting any more hay in. They will eat them when they are hungry.

If they are eating a bale a week, 40 bales should be right on the money for 10 months. Keep in mind that they will be quite a bit bigger 10 months down the road so a few extra bales wouldn't hurt.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
595 Posts
If you do a search for wether nutrition here you'll probably find a bunch of stuff that I have posted.

That's an awful lot of grain and combined with the alfalfa is just too much protein. I'd cut both by halves for starters.

Also, like Rex said, all alfalfa is not created equal, so I'd be using the lowest quality you can find, since they mostly just pick out the good leaves anyway and won't eat the stems.

Optimum diet is for browse that they go get for themselves. Everything else needs to be managed by the feeder. If you have a source of browse all you need supplement is the minerals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
That's a great idea. They have eaten all my trees to the browse line, so rather than chop down branches I should be building scaffolding ;-)

I made the mistake of getting the molasses mix for minerals. Curley would eat it all day if I left it out. I need to try something else for the long term.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Hi Peak.
Goats are very skillful at convincing you they are underfed and still hungry. Especially if you reward that behavior with food. They hold meetings while you are away, where they agree to refuse to eat alfalfa stems, to convince you the stems are inedible. They will do hunger strikes, knowing that if they ever eat the stems, they've lost the debate. They will gang up on your better judgement. They are ruthless.

My four goats are 2-1/2 years old. I'm no more expert than you are. But I can say that your feeding style (much grain and 3rd-cut alfalfa) seems somewhat on track to where I was the past two years. Except that when I would linger around the barn at feeding time I also made the mistake of letting my goats persuade me to feed them more than minimum daily requirements on many occasions.

You are asking the right questions at the right time. Today, two years ahead of you, I'm faced with having overweight goats that must lose weight. (See the related thread this week "Diet Plan for Wethers", in the Feeding section.) Now I'm thinking it sure would have been easier "tough love" then to not feed them so much, than the tough love now to deny them feed. Carolyn's advice to me this week was that it's easier to kill a goat by overeating than by underfeeding.

-Lee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
Goats are very skillful at convincing you they are underfed and still hungry. Especially if you reward that behavior with food. They hold meetings while you are away, where they agree to refuse to eat alfalfa stems, to convince you the stems are inedible. They will do hunger strikes, knowing that if they ever eat the stems, they've lost the debate. They will gang up on your better judgment. They are ruthless.
That is so funny. But true. I usually feed the boys twice a day. But if they see me in between times they do their best to convince me they are starving. I know better, but I pretend they're actually greeting me and end up giving them a peanut or something. Heck, even if they were eying me as food it's kinda nice to have them pretend to like you.

If that behavior could be transferred to teenagers someone would get rich.

When I first got the bigger boys, Mikey got into some card board, so I took it away from him and gave him something else to eat. Now if he can get a hold of a piece somewhere he will stand with his front legs on the horse fence with the cardboard in his mouth looking for me to give him something else to eat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
Quote Bob Jones: Mikey got into some card board, so I took it away from him and gave him something else to eat. Now if he can get a hold of a piece somewhere he will stand with his front legs on the horse fence with the cardboard in his mouth looking for me to give him something else to eat.
There's a eureka moment of training insight in that statement..... we just need to figure out what it is. ;)
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top