The Goat Spot Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't find a straightforward answer to goat feeding! We have a 10 month old Pygmy, an 8 month old mini Nubian & an 18 month old Boer/Nigie cross (all does). What, exactly, are we supposed to feed them? We've been feeding them alfalfa, with a grain mix for treats. We recently brought in a buck to breed with the Pygmy & Boer/Nigie cross. What do we start feeding them after they are pregnant? I even got a goat book & it's not specific on feeding! & every search I do online gives conflicting information! I'm so confused! Help! Thank you!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,546 Posts
Alfalfa is good. I feed it to all of my goats year round and they do very well on it. Your pregnant does may not even need to be grained. But you can check out your feed store and see what they have. I've found that keeping high quality hay and minerals available is sometimes plenty to keep them perfectly healthy. Keeping up on their selenium and copper will help to. Some breeders grain, some don't. What works for my herd, may not work for yours, but you can always try something and see how they do on it and if it's not working then change your feeding program as needed.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
14,615 Posts
Well put Kylee, alfalfa & loose minerals with plenty copper!
My girls don't get any grain unless they are growing, then none till very shortly before kidding, then throughout lactation as well as alfalfa 24/7.
Mine are Boers. Dairy & pets is going to be somewhat different.
Your milkers are going to need grain.
But the rule of thumb is you feed the rumen, not the goat. It's better for them to have too little grain than too much on your non producing animals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you! I keep hearing about minerals, but not specifics on purchasing. Do they sell this as "goat minerals". Or do I buy copper & selenium separately? & just leave it out free choice? Thanks for the help, we're new to goats, but absolutely adore them! Except the buck we're "borrowing" from a friend. He is so stinky & gross! Ew! He was in the pen for less than 2 minutes & peed on me through the fence!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,546 Posts
I am now using Cargill Onyx cattle mineral...really a good mineral, mine are doing great on that. I sometimes mix it with Sweetlix meat maker goat mineral. The only mineral I dislike and won't use is Purina goat minerals...half of that is salt and i've found that much to be unnecessary and my goats disliked it as well. If that's all you can get though...it's better than nothing.

For selenium...there is a paste you can buy, but I prefer to use BoSe which you have to get from a vet. Given via injection.

Copper you can get bolus from jefferslivestock.com is where I get mine.

Make sure to follow dosing instructions carefully for both selenium and copper because you can overdose a goat on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
Alfalfa is good. I feed it to all of my goats year round and they do very well on it. Your pregnant does may not even need to be grained. But you can check out your feed store and see what they have. I've found that keeping high quality hay and minerals available is sometimes plenty to keep them perfectly healthy. Keeping up on their selenium and copper will help to. Some breeders grain, some don't. What works for my herd, may not work for yours, but you can always try something and see how they do on it and if it's not working then change your feeding program as needed.
I have heard that it is not good to feed alfalfa straight, to bucks, or year round. Is that true? Did you ever encounter any problems?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,546 Posts
Some people say that you have a higher chance of UC in bucks by feeding alfalfa. I personally have not experienced any issues ever with it and I take no UC preventative measures either. My bucks, does, and kids are fed alfalfa year round and they do very well on it. I do worry about bloat though and keep baking soda out and try and keep bloat blocks available as well. We've had three cases of bloat through the years, but considering I have over a hundred goats, I don't find that to be too unusual...even if I hadn't been feeding alfalfa.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,606 Posts
Kw is right its a total hit or miss on what would and would not work for your goats. Its a learn as you go. She has given you a good ground to start with. Just keep a eye on your goats and slowly change things if you notice they are not getting enough feed or are getting fat and on and on. I have a friend who has never had to copper bolus her goats ever and they look great. Mine I have to do every few months. Watch for fish tails rough coats and change as needed. You could ask a few people in your area how they feed and that will give you a idea of what to do. But like stated above different breeds also need different things like the milk breed. Another thing is just keep reading these posts on here. I have learned a lot about feeds and minerals extra just by reading and have come up with what works for mine.
 

·
Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
Joined
·
4,956 Posts
Working goats (milking / bred) do best on a good quality alfalfa. Typically 18% protein or better. But over 24% protein and you can get into some bloat issues if the alfalfa has a lot of leaf and little stem. Personally I like first cutting the best as you get the most nutrients with a first and the stems tend to be bigger. Stems are where most of your fiber is at. The higher fiber the longer it takes for it to pass through the digestive track and the more nutrients will be pulled from it.

Bucks can also have the same alfalfa. During the rut, they tend to lose a lot of weight and need the extra. Then after the breeding season, its good so they can get back into good conditioning. UC is much less likely in bucks then wethers. But it wouldnt hurt to put some Ammonia Chloride into their mineral mix.

Wethers can have alfalfa but again, you will wanna add Ammonia Chloride to their mineral mix and maybe do a treatment or two on them every year just to be safe. Ideally a good alfalfa/grass mix would be best for wethers OR even a great quality grass hay. Wethers are not working animals so dont typically need the extra that alfalfa gives.

Loose mineral is always best over blocks or pans. Picking one with a higher selenium (if low in your area) and higher copper is the key to a good mineral mix as these are the two main minerals that goats require the most.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,944 Posts
I can't find a straightforward answer to goat feeding!
That is because one size does not fit all when it comes to feeding goats. Couple that with the fact that everyone has a different idea of how their goats should be fed, and it gets very confusing. For example, your 8 & 10 month old does are going to need a higher nutritional plane than your 18 month old because they are younger and have more growing to do but, because one of them is a pygmy, she probably won't need as many pounds as the Boer X will. The plane of nutrition needed is also going to vary depending on whether the goats in question are does, bucks, wethers, or weaning kids and whether the bucks are actively breeding, or does that are open, short bred, heavy-bred, lactating, or are being milked. Each group needs a different percentage of protein and, if protein is over-fed, the excess is eliminated via urine and manure and you are wasting money on feed. Non-breeding bucks and wethers do not need alfalfa. They will do just fine on a good quality grass hay. Bucks that are actively breeding need more than grass, a good quality grass/alfalfa mix will do well for them. Bred does - either short or heavy - do not need straight alfalfa. Good quality grass will do nicely for short breds, and a good grass/alfalfa mix will support the gestational needs of heavy breds very nicely. Lactating does do need straight alfalfa - especially if raising twins or more. If raising triplets, grain would also be a good idea depending on the doe. Weaning kids do very nicely on either straight alfalfa or a very good alfalfa mix. I also feed them a good meat grower pellet - the wethers receive it until they are shipped, and the replacement doelings are fed the pellets for 45 days following weaning. Always provide a good mineral free choice, and a ready supply of fresh, clean water. I hope this clears it up a bit for you. :)
 

·
Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
Joined
·
4,956 Posts
Milking / bred does should be on alfalfa year round. A heavy production animal that milks even just 6 months outta the year is going to lose conditioning as she puts most of what she consumes into her milk. Alfalfa is the best way to get that conditioning back. Then Alfalfa is needed to grow quality kids and to keep the doe in that top condition to start her lactation after kidding. I see at no time during a working does life, she should be on alfalfa. Better animal, better production, better kids.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top