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I keep seeing that people feed sunflower seeds to their goats. So...I went and bought some and started adding them to my goats' feed. Then I decided to look up the nutritional value of sunflower seeds and saw that they are high in phosphorus and panicked! Won't the sunflower seeds mess up the calcium to phosphorus ratio? How do you figure out how much you can safely give? Should I only give it to my does when the little boys are separated from them?

Over the past 9 years, we have lost 3 younger than yearling goats to UC. Only one of those had been wethered. I am always fearful that it will happen again.
 

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This is the mix I feed my pygmies - My breeder recommended it.
2 gallons noble goat medicated (has ammonia chloride)
1 gallon barley
1/2 gallon sunflower seeds
1/2 gallon beet pulp
It has worked well for my guys. I know some do not recommend beet pulp but in small amounts as above it has never been a problem. My breeder that I have bought from has raised and shown pygmies for years.
 

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Make sure it is black oil sunflower seeds. You not only have to worry about the phosphorus but also about the oil coating the intestines which will result in poor absorption. They should be getting minimal BOSS. A full size goat really shouldn't get more than a quarter cup and I personally would consider that to be too much.
 

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They are super high in phosphorus and this is why I won't feed it unless I have a goat very down on their weight, even then I still won't give it to a buck. You can also look into adding a small amount of oil. I think most people use olive oil or corn oil. BOSS is high in fat and oil which is why people use it, add weight and make them shine, and a tiny bit of oil (I do mean a tiny) will do the same thing
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I will wait until I get all the little boys out of the does' pen. I guess I'll add it to the girls' feed sparingly until the bag is gone. Would it be good for any of the other livestock or chickens?
 

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I like giving it as treats for that goats. I had bought a bunch to mix with oats and barley for when I was going to milk (ended up not).

So now between the goats and the chickens its a treat.
 

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From the commercial dairy I got my first goats from:
200# whole corn (non-GMO)
80# oats (non-GMO)
100# sunflower, black oilers
100# soybean (non-GMO)
50# flax seed
80# barley
mix and top dress with molasses.

Serving: no more than 2 cups in the milk stand and not more than 1 cup per pound of milk given after evening milking. Ensure goats (bucks and does) have access to fresh hay (2nd cutting ONLY), loose minerals, baking soda and fresh water at all times.

Haven't had a problem yet.

*EDIT: I get my feed from a local Amish store that can and will verify all grains are non-GMO as well as pesticide free, and I get my hay from a local who willingly refuses to add fertilizer or insecticide....costs me a touch more, but having all natural feed does wonders for the milk!
 

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Thank you I should have clarified that it is black oil sunflower seeds. I tell you since I started on the above mix - I have noticed better coats, my bucks are doing better keeping nice body weight and so are my nursing does. I have not had a problem. I do think the pygmies and Nigerian dwarfs, which is what I have, seem to require caution on everything. I always thought goats were pretty hardy animals until I actually got some.
 

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I feed BOSS during the winter when it's cold. During that time they also get alfalfa pellets and soaked beet pulp with their 1/4 cup of BOSS. Even the boys get it. Haven't had any issues because it is balanced for calcium/phosphorus.

I would be scared to death to feed that grain Northwoods Farm posted, everything in it is high in phosphorus and low in calcium.

Baking soda is not needed and can be harmful when used daily like that. It neutralizes the urine so the bucks can grow urinary crystals. It also replaces the salt goat eat loose minerals for, so they don't get the full amount of minerals they need.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all of the suggestions! I was really scared that I had messed up and had a boy with UC again. I have been watching one for several days and could not catch him going. But I finally caught him going today and it was a good stream!! I worry so much when we have young goats!
 

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I would be scared to death to feed that grain Northwoods Farm posted, everything in it is high in phosphorus and low in calcium.
You know, this is why I don't post here a lot. lottsagoats1, your information is quite faulty. From Merck Manuals, in their Veterinary Manual under Nutritional Requirements for goats:

Veterinary Manual said:
Phosphorus deficiency results in slowed growth, unthrifty appearance, and occasionally a depraved appetite. Goats can maintain milk production on phosphorus-deficient diets for several weeks by using phosphorus from body reserves, but during long periods of phosphorus deficiency, milk production was shown to decline by 60%. The calcium : phosphorus ratio should be maintained between 1:1 and 2:1, preferably 1.2-1.5:1 in goats because of their predisposition for urinary calculi. Phosphorus deficiency in grazing goats is more likely than a calcium deficiency. In cases of struvite calculi, the ratio should be maintained at 2:1.
Further, since you are unaware of your simple chemistry, I will attempt to enlighten you: baking soda is NaHCO3, a simple and extremely mild alkali. In an acquiesce solution, it will break down into Na(+) and HCO3(-). Na aka Sodium is a salt and cannot bind with another salt. In the presence of an acid, even a mild acid, it will break down into Na(+) H(+) CO3(--) The hydrogen will bond with free radical oxygen (O) in the acid to form water thus diluting the acid - it's as if you took a Tums tablet, same effect. The carbonate molecule, depending on the acid it is mixed with will breakdown further into free radical carbon and oxygen or into carbon dioxide (CO2) and an oxygen radical (this is the most typical breakdown of the carbonate molecule). The free radical oxygen will bond with the hydrogen, first, not another salt.

Acid detergent fiber (ADF) is something else to consider. ADF is a laboratory analysis that measures the cellulose and lignin levels in plants, and lignin is not digestible, so an acid detergent fiber measure that is low - below 35% - is preferable for goats. Grass hays with low ADF must be cut early, while the leaves are immature and the stems are very small. As a general rule, stemmier hays have less nutritional value than leafy hays.

According to Denis Bastianelli, PhD. - Cirad - La recherche agronomique pour le développement, crude fiber (CF) and ADF are basically on a 1:1 ratio for value. Since typical beet pulp is registered at 18.2%, that gives them basically an 18.2 ADF value. Depending on the hay you are feeding, you could be pushing the ADF value of your feed for your goats well over the recommended 28% if you're feeding anything OTHER than PRIME hay.

According to the research posted by Tennessee Meat Goats:
Tennessee Meat Goats said:
The rumen tends towards a slightly acidic level (6.8 pH). When saliva mixes with the cud, "buffers" in the saliva help keep rumen acidity down. Rumen micro-organisms work best in a neutral to slightly-acidic environment. When the producer feeds the goat sugars, starches, and other rapidly-digested feeds (grain-based feeds), the rumen becomes more acidic. Introducing long fiber into the rumen helps minimize this acidic effect by the longer chewing time that is necessary to break down and digest the fibrous materials. The longer fibrous material has to be re-chewed, therefore remains in the rumen longer -- adding to this buffering effect. This nutritional balance is critical to the good health of the goat.
Now, based on the feeding schedule I use, the research of experts, and simple chemistry, I would find it very hard to follow the feeding schedule you use. Alfalfa pellets and soaked beet pulp? The level of acid your goats have to deal with must be incredible. Before you criticize what someone else feeds, please make sure you have your facts straight.
 

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Baking soda is a sodium. Goats, like most grazers, crave salt. That is why they mix minerals in with sodium chloride, to get the goats to consume the minerals. Most goats will not eat just the minerals with no added salt. If you put baking soda out free choice, most goats will eat that for their salt intake and not get the minerals they need from the salt/loose minerals. The soil in most parts of this country are sadly lacking in various minerals which is why we need to feed out livestock minerals, either loose for those with soft tongues like goats, or blocks.

The baking soda craze in goats started several years ago due to the feeding of it to dairy cattle. Dairy cattle get a huge amount of grain, more so than dairy goats on a pound to pound basis. Dairy cattle are not bred for longevity, most goats are, so they tend to "burn out" cattle way before their natural lives would end. Dairy cattle eat a very highly acidic diet and need that baking soda daily. Unless you are feeding a goat an enormous amount of grain/concentrates with minimal hay they should not need buffering, since long stem hay is a natural buffer. Some people feed a meat grower/finisher as a complete feed so the animals will have a sleeker look for show, which may cause problems with UC. You need acidic urine to dissolve the crystals, that's why they add ammonia chloride to a lot of goat feeds, especially meat goat grower/finishers. Those rumens must be hugely acidic because there is no buffering. I know show people who do have issues with acidosis in their show wethers.

The calcium/phosphorus ratio in cereal grains is very off balanced. They have found that adult goats need a 2:1 ratio on average. Bucks do better with it a bit higher, as would a lactating doe.

ca: ph
Corn- .03: .33
oats- .06: .33
barley- .06: .36
soy
beans- .2: .65
flax - 428 mg vs. 1079 mg per serving

That's a high phosphorus with a low calcium ratio in that feed. If you're lucky enough to live someplace where high calcium roughage is common (I'm not), and the hay is tested to show the calcium level, that's great, you can make up the balance but if you don't, that's scary.

I've had dairy goats for 35 years, also ran and then owned a cattle dairy for several years. I had 4 years of animal science with an emphasis on nutrition and I work with my vet, who did extra schooling in livestock and equine nutrition. In all those years, (and I keep my milking does until they die from old age or are killed by a local kid who burned my barn) I can count on 1 hand the number of animals that had an issue like "milk fever" (1), ketosis (1), bloat (2 kids) or urinary calculi (never). They are healthy, thriving and I have buyers who comment on how great my goats look and how healthy they are. I haven't had to have a vet here for illnesses in the goats in 30 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Lottsagoats, I am feeding my goats half alfalfa pellets and half commercial goat medicated feed. They each get about 2 pounds a day of that mixture plus free grazing. Of course the nursing moms get more than two pounds a day, and I have Calf Manna mixed with the alfalfa and goat feed for the two month old kids. They seem to be doing really well on it (if we could just get rid of worms). Does that sound well-balanced? Our water has never been tested, but it smells like sulfur. I think that messes with our mineral balances. Somehow we have lost three boys to UC through the years. That is why I panicked when I saw that the sunflower seeds were high in phosphorus.
 

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And, my friends, is why I typically do not respond on forums. Lottsagots, you just proved my point. You wanted to start a pissing match because you don't agree with the feed I choose to give my goats. So, without any formation, you indirectly accused me of dangerous feeding habits for my animals. When I presented you with the FACTS regarding the need for phosphorus in a diet, the only thing you had to say was, SEE! there's more phosphorus in the grains than there is calcium!

How about you feed your goats what you think is proper, and I'll feed my goats what I think is proper. Your "schooling" doesn't count for a damned thing, especially when anyone considers the fact that any and all centers of indoctrination, I mean higher learning, (especially those that deal with health of anything) are funded and controlled by either big pharmaceutical companies, big chemical companies or big agricultural companies. It doesn't matter one whit whom you work with, or that the person you work with got any sort of corporate based indoctrination. Try simple science. I already pointed out to you that baking soda is sodium. What do you think NaC03 means? I even spelled it out for you, but that's irrelevant.

Since you have absolutely no clue what we do here at Northwoods, how about you keep your opinions of us and our actions here to yourself, and we'll make sure not to point out the lunacy of the things you say.
 

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NorthWoods-Farms, I am interested in feeding my goats which are Nubians a balanced feed. I will tell you what I feed and would appreciate your take and response. Would you be willing to take the time to do so. If so reply and we can move this discussion to another post. Thanks in advance.
 
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