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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would love to hear the opinions of you veteran goat keepers on 'sweet feed' (goat feed, cattle feed, grain, whatever you like to call it). I have heard conflicting opinions on the stuff.

Is it something goats NEED in their diet..helpful and necessary?

Or is it merely something tasty we give our does to keep them still whilst we milk, but that really wreaks havoc in a sensitive digestive system?

If the former is correct, I will obviously feed them plenty of it...

But if the latter, then I will give them as little as I can get away with!

And does it work differently for different goats - milk does, kids, bucks, wethers?
 

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I prefer pellets over the sweet feed since I don't feel that my goats need the extra molasses. I feed half bagged goat feed and half sprouted oats/wheat with some alfalfa pellets. My personal findings is that they need some type of feed to keep up milk production and stay in good condition. I feed minimal grain of any type to everyone but the milkers. Unless there is someone who needs to put on weight.

There are a couple of recipes on here by HappyBleats and GoatHiker for a homemade grain mix if you would want to go that route.

For me, mixing the bagged goat feed and the sprouted grain gives me the milk in the bucket, keeps the milking girls in good condition and is the easiest on my budget without sacrificing quality. I do use the alfalfa pellets as well but not to the extent that others do because of cost. But I do have an alfalfa/grass mix hay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tips! I might look up those recipies. Buying the pre-mixed food can also be a pain when you run out unexpectedly and need to rush to town...and the feed store only opens half days.

Or they stop stocking brands so quickly you have to change all the time...poor goats! :GAAH:
 

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Molasses is acidic and can upset the pH balance in the rumen, causing acidosis. My goats LOVE sweet feed, but they don't get it because of the molasses.

I guess it would be the same question for humans-

which is healthier- a sugar filled ceareal (Fruity Pebbles- super yummy but really not very good for you) or plain oatmeal (pretty bland but very good for your health)?
 

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I'm not a fan of molasses, and I do not feed sweet feed because I don't think they need it, it has little to no nutritional value, and it can cause problems in that it has a tendency to change the ph of the rumen.
 

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I mix sweet feed in with daily rations. Not enough to be significant, but enough to know it's there. I don't really care for the taste of the milk while feeding molasses, so lactating does do not get this. They instead receive higher amounts of BOSS, coconut oil, and alfalfa pellets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow folks - thanks for all the replies! I hadn't logged back in until now to read them..it's been a busy day.

It seems I can seriously start questioning sweet feed...I am very new to goats, and so had accepted sweet feed as vitally necessary...the same way I accept dog biscuits, chicken's layer's pellets, etc....makes you wonder how much good any of these are. Animals on the pioneer homesteads would have been given real grain (or meats and veg for dogs...kitchen scraps for poor folk's dogs!), not commercial feeds, I bet!

I see I have some researching to do...alternative, simple, natural feeds.

If I was to start feeding specific grains instead of packed wonders, would I need to mix in various minerals? Copper, etc? Or just provide loose minerals free-choice, as I do now?
 

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Loose mineral free choice. You can mix your own TMR (total mixed ration) for your goats as a whole feed if you do not feed hay, or you can just mix your grains separate and feed however much you want.
 

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I mix a goat sweet feed with a non sweet pellet goat feed, in equal portions. I like the mineral contents and ingredients of the pellet better than the sweet. BUT my goats turn their noses up to it alone. So the sweet added in makes them snarf it up.
 

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We have just used it in small amounts at the last stage of Does pregnancy and when they are nursing. They need a little boost of the energy. I think people just need to be very careful not to feed too much of this. It is for good energy to exhausted Does during pregnancy/before kidding & after. I only give molasses to Does in labor and after labor. It really has a lot of good minerals in it to help them. I think they do better in pregnancy with a small amount of it.
 

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I mix it 70/30 oats to sweet feed. My goats got fat on a higher ratio, but I probably feed too much grain overall. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the help! I'm off to link a friend to this thread...it's HIGHLY interesting to us newbies....and do some research on straight grains - oats, etc.

May I ask - why do you add coconut oil? I use it in cooking and for skin care, so I know it is beneficial to people...but why is it good for the goats? Is it for the doe's health or for the good of the milk? And do you ladies feed groats (the whole oat grains) or rolled oats?

I'm grateful to benefit from some veteran-goat-keeper knowledge! :-D
 

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I much prefer whole oats...rolled oats up here the good as it gets is pulverized oat mash. Lol!!

I use coconut oil for many reasons.
1- my goats LOVE coconut. We love it too. In Wisconsin we don't get fresh coconut but once in a while and we splurge. The shell is good for mulch, bedding, chicken nests, the meat good for everybody chickens, goats, humans alike. The milk I freeze, mix into smoothies, bake with, use it on my face, mix up my udder wash with, feed it to the critters. Coconut oil is the same. I love it for hair, nails, skin, and it's great for all of that on a goat too!

It also binds the grains together in the pail in tasty clumps for quick healthy treats (need something dusty, or expansive like beet pulp, alfalfa cubes, rolled oats, goat pellets, etc).

Taste of our goat milk is superb. Much sweeter when being fed coconut oil, no goaty flavor, and quite mild.

You'll see the health of their coat, skin, and hooves increase dramatically as well. Love coconut oil. I also use coconut oil in my udder wash as well as apply it directly to the udders on the girls when I'm done milking-especially their teats and teat ends.
 

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How do you mix the coconut oil in? Do you heat it first so it is liquid? The only coconut oil I have is solid unless heated to melt.
 

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How do you mix the coconut oil in? Do you heat it first so it is liquid? The only coconut oil I have is solid unless heated to melt.
When it's warm outside i just smear it in, it's quite soft. When solid yes I warm up to make balls of the feed. :)
 

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use to feed sweet feed 100% but I was having to feed more and more of it and my goats were not producing as I would have liked. Moved over to a pellet feed and I can feed less with the same results of milk production.

I also had a doe get accidosis and cant have sweet feed, she doesnt do well with pellet feed either but its better for her. I have since moved her onto a better situation for her rumen needs (more pasture)
 

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If you can go with a specific type of grain/pellet mix for the individual goat's needs...that is what I prefer over sweet feed. Nutritionally, I don't think it's all that great of a feed. I used to feed it, but don't anymore. It didn't make a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you all so much for the tips - I have purchased some whole oats and pelleted feed, and am mixing them in with the sweet feed to make the transition easier! :)

My does weren't impressed, but the kids (who don't normally get grain) loved it. By the way, how do y'all prefer/have most success with giving minerals? I have been told loose minerals are better than a block, and have tried giving them the loose minerals mixed with water into a paste, or mixing the dry stuff in their feed...either way, I'm not seeing much disappear. :-/

They say the goats will eat what they need, but I'm not convinced.... Am I just being over-worried?
 
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