Technical question -- calcium to phosphorus ratios

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Anita, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. Anita

    Anita New Member

    May 12, 2009
    Davidsonville, MD
    I know that generally goats should be fed at a 2:1 ratio, calcium to phosphorus. Most advice suggests alfalfa hay and a commercial dairy ration for the best milk production.

    Alfalfa Hay is high in calcium. All commercial dairy rations are balanced for calcium to phosphorus 2:1. So, wouldn't this scenario overload the doe with calcium, making it difficult for her to use said calcium because she needs the phosphorus in a proper proportion in order to make the calcium available to her?

    I can see how the commercial ration would make a lot of sense when feeding grass hay, or even with limited alfalfa. But if the does are fed alfalfa primarily, and grass at maybe only 20%, wouldn't a ration without supplemental calcium make more sense, say COB?
  2. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    In milking does, for the most part, extra calcium can only help and won't hurt.
    Extra dietary calcium ensures that blood calcium levels remain stable so the body does not begin to break down bone tissue when a goat's calcium needs increase--like when a doe is making kids or milk. Any excess calcium is basically peed out and does not interfere with absorption of other vitamins or minerals.

    Calcium is used for so many things in the body...from sending nerve impulses to muscle contraction, to buliding bones...and 2:1 ratio may be ideal for male goats or non-producing females, but with the extra burden on milking does milking I think it is safe to say that they benefit any calcium they can get.

  3. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    I have to agree -- pregnant or lactating does need the extra calcium as it is used up quickly.

    If feeding alfalfa to bucks note that should give grain. This will offset the calcium and provide enough phosphorous to ward off stones (thats the basic idea). But if feeding grass hay there is more risk in feeding grain that the phosphorous will be to much.