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To feed brush or Grass Hay and Grain

1352 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  jross
So I'm new to this pack goat game. My wife wanted pack goats a while back so we bought 2 Alpen Sannen Cross with possibly a little bit of Nubian mixed in. We received them at 5 months old and they had been bottle fed the entire time.. We brought them home and immediately began feeding them brush. Well now the goats scream and scream until they get there brush each day and will not touch there grass hay. Well now my wife and I both absolutely despise hiking up the mountain behind our house farther and farther each day cutting brush and hauling it back, not to mention the amount of leftover sticks I have to haul off in my truck. My question is cant goats get by without eating brush??? I suggested that we just stop feeding brush, and when they get hungry enough they will eventually begin to eat hay again. My wife disagrees and won’t stop the brush feeding even though she now has enough hatred towards the goats she has mentioned butchering them. Any Idea’s here…. Oh yeah the goats don’t like going for walks, usually taking them up the first hill and ¼ mile they will put out there front hooves to skid to a stop or just lay on their sides ……
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Do you think there is possibly more Nubian in the mix than you expected? They can be loud and not to keen on working. I am not aware of any goats starving to death in the face of good grass hay. My 200 lb goats thrive on grass hay with occasional walks for brush.
when you feed your goats a forage you are really feeding the bugs in the stomach that break down the forage. when you feed one type of forage (in your case brush) those bugs take over in the stomach. the hay bugs are not present enough to break down the hay. it takes about 6 weeks to change bugs so you can feed only hay.
so by reducing the brush and giving the goats free choice hay over the next month you will alow the bugs to repopulate and your goats will eat hay as a first choice.
I was assured by my wife that there is very little Nubian in the goats as I also mentioned that to her. Interesting about the bugs in the stomach, I finally convinced her away from brush tonight I beleive or at least to lay off feeding them so much of it, till they are weined off of it.
Sounds to me like they're just spoiled. Definitely wean them off the brush a bit at a time and they'll eat the grass hay when they get hungry enough. They won't starve to death (although they'll probably tell you they're starving!).

If they don't want to go for walks, find a treat they like and take some with you. Hike a bit farther afield every day and give treats every so often as you go along. I'll bet they'll start wanting to follow you pretty quick if they realize all the good things in life come from you, wherever you may be. ;)

Just make sure you don't give them treats when they lay down or plant their feet! They must come along nicely in order to get a reward. And don't give them their brush when they're yelling for it. That only rewards them for being loud and obnoxious. Let them give up before you feed even if it throws your schedule a bit. It's worth it not to have animals who nag and scold you when their food isn't dished out exactly on time to the minute. And that way you're also not tied down to a perfect feeding schedule that you can't rearrange without creating havoc in your barn. You let those goats know that you'll feed them when you're good and ready and it's no use bawling at you. Eventually they'll realize that you're not going to let them starve, but you're also not going to be a slave to their dinner schedule.
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Nanno just posted some great tips. I'll add that if you really want packers, you might not want to get too attached to those boys if their behavior doesn't change for the better soon. Some goats just don't want to be hikers or packers and, if that's the case here, you'll be doing them a favor by finding them a job eating brush somewhere. Over the years we have had five goats that loved to hike with us and one that HATED hiking--he's a professional blackberry eater now. JD
My goats eat both brush and hay. And garden scraps, weeds, etc. I don't bring the brush to my goats, tho. They hike up the hills and get it themselves. I go with them to keep them (and the world) safe, tho.

I agree with Nanno. Your goats are just spoiled. They have learned that being obnoxious jerks it profitable. If they learned, instead, that supper was up on the hill, and that yelling about all their problems invariably brought on the old garden hose treatment, they might change their ways.

If none of that works, tho, then maybe they could wind up in somebody's freezer.
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