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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A question for those of you that raise your goats from birth...

Does anyone keep growth records such as height and weight at certain ages? And if so is there any way to guesstimate what the kid's adult size will be?

Just curious because our little guy was 10 lbs at birth and approx 11 1/2 inches tall ... 21 lbs at 4 weeks .... 35 lbs and 19 3/4 inches tall at just shy of 2 months old... he is a Saanen/Fainter cross

The dam is on the smaller size for a Saanen but last year her kid was only an inch shorter than her when he was 6 months old. We sold him so not sure how he has grown since. The sire of this year's kids is a nice sized, stocky built Fainter.
 

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There's no way to know from the birth weight because a doe with one kid may have a huge one while a doe with triplets may have smaller ones. In the end, the smaller triplet may well be a bigger goat. When they are small I look for the longest heaviest legs. They will generally grow into them and turn out nice. The best estimate we have been able to come up with is to double their weight at one year old to give you a good estimate of their final adult weight.

Of course diet is a HUGE factor. Two identical goats fed different diets can vary greatly in size. Top quality alfalfa and grain up through year three will yield a much larger goat than one fed grass hay and pasture, even with supplemental grain.

Even the quality of the alfalfa makes a big difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Rex... that explanation really puts it into perspective. Now I just need to learn what to feed, how much etc. I have heard and read so much conflicting information I'm not sure which way to go. Some say no alfalfa or grain, others say yes to alfalfa and grain, or grain but no alfalfa, grass hay only, pelleted ration only, .... aauugghh... it's gets really confusing. I want them all to grow to their full potential... now just to figure out how to do it.
 

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My only advice on how to feed would be making urinary calculi prevention be a frontmost concern. You could feed a goat the best stuff and get a huge goat but then have them die with urinary calculi. I personally know 2 Alpine goats that have never had grain in thier lives and only had good quality timothy or orchard grass hay,browse, minerals/salt and plenty of fresh water. They are 4 years old and huge! Genetics play a roll in size too just like you and me. So...I think you can feed for both.

I think I am on the conservative side. My boys have had about 2 flakes of alfalfa in their lives when they were just learning to eat solids. Very small amount of Calf-manna feed when kids to start them eating grain, then changed to livestock blend with 2:1 ratio and 14% protien with some black oil sunflower seeds. Total grain a day when they worked up to eating this much was 1-1 1/2 cups each with 1/2 cup BOSS. I bottle feed to about 3-4 months. Then good quality orchard grass hay. They get grain through the first winter so about 1 year old and then only hay. Sometimes I will supplement a little COB in the winter of 2nd year and older if really cold and need some extra protien. Cob is about 7-9% protien and no phos:cal so don't have to worry about that. My yearlings are about 145lbs and 32" at withers and they are just getting their spring growth spirt. The two year olds I just sold were about 185-190lbs and about 35-36" at withers and again they hadn't hit their spring growth spirt yet. Oh and when I looked at my 2 year olds...they seemed big to me...but when I went hiking with my friend I mentioned earlier with the 4 year olds that never had grain...they looked like migets and they were from the same breeder.

So...that wasn't suposed to turn in to this long of a post...but I think you should feed for urinary calculi prevention first.
 

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Rachel's diet is good but I do have to correct one misconception.
Just because the cal:phos ratio is not listed on the label doesn't mean there isn't one.
Cob is about 7-9% protien and no phos:cal so don't have to worry about that.
COB is corn, oats and barley and all grains, these included are very high in phosphorus, as much as 6:1. Of course, this is balanced by the amount fed in conjunction with the other dietary sources of phosphorus. Legume hays such as alfalfa are considered a high source of calcium and grass hays are considered more or less neutral, 1:1 ratio.

When figuring a diet you have to take into consideration all factors, grains, types of hay offered and minerals.

Phosphorus in grain helps with growing bones and kids need phosphorus in some form to avoid that sort of stunted appearance you are describing. They also need a source of calcium to balance the phosphorus at optimally 2:1. You also need to look at the protein levels as growing animals need somewhere in the neighborhood of 16% and adult animals only need around 11%.

Theoretically, it's possible to supply the calcium, phosphorus and protein requirements in a number of ways but leave any one out and you end up with unbalanced nutrition.

This is why I wrote a hundred pages of nutritional advice, which really only hit the tip of the iceberg on what you can do with diets, good and bad.

But, I agree with Rachel, prevention of imbalances leading to urinary calculi needs to be priority one, not stunting the kids needs to be priority two. Early on in goatpacking, conventional wisdom was to simply not feed grains leading to some pretty pathetic looking goats.

There are a number of worksheets both in my book and on the internet to help figure dietary necessities. It's complicated, but the diet pyramid in the book was designed with the help of veterinary nutritionists to help assess a particular diet and figure what might need tweaking. I'm not trying to sell books here, I'll be glad to provide a copy of the pyramid to anyone who wants one. Or it might be up on the NAPgA site.
 

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Just a couple other comments: BOSS is very high in phosphorus but the amount you need to feed is small due to the fat it contains.

Also. does will tend to have larger kids after they have kidded a few times, things are just stretched more, doesn't necessarily mean the kids will end up bigger.

NAPgA is working on a project to start tracking a number of variables in packgoats birth size and adult size being one of them. Rachel (Hasligrove) is at the forefront of this project. So feel free to start tracking these numbers in your own goats so thatyou can submit them when we're ready.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I wish I would have known all this stuff before. I was told to never feed wethers grain... so now I have a one year old that it seems I did an injustice to. He was the smallest of triplets and is still on the small side, which is fine if it's genetic not good if it is due to lack of proper nutrients. I've ordered Carolyn Eddy's book so hopefully I can get this all straightened out and do right by "my boys" from now on.

As for growth records... I have been keeping a written record of everything to do with the goats. I learned that valuable lesson from raising meat and show rabbits. Keeping accurate records is very important in improving your stock and in improving your herd management. Even if you only have one animal... always keep a written record. It's amazing the things you can forget over time that you thought for sure you would never forget.
 

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If your kids are only 12 months old it won't hurt to feed them a little grain. I'd start with a half a cup a day of COB and then keep track of their body condition. Both in my book and on the NAPgA site there is a body condition scoring chart so you can decide if they are the correct weight for their frame. If you add grain and alfalfa till they are the correct body condition you will catch up with the previous lack of nutrients.

THat's one other thing that people need to understand is body condition scoring. If your goat is underweight, especially if it's a kid, it won't hurt to feed grain and alfalfa to bring it up to it's correct weight. I prefer the 9 point condition scoring charts as it's easier to make judgments and fine tune the weight as you have more landmarks to work with than the 5 point chart.
 

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Thanks Carolyn...I never really thought that one out ...COB...Corn, Oats and Barley...of course it would have Phos. in it...they just never lable it. It makes me mad...they should have that on the lable. Oh well....I was always one to feed more on the conservative side so they never had to much grain.
 
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