Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

My two Nigerians (one wether and one doe) are about a year old and I am giving a small handful of noble goat (6 oz tea cup- 1/2 (3 oz) to each am and pm) and they get about a big handful each am and pm of alfalfa.They love the noble goat and eat the alfalfa but leave most of the alfalfa behind. They browse the rest of the day.


I'm not sure what to do in winter, but is my feeding them correct so far? Any suggestions. I need help.
Thanks..

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I live north of Santa Fe, and have had my two girls about 7 years now.  One is a precocious milker.  I feed them alfalfa and goat chow through the winter, but am looking into planting some cover crops for them when it gets cool enough.  I live by a river, and they love willows.  Also wild roses, thorns and all.  They like some weeds and, of course, anything in the yard I don't want them to eat.  They get a treat each night of chopped apples, or carrots and some raisins.  They also like corn chips when I have extras.  Whatever comes up in their pasture that they like and they are healthy and happy goats.

That is fine as long as they are getting what they need from the browse to be in good body condition. They should also have the right type of loose minerals available free choice and I would also keep a little baking soda out for them if it were me. 

They do love their snacks of fruits and veggies and such! We have one that loves for her people daddy to feed her okra and jalapenos from the garden, go figure, a goat eating peppers! Not TO much of anything!

Do you have any pictures so we can see what their body condition looks like and their coats? Do you ever give them copper?

Trish, I just realized that you are about 175 miles south of Prairie Wood Ranch, which is were I purchased 9 doelings early this year and had them shipped to me in Mobile, Al. Do you know anything about them? They are in Edgewood.

yes here....

Margaret Langley said:

That is fine as long as they are getting what they need from the browse to be in good body condition. They should also have the right type of loose minerals available free choice and I would also keep a little baking soda out for them if it were me. 

They do love their snacks of fruits and veggies and such! We have one that loves for her people daddy to feed her okra and jalapenos from the garden, go figure, a goat eating peppers! Not TO much of anything!

Do you have any pictures so we can see what their body condition looks like and their coats? Do you ever give them copper?

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No, edgewood is near Santa Fe which is about 4 hour away from me.  Albququerque is 250 miles from me and Santa Fe is west of Albq.  I don't know anything about Prarie wood ranch., sorry..

Margaret Langley said:

Trish, I just realized that you are about 175 miles south of Prairie Wood Ranch, which is were I purchased 9 doelings early this year and had them shipped to me in Mobile, Al. Do you know anything about them? They are in Edgewood.

I don't know what minerals are and why baking soda?  How do I give them baking soda and how much?  I give them a small handfull in the AM and PM of noble goat grower 16 which has crude protein, crude fat, crude fibr, calcium, phosphorus, sal,t copper, selenium , vit A, processed grain products, ammonium chloride,  iron oxide, zinc but no directions on how much to feed. etc etc

Margaret Langley said:

That is fine as long as they are getting what they need from the browse to be in good body condition. They should also have the right type of loose minerals available free choice and I would also keep a little baking soda out for them if it were me. 

They do love their snacks of fruits and veggies and such! We have one that loves for her people daddy to feed her okra and jalapenos from the garden, go figure, a goat eating peppers! Not TO much of anything!

Do you have any pictures so we can see what their body condition looks like and their coats? Do you ever give them copper?

Well, I don't know which one is which and I can't see the one in back to good but they look good from what I can tell. You know, as far as there general body condition goes.

Minerals are just that, a variety of minerals that are very important in their diet. Some of them can be so important that they can die as a result of not having enough. They are sold at feed stores and are best bought in loose form not in solid bricks. There is a difference in the amount of minerals in the different brands etc. so be careful about which ones you get. One that is very popular and very good is called sweetlix meatmaker. You simply keep some out where they can get to them all the time and "they will eat the right amount that they need". That is called feeding them "free choice".

Baking soda is very important to help keep there stomachs from getting bloated, which can also kill them, some people use it when they get bloated but for that to work you have to not only know the symptoms of bloating but be watching close enough to know if they do bloat. It is way easier to just feed it free choice also. Especially if you don't know a lot about this stuff.

Everything else sounds pretty good, as long as they continue to do well.

I in no way feel qualified to throw my two cents in, but I will anyway. Trish, I'm with you! When we first got our two wethers, I figured we'd load up on the hay and be good. I happened to fall on this website and began reading about the intricacies of feeding goats. Wow! Alfalfa hay vs. grass hay, loose mineral vs. block, free choice vs. controlled, baking soda, etc. But I tell you, this site has been great. Margaret has commented on several of my posts, as well as others, and it's a wonderful forum for people like us who are just starting out. I'm transitioning our goats from alfalfa to grass hay, and just recently made a free choice mineral feeder and put it up in their pen. We give them Sweetlix 16:8 Meat Maker and they both seem to really like it. I couldn't find it locally, but a local farm store was able to order it for me. $16 for 25lbs. I strongly suggest it. My big question is with the baking soda. Is it just regular baking soda, or is there a special baking soda for animals? Thanks... and goats rock!

Thanks Jabe,

Unfortunately the hay around her is way expensive.   I need to figure something out.  Everyone I know here feeds them strickly alfalfa and browse...Just found out also the feed store no longer is carrying purina noble got going to some manna at an 8 lb bag for$11.95 wen I was getting noble goat 50lbs for $14.00...

Noble Goat is labeled as a "complete feed," which means they can eat it 100%, although personally I wouldn't do that. It doesn't contain a lot of grain though, so should not make them sick like a grain-based feed would.

Baking soda is the same stuff you buy in the baking section of the grocery store, and you just put it out free choice. They can eat as much as they want. It's a rumen buffer, so it keeps them from getting an upset tummy. You may not see them eat much, especially if they don't get grain. But it's really cheap -- less than $1 a box.

An 8# bag of Manna Pro sounds like minerals, not goat feed. I don't think I've ever seen goat feed sold in anything smaller than a 50# bag.

All that said ... a wether and a dry doe don't need grain. They just need browse, pasture, and/or hay, depending upon where you live, as well as a loose mineral and baking soda free choice.

I am sure that the manna you are talking about is not something that is a regular feed. It is probably some type of supplement.

You should be able to find something else.  Are you getting the feed at a feed store?  And do they sale purina goat chow?  If so that would be your best bet. If not you could ask them what type of goat feed they are going to carry or what they can order for you. But the fact is that really a dry doe and a wether should not need feed (meaning grain) if they have the right hay and browse along with the right minerals and baking soda (yes it is the same baking soda you get for about 50cents to make your biscuits.

You can also give them about a tablespoon (do not feed free choice)of BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds, not the kind we people eat,  the little tiny kind you get to feed birds,they will say black oil sunflower on the package) each if you want. They are very good for them. The other thing that is super great for them is kelp! You can order small bags from Jeffers vet supply. It's like $15 for 3lbs. you could put a spoonful over their feed or you can feed it free choice also. Like most things fed free choice, they seem to eat a lot to start with, then slow down once their bodies have met it's need for whatever nutrient is contained within the particular supplement.

I know it all seems like a lot to take in, but you will catch on quick!

I'm trying to come up with what you mean by manna.  Do you mean calf manna?  or Manna Pro goat balancer?  I don't think of either one of these as a feed.  They're both meant to supplement the diet when there's a need for  either more protein and carbohydrates (the calf manna) or for more vitamins/minerals, protein, fiber...basically a supplement that provides them more of everything with a smaller amount of concentrates (the Manna Pro goat balancer).  It's meant to be a supplement, 1/2 oz. for goats under 25 lbs, 1 oz. for goats 25 to 50 lbs and 2 oz. for goats over 50 lbs. daily.

At one point, from feeding my dry does really rich alfalfa, I really messed up their mineral balance.  I was under the impression that they should have the alfalfa, just like many beginners with goats seem to be.  Why is that, any way?  I think it's a misconception that I hope will change.  The point is, I used the balancer for a while along with BOSS, and I think it helped get them back on track.  I don't think either of these is something that's needed with healthy, dry, non breeding bucks, does or kids.  They're both pretty expensive to be putting into goats that don't need it.

This all gets sort of complicated, especially with the situation with hay this year.  Best wishes! :)
Trish said:

Thanks Jabe,

Unfortunately the hay around her is way expensive.   I need to figure something out.  Everyone I know here feeds them strickly alfalfa and browse...Just found out also the feed store no longer is carrying purina noble got going to some manna at an 8 lb bag for$11.95 wen I was getting noble goat 50lbs for $14.00...

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