Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I know there are way too many questions out there about feeding, but here is another one!  I have one 35 lb buck , one 26.5 lb wether and two does 24 lbs and 25.5 lbs, all of them about 4 months old.  They boys are in one area and the girls in another.  The amount of browse is very limited right now so I feed the boys a 4 inch flake of perennial peanut hay and the girls the same amount.  I give the boys just short of a 14oz can of Noble Goat feed to share with a good dose of BOSS, once in the am and again in the pm.  The boys have plenty of water w/apple cider vinegar and Manna Pro goat minerals and baking soda.  Every other day I give them several limbs of oak leaves.  The girls are very small but I give them a whole can of Noble Goat feed with BOSS  to share twice a day.  They get the same water, minerals, baking soda and oak limbs as the boys.

 

I've read that some people feed their goats 1/4 c of grain twice a day.  My goats always act like they can't get enough grain when I feed them.   I want them to be healthy, so I'm asking for advice about their feeding.  Thanks!

 

 

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Grain is like candy for goats. They will eat it until they have diarrhea or worse -- enterotoxemia -- and die. They can have as much hay as they want, so feel free to offer more if they are finishing what you give them. I have no experience with peanut hay, but from what I've been told, it's like alfalfa, so as they boys get older, you might want to switch them to a grass hay.

Thanks for your reply.  I have cut back on the grain.  The only hay my goats will eat is the perennial peanut and then they only pick the leaves off and leave all the stems.  I've tried timothy coastal and they just sniff it and look for something else to eat.  My husband has suggested I shred the peanut hay with some coastal and see if they'll eat that way.  Have you ever heard of shredding or grinding the hay to a coarse texture? 

I have heard of other people doing that, but I haven't done it myself. I think they said they used a mulcher.

I have read you should stop feeding alfalfa or any such rich hay I guess, as the buck kids reach about 6 months, but at the same time it was mentioned that for their first rut make sure you feed them well so they are well conditioned for that time.  Also, grain - I have read stop doing it for bucks at about 6 months - but again, it says feed them well prior to rut.   ??   I am also unclear on what minerals - or if there is anything special to do in feeding them to make sure they dont get urinary calculi (stones??)  what is a good standard regiment for feeding young bucks.

There is no one-size-fits-all feeding plan for goats. You need to pay attention to your bucks. If they are in good condition and showing no signs of any type of deficiencies, then they don't need anything other than hay/pasture and loose minerals. If they are losing weight or their coat is fading, then they are not going to be as virile as if they were 100% healthy. (Fading coat is a sign of copper deficiency, which also affects fertility.) I've known breeders in Wisconsin and Michigan who gave their bucks nothing but hay year-round, but they had really excellent hay. If my hay quality is not so great, I sometimes wind up feeding a little grain to the boys during the winter if we're having below-zero temperatures day after day because they lose weight without it. Most goats have done the majority of their super-fast growing by six months, but if you had one that was nutritionally compromised or had a bad parasite problem, they might need extra nutrition for a bit longer because they're playing catch-up. You really don't want to over-feed bucks though because in addition to the urinary calculi, they can also wind up with zinc deficiency if they get too much calcium, and then the just look nasty because they get dandruff and start losing their hair!

thanks Deborah!!  What do you do about zinc deficiency?  I have a doe that has bad dandraff - no matter what I do - her topline always has white fluff - now to really pick your brain..... can zinc deficiency cause foot irritation - kind of like scald? And explain for me the diff between protein - and calcium - I am thinking of  Calf Manna at 25%.  What are the ramifications of feeding high protein with grain.  I also wondered if dolmite compound which is 55% calcium, 43% magnesium and ferric oxide .6% could be used as a calcium supplement.  I got it from Hoeggers but really dont know what the benefit is - that is -  sorry for all the crazy questions - now you know my mind set. ouch. LOL

 

I gave my boys Multi-Min because we also have problems with copper and selenium deficiency, and it has both of those in it. However, if your goat doesn't need those things, I have heard of people using the zinc tablets from the store, although I don't know the dosage. I know a vet who raises kikos, and she says that if you're feeding too much protein, they pee it out. Since protein sources are expensive, you're just wasting your money. Long-term, I would think that it is not good for their kidneys to have to keep working that hard though.

I'm pretty sure Hoegger sells the dolomite for diarrhea and mastitis treatment. I'm not sure about using it long-term though because of the magnesium level. I'd have to look it up, but you want to be sure that the calcium and magnesium are balanced properly. Bucks do not need any supplemental calcium.

Melissa Johnson said:

thanks Deborah!!  What do you do about zinc deficiency?  I have a doe that has bad dandraff - no matter what I do - her topline always has white fluff - now to really pick your brain..... can zinc deficiency cause foot irritation - kind of like scald? And explain for me the diff between protein - and calcium - I am thinking of  Calf Manna at 25%.  What are the ramifications of feeding high protein with grain.  I also wondered if dolmite compound which is 55% calcium, 43% magnesium and ferric oxide .6% could be used as a calcium supplement.  I got it from Hoeggers but really dont know what the benefit is - that is -  sorry for all the crazy questions - now you know my mind set. ouch. LOL

 

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