Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Help me out - Goat-Supplement-Addicting-based PROTEST !

Hello everyone,

It's been 3 years since we began raising ND goats. Canela is a Nigerian Dwarf doe that gave birth 2 kids on Feb/17/2015. Since then, we've been providing her with a ration of food as follows :  1.5 cups of Sweet Feed (DuMore) 16% |  2 cups of Unsweet Feed (DuMor) 16% | 1/4 cup of Calf Manna (it's got some anise smell in it)  |  0.5 cup Oil Sunflower Seed. All of these ingredients are given to Canela in a mix every morning. There's another similar ration at evening. The rest of Canela's food consists of Timothy Hay both of the one that comes in a 50-pound bale and the one that comes in pellets (premium forage). [ by the way, for those who like foreign languages, Canela is a Spanish for Cinnamon)

The TROUBLE. Here we go... after the supplement morning ration has been given to Canela, this doe begins yelling at me ALL OF THE 12-HOUR DAYTIME, screaming for more supplement. Very demanding doe, quite frankly. At the beginning, I would do my best to ignore her. So far, till today's date, the amount of patience I've garnered throughout my entire life has become pretty meagre.. I work outdoors, there's no way to avoid to pass by Canela's enclosure (section A of our barn), I have to do it...it's just a matter of seconds for this female goat to perceive human steps around..and the non-stop protesting game kicks off... Maa!..Maaa!....Maaaaaa!....Maaaaaaaaaa! ["Daaaam!...Why does this human stubborn guy keep brushing me off! " ...]  Maaaaa!..

People guided by Moses through the wilderness started protesting for meat..looks like they had it up to the very top of their foreheads with just manna. Moses complained before God, and He ended up giving in so nicely that He gave them as much meat as they could eat and get it down to their insatiable tummies. I could do the same with Canela concerning what she protests for..

In running out of choices about my case with Canela :  What health-based consequences should I have to face if I end up giving in and give Canela as much Sweet Feed (supplement..or whatever...ultimately, I think these so called "supplements" may well be another form of "treats" (marketting strategy based on the fact that if we humans get the munchies at certain time of the day, so pets and domestic animals do) as she wants ?

Thanks---in advance---for any nice feedback on this concern.

Rubenito.

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Nutritionally, the things you're feeding her are not treats, because she's in milk, and supporting kids. That is a demand on her body that needs to be met. If you have an idea of how much milk she is producing in weight, then you should be matching that with grain weight. (1lb of milk should be getting 1lb of grain/supplements) so it's possible that she isn't getting enough, and is trying to tell you. If that's not the case, then it sounds like you might just have a demanding doe! Some of them are more demanding of the treats than others. :) 

Some grains say 1 pound of grain for every 3 pounds of milk produced. Does she have alfalfa hay available 24/7? When is the timothy hay available? Is she on pasture? She does need to be able to eat all day, but NOT grain. If you let her have as much grain as she wants, best case scenario, she will get diarrhea. Worst case, she will get goat polio or enterotoxemia or bloat and die.

Thanks. I'm aware that the supplements are not necessarily "treats".. I'm also aware that during the milking season (which is supposed to last between 10 months to 1 year depending on the animal as not all of them give the same response in this regard) female goats should be given these supplements mainly because of their body needs. Let's say, in running out of choices..and letting myself run away with a tiny bit of despair... I wrote the weird thing.

Your contribution on the balance balance between amount of grain provided and amount of milk produced by Canela is well appreciated. Thanks again.

Rachel Whetzel at MigMog Acres said:

Nutritionally, the things you're feeding her are not treats, because she's in milk, and supporting kids. That is a demand on her body that needs to be met. If you have an idea of how much milk she is producing in weight, then you should be matching that with grain weight. (1lb of milk should be getting 1lb of grain/supplements) so it's possible that she isn't getting enough, and is trying to tell you. If that's not the case, then it sounds like you might just have a demanding doe! Some of them are more demanding of the treats than others. :) 

Let's see :

1. Does Canela have alfalfa hay available? - Yes, she does. Alfalfa Hay is available 24/7 in either pellets (2 pounds per day) or 1 or 2 layers of the bale (our local farming store sells alfalfa hay compressed in a 48-pound bale which comes in layers..I'm omitting commercial brand names, lest I violate potential rules regulating this forum).

2. When is the Timothy Hay available? - It is available every single day, three layers of the Timothy Hay bale (labelled as Timothy Grass tag in the commercial original bag).

3. Is Canela on pasture? - No, she isn't. This female goat keeps being confined (just up to now) in a 20x25 foot-area which comprises free space (dirt all over around because of winter) and a 10x12x12 barn with the inside covered with lots of straw. The goat remains in there nursing her two kids cheerily, except when she gets the "munchies" that I referred to at the beginning of this thread.

Having the goat die of enterotoxemia or any other causes linked to the ones you just mentioned is not part of my considerations yet...not to say my wife's considerations (that would be a sort of total guarantee that I could give myself about being locked up in the doghouse for an indefinite period of time...).

Thank you, Deborah. I do appreciate your taking the time to post your valuable response.

Rubén.

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

Some grains say 1 pound of grain for every 3 pounds of milk produced. Does she have alfalfa hay available 24/7? When is the timothy hay available? Is she on pasture? She does need to be able to eat all day, but NOT grain. If you let her have as much grain as she wants, best case scenario, she will get diarrhea. Worst case, she will get goat polio or enterotoxemia or bloat and die.

If good-quality hay is available 24/7, she shouldn't be screaming at you because she wants to be fed. Any chance she was a bottle baby? I'm just wondering if maybe she wants human companionship?

Does she have companion goats? If she's by herself, that could explain the screaming. A single goat is a lonely goat and they need to have buddies.

I believe the hay we give Canela is a good-quality one. It is placed inside the barn in its 2 forms :grass (bale) and pellets. Despite this provision, Canela leaves a lot of waste which remains on the ground, plus other chunks remaining in the wooden feeder.

I'm not sure about Canela having been a bottle baby. Why does that matter, if you don't mind me asking you? I'd have to ask the goat-selling guy from who we got Canela around 3 years ago. Concerning human companionship... I could spend some time inside the barn, perhaps by reading some news about what's going on in the Middle East.. question should be how long would be recommended. I usually keep very busy in our farm.

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

If good-quality hay is available 24/7, she shouldn't be screaming at you because she wants to be fed. Any chance she was a bottle baby? I'm just wondering if maybe she wants human companionship?

Canela remains with her 2 babies (they reached one month of age today, BTW) in the section A of our barn. A large divider made of cattle panel and wood has been built to separate this section from the other one (B) where we have 2 does and one wether... So, yes..the goat remains lonely all day long. I tried the other day to put the wether (neutered goat) with her and her babies and she reacted aggresively towards him ; in fearing something bad was going to happen, I took the wether out of the area. Then, I put one Espresso (not a coffee... it's just the name of one of our black does) with her. Espresso reacted aggresively towards the baby goats, I didn't want them to get hurt.. I took Espresso out and put her back with the other goats. So.. it doesn't work.. Any more ideas?

Diane Kennedy said:

Does she have companion goats? If she's by herself, that could explain the screaming. A single goat is a lonely goat and they need to have buddies.

That is entirely normal and unavoidable. Goats are SO mean to each other! I never put two goats together, if I can avoid it. If you can put two groups together, it spreads out the head butting a little. You should probably put her and the kids back with the herd, and your screaming problems will likely end. Sounds like she is just lonely. I have never had a doe get hurt head butting. I did have a buck give himself a concussion once, but that's a buck in rut for you. I also had a buck injure his eye butting heads through a fence with another buck, so even if they are not in the same pasture, they will fight through the fence. It is just the nature of the beast, I'm afraid.

As for hurting the kids, if you have them in the pasture, it is unlikely they will get hurt. I have only ever lost one kid (out of 400+) and I found him laying next to a wall, so I'm 99% sure that another doe smashed him into the wall and crushed him. If they are outside and a doe butts a kid, he'll just get knocked over, but he'll be fine. The kids need to learn that they can only nurse off mom, and they will try to nurse off other goats a few times before they learn. I've seen a couple of does grab a kid by its tail and yank it away from their udder -- and one even tossed the kid, but the kid was fine.

Sorry I just now saw your first post today. I asked about her being a bottle baby because they sometimes bond with people rather than other goats, and if that's the case, she would want to be with you all the time. It sounds like she is probably just missing the other goats though. If you've had her for three years, and she is just now starting to scream, it's probably because she wants to be with the other goats again.

Also, it is VERY normal for goats to waste a lot of hay. That's one reason I love having a cow. I pick up all the hay that the goats waste, and I give it to the cow. Otherwise, it goes into the compost pile.

The fact that she gobbles up grain when you offer it does not mean that she is screaming for grain. Unfortunately goats LOVE grain far too much and will eat way more of it than would be good for them. 

Goats always waste hay - I clean out their feeder and in front of it - alfalfa stems go to the sheep and all the bits go to the chickens.  We have designed and redesigned feeders for them to try an stop waste to not avail.  Even composting it - it does the garden good so maybe waste is the wrong word.   They are sorting it out for us.

You do have to be careful of grain - too much can kill also.  They don't know when to stop eating it. 

If you have any browse that is very healthful for the goats.   Mine get a walk in the woods daily and are frantic if they miss their chance to pull down limbs on the evergreens and the blackberry leaves - and the grasses that grow along the river edge.  They all line up at the gate crying mid day - walk time.   We cut limbs for the bucks. 

I am wondering what minerals the goats need, and is a mineral block sold at the feed stores enough for them free choice.?

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