Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

So I've been reading on this site for 2 years and have learned SO much. But again I made a mistake and learned the hard way. I have a 2nd freshener who started showing at 2 months and I was SURE she was having triplets or quads (she had triplets last year). So, fearing pregnancy toxemia (after reading way too many horror stories about it), I decided (against the advice of Deborah and others on here) to feed my doe grain in her last month. I started slow and increased the grain until she was getting about 1 and a 1/2 cups twice a day at the last. She was enormous. Well, she had TWINS 3 days ago and one was 4 lbs 10 oz and the other was 4 lbs 6 oz!!! The fist one came out with head and ONE leg and she was fairly stuck because of her size but I manage to get her out while mama screamed bloody murder. The buckling was easier as he was diving. They are both beautiful and healthy. Never again. I will NOT feed my does grain in pregnancy again except maybe in the last week and not much. 

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So do you think my alfalfa/hay mix (alfalfa, timothy, orchard-- 15% protein) is okay for my pregnant girls? This is the only true "quality" feed we have. Our hay is very mediocre and they hardly touch it. But, my girls so far are having very large kids and I have 2 more to go in 2 months. If it's the fault of the alfalfa hay mix, I'll cut that out until everyone is in milk. But then how will they get their calcium they need in late pregnancy? Could anything else be causing my kids to be large? They don't get grain until they freshen. 

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

I use Sweetlix, but you can use other brands. Just be sure it has at least 1500 ppm copper in it. I also use a free choice selenium-E from Caprine Supply, as well as kelp and baking soda. So I have two of those mineral feeders for a total of four dishes. If you are feeding grain, you really need to have baking soda there in case they get an upset rumen.

The mineral feeder needs to be put up with screws. If you use nails, they'll knock it down. You also need to put it above their tails so they can't poop in it. You can put a cement block next to it for them to put their front feet on to eat the minerals.

The protein in the alfalfa isn't as bad as the carbs in the grain. A grass-alfalfa mix usually works for most of pregnancy and then alfalfa at the very end when the need for calcium goes up right before kidding and milking.

It is a real balancing act with the alfalfa because they need the calcium the last couple weeks of pregnancy. You really don't want to deal with hypocalcemia, although it is usually only a problem with heavy milkers.

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