Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Not sure of my post went through before... basically it was talking about how we lost a one-year-old weathered male, to urinary calculi a.k.a. kidney stones… My vet said she is beyond frustrated at how many people are told to feed grain to Goats… They do not need grain! Unfortunately two different breeders that I bought from both told me to supplement hay with grain especially during the winter... Also tends to be a link with males that are castrated too young. They should be at least 12 weeks NOT eight…

aluminum chloride is a major need if they are going to be fed grain, but grain really should be avoided at all costs…dwarf Nigerians are highly susceptible to having the stones and it is such a painful ordeal for these animals... I guess you live and learn but please do your research especially if you are new to Goats like we were two years ago… Unfortunately my other one has also been on grain so now we have started treating himand will hopefully avoid this highly preventable  disease... Look at the urethra of a male compared to the female… It is amazing how far and Windy their tract is... No wonder why it is almost always fatal. Sad, but again avoidable...

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Just so no one is confused -- does in milk do need grain or they get insanely skinny. It is bucks and wethers that should not have grain. Dry does really should not get grain either because they can become obese very easily.

That is really sad that two different breeders told you to feed grain to wethers. I got started back in 2002, and no one EVER told me to feed grain to wethers or bucks, and everyone was castrating bucks at 8 weeks. It has been known for a very long time that feeding grain to bucks can cause UC (stones). If you see them pee and see how tiny their penis is, something smaller than a grain of sand can easily clog up the plumbing.

Goats have become such popular pets in recent years that there are a lot of new people raising them who somehow got the wrong info on this. I hope you contacted both of the breeders and let them know.

The other thing that frustrates me about this problem is that with all of the new people in goats these days, way too many people think that goats can get constipated, and when they see a goat straining, they give it an enema when they should be rushing to the vet. If a buck has his body stretched out and is straining, and especially if he is making noise, he can't pee. If any goat actually cannot poop, you also need to go to the vet because it's probably something really serious like some kind of blockage -- like he ate a plastic bag or something. In 16 years I've never had a constipated goat -- or one with urinary calculi, but UC is definitely way more common than constipation. I have heard people say that their goat died of UC because they had incorrectly assumed it was constipated and didn't get it to the vet soon enough.

Thanks for your feedback. Yes. I did contact both breeders today and one stated she is holding back on castrating ( her vets advice) until they are 6 months now.
I'm Just focusing on keeping my other boy healthy and hoping he doesn't show any signs.

The big problem is feeding the grain. That's what causes the stones to form.Castration has nothing to do with stones forming. Even bucks can get stones when fed grain, so age at castration has a very tiny role. The difference in the size of the urethra in a buck and a wether is minimal. A tiny stone can even kill an intact buck. 

It's really not realistic to wait to castrate wethers until 6 months because most are sold long before that, and I learned a long time ago that people don't bring back bucks for castration.

Your other wether should be fine assuming you are no longer feeding him grain. 

I was wondering if there is a specific thing in grain that causes the kidney stones? For example the molasses or corn.....
Also was wondering if small, very small amounts of beet pulp is ok for the goats?

It is the high phosphorus, which is in all grain. It is only a problem in bucks and wethers because of the tiny urethra. Does would not have a problem with a small stone. Plus milkers are usually being fed alfalfa, which is high in calcium, which balances the phosphorus. You don't want to feed alfalfa to bucks because it has too much calcium. Does need calcium for milk production. Since bucks don't need the calcium, the can wind up becoming zinc deficient because the calcium binds with the zinc making it unavailable. That's why it is just much simpler to feed bucks a good grass hay and no grain rather than trying to give them something they don't need and then having to add other things to balance the things they should not have been fed in the first place.

Beet pulp is not really nutritious. It is usually just used when people want to put weight on goats or other animals. Plus, about 90% of the beets in this country are genetically modified.

Darleen Somley said:

I was wondering if there is a specific thing in grain that causes the kidney stones? For example the molasses or corn.....
Also was wondering if small, very small amounts of beet pulp is ok for the goats?

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