Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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What age should I wean bottle baby bucklings and does from grain?

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It really depends on how they're doing. If they are big and meaty, you may never need to feed them grain. That also means you can stop feeding them fairly soon. When someone buys a couple of kids from me, I tell them to buy one bag of grain, and by the time they're done with it, they shouldn't need to buy more.

That is what i wanted to know. I have just about to finish a bag of grain and they feel meaty to me and are just over 2 months old.

How much grain at once? I'm giving about 1/3 cup 2x day. Think I'm over doing it. :/

I usually say 1/2 cup twice a day, so you're doing fine.

Melissa Johnson said:

How much grain at once? I'm giving about 1/3 cup 2x day. Think I'm over doing it. :/

The person I bought my 1st kids (bucklings) from told me NOT to feed them grain.  My poor babies had a hard 1st 2 weeks of life....I had a terrible time getting rid of their scours.  One vet told me to put them on cows milk, another vet told me to switch them back to Doe's Match....I was feeding per the instructions and everyone told me I was over feeding them (2 oz working up to 4 oz 4 times a day). My boys are now 8 weeks old and still quite lean but slowly putting on weight.  They are just now wanting to finish a full 8 oz bottle.

 I also have a feeding station set up where they can get baking soda, Manna Pro loose minerals, timothy pellets, and ground pumpkin seeds.  I just started the pumpkin seeds when I realized they were anemic. They also have access to timothy and orchard grass hay.  They go nuts over their pumpkin seeds.  I gave them some sunflower seeds and one little guy loved them and the other two were disappointed I didn't fill their feeder with more pumpkin seeds.  

 I looked at the Dumor and Purina grain for goats labels and I am not impressed.  Both labels said grain products and grain by-products.  The only grain it does mention is soy.  I will not feed anything to my goats that is not disclosed, especial when I will be using the by product (milk).   

My biggest fear about the unnamed grain by products and unnamed grain products has to do with the genetically modified crops that can accept up to 10x the amount of roundup and not be killed.  Soy hulls are full of round up and being used in horse feed to add weight...and we are poisoning our animals.  

What kind of grains can I feed?  I feed my horses whole oats and barley.  Are these acceptable for goats?  I have no issues with making my own grain formula... I do it for my horses.  

Welcome to the group, Cynthia. Your experience is highly unusual. There is NO way you were overfeeding them. Something was definitely not right. These kids don't sound healthy. Hopefully they're actually wethers rather than breeding animals. Typically kids are chugging down 6-8 ounces by the time they're 2-3 weeks old.  Four ounces, four times a day only adds up to 16 ounces, which is not enough for 2 month old Nigerians. They should be getting 24 to 30 ounces a day. They'll do okay on 24 ounces, and that's what I fed for the first 10-12 years we had goats, but they do better with closer to 30 ounces. If anyone told you that you were overfeeding those kids at the level of milk you indicated, then they have no experience with NDs.

If your kids are anemic, they may have barber pole worms. That's the leading cause of anemia in goats. Feeding them pumpkin seeds won't help much, and that is a grain. After all, grains are just seeds, so you don't want to feed them too much because it can upset the rumen and cause diarrhea and a host of other problems. They probably need a dewormer. Have the vets done fecals? How much do the kids weigh?

There is no doubt that commercial goat feeds have genetically-modified grain in them. The only way you will not get GMO grain is to buy organic, and sadly, I have never seen an organic goat feed that has enough copper in it. Unfortunately, figuring out a balanced diet for goats is rather tricky because they're dessert and mountain animals. They would never survive in the wild in most parts of the US. When we tried to mix our own grain with organic grains, we wound up with a lot of problems, and our milkers looked embarrassingly malnourished. 

I definitely avoid GMOs in my life, and I eat a diet that's almost totally organic. I've had to compromise and let my goats eat GMO grain, but it's just about the only thing toxic that they're exposed to, as they are not even exposed to the preservatives, such as mercury and formaldehyde that are used in vaccines -- compared to humans who are slathering our bodies with more than a dozen personal care products that are toxic, as well as consuming hundreds of artificial ingredients daily that we can't even pronounce. We are all exposed to a toxic load, and it's the cumulative load that kills us. My oldest doe died a peaceful death at 14 1/2, and right now, I have retired does that are up to 14 years old, so a lifetime of commercial grain has not hurt them.

You can definitely try to feed your goats without commercial goat grain, and that's actually preferable with bucks and wethers, as they should not get grain -- but it's a challenge with does. You will have to figure out how to get supplemental copper, selenium, zinc, and other nutrients into them that they won't be able to get from browsing and whatever grains you give them. As for your little guys, just don't feed them grain at all. It can lead to urinary calculi in males.

Thank you for the lengthy reply Deborah.  I need to weigh them again.  I made a makeshift pen for them on the side of my barn about 4 weeks ago.  I didn't think they had grown that much until yesterday when I went to put a rain coat on one of my kids that I shaved (he was scratching like a dog in spite of treating him with sprays and drench). The raincoat fit him 4 weeks ago and now the only thing that fit was the neck.  He had definitely doubled in size.  All 3 of them are starting to fill out and look more normal for their age.  

I followed the seller's directions and wormed them with Cydectin 1 week ago.  They were only 11 lbs at that time but have put on considerable weight since then.  I have ordered the COWP, selenium paste and aluminum chloride. It should be here in a few days.  

They all have healthy appetites...I give them pine branches, oak leaves and raspberry bushes in their pen.  They have straw bales, dog houses, 1/2 barrels, chairs, planks and drain pipe to play on and in.  After they eat they urinate then run and play like boys for a good couple of hours (while I get nothing done because they are so stinkin cute)! They make frequent stops at the mineral bar for their timothy pellets or nibble on hay.  

I have some concerns about the buckling not drinking enough but I will start another post for that.  



Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

Welcome to the group, Cynthia. Your experience is highly unusual. There is NO way you were overfeeding them. Something was definitely not right. These kids don't sound healthy. Hopefully they're actually wethers rather than breeding animals. Typically kids are chugging down 6-8 ounces by the time they're 2-3 weeks old.  Four ounces, four times a day only adds up to 16 ounces, which is not enough for 2 month old Nigerians. They should be getting 24 to 30 ounces a day. They'll do okay on 24 ounces, and that's what I fed for the first 10-12 years we had goats, but they do better with closer to 30 ounces. If anyone told you that you were overfeeding those kids at the level of milk you indicated, then they have no experience with NDs.

If your kids are anemic, they may have barber pole worms. That's the leading cause of anemia in goats. Feeding them pumpkin seeds won't help much, and that is a grain. After all, grains are just seeds, so you don't want to feed them too much because it can upset the rumen and cause diarrhea and a host of other problems. They probably need a dewormer. Have the vets done fecals? How much do the kids weigh?

There is no doubt that commercial goat feeds have genetically-modified grain in them. The only way you will not get GMO grain is to buy organic, and sadly, I have never seen an organic goat feed that has enough copper in it. Unfortunately, figuring out a balanced diet for goats is rather tricky because they're dessert and mountain animals. They would never survive in the wild in most parts of the US. When we tried to mix our own grain with organic grains, we wound up with a lot of problems, and our milkers looked embarrassingly malnourished. 

I definitely avoid GMOs in my life, and I eat a diet that's almost totally organic. I've had to compromise and let my goats eat GMO grain, but it's just about the only thing toxic that they're exposed to, as they are not even exposed to the preservatives, such as mercury and formaldehyde that are used in vaccines -- compared to humans who are slathering our bodies with more than a dozen personal care products that are toxic, as well as consuming hundreds of artificial ingredients daily that we can't even pronounce. We are all exposed to a toxic load, and it's the cumulative load that kills us. My oldest doe died a peaceful death at 14 1/2, and right now, I have retired does that are up to 14 years old, so a lifetime of commercial grain has not hurt them.

You can definitely try to feed your goats without commercial goat grain, and that's actually preferable with bucks and wethers, as they should not get grain -- but it's a challenge with does. You will have to figure out how to get supplemental copper, selenium, zinc, and other nutrients into them that they won't be able to get from browsing and whatever grains you give them. As for your little guys, just don't feed them grain at all. It can lead to urinary calculi in males.

Eleven pound at 8 weeks is very underweight. I've had kids weigh twice that much by then, but they should at least be in the upper teens.

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