Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Hi everyone! I am new to the whole goat raising and homesteading but i find it extremely interesting and fun to learn about. Anyways my husband and i bought a goat whose roughly 4 months old give or take and we were told by the lady we got him from to give him half a cup of grain 2x a day we went to a feed store and they had a sweet three way and alfalfa/hay mix. After awhile we noticed that his droppings were becoming more solid so i looked it up and got that maybe its too much grain or a parasite i didnt see anything that was abnormal looking so we started feeding him less grains and that has helped as after about almost 2 weeks its back to normal. Ive heard that the sweet mix isnt really that good for them thats its pretty much like a candy to them he gets really excited and eats it pretty quickly. He also digs thru the hay/alfalfa mix and seems to just be eating alfalfa... I dont want my goat to be a sweet junkie so any help with what would be better to get would be appreciated.. Also we were told to get a mineral block which he doesnt seem to be licking at all.. Is there a way to entice him so he gets his minerals? :)

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First:  Do not give grain to boys.  Only lactating does need grain.  I also understand that alfalfa should be limited for them as well because of the calcium.  Good quality grass hay should be the bulk of their diet besides their pasture/browse.
Male goats are subject to urinary calculi which results in a very painful death for them. 
Minerals should be granular.  Their tiny tongues cannot get enough of the minerals for them from licking a block.
Three things they need, in separate containers and free choice, are loose minerals, baking soda, and granular sea kelp.  They need the baking soda so they can balance their rumens; goats are very good at self-medicating - their humans just need to make it available.
For treats, please give natural things to them.  Remember, anything the human gives them is a treat.  Natural includes apple slices, carrot slices, blackberry or raspberry leaves, sunflower seeds (small amounts), sliced organic bananas are a favorite around here (including skins which is why organic); apple tree leaves, grape leaves, etc.
To find out if he has an excess of worms, take a fresh fecal sample to your vet. Never give dewormer unless a worm load is confirmed by the fecal test.  The best thing for worm prevention is a clean area since the worm larvae live in the ground.
Also, please get him a goat buddy.  Goats generally do not do well without another goat regardless of how much attention they get from their people.  Goats need a goat buddy that speaks their language.  Without that, they can become stressed and a stressed goat is not a healthy goat.

BTW "grass hay" would be something like Timothy, Orchard, a mix of the two, or the like.  This is different than legume hay and Alfalfa.  As Glenna said a quality grass hay (I use a Timothy/Orchard mix) is all that is needed (besides browse/pasture) for any goat besides lactating does.

Whoops!  I should have said I feed mine good quality orchard grass hay rather than just say good quality grass hay.

Glenna I only jumped in and added that info because I know as a newbie myself the whole hay thing confused me.  I had to go to the farm store and act the total newb and ask the "dumb" questions to figure it all out.  It also took me a lot of effort to finally find a place around here to get good quality hay. My closest feed store only carried Coastal hay which seemed to be very low quality (very brown, dusty, fully of thorny weeds).  The stuff from Tractor Supply was also all brown.  I finally had to stop at a local horse boarding place and ask them about their hay source to find a good farm store with good hay about 40 minutes from me.  I just bought some compressed Orchard/Timothy bales that seem to have a good green color to them.

Silly!  Not "jumped in" at all.  That's what we are here for, to help each other.  It's not unusual to leave out a bit of information (which I did!) that could be important.  We learn from each other's experiences and knowledge.
When I brought my first goats home, I actually bought six bales of different hay to see which they would like best.  It turned out to be five bales of bedding and one of hay since they only liked one of them.  I also observed later that they seemed to like the orchard grass hay best when it had a lot of wide blades in it. I feel very fortunate to have a good supply of hay, and hay they like, but they don't like the "same hay" from a different farm.  Picky eaters for certain, these girls are.
Fortunately, I learned, before I had any boys, that boys should not have grain.  Even though I had had a male cat that had u.c., I had no idea it could happen to male goats. 

Always add your own thoughts and experiences!  At our goat association meeting last evening, our president told the new members that there can be ten different answers to the same question and all based on experience.  For me, what I learn here outweighs everything else (except my vet) because of the amazing collection of truly informed, and caring, members.  For me, what Deborah says supersedes everything else - that is because of her extensive research into current practices and information.  She doesn't quote something from a decades-old source but keeps up on the latest research.  So much of what we hear is "updated" information about cattle altered for goats (undoubtedly because cattle were a bigger business); and goats are very different from cattle.
I am so very grateful for this particular group because of the tremendous knowledge here and the sincere effort to want to help others be more successful with their four-footed family members (and no egos involved).  Before I bought my first goats, I spent literally hours a day reading through the archives.


Aaron White said:

Glenna I only jumped in and added that info because I know as a newbie myself the whole hay thing confused me.  I had to go to the farm store and act the total newb and ask the "dumb" questions to figure it all out.  It also took me a lot of effort to finally find a place around here to get good quality hay. My closest feed store only carried Coastal hay which seemed to be very low quality (very brown, dusty, fully of thorny weeds).  The stuff from Tractor Supply was also all brown.  I finally had to stop at a local horse boarding place and ask them about their hay source to find a good farm store with good hay about 40 minutes from me.  I just bought some compressed Orchard/Timothy bales that seem to have a good green color to them.

We are new to goats as well and bought meadow grass hay, that was the only grass hay they feed store had. Is this going to be ok? Also what is the sea kelp for? We dont have that one and have not heard about that yet. Thank you for the help!

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