Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I'd like suggestions on what to plant for a winter cover crop that Nigerians like to eat.  We have pretty cold weather here at 6000 feet, and I need to get something in the ground right away but am not sure what to plant that they'll like and that will be good nourishment.  Thanks,.

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winter wheat maybe...I just thought of that because my neighbor is planting winter wheat so his cows will have something to graze. Just a thought.

I was wondering about planting a bunch of things we people like for us and them. I guess I need to research this some to see what is appropriate. I was wondering about greens like turnips etc. and if those kinds of things are good supplements at this time of year or if it is best to just stick with more traditional feed type plants.

My extension agent mentioned turnips but don't think I'd want an entire field of them.  He suggested white clover and some other grain crops, but I want to make sure the goats like whatever I plant.

Margaret Langley said:

I was wondering about planting a bunch of things we people like for us and them. I guess I need to research this some to see what is appropriate. I was wondering about greens like turnips etc. and if those kinds of things are good at this time of year or if it is best to just stick with more traditional feed type plants.

Oh yea, I wouldn't do that either. But I figured those types of things would be a nice treat to through in with whatever else I could figure out to plant. They like lots of stuff. Not sure what all is good for them.

   I planted some giant sugar beets a variety called Geante Blanche which is supposed to be a "fodder beet"I have a 15 ' bed of them.I also have turnips in.I am at 4000 ft in eastern calif and when winter sets in those nice green tops will die back.But the root will still be good.I pull them and roughly chop them up and feed.But my main feed is still alfalfa.Last winter we had alot of carrots in the ground going into winter.Same thing tops died back but roots were fine.I also have kale and collards in the ground and growing into mature plants.I am not sure how actually hardy these are so am prepared to put some row cover over them.I could probably row cover turnips etc and green might be ok.I fed quite a few turnips during milking last winter and noticed no flavor change.Same with alot of rosemary I fed.Given all I have in it will not last that long if i feed on regular basis.And a certain point the greens will slow way down in growing because of short days.And all this stuff I will bring to the goats rather than let them browse it.As far as a more traditional cover crop like wheat or rye I think they would browse it a bit but would then want to move on to some bushes or tree bark or leaves green and dry.From my experience they really like a little here and a little there.

hope this helps

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions.  I'd never thought of planting human food and goat food, but think I'll give it a try. 

Don't forget the Comfrey! I don't know about the winterability of it but if it works in winter you may want some. I just received some roots that I ordered and am so excited about it but am not sure about when I can plant it and if it is ok all year or if it stays year after year! If anyone can tell me anything about the planting and care of it that would be great! Also do you lay these roots down lengthwise in the ground.

Margaret...

Comfrey is an easy keeper! Once planted its hard to get rid of. We tried to keep only a small patch and get rid of the rest only to have it reappear and flourish. Every year there's more and husband cuts it down to feed the goats it quickly regrows. 

The goats do love it though!

You can Google comfrey and get lots of info.  There are some caveats about side effects, though. Don't think I want to try that one.  Thanks for the suggestions!

Margaret Langley said:

Don't forget the Comfrey! I don't know about the winterability of it but if it works in winter you may want some. I just received some roots that I ordered and am so excited about it but am not sure about when I can plant it and if it is ok all year or if it stays year after year! If anyone can tell me anything about the planting and care of it that would be great! Also do you lay these roots down lengthwise in the ground.

I have only just began to see anything bad about comfrey.  Until now I had heard only rave reviews of its wonderful benefits. I am aware that it seemed to cause liver problems in rats when given several times more than there body weight for an extended period and that humans would have to use it at the rate of 3-4 cups of tea for 140 years to consume that much. I ain't hangin' around that long! Way to many people have wonderful things to say about it for me to worry about the goats eating from these plants. They put all kinds of dangerous stuff in the feeds we buy our animals and the foods they sale for people. Way to many for me to worry about plants God made making the goats sick. I figure if I give them a wide variety and they are not desperate for food they will eat what they need and will be safe. I probably have hundreds of  types of live plants on my property so I do't see them eating anything bad for them unless desperate. Like when I built a new pen and they could only reach azaleas! that wasn't good. But I have many HUGE azaleas here and they don't mess with them when on the loose! It is very strange how they know what to eat!

There is one comfrey plant in the goats' area but protected by fencing though the leaves are big enough now they could reach through and get a bite or two.  They have not.  The other plant is growing in a large pot between their two pens and they don't seem to even notice it so apparently they don't need anything in it right now.  Here I was concerned about free access during the walk across there but no need.  Perhaps the hardy kiwi bush next to it is more attractive right now; that scamp Capri started eating the kiwi this week!!!

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