Feeding kids: amounts and schedule?

My kids Delilah (back, doe) and Emerson (front, wether) are now 5.5 months old and doing pretty well.

I know that growing babies need the extra protein from grain (I feed 17% protein goat feed pellets with a good calcium/phosphorus balance).

HOWEVER, I've misplaced the feeding instructions I received with my first pair of wether kids (now about 1 1/2), and have forgotten how I handled feeding, in terms of tapering them off grain/pellets as they grew. (They each get a couple bites a day now) 

I've been letting the little ones eat as much goat feed pellets as they want 2 times a day so far, but I feel like it's time to start feeding once a day and limiting the amount, but can't remember the amounts/schedule/timing I did last time.

People probably have different practices, but what do you do in terms of the following for growing kids?:

  • When to start feeding once a day rather than twice?
  • When to stop letting them free-feed on grain/pellets and start measuring (and how much to feed)?
  • When/how to start tapering down the amount of grain/pellets given?

My 4 Nigerian Dwarf goats have a field (about .6 acres) with plenty of varied stuff to browse on and also get hay and free choice minerals (Manna Pro).



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  • A delayed thank you for this response!

    Of course you are right... I'm not feeding straight up grain. It's a pelleted feed that has a mix of grain and alfalfa/grass ingredients.

    To clarify, I wasn't truly free-feeding the kids on it. I was giving each about 1.5 cups twice a day and letting them eat all of that they wanted, then taking the rest away. They never finished it all.

    I've since switched to doing the same thing once a day, and they rarely finish it all.

    I'll be gradually cutting back on how much of it they get as they grow. These guys are 6.6 months old now, but I swear from looking at old photos that they are only just now getting bigger than the first two were at ~3 months old. The seller kept them a couple weeks longer than we initially agreed because they were tiny and growing slowly.

  • You should actually never let kids free feed on grain. Maybe your pellets have a lot of alfalfa and grasses in it? If you let goats eat as much grain as they want, best case scenario, they'll end up with diarrhea. Worst case they'll get enterotoxemia, goat polio, or bloat. You are only the second person I've heard of letting them have as much as they want, and the other person lost one of the kids to enterotoxemia within a week, which is why I'm thinking that your pellets don't actually have much grain in them.

    Your kids look great, so they're no reason you can't wean them off grain completely over the next week or two. When people buy wethers from me, I tell them to buy one 50# bag of grain, give the kids about a cup a day, and when that bag is empty, don't buy another one. That usually happens somewhere around six months.

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