I have not gotten my goats yet, but I will be getting them sometime soon. I plan on getting 2 wethers and 1 doeling. I have a few questions about food. First of all, can wethers and does eat the same food, or do they need different things? Secondly, I have read so many different opinions on food in the other discussions here and have questions regarding what they need. Do they need to eat alfalfa, pasture, loose minerals, goat chow, COB, baking soda, and salt? Or are there some things that make up for others? Thanks so much!

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  • When you provide each of them separately, they seem to be able to self regulate, Sophia! I put out a separate bin for baking soda, kelp, and my mineral mix.

  • Will the goats "know" what they need (regarding mineral, baking soda, etc.) or will they just kinda take it when they want like there food?
  • I don't, but there are others here that do.

    Lisa Cotter said:

    Do you feed recently weaned babies, does and wethers, differently while they are growing?

  • That's why I said what you feed will depend on your area, etc... because my feeding program is based on trying things on my herd... and from learning things here on line in this group too! :)

    I used a website (it's shut down because of the govm't shut down, but I'll try to remember to share it later.) I did a search, and it told me what the soil looks like (IN GENERAL) in my area. I plan to have my specific area tested at my local extension office someday... but I haven't yet. The reason I stress in general, is because soil composition can be different from even as close as neighbor to neighbor. So the information I got to help me with my feeding choices were very generalized for my area.

  • I don't think that Rachel is saying that you should not get Goat Chow. She is saying that she has figured out a feeding program that works without using it. Any commercial feed will have GMO grains in it, but unless you are in a position to buy organic grain or the types of grain she mentioned, the GMO grain is unfortunately unavoidable. Finding a balanced ration can be a challenge if you are starting from scratch, which is why it's not a great idea for someone who is new to goats. I tried to do it myself years ago and had pretty bad results. I use Purina Goat Chow or Dumor Sweet Feed for goats and have great fertility (lots of triplets and quads) and good milk production (does peaking at 1/2 gallon to 3 quarts a day and milking for a year or longer).

    As I say all the time -- do NOT simply repeat what someone else is doing because what works for one farm may not work for you. We all have different goals, different goat genetics, different feeds available to us, and different water, pasture, and browse. Goats are desert and mountain animals, so those who live out west (like Rachel) don't usually need to rely as much on supplemental minerals and premixed feeds. If you are in the plains states where goats have never survived in the wild, you will have to work harder to keep your herd healthy and well-nourished.

  • Thanks for the replies, everyone!! You all have definitely helped me. So it's not a good idea to get goat chow? Can they get everything they need from hay, loose minerals, and pasture? Also, Rachel, how were you able to figure out that you live in an area low in selenium and copper area?

  • Do you feed recently weaned babies, does and wethers, differently while they are growing?

  • Nutritionists recommend NO additional salt for goats because there is salt in their minerals, and if you have salt available separately, they may sometime consume that rather than the minerals, thereby reducing their consumption of the minerals and resulting in some type of deficiency.

    You really only need to have baking soda available free choice for goats that are receiving grain. For example, my bucks don't get grain and they don't have baking soda available, and I've never had any problem. It is usually grain that causes a rumen imbalance.

    Assuming you have a good quality grass hay, wethers and doelings don't need alfalfa or grain (goat chow). If your grass hay isn't great quality, however, and your goats don't feel nice and meaty, then you might need to add a little alfalfa or grain.

  • Cob has corn, which is GMO and sometimes molasses, which can be very hard on their teeth.  I have never had salt available as I give free choice loose minerals and I don't think they  need both, but would love to hear if others agree with this.

  • I follow the exact same feeding routine (and for the same reasons) as Rachel except they only have pasture when we are able to herd them as we don't have fencing...

    The only difference at the moment is that I bought some organic alfalfa pellets from Azure standard and have added that to the grain mix.  I don't know how often I will do that...

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