Grain and Goats

I have a herd of four right now, a buckling from this spring, a whether from this spring as bucklings buddy, and a mother/ daughter pair, mom a few years old and baby from this spring as well. My question is on grain and goats. I'm sure it varies by each goat and their independent needs, but i want a better idea of how much each goat should be eating each night. We use the purina all lifestages goat feed from TSC. Our momma goat might possibly be expecting in a few months (we did not breed her, we got her from someone else and they said they think their billy got to her one last time before they got rid of him, sooo...maybe. maybe not?) and i've heard that momma's have fifferent nutritional neesds than like a buck or whether would. They get hay each day, just wondering how much grain each individual should be getting based on gender and all those variables.

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  • Only milking does need grain.  Do not feed grain to pregnant does who are not producing milk.  The extra calories can go to babies (and do) who will be too large for a safe birth.  I made that mistake.  Ironically, it was my breeder who told me to give grain.  That was the second kidding (first was just two weeks after I bought my girls); I lost three of four quads because of it.  Luckily, my girl did not need a c-section though my vet had to deliver the last three because of their size.  Ironically, that same spring, my breeder lost two litters (the first babies she had ever lost) because of kids being too large (and vet was there both times). Just a week or two before kidding, start giving the doe a tablespoon or two of grain just to get her rumen used to it again.  Some people feed grain and have no issues but it is a goat-by-goat basis.  The same year I lost 3 of 5, my other doe, on the same diet, kidded with triplets with no issues.  I learned my lesson, however, and do not feed pregnant does grain.  They have high quality hay and minerals so nutrition is good.
    Boys don't ever get grain as was said regarding the urinary calculi.  It is a painful way for them for them to die if it cannot be corrected.
    I considered all this when I was first told all of this.  What I realized is that goats on their own in the wild do not eat grain - they eat browse and likely some grass but do not graze in grain fields.  If grain is not part of their natural diet, it seems the reason we give it is to make ourselves feel better.  As always, this is my experience and others may be different.  I have kids buried under the apple tree that say grain was a bad idea - they were all over four pounds (one was five plus) which is heavy for a fine-boned Nigerian Dwarf doe.

  • Thank you Sheana! I’ve searched around a bit too and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with that response. Sounds like the boys are going to have to get a different treat at dinner time instead.
  • I'm very new to goats but from the reading I have done here you arent supposed to give grain to males, it has too much calcium and can cause stones to develop in the urinary tract. I do believe females while pregnant and nursing can be supplemented with grain. I'm sure you can find some info on other posts as well. Good luck to you! 

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