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Will they eat themselves to death?

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Goats' started by Squirrelgirl88, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Jun 5, 2011
    Squirrelgirl88

    Squirrelgirl88 Overrun with beasties

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    OMG - our 9 week old ND girls are little eating machines. I'm worried that I will be raising obese goats! I've already overfed DH, and the dog is now on a diet.

    Are goats smart enough to STOP eating when they are full, or do they just eat like the rest of us at a buffet?

    They have hay available 24/7. The have access to outside grazing area with grass, trees, bushes etc. for 12+ hours a day.

    I have been giving them a handfull - literaly of pellets in the morning. But if they see me with BOSS, they act like they have been starved to death!

    I usually give the chickens a handfull of BOSS in the afternoon - like a treat. The goats come running and stick their whole head in the cup.

    So, do I resist giving them everything they want?
  2. Jun 5, 2011
    20kidsonhill

    20kidsonhill True BYH Addict Golden Herd Member

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    They will over eat on grain and BOSS, it has to be limited.
  3. Jun 5, 2011
    freemotion

    freemotion Self Sufficient Queen

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    Yes, you do, your instincts are correct. You can give them free choice hay all the time and pasture/browse while they are growing can be unlimited. Depending on what you have, you may need to limit their access later if they get obese.

    I only grain if they need it, not just because. Others grain everyone. So that is a personal choice....but you must limit it, especially for the smaller breeds. Remember that one cookie (or a tablespoon of BOSS, or pellets, or whatever) for a tiny critter is similar to us eating the entire box of cookies....or the entire case!
  4. Jun 5, 2011
    warthog

    warthog Overrun with beasties

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    Yes it would seem goats cannot resist grain. I have one girl in particular who would just hoover up anything you put in front of her.

    Pasture/browse/hay unlimited, grain etc only when needed in my opinion.
  5. Jun 5, 2011
    elevan

    elevan Critter Addict ♥ Moderator Moderator

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    Goats are to grain as I am to chocolate ;)
    :lol:
  6. Jun 5, 2011
    Ariel301

    Ariel301 Loving the herd life

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    I give mine as much hay as they can eat, the best quality alfalfa I can find. (They're hard-working dairy girls though, so they need it!) I also give them as much goat mineral as they want. My milkers get grain while they are on the milk stand, all they can eat in the time they are being milked, except for one who is on a no-grain diet as she gets sick if she has a lot of carbs. My bucks don't get any grain. Kids get a little grain in the evening (a handful at most each) as a treat while I work with them, teaching them to be handled/led/put on the stand.

    If the goats are not having and raising babies or being milked, they might not even need any grain, but it won't hurt to give them a handful for a treat. You could also try alfalfa pellets if they are getting too fat but you just feel like you need to give them something, it isn't so fattening as grain.
  7. Jun 6, 2011
    who922

    who922 Exploring the pasture

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    Well, I came on to ask this question and....amazing!...you just asked it for me! I guess I am going to have to break down and buy hay because I'm not sure if it will ever rain here again!!! I usually just get one big bale for the winter. However, since there is no rain, means there are no weeds, thus the goats have nothing to eat and I am rationing Noble Goat every day!

    So if I am getting the consensus right, I can just leave the big bale in the pen with them and they will self discipline...kinda? I feed them Sorghum Sudan in the winter and they like that.
  8. Jun 6, 2011
    Livinwright Farm

    Livinwright Farm Goat Fancier

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    Most goats are as others have mentioned, but there are a few exceptions to the general rule. I could, and have on occassion(when I will be gone past the night time feeding), fill their dish with their day's worth of grain(Noble Goat for my girls), and I will check on them at night and their dishes still contain about half a cup of grain. My girls self ration, which is a real blessing for me & my family.
    I have heard from a lot of goat farmers that their goats will get pasture bloat or runny poo come spring from over eating all the fresh greenery, but my girls will go and eat some fresh greenery, come back to the hay, go and eat fresh, come back to the hay.... then they go lay down for about half an hour burping and chewing cud, then back to the eating cycle. I am not sure if this is due to them being very keen to their systems, or if it is due to my giving them produce trimmings that I get from the store through winter(thus eliminating the " :ep GREEN THINGS!!!" reaction to spring growth). :hu who knows.
  9. Jun 6, 2011
    helmstead

    helmstead Goat Mistress

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    LOL At the overfeeding of DH and the dog!

    I creep feed my juniors (in other words, they have a feeder full of medicated goat pellets available to them 24/7) until they're about 8 mos old.

    Nope, they don't eat themselves to death. Matter of a fact, it really makes a huge difference in the adult animal's health.

    BOSS is another story - that is like goat candy! Yep, they'll eat too much of that.
  10. Jun 6, 2011
    Squirrelgirl88

    Squirrelgirl88 Overrun with beasties

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    So the handful of goat pellets are ok, the hay is ok to have 24/7 and the pasture is ok.

    But no sweets (BOSS) before dinner, and only as a treat once in awhile.

    got it. sounds easy.

    (coming from someone that can take down a whole box of HoHo's single handedly) :lol:

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