Anyone have GRAIN FREE dairy goats?

CntryBoy777

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Something ya aren't considering....nuts, like acorns, grass and weed seeds....also has to be considered, because they have varying protein levels.....we fed our meat goats a small amount of pellets 2 times daily...just for routine and ability to get them to where we needed them to be....pellets rattlin' in a plastic cup sure gets some "attention"....but we didn't have any "production", so they could've been fine on no grain, as I sowed winter crops for them to forage in winter....the 3 goats we had didn't eat but a bale of hay a month...our 12 ducks went thru 2 bales...we used it as their bedding.... :)
 

WildersMilkMaid

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I am not sure that the gluten in grain is actually translated into the milk but I am not one to say that with authority. It would be something good to look at. There is a grazing magazine(paper) called Stockman Grass Farmer. It is all about growing grass, as pastures/hay you name it. It might be something you want to look at. TSC used to carry it for someone who might want to try it.... they might send a single issue for a price. I am not a goat person.....

I have my "grain" mixtures made custom at a local mill. They use very little "by products" using more all grain type rations. I get the DE put in it, I get the kelp for micronutrients,. Get all our feeds done pretty much custom. We feed a "calf feed: that is a sweet feed 14%, and I get a custom blend of 17% protein pellets and I mix both for the dairy cows that I milk or have calves on the nurse cows. I get the layer mixed custom also because I want the DE in it. 16% layer and they stay fat and sassy and lay good. The meat birds grow good on it without all the leg problems from the higher protein, growing rations that puts the meat on them. The sheep get the same pellets and sweet feed , but again I don't have goats.
Thank you! I am a subscriber to Stockman Grass Farmer already. It is a great little journal but directed more toward commercial growers. I have 2.5 acres, about half of which is woods, so I fear intensive rotational grazing is not in my future. But a girl can dream, right? :)

The gluten does translate into eggs and meat with chickens, for example, (as does soy and all the phytoestrogens that come with it!) but I have not found info about transferring to milk. Likely it does. I myself don’t have a huge gluten issue, so convincing me to change my entire feeding routine around that is probably going to be tough!

I love the idea of the custom blend having DE and kelp in it. I’ll have to check with my “guy” and see if I can change up my recipes. We feed our birds (guineas and ducks, and twice yearly freedom ranger meat chickens) a 20% Broiler feed that is soy free and nonGMO. The hog feed and goat feed we get are also soy free and nonGMO but can’t remember the percentages on those. For the Broiler feed, they use fish meal instead of soy for the protein, not exactly the “natural diet” I’m looking for with most poultry but I guess it works out, and fits well for our ducks.
 

WildersMilkMaid

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Something ya aren't considering....nuts, like acorns, grass and weed seeds....also has to be considered, because they have varying protein levels.....we fed our meat goats a small amount of pellets 2 times daily...just for routine and ability to get them to where we needed them to be....pellets rattlin' in a plastic cup sure gets some "attention"....but we didn't have any "production", so they could've been fine on no grain, as I sowed winter crops for them to forage in winter....the 3 goats we had didn't eat but a bale of hay a month...our 12 ducks went thru 2 bales...we used it as their bedding.... :)
Point well taken about the nuts and seeds! My girls go crazy for acorns, and I’ve definitely watched them go out of their way for Grass and weed seeds. And you’re very right about the sound of those pellets 😆
 

Mini Horses

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@farmerjan has provided a nicely detailed explanation! Forages vary greatly. Supplementation assures nutrition is provided.

You must consider that "wild" isn't the same as years back -- with the civilizing of most areas & chemicals. BUT -- many of the "natural" browse growth can provide varying degrees of protein, sugars, tannins, roughage at different stages of growth. Plus weather affects them, as well as the nutritional content of the soils.. So browsing animals can taste this and eat accordingly -- sometimes not in a good way. LOL As said, nuts, seed, fruits/berries, leaves & bark, even dirt, can supply vit/min/proteins, etc.

As to the fish meal -- more natural than you may first think. All fowl eat bugs, worms, fish, other meats, with gusto!

The type of goats you raise makes a difference in their feed needs -- high producers require more -- like the cattle. Plus many goats can be "milked through", thus not breeding every year. Our own desire for these animals to provide a set quantity, for a set time, demands far more nutritional requirements than just kidding and nurturing their offspring to weaning.
 

WildersMilkMaid

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Excellent points all around. These animals definitely have to produce more than in their wild state. Makes me thankful for all the farmers growing feed for animals, that’s for sure!

As far as the fish goes, I just meant that I haven’t seen a chicken catching fish from a pond... but they are kind of crazy so I would not put it past them 😆 they definitely love their animal products. My birds like clabbered milk too. But can you blame them?
 

Tatiana Blackburn

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I’m just curious if anyone raises their dairy goats without grain, and why/why not?

I keep hearing that Goats need grain, but also to limit/cut grain because of bloat. Is there an alternative? Alfalfa perhaps? Is that too expensive or ineffective? Doesn’t it increase milk production? What are the perks to grain versus alfalfa, forage, hay, etc.?
I have Nigerian Dwarf goats and I usually feed them Timothy grass. I know you can’t feed a castrated males alfalfa due to risk of urinary tract infection. I usually supplement with high milk producing grain when they’re bred and for 2 months after they kid. My girls do produce good quality milk but will usually not milk them until babies start weaning.
 

rachels.haven

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If you feed premium alfalfa, and alfalfa pellets AND have easy keeping, lower producing animals you should be able to skip the grain. Good luck keeping them on the stand though, lol. They're not going to hand you the milk. It's an exchange in their minds. No grain, no milk for you.

The Blue cactus dairy goats farmer uses just a bit of scratch for her dairy does, but they do the alfalfa and pellets in the stall, then tie them to the stand for milking. It works for her.

I prefer my goats better behaved. Plus, the majority of mine are 3x as large as hers and getting kicked would hurt more. Also, they'd lose condition and be stressed out.
 
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ancient

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Mine just make more milk on grain, they only get as much as they can eat while being milked . Which I guess is the main point. Maybe all of you have better behaved diary goats then me but I am very doubtful I'd get them milked out without having a bucket of grain in front of them!
 

D and L Meadows

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I feed our dairy goats grain. Some of them could be fine without, but they wouldn't produce near as much milk. Some of them would look like a walking skeleton if they didn’t get grain. Even now, they're thin since every calorie goes straight into milk.
 
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