"Expectant parents"

gleubecker

Exploring the pasture
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We are expecting to pick up our first two Nigerian Dwarf wethers in about 3 weeks. The boys will be 8 and 13 weeks old when we get them. We waited on the older one because we currently just have ducks in that pen. We are buying what we think we need in anticipation. I have a few questions, though, because I am getting conflicting info when researching.

1) Is it safe to use the horse pine pellet bedding for their bedding area? We planned to hydrate it to make it swell and get soft, then spread it in their area, scoop and replace it when needed.

2) I hear that wethers don't need grain at all (except as a small treat) but then hear that people feed them Purina Goat pellets. Aren't those pellets grain? We plan to feed Alfalfa hay when it is available. Do we do a small amount of pellets also each day, with free access to hay and minerals?

3) I read about feeding Chaffhaye in addition to Alfalfa hay. Is this recommended?

4) I have been told that the waterfowl food will make the goats sick. We usually broadcast the duck food around the pen so the duckies can forage a bit for them. Do we need to stop that and put it in their little housing area in bowls? They usually gobble it up quite quickly.

Thanks in advance for the wisdom!
 

D and L Meadows

Loving the herd life
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Hey! Great questions.
Horse bedding is ok, but straw really works better. You could first put the horse bedding down and then put straw on top. Keep adding straw when needed and clean out when it gets built up too high. We usually clean out every other month, depending on how many goats are in the pen. If you want to clean out weekly, I recommend shavings.
Some people don’t feed grain, and thats great. We always do. We don’t have a whole lot of pasture. Nigerians are a dairy breed, so recommend feeding a 16% pelleted grain. we feed a pelleted medicated feed to our growing kids. Once they are adults, they will only need a hand full to 1 cup 2x per day depending on their need. Purina is a pelleted feed. ADM medicated is a good brand too. Just make sure it says it’s for bucks and wethers so it has the correct ratio of calcium and phosphorus. We always recommend putting ammonium chloride in the water as well. This helps against urinary calculi. Make sure they are wethered at no younger than 10 weeks so they have enough time to develop and don’t cause problems down the road. Not so much of a problem in bigger breeds, but with Nigerians it is.
Don’t recommend feeding alfalfa hay or chaffhaye. This can cause stones. It’s too high in calcium. The best for wethers is grass mix hay or anything like that.
Yes, bird food is not recommended. Again, causes imbalance in calcium and phosphorus. We know someone whose wethers were always getting into chicken feed. They got stones and didn’t pull through.
Highly recommend DuraFerm loose goat minerals. We’ve tried many other brands, and this one works fabulous.

Enjoy your goats! They’re a lot of fun. Share pictures when you get them. 😊 Any more questions, just ask!
 
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