1. BYH Official Poll: What are the things that you should consider before buying herds?
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  2. Tick Eggs - Discussion Thread
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  3. Contest Time!
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice


  4. BYC Other Poultry Calendar for sale!!
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  5. Dismiss Notice
  6. BYH Picture of the Week (POW) - Submit your Pics Now !!
    Click HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)
    Dismiss Notice

Feeding a dairy goat

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Goats' started by DustyBoot, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Jan 10, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    111
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Central Texas
    I know this must be about the 100th thread of this title, and I promise I've been reading everything I can find, but I want to check myself with some outside opinions if anyone is willing to offer thoughts.

    I picked up Thelma yesterday from a couple who's going on the road in an RV so getting rid of their three goats. She's been loose with a buck and they estimate she's due March/April. Not real precise, but we'll work with it. We've only had goats since August, and those are Kiko crosses, so I'm far from a goat expert and I know dairy goats are a different ballgame anyway. We kind of expect the Kikos to fend for themselves with access to lots of forage, fresh water, and loose mineral. We lay eyes and/or hands on them multiple times a day, and if they start to lose condition we'll notice and do something about it, but they don't currently get any sort of extras and seem to be doing fine.

    I assume Thelma is going to be different and would do best with regular feeding. My idea is that once she's able to be turned in with the other goats she'll forage with them and I'll bring her in morning and night for some feed and handling. I'd like to get a milking stand built pretty soon and start feeding her on there and handling her while she eats so that it's not new when I start milking. Does that sound like a reasonable plan? How much, ish, should I expect to feed her when she's out foraging during the day?

    And on to the more immediate question. I know dairy goats are going to look bonier than meat goats, but she seems skinny to me, especially for being pregnant. As best you can tell from the picures, am I right? And if so, is she just a little skinny or oh-my-goodness-get-some-weight-on-her-now skinny?

    Edited to add: they said she's three years old. She's been milked before so it won't be new to her, but it'll be new to me and I'll be new to her, so some acclimation seems appropriate.

    thelma010918.jpg
    Picture from when we first got her home yesterday.

    thelma_back.jpg
    Taken today.

    thelma_side.jpg
    Also today.

    thelma_side2.jpg
    Slightly different angle today.

    I've picked up goat feed from the feed store like they said they were feeding her, and I have hay available to her. I also got a small bag of calf manna to start adding to her feed in hopes of putting some weight on her. I don't want to do anything too drastic all at once, but I do want to make sure she's in good condition to kid in the spring.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Jan 10, 2018
    lalabugs

    lalabugs Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    133
  3. Jan 10, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    11,914
    Likes Received:
    11,164
    Trophy Points:
    593
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yes, she is thin as you already know. But she has covering over her ribs, so she should bounce back pretty good. You are wise to not just start throwing things at her.
    First thing I would do is have a fecal run to check parasite load.
    All goats have parasites as you know because you already own goats. This way you can at least rule out or see if it is something contributing.
    If the load is high I'd do a full course to get through all stages and see how she progresses.
    Meanwhile feeding good quality hay and starting slow with dairy goat feed.
    If the parasite load is insignificant I would still deworm but at least you know that isn't the primary issue.
    She could be both parasitic and mineral deficient. Do you know what her FAMACHA is?
    Make sure your minerals contain adequate cobalt. If not get a cobalt block.
    Is your region copper deficient? Selenium deficient?
    Because she is pregnant that is a real concern.

    Start dairy goat feed out slow, not too much at once. Hay! You don't need to give alfalfa but just really good hay, and keep it where she has access 24/7. Forage is good if you have good forage.

    I would definitely draw blood and send out to check for CAE, CL, and Johnes. asap
    Do you know what she is crossed with?
    She definitely is part lamancha. She has a very nice wide rump. She is a pretty goat!
    I bet you get her in in top shape, and when she kids you are going to have some great milk! :thumbsup
     
    mysunwolf and DustyBoot like this.
  4. Jan 10, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    111
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Central Texas
    I haven't had a fecal run -- I can look into the cost if it's going to be critical, but I did deworm her in anticipation of moving stress causing problems. Accompanied it with a dose of probios. I don't have a FAMACHA card to compare to yet (keep meaning to send in for it), but her eye membranes aren't pale. She has access to good hay, and today I took her out for 15 minutes in some green pasture. Didn't want to overdo it, since I don't think she was used to it.

    I'll double check our minerals regarding cobalt. I did just order copper boluses to dose everyone -- my dad is buying our minerals (it's a shared operation) and he's opted for one that's lower in copper because it's less expensive. I'm seeing slight changes in coat condition that are making me think an occasional dose of copper would be a good thing. As regards Thelma here, she's a black goat but pretty reddish in the sun. It looks like we're pretty high in selenium in the soil here, but copper isn't great... and I haven't gotten as far as analyzing our water to figure out what minerals might be interfering with absorption of either of those.

    They told me she's an unregistered LaMancha -- no mention of a mix, but I'm not picky as long as she turns out to be a decent milker. The buck she's been with is supposedly registered, but I didn't ask for papers and didn't pay any more for her than I would have if she'd been open or running with an unregistered or mixed-breed buck. (Probably wouldn't have bought her open at this time of year, but point being, I wasn't gypped on the registration issue.)

    I really like her personality (she follows me everywhere, loves the kids, and leads beautifully on a collar) and she seems like a basically sound goat. I'm not much of a judge of conformation yet, but I did notice the wide rear end and her udder seems like what it should be. She's bright eyed, lively, friendly, eating enthusiastically, and generally gives off an impression of good health. She does have a bit of white mucus going on when she sneezes, but she was in a pretty dusty environment so I'm inclined to just watch it for now.
     
  5. Jan 10, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    11,914
    Likes Received:
    11,164
    Trophy Points:
    593
    Location:
    North Carolina
    She is a cross, no biggie. The ears give it away. ;)
    Lamanchas are super sweet and quite affectionate... you will love her I'm sure.
    Just my opinion but never go cheap on minerals.
    As far as FAMACHA you are required to take a course to be certified then you will receive a card. I do believe there may be online courses now.

    As far as her milking, she will need really good dairy goat ration and good hay to produce well.
    I think she will end up being a great goat for you.

    BTW a few years back I bred my Kiko doe to a Lamancha buck. :) My plan was to put bucks in the freezer and does to keep and breed back to one of our Kiko Bucks or NZ.
    We ended up selling the doe, we see her about 2-3x year. She is wonderful. :)
    I wanted to milk my Kikos because they have so much fat, , they just don't have duration , crossing with the Lamancha would increase.
     
  6. Jan 10, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    111
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Purely for my education, what about the ears gives it away? I love learning things. :) Couple of pictures that show her ears better in case it helps you point things out.

    IMG_20180110_135237090.jpg IMG_20180110_135245268.jpg

    I had decided that I wanted a LaMancha because everything I've read is that they have great temperaments, aren't as obnoxious as Nubians, and produce good milk. So when this one turned up at a bargain price, I jumped.

    I've taken an online FAMACHA course and passed the test, but I have to submit a video of me checking eye membranes on two goats and I keep forgetting to have someone take the video for me. So, I'm not officially certified yet. :hide But I do check regularly and everyone has always been a healthy pink.

    I'll make sure to find a good dairy ration before the spring -- right now I have what they were feeding her, but I'll figure out what to transition her to. And we'll keep up with the hay. I'm really excited about her. I love the Kikos, and they always come to be petted and loved on when I'm in the pasture, but this is MY goat. :love

    After this year we probably will breed her to our Kiko buck, and who knows, maybe we'll get a keeper doe I can try milking and see how it works out. Not sure yet about this year's kids -- if she has a doeling, we'll have to see how having one milk goat works out for us and decide if we want to keep a second.
     
  7. Jan 10, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    11,914
    Likes Received:
    11,164
    Trophy Points:
    593
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The ears are Elf ears, hers are longer almost like shrek ears. :)
    Lamanchas have gopher ears.
    Although on occassion a PB lamancha may have an elf ear, bucks would be disqualified. There is a limit on length of ear a doe can have.
    I breed Lamanchas and Miniature Lamanchas so ears are particularly interesting to me.
    Your doe has one parent that was an eared goat.

    I have a chart showing ears types HERE
    This is an example of an elf ear- One of my miniature Lamanchas
    May 16,2016 007.JPG

    These are two of our Lamancha does
    Wingin' it Farms Mariah & Star  Silly girls! (1) - Copy.jpg
     
  8. Jan 10, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    111
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Shrek ears... maybe I should have named her Fiona! :gig Actually, we were trying out Thelma (the name she came with) but I keep trying to call her Dottie. No idea why, but that's what comes out. So I think she may have a new name.

    They do look longer than your goats' ears. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. Compared to my Kikos, she has hardly any ears at all so it wouldn't have occurred to me that they were too big. Good to know, though. If we wind up selling her kids this year I wouldn't want to call them full LaManchas if they aren't.

    Sellers said they were getting a gallon a day -- we'll see if that bears out or not, but the truth is that for five of us we don't need top production. If she's good natured, easy to handle, keeps well, and produces a reasonable amount of milk, we're all set. I'm pleased she's been milked before because it means at least one of us know what we're doing.

    Do you often run into kidding issues with your LaManchas? I'm a little nervous about having such a loose due date, although I'm hopeful that if I'm handling her daily I'll be able to monitor things and figure out when she's close.
     
  9. Jan 10, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    11,914
    Likes Received:
    11,164
    Trophy Points:
    593
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Her condition and the fact you don't know when she is due does put her at higher risk.
    In general no, lamanchas are like any goat- good health usually there is no problem.
    I would definitely be giving some A, D, E gel and copper too.

    You will want to have some "jump start" on hand and thiamine (injectable) you can get thiamine from your vet. The kids could be really weak. If mom is thin and appears somewhat deficient then the kids are going to take from her, if she doesn't have much to give they all get the short end of the stick so to speak.

    Thin does are at risk for both toxemia and hypocalcemia.

    A gallon a day would be about average on just regular hay and a little feed.
     
  10. Jan 10, 2018
    goatgurl

    goatgurl True BYH Addict

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,564
    Likes Received:
    1,987
    Trophy Points:
    233
    Location:
    Arklahoma
    since I see you are in central texas see if any of the feed stores around you sell Big V feed out of McAlester, Ok. they have a good dairy goat ration and I know that @Devonviolet gets it down around sulpher springs. I use it too and my goats do well on it too. and I just happen to have lamanchas too. you will love her personality
    she is a pretty girl and yes she is kind of thin but you've got time to get her in better shape. just slow and easy to make sure she gets use to a new place and new people. I never feed my goats alfalfa hay just a good grass hay and their dairy ration. good luck with her. and you never know after you start milking her you may want to venture into cheese making too. might want to keep any doe kids she has so you can have a steady year long supply of milk. and no I am not an enabler I just think every one needs more than 1 or 2 or maybe 3 milk goats.