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Feeding a dairy goat

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

  1. Jan 12, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

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    Ooooh... if the budget stretches that far, that one is appealing. I'll talk to my husband about what we can do. He always loves it when something like a bargain-priced goat results in me wanting to spend multiples of what I paid for her on other things. :gig (... says the woman with all the lumber and hardware to build a milking stand in the back of her minivan.) I've been wanting the microscope anyway, but still.

    Dottie is looking good. Eating enthusiastically, and I've been taking her out to where she can get a little fresh green stuff for about 15 minutes a day to let her system adjust gradually. She seems to like it, and I don't even have to put a lead rope on her because she just follows me everywhere. Her poop is a little soft; mushed-together pellets instead of individual pellets. But definitely not runny or sick-looking. I'm giving her ProBios daily until everything looks normal. She's chewing cud, drinking water, eating hay, running to greet me when I go outside, and generally doing healthy goat things.

    Just for kicks, I got a picture of the working end of things today. The ground is uneven so she's standing a little funny.

    dottieudder011218.jpg
     
  2. Jan 12, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Can't wait to see how her udder comes in.
    She has beautiful teats!
    Nice high escutcheon and wide.
    Looks like she will have a good medial.
    Hard to see the placement of the side attchments.

    I have a feeling she was a hard working doe. Looks like you really have a nice doe to work with!
     
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  3. Jan 12, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

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    I'm glad it looks good! I'd been looking at lots of pictures of dairy goats trying to get a feel for what good ones should look like, but I still have a lot to learn.

    I'm really loving her personality. I like the Kikos and they're friendly and good-natured. But Dottie here is just plain sweet. I'm beginning to understand how dairy goats could be addicting.
     
  4. Jan 12, 2018
    Devonviolet

    Devonviolet Herd Master

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    Congratulations on your new doe. You have gotten some great advice from excellent, experienced goat owners. With a little bit of effort, you should have yourself a nice dairy goat there.

    As @goatgurl told you, I live near Sulphur Springs. I was getting the Big V Dairy Goat Ration from a local feed store. The price was a bit higher than what goatgurl pays, and it got to be a pain getting it from them, as they never seemed to have it in stock when we needed it, and then we would have to wait for it, until they place another order from OK. I don't think anyone else bought it from them. So, eventually, we started buying a very similar, Dairy Goat Sweet Production feed, from our local co-op. We also give our does a Dairy Goat pellet and some alfalfa pellets, and of course all the coastal hay they want, as well as free choice minerals.

    We are in an area that is low in copper, so we make sure we give free choice minerals that are high in copper (1750ppm). And we give separate free choice baking soda (to minimize potential for bloat) and kelp granules, for micro minerals. Our girls are both very healthy.

    We have two LaMancha does (which I got from goatgurl :)) , one of which is a first freshener and the other a second freshener. I only milk once a day, and between them, I was getting almost 1-3/4 gallons a day. My Ruby (2nd freshener) was giving me about 13-14 cups and Falina was giving me about 10 cups. Right now, they have slowed production and I am getting somewhere between 10-14 cup a day, from both of them.

    We also have Ruby's doeling (Angelica) from last Spring's kidding. Ruby and Falina were bred this past November, but we held off on breeding Angelica until next Fall, when she is 17 or 18 months old. Since Angelica is not bred, we do not give her the Sweet Production feed. She gets some Dairy goat pellets and alfalfa pellets, but mostly eats hay and leaves. She loves apple leaves! When the weather turned cold, I started pulling a few leaves, at a time, off the fruit trees, and the girls eat them like they are candy.

    I've also learned Ruby and Falina love orange and grapefruit rinds, and eat them like they are candy! Angelica . . . Not so much! It's hilarious! Whenever I offer her some, she runs away, shaking her head like, OMG I can't believe you expect me to eat that disgusting stuff!!!! :lol: :gig

    I began learning to make cheese last Summer. I started with Chévre, and progressed to Mozzarella. Once you get the knack of it, Mozzarella is easy, and we just love it. We discovered if you add 1 tsp of Wright's smoke flavoring per pound (made with one gallon of milk), it gives it a mild smoky flavor. YUM!

    Since goat milk is naturally homogenized, it isn't easy to get much cream, for making butter and cream. So, I bit the bullet and bought a 100L/Hr cream separator on eBay. So, when we have several gallons saved up, we warm them up to 100 degrees F, and run them through the separator. It is so much fun to make butter and whipped cream in my Kitchenaid stand mixer. :drool

    I also make Kefir, so we have a yummy natural probiotic. It tastes much like buttermilk. When drunk on a regular basis, it builds up good bacteria in the gut. The immune system resides in the gut, and when you have a healthy gut, you have better chance of fighting infections, like colds and flu.:celebrate
     
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  5. Jan 13, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Devonviolet has you ready to get more goats and start a dairy! I LOVE IT! :)

    There is one thing that I know many people do and you hear about it often...
    We have never given it, and there really isn't a good reason to.
    The goat makes it's own sodium bicarbonate so giving it may cause the goat more issues... much depends on feeding practices.

    Attached is an article from the Alabama Farmers Co-op
    http://www.alafarmnews.com/index.php/battling-bloat
     
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  6. Jan 13, 2018
    Devonviolet

    Devonviolet Herd Master

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    I had read that it was good to give them baking soda, to prevent bloat. But never was sure we needed it. I figured, "Better safe than sorry." DH takes care of the free choice stuff, and I never think to check levels' when I am in the goat shed. But, I don't think they really eat it. They do eat some loose minerals and kelp granuals, though.

    Thanks for chiming in on the baking soda issue, SBC. I read the article you recommended, and it makes sense. We will stop giving our girls baking soda, and will also be cutting back on the alfalfa pellets, only giving them as a treat now and then. Falina doesn't seem to really care for them anyway. So we had already cut her's back.
     
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  7. Jan 13, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

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    I'll start looking at what options our local feed stores have. Right now she's getting food from TSC because that's what she was being fed before, and it gives me some time to pick something good to transition her to. I may be back with questions depending on what I find!

    I'm excited about trying cheese, and I used to make a lot of yogurt but only had store-bought milk. I'm looking forward to trying our own goat milk yogurt! I'll have to look into my options for getting cream... I'd really like butter, but it's not the end of the world if it doesn't work out.

    Today we built our milking stand (mostly following these instructions: http://www.hobbyfarms.com/goat-stanchion-construct-simple-goats/). Fed Dottie her dinner on it, brushed her, and trimmed her hooves. I'm no expert on goat hooves, but they were pretty overgrown. The sides had folded over underneath her feet so I had to work the clipper blade under it to clip it off. Did what I could for today and I'll check them again soon and regularly and see if we can get them into good shape a bit at a time. I should probably put the Kikos on the stand and check their hooves too, just to be sure.
     
  8. Jan 17, 2018
    Goatkid51

    Goatkid51 Chillin' with the herd

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    She seems like she'll be a really nice doe! She's a bit thin, but not horribly so for a dairy goat. In my experience, simple is best. Most goats that die were killed with kindness (i.e., got overfed way too much too fast). Get a fecal done on her first, most likely she'll have some parasites. Before you do anything else, get rid of the other critters, or all the grain your feeding her is mostly just feeding them! That said, also check her coat carefully for lice, those are possible as well and will also drain her reserves quickly. If you worm with Ivermectin, it should take care of those. If not, you can use CRV-80D from Tractor Supply or a similar place. It is a spray, and it's pyrethrin based (which is an extract from chrysanthemum flowers), so you just start at the tail and run your hand against her coat, following it with spray all the way up her top line to her head, making sure the spray is getting under her coat to her skin. The lice will primarily be along her topline and on top of her head. You can repeat that in a week. It's a nice, safe option for lice (I like it better than the powder, they tend to breathe that in and get very irritated in their lungs, I know I do!).

    Once you've addressed her parasites (internal and external), start her on grain. Bring it up gradually, like you would for anything else. You can also sprinkle it with probiotics for the first several days if you like to help get her gut bacteria adjusted to the new feed. Also make sure she has loose mineral free choice, a really good one with plenty of copper. I like RightChoice Onyx, or Purina Mills for goats. Beyond that, make sure she has all the good grass hay she will eat and turnout/browse if you have that right now (I don't, we're buried in snow!)

    She is also beginning to fill her udder with milk it looks like, so I'd start adding in some good alfalfa with your hay, to make sure she'll have enough calcium. You don't want to up the calcium too soon, or that will actually cause them not to absorb it when they need it during lactation (had that problem!), but as she's starting to produce milk, now would be the time to start working it in. She doesn't need tons of it, up to a pound a day is enough if she's getting a balanced goat feed and a good mineral. Hay already contains quite a bit.

    Lastly, you can also add in a bit of extra protein if you like, to help her support both herself and kids since she's a bit underweight. The best way I've found to do this is add 1/4lb of whole roasted soybeans or Calf Manna, but not until AFTER she kids, as it will encourage the kids to grow extra big in the last trimester and make birthing more difficult.

    So, get rid of parasites, good loose mineral at all times, begin a regular graining schedule getting up to 1-2lb daily until kidding (to reduce risk of oversized kids), free choice quality grass hay with either about 20% of it containing alfalfa or adding about 1-2 square bale flakes (about a lb) daily. Add probiotics in the beginning if you like, or better yet, just use a good balanced goat feed that has some in it. I would use a grower/milker feed. Once she kids, you can add a little extra protein, just don't overdo it.

    Beyond that, just get her on your regular schedule with your other does, and I'm sure she'll do great! Good luck!
     
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  9. Jan 18, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

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    It's hard to tell for sure, but I think she's starting to put on a little weight (I think I feel a bit more padding on her spine, nothing dramatic). And she got a copper bolus last week... seems like it should be too early to make a difference, but even my husband commented today that the hair right along her spine is looking darker and nicer. She seems to be settling in well and staying healthy, and that seems promising after more than a week here.
    I've been trying to find out what my local options are for quality dairy goat feed. I've found two that are supposedly carried in feed stores nearby. I need to go by in person and verify that they carry these specific products, but I thought I'd ask for a lesson in reading labels and see what y'all think of the options I've found.
    Here's one: http://westfeeds.com/product-category/sheep-goats/
    And here's the other: https://handhfeed.com/feeds-we-make/goat-and-sheep-feed-rations/
    There may well be more if I keep looking. I also have access to whatever is sold at the average Tractor Supply.

    Going to type up some uneducated first impressions on the foods to see if I'm thinking along the right lines or not. Corrections and feedback very much appreciated!

    West Feeds LaCuesta Milk Goat Pellet
    Salt seems pretty high on the ingredient list. I don't know what's an appropriate level, but the max for this food is substantially higher than the other. Protein is nice at 16%. There are a couple of "ferrous" ingredients, and I'm wondering if that means I should be wary of iron creating issues with copper -- especially if it's possibly she's starting out deficient.

    H&H Dairy Goat Feed
    Protein is a little lower. Kelp is a lot higher on the list, and that seems to be something I run across frequently as a good thing to feed. Salt is lower than the other, but molasses is up there in ingredients and I don't know how good that is or if it matters at that quantity. I see iron in the ingredient list, so possibly the same issue with copper. What looks like probiotics could be helpful in keeping the gut balanced. I assume the diatomaceous earth is intended to help control parasites. I'm skeptical that it actually works, but I haven't heard that it's harmful either.
     
  10. Feb 3, 2018
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Loving the herd life

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    Update: she kidded yesterday! I'm going to go start a kidding thread -- didn't expect to need one for at least another month! :celebrate