Feeding advice for Nigerian Dwarf Goats

BarnOwl

Loving the herd life
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
126
Reaction score
142
Points
153
Location
Southeast Tennessee
Hey y'all! I'm hoping to add 2-3 Nigerian dwarf goats to our little "farm" in the spring or summer. I don't know what I will end up with, but let's assume I start out with a doeling (that I'll eventually milk) and a buckling (to be wethered). If any of you have a herd with does and wethers, I'd love to know what and how you're feeding.

If my understanding is correct, dry-does and wethers don't need grain (unless they're underweight), but lactating does need grain, give it to them on the milking stand.

I'm worried about urinary calculi in wethers (maybe I should just get all does if I can). I know I'm supposed to feed 2:1 ratio of calcium to phospherous, which dosen't seem hard to do if you're feeding grain, but I've read it's best not to feed wethers grain, and it's not like hay comes with a nutrional breakdown. I know alfalfa has calcium and grass hay has phospherous--do you just throw two flakes of alfalfa and one flake of grass hay in the feeder or something? I'm a little unsure how to calculate this 2:1 ratio when feeding hay/forage--maybe it's because I've always been bad at math (lol).

I know I should give ammonium chloride for wethers and provide minerals/salt.

Should I offer baking soda?? I've heard some say yes, and others say that is outdated?--I'm not sure who I should believe.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Sorry if this is a question that gets asked a gazillion times.
 
Last edited:

Alaskan

Herd Master
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
5,373
Reaction score
12,630
Points
553
Location
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My thoughts

1. The boy would have to be castrated way sooner than you think... or he will impregnate the doe.

2. You could castrated the boy, and then once the doeling grows and kids... eat the wether. Or, if you find a second doe or doeling, then eat the wether.

Following point 1 or 2.. eh... then you don't have worry about different feeds.

There are goat pellets out there, of course those are properly formulated.

As to baking soda and all of those other supplements...

I just bought two screw to the wall feeders with separate dishes on it. Like this one:
SmartSelect_20210219-102321_Samsung Internet.jpg


Then I kept loose minerals in one dish, baking soda in another, and a kelp trace minerals combo in the third.

Worked great.
 

BarnOwl

Loving the herd life
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
126
Reaction score
142
Points
153
Location
Southeast Tennessee
Thanks for the advice! I think I've been reading (and watching too many YouTube videos) because I keep finding contradictory information and am probably only confusing myself, haha. I guess if I end up with a wether, I'll just do my best not to give him too much calcium and call it a day.

I've read that bucks can impregnante doe(lings) at only about 8 weeks old---that's crazy!! Thanks for the reminder...we don't want any mishaps!
 

Alaskan

Herd Master
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
5,373
Reaction score
12,630
Points
553
Location
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Oh... with all of your researching, figure out the issues in your specific area of the country.

Up here, there are only a few parasites, no super scary nasty ones... but there is so little copper and selenium. So all hay, forage, plants etc... close to no copper or selenium. So here goats need paste supplements every month. Some use shots to make sure it is absorbed. I used a copper bolus about every 6 months AND a paste every month.

Anyway... each area of the world is different.
 

BarnOwl

Loving the herd life
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
126
Reaction score
142
Points
153
Location
Southeast Tennessee
Oh... with all of your researching, figure out the issues in your specific area of the country.

Up here, there are only a few parasites, no super scary nasty ones... but there is so little copper and selenium. So all hay, forage, plants etc... close to no copper or selenium. So here goats need paste supplements every month. Some use shots to make sure it is absorbed. I used a copper bolus about every 6 months AND a paste every month.

Anyway... each area of the world is different.

Yes, I am worried about parasites here -- it gets cold, but I'm guessing it doesn't get cold enough for long enough to kill things off completely. Not even the weeds, haha. Have read that I should use a FAMACHA score before treating for parastites because they're becoming resistance to de-wormers. I don't know a ton of goat-keepers in real life, but I'll ask around in feedstores when the time comes, and hopefully the breeder will be relatively local and knowledgeable.
 

Alaskan

Herd Master
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
5,373
Reaction score
12,630
Points
553
Location
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
The FAMACHA score is excellent. But you also need to know WHAT you are trying to kill.

Hopefully there is a good large animal vet that can tell you what local issues you might have.

If you have scads of possible parasites then the first time you have a goat becoming a bit pale, it would probably be best to take a fecal sample to the local vet.

Even if all you have in your area are dog and cat vets... they should still be great at fecal tests.
 

BarnOwl

Loving the herd life
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
126
Reaction score
142
Points
153
Location
Southeast Tennessee
I was recently told about a mobile vet in the area that I didn't know we had, and I've also been told there are vet clinics in the county who will see goats in their office, so that's a plus. I'd definitely get a fecal done. I'd be interested in getting a microscope and learning to ID a few things myself too, not that I wouldn't still go to the expert for confirmation, but just to better know if there was a problem brewing.
 

Alaskan

Herd Master
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
5,373
Reaction score
12,630
Points
553
Location
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Sounds like a good plan.
I was recently told about a mobile vet in the area that I didn't know we had, and I've also been told there are vet clinics in the county who will see goats in their office, so that's a plus. I'd definitely get a fecal done. I'd be interested in getting a microscope and learning to ID a few things myself too, not that I wouldn't still go to the expert for confirmation, but just to better know if there was a problem brewing.
 
Top