Someone recommended that I feed my milk goats 1/2 oats to 1/2 dairy goat feed. Any of you do this and if so are you feeding whole or crimped oats. If the whole do you add them dry or do they need to be soaked?
The person that recommended this to me raises lots of dairy goats and what she explained to me that the grain has the most calories and nutrients and the oats will let you decrease the grain as the goat can eat large amts. of grain while producing and get fat. Don't know if this makes sense but if you tend to feed all the grain they will eat while on the milking stand then I can see the oats will slow the eating and decrease the bag grain feed like Purina dairy. I am now most confused as to the amount of feed that is needed in order to produce a fair amount of milk. My little ones are about 3 and 4 weeks old and I have not started separating them at night. I have milked a little each day and plan to start separating next week. however when I milk now I am only getting about 1/2 pint, are the little ones taking it or do I just not know how to get milk production up.These are Saanens.I know about if you would need to mix the two as the goat feed should have the nutrition they need. That being said I mix my own feed using either whole oats or crimped currently I am using whole oats. The recipe is 2 parts oats, 2 parts barley, one part black sunflower seeds, one part calf manna.
Thanks for this good information.About right....they put it all in the pail! Yes, mine get at least a 3qt scoop, pretty much what you feed & ratios...I also provide good hay at the milk stand, to keep them occupied. My Saanens get about 1.5 scoop @ each milking. Nursing kids. 1X dy milking I get 3/4-1gal. Once kids wean, I milk 2x dy, get 1.5 gal, roughly. Remember, they make what you take up to their capacity. If not being taken, they reduce production. If taken then increase or stabilize if at top capacity.
Georgia Girl if yours are FF, they will not produce as much this freshening. Be sure she is getting consistent feeding...every day. Also be sure you use the same routine and rotation each day. #1 gets milked, then #2...don't reverse the order. Talk to them, they need to feel calm and let their milk down for you. You can hold the teat and bump the udder gently a couple times, like the kids do, to encourage let down. And, if the kids are out screaming, she may be too anxious to let down. It's a system. Mine come when I call their name. The come to the gate, out when I open it. One at a time, in order, all others wait their turn. Never go out of turn. Even if you don't milk, keep the rotation. OR milk only one mornings, another evenings.
Here, there is a routine and you don't break it..they each know when it is their turn -- chickens, horses, goats, dogs , cats and which group is in line next. If you mix it up all heck beaks loose. When I was breeding mini horses, all came in each night. The routine was to fill feed and hay in each stall, close the stall door, open the big barn doors to allow entry to the aisle..big 40 stall, "T" configuration. Then to pasture, call them, open gate and watch them go to barn, mares and foals. They each walked to their stall and stood by the door. We went the same "route" opening stalls, they enter, close it and go to next. ALWAYS same route. Everyone calmly stood for you -- just do not vary the route!!!!! Then they didn't panic that they were "missed" . Creatures of habit. Sounds so simple & unbelievable but it WORKS,
I use crimped oats, steamed flaked barley, BOSS, alfalfa pellets --sometimes I throw in a couple handfuls of beet pulp pellets & they get a cattle mineral free choice. Alfalfa/orchard mix hay which costs plenty but, only get at milking. I do feed something similar in hay all winter but, I buy some very special for the milkers all summer. It's their treat and keeps them working the rumen other than fresh grass. I toss in a few carrots, apples, peanuts on occasion....just a handful. But the whole herd does get those veggies & fruits about once or twice a week, in season.
Amount to feed? 1# feed per 1# milk. Not what YOU get but what she produces -- kids nursing. This is why I have hay at the stand. They can much on that! Saanen... 3 qt scoop + hay should work fine. Each animal is slightly different -- use your eye for condition. I've not seen a fat Saanen. Maybe more filled out than another.
This is the standard for milk production. You never just dump lots of grain into the feed box on the stanchion - you always weigh your milk and measure the grain accordingly. Dumping massive amounts of grain into the grain feeder leads to trouble if the goat overeats in a hurry. You want to allow enough time for her to finish her measured ration on the stanchion. You only feed the grain on the stanchion to the mikers. You can reduce the grain little by little until the milk yield just starts to drop, then add grain to bring her back to the amount she needs for maximum production. This is called "challenge miking" - how to get the most milk on the least amount of grain being fed. I just feed the 1 lb:1lb ration and it works very well. I use dairy cow milking ration which has a bit more copper in it, and the goats do great.Amount to feed? 1# feed per 1# milk. Not what YOU get but what she produces