Hay and Grain: Opinions Needed!

Ridgetop

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At this point in their lives, I would not feed any grain at all. You want their rumens to develop and that requires roughage rather than concentrated proteins. Feed only hay until the does are bred. The wether never needs grain.

The orchard/alfalfa is fine. The caution against the alfalfa for the wether is due to the higher calcium levels in alfalfa which can (but doesn't always) cause urinary calculi in older rams, bucks, and wethers. However, our dairy goats (bucks) lived on alfalfa and we never had any urinary calculi. Our sheep (rams) live on alfalfa and our rams have never had urinary calculi. We have had both on alfalfa for over 30 years and never had urinary calculi although I do know a few people who have experienced it. I do not bother with giving ammonium chloride until they have a problem. If you are worried you can add ammonium chloride to the water. Urinary calculi are more common in certain parts of the country. They also can be more common in certain breeds of sheep and goats.

How much is the timothy compared to the orchardgrass/alfalfa? Cost is a reason to switch but if they are happy with the orchardgrass/alfalfa and it is a decent price, keep them on it.

The main thing with feeding goats and sheep is not to overload them with concentrates (grain and processed feeds). Any animal with a rumen and 4 chambered stomach will do better health wise if kept mainly on rough hay or forage. Grain should be kept as a treat, but not daily, and can be used as a training aid. Think of it as candy for toddler.

Be sure the goats have had their CDT shots.
 

Ridgetop

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Definitely buy your hay locally.

At 6 weeks you could wean, but if she is still taking a bottle am and pm, you can continue supplemental bottles until 8 weeks. We kept our dairy goat kids on bottles until 10 weeks old. The buck kids went to the sale yard around 6-8 weeks to free up the milk for the doe kids. Since we kept all doe kids, we needed the milk for them. Once the kids were weaned, we used the milk for the house and to raise day old bull dairy calves for auction sale. We milked a lot of does and they were all heavy producers so lots of milk for raising calves for hay money. Since you are probably using formula, definitely wean at 8 weeks. You can increase water to formula ratio if you want as you start to wean. Leftover formula powder can be sealed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer for future bottle babies.
 

Alaskan

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Where I live alfalfa has to be shipped in, so is very expensive. As a result I would only feed alfalfa pellets on the milk stand, so never for kids.

All goats got timothy hay, free fed.

Growing kids got a small handful of goat kid pellets morning and evening. The pellets contained some grain in the mix, but not much.

It is great for the kids to develop large rumens.

If anywhere on your property you have weedy bushes that you can trim for the goats, you could feed them the branches.

Alder and willow grow like gangbusters here, and goats love them.

Also, if you had a garden this year, they love cornstalks, and all weeds.
 

Katrina Anon

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We There will do much better on hay alone. They are prone to uniary problems and the more feed you give them the more likely they are to have a problem.

Generally if they are ignoring the hay cut back on the grain. Goats like grain like people like pizza. A steady diet of pizza is not good for people, a steady diet of grain isn't good for the goats.

When I cut back on the grain the goats eat more hay which is better for them anyway.
 

OneFineAcre

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We feed all of our growing kids a balanced feed. Half cup in morning and half cup in evening sounds fine.
Orchard/Alfalfa hay is fine.
As to the 5-6 week old, that's a little too young for weaning in my opinion.
 

Mini Horses

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Somewhat unfounded fear. In over 30 yrs of dairy and meat goats, never one case. Never used AC. Ample hay, pasture, some grains were added for young growers and bucks in rut, when those groups needed supplementing. Most grains were used for daily, heavy milking does.
 

naturepatty

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At this point in their lives, I would not feed any grain at all. You want their rumens to develop and that requires roughage rather than concentrated proteins. Feed only hay until the does are bred. The wether never needs grain.

The orchard/alfalfa is fine. The caution against the alfalfa for the wether is due to the higher calcium levels in alfalfa which can (but doesn't always) cause urinary calculi in older rams, bucks, and wethers. However, our dairy goats (bucks) lived on alfalfa and we never had any urinary calculi. Our sheep (rams) live on alfalfa and our rams have never had urinary calculi. We have had both on alfalfa for over 30 years and never had urinary calculi although I do know a few people who have experienced it. I do not bother with giving ammonium chloride until they have a problem. If you are worried you can add ammonium chloride to the water. Urinary calculi are more common in certain parts of the country. They also can be more common in certain breeds of sheep and goats.

How much is the timothy compared to the orchardgrass/alfalfa? Cost is a reason to switch but if they are happy with the orchardgrass/alfalfa and it is a decent price, keep them on it.

The main thing with feeding goats and sheep is not to overload them with concentrates (grain and processed feeds). Any animal with a rumen and 4 chambered stomach will do better health wise if kept mainly on rough hay or forage. Grain should be kept as a treat, but not daily, and can be used as a training aid. Think of it as candy for toddler.

Be sure the goats have had their CDT shots.
I'm glad I read this. I have been feeding my nubian cross and pygmy angora cross grain every day. They don't like to eat the grasses and weeds that are in their yard. So I have been giving 2 cups of grain daily plus cutting weeds or giving hay daily. I'm new to the goat world. I bought them both in April. I don't have any experience with them. They were both wormed when I bought them but I don't know what a CDT shot is. Can you inform me?
 

farmerjan

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Get a book on goats for beginners. Read it through and get a working knowledge of the vocabulary and the basic needs of nutrition and shots/diseases. Getting help here is great but you need a hard copy, book in hand, to refer to. I have had cattle for more years than many have been alive and I still use book references...... keeps me sharp on things that can go wrong and happen. And it beats having nothing when the electricity goes out of the stupid internet is not working.
 
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