Pellets or no Pellets?

TXMissy

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Hello Ya'll!

I know everyone has their own feeding methods, so I am curious, do you feed your goats pellets at all? Just a hay diet?
I only have 3 goats and we have no trees or brush for them to eat, it's just grass and weeds. I give them a cup of pellets each and they have access to hay all the time, as well as minerals and baking soda. This seems to be working well for me. I am just curious what everyone else does.

Thanks for sharing!
 

Dandy Hill Farm

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My feeding schedule is kinda complicated lol!

Everyone gets loose minerals.

Bucks: Free choice grass or a grass alfalfa mixed hay (depends on what we can find)

Dry does: Free choice grass hay (or a grass alfalfa mixed hay)

Lactating/does that are in their last month of pregnancy: Free choice grass hay, limited alfalfa hay, and the appropriate amount of grain, alfalfa pellets, and beet pulp pellets (the amount they get depends on the individual doe).

Kids: Free choice grass hay, limited alfalfa hay, and free choice grain at night when they are separated from their dams.

Of course, if I ever have a goat that is in need of more calories, I'll make sure that they get some (most likely from grain).

In the summer, I like to let my goats graze around our property. I'll also cut branches and feed it to them. My goats LOVE fresh forage!

I think your feeding practice sounds great! I would just like to point out that it is no longer recommended to feed baking soda free choice. Only give it when they need it (bloat). ;)
 

Alaskan

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My goats had lots of brush access, lots of weed access, and some grass.

A mineral block left over from horses that they liked to lick, so I left it out... but yes, I am aware they weren't getting much from it.

A free feed feeder with baking soda on one side and loose minerals on the other.

If they were eating lots of horse tail I would add nutritional yeast free fed by the loose minerals and baking soda,, or put the nutritional yeast in with the loose minerals, or with their feed at milking. Or all of the above.

They always had hay available, local high quality timothy orchard grass mix, in a wall mounted feeder.

Non-milking animals (kids and does not currently in milk) would be called to the barn twice a day with milkers. The non-milking animals would get one or more handfuls of pellets, depending on size and need of the animal.

Milking animals would, while being milked, get fed "stuff". I couldn't feed goat pellets to milking goats since those are mostly barley or other gluten. Too much gluten in the diet goes into the milk and one of my kids is Celiac.

The only grains prevalent up here are barley and oats. I think barley makes great milk, but it has gluten. Oats aren't all that great nutritionally by themselves. So... I would feed oats, some alfalfa pellets (no alfalfa is grown here), a little sunflower seeds.

Winter feeding was different, since they had no access to grass or weeds, and their brushes that they still had access to were not as nutrient rich (since the sap retreats into the roots, and no leaves, no buds until spring). Also, in years with huge snow falls they were then left with only spruce, all palatable brush would be covered. So, in winter the milking ladies also got pumpkin chunks (i would get trash bags full of free pumpkins left over from Halloween and store them in the barn loft, where in my climate they would stay frozen), fireweed (that I gathered all spring and summer, and also dried in the barn loft), as well as alder branch bits (that I harvested in fall when the leaves were still green, and dried in the barn loft so the green leaves stayed mostly on).

Everyone would get vitamins once a month, E and Selenium, and D.

Copper was a pill bolus as needed, usually every 6 months.

I liked doing a calcium magnesium supplement about a week before kidding. Kelp meal when I felt they might need it. Vitamin B paste if the horse tail was super bad.

My Saanen needed a "lunch" to keep weight on, even in summer. No one else did.
 

TXMissy

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My feeding schedule is kinda complicated lol!

Everyone gets loose minerals.

Bucks: Free choice grass or a grass alfalfa mixed hay (depends on what we can find)

Dry does: Free choice grass hay (or a grass alfalfa mixed hay)

Lactating/does that are in their last month of pregnancy: Free choice grass hay, limited alfalfa hay, and the appropriate amount of grain, alfalfa pellets, and beet pulp pellets (the amount they get depends on the individual doe).

Kids: Free choice grass hay, limited alfalfa hay, and free choice grain at night when they are separated from their dams.

Of course, if I ever have a goat that is in need of more calories, I'll make sure that they get some (most likely from grain).

In the summer, I like to let my goats graze around our property. I'll also cut branches and feed it to them. My goats LOVE fresh forage!

I think your feeding practice sounds great! I would just like to point out that it is no longer recommended to feed baking soda free choice. Only give it when they need it (bloat). ;)
Oh thanks for that! I didn't know. If they get bloat do they just know to eat it or do I need to force it? I have read about bloat but I need a refresher!
 

Dandy Hill Farm

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Oh thanks for that! I didn't know. If they get bloat do they just know to eat it or do I need to force it? I have read about bloat but I need a refresher!
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