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Goats will not gain weight

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I have a small dairy herd and the mature does are giving me fits.  They just will not gain weight, and it isn't just a 'dairy' thing they are skinny.  I'm at my wits' end about what to do.  They were dried off in July and haven't gained much weight since.  They have unlimited alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets.  They get 4lbs grain each per day, I feed Nutrena Life Design Compete, the guaranteed analysis is:

Crude Protein* 14%
Lysine 0.75%
Methionine 0.3%
Crude Fat 7%
Crude Fiber max. 8%
Calcium 0.7%-max. 1.1%
Phosphorus 0.6%
Copper 50 ppm
Zinc 150 ppm
Selenium 0.6 ppm
Vitamin A 4,000 IU/lb
Vitamin D3 500 IU/lb
Vitamin E 80 IU/lb
Biotin .45 mg


They also get Manna Pro Goat Balancer with every meal and Goat Gold Plus, which is a finishing supplement for goats.  It is extremely high in fat and protein.  They get 2oz per meal of the balancer and 4oz of the Goat Gold. 

They are wormed regularly and I haven't seen worms ever.  They are up to date on copper bolusing.

In the past i've tried adding corn oil, Calf Manna and black sunflower seeds.  Nothing seems to make the slightest difference.  Surely I can't be underfeeding them, I give them literally as much as I can get them to eat.  Should goats really be this hard, or am I doing something glaringly obvious wrong?  They produce well and have healthy kids.

post #2 of 21

While I cant help much, heres whatmy vet told me when I asked him the same thing about my goat- First he said get a new wormer. Second (and probably most important) Dairy goats are ALWAYS skinnier than meat goats. They are supposed to be that way. Just like a milk cow looks boney around the hips, so should a milk goat. The food goes into either making milk or the animals bones and udder. They just dont get fat usually on feed (when not free ranged unlimitedly in addition to feed). he said to only worry if I see worms and if she loses alot of weight and her energy goes down. Look at her eyes and her gums. Eyes should be bright and gums nice and pink.


Sorry I cant offer more, I hope someone else knows more than I.

Take a deep breath.........................you'll need it!
I am a shameless promoter of BYC and an enabler to poor, sad, chickenless people. I always have a chick or 3 to help you start your flock....c'mon, its easy and fun, remember- a joy shared IS a joy doubled!
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Take a deep breath.........................you'll need it!
I am a shameless promoter of BYC and an enabler to poor, sad, chickenless people. I always have a chick or 3 to help you start your flock....c'mon, its easy and fun, remember- a joy shared IS a joy doubled!
Reply
post #3 of 21

My question is are they skinny, or more like lean? If lean is the answer why not try adding some fattening grain to the feed? When they ate eating hay and such it is more roughage, is it not? MYbe something starch like corn. Like gain some desired weight. Better yet higher protein. We raise hogs and I buy turbo 21 which is from producers pride. It is actually a cattle feed but is 21% protein. Believe me if you saw our hogs and knew the ages you would see how well it works. Is a better buy than the hog feed for that % of protein and has molasses added so she eats it right up.

I have a wonderful wife, 2 kids,18 different types of birds some mixed some purebred golden duck wing Phoenix.
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I have a wonderful wife, 2 kids,18 different types of birds some mixed some purebred golden duck wing Phoenix.
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post #4 of 21

Could you post a picture of them?

Some dairy goats DO look "skinny", no matter what.

post #5 of 21

You say dewormed regularly...Have you ever had a fecal egg count done by a vet, or yourself, to determine the exact EPG, eggs per gram, present in your herd?  You also say you have never seen worms...And you probably never will, unless you happen to see tapeworm segments.  You are concerned with the oocysts, eggs, that are being shed, which are very very small.  The most dangerous and most plentiful parasite to a goat is H. contortus, barberpole worms, in adults and coccidia, in  kids, neither of these parasites can be seen except for egg deposits outside the goat.  Both need to be detected by an FEC.  Once the specific parasite is determined then the exact class of dewormer can be used and the proper dosage.  To rule out parasites you can use a FAMACHA scale yourself.    Taking into account everything you feed them, I would think you still have a parasite problem, because they seem "well fed" and should be gaining weight beyond maintenance.  I would add a free choice mineral specifically formulated for goats.  BOSS works well to put on extra fat cover but add it slowly to your ration, goats have to be "taught" to like it...All my lactating does get it and do very well.


Edited by ()relics - 11/5/10 at 5:05am
Bantams: OEGB,Faverolles,RIR,barnevelders,leghorns,dutch  Standard: leghorns,barnevelders
Slate,Royal palm turkeys.....Quarter horses,Boer Goats,German Shorthaired Pointers, Weimaraners,Ndwarfs
training and breeding; show stock available...
Member :  PF,DU,AQHA,NAVHDA,NSTRA,USBGA,ABGA,APA,NRA,BYC
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Bantams: OEGB,Faverolles,RIR,barnevelders,leghorns,dutch  Standard: leghorns,barnevelders
Slate,Royal palm turkeys.....Quarter horses,Boer Goats,German Shorthaired Pointers, Weimaraners,Ndwarfs
training and breeding; show stock available...
Member :  PF,DU,AQHA,NAVHDA,NSTRA,USBGA,ABGA,APA,NRA,BYC
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post #6 of 21

I second having the fecal count done. Goats are tough to get the worms out of and keep them out of, and you have to know what you are dealing with. If they are contained in a small area, it is a constant battle as goats are browsers and pick up everything in their mouths. Are these goats getting any pasture time?
Their main diet when not nursing kids or milking (well all the time, but needs to be supplimented while in production) should be browse or hay (by browse I mean weeds, small tress and such that goat choose to eat when given a choice). That is how their body is built to function,not digesting grains.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

They do have free choice alfalfa hay and pellets, I don't just feed them grain.  I am sure it isn't just dairy character, they are thin.  I have seen other people's herds and mine look skinny in comparison.  I'll take some pics but i'm pretty embarrassed about how bad they look.

They have been wormed with Ivomec horse paste and a morantel tartrate goat wormer.  I have some Corid that I am wary about using.

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hound 

They do have free choice alfalfa hay and pellets, I don't just feed them grain.  I am sure it isn't just dairy character, they are thin.  I have seen other people's herds and mine look skinny in comparison.  I'll take some pics but i'm pretty embarrassed about how bad they look.

They have been wormed with Ivomec horse paste and a morantel tartrate goat wormer.  I have some Corid that I am wary about using.


Dont be embarrassed, you are doing everything you can! Obviously you are working on things, goats can be hard! You are FAR from the only person to have this problem, and you are doing the right thing. It may actually be helpful to post pics and get some other opinions as to their thiness.  Maybe some molasses laced grain would help? My goat loved it, and once I got the right wormer in her, she started to more weight on her and her fur got into better shape.

Take a deep breath.........................you'll need it!
I am a shameless promoter of BYC and an enabler to poor, sad, chickenless people. I always have a chick or 3 to help you start your flock....c'mon, its easy and fun, remember- a joy shared IS a joy doubled!
Reply
Take a deep breath.........................you'll need it!
I am a shameless promoter of BYC and an enabler to poor, sad, chickenless people. I always have a chick or 3 to help you start your flock....c'mon, its easy and fun, remember- a joy shared IS a joy doubled!
Reply
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hound 

I have some Corid that I am wary about using.


Corid is for coccidiosis which is really usually only a problem in young goats that are under stress, weaning.  If one of your goats has coccidiosis, you would know immediately as one of its symptoms is Really Bad Black Scours...goats don't lose condition from coccidiosis, they die....You said you dewormed with Ivomec horse paste.  Are you confident you used the correct dosage?  Half a dose is good as no dose at all, actually worse as the parasites are exposed at a level lower than necessary to kill them, thus allowing them to build an immunity to the drug.  Again have a fecal done and treat as necessary to control the parasites that are present.  You say your goats are skinny.  What body score would you assign to each of them?  If they are open or gestating they should be about a 2.5 to 3.5...

Bantams: OEGB,Faverolles,RIR,barnevelders,leghorns,dutch  Standard: leghorns,barnevelders
Slate,Royal palm turkeys.....Quarter horses,Boer Goats,German Shorthaired Pointers, Weimaraners,Ndwarfs
training and breeding; show stock available...
Member :  PF,DU,AQHA,NAVHDA,NSTRA,USBGA,ABGA,APA,NRA,BYC
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Bantams: OEGB,Faverolles,RIR,barnevelders,leghorns,dutch  Standard: leghorns,barnevelders
Slate,Royal palm turkeys.....Quarter horses,Boer Goats,German Shorthaired Pointers, Weimaraners,Ndwarfs
training and breeding; show stock available...
Member :  PF,DU,AQHA,NAVHDA,NSTRA,USBGA,ABGA,APA,NRA,BYC
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post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Would I be able to get a goat fecal done by a large animal vet?  I've had no luck finding a goat vet within 150 miles of here.  The last one I used was worse than nothing as she treated my doeling for a fever with a lot of antibiotics, when she actually didn't know the normal temperature for a goat roll  She thought it should be 99.5, the doeling's temperature was 103.  The goat had no fever at all and the antibiotics made her sicker as she had digestive issues. 

I used double the horse dosage of the Ivomec, so about 300lbs dose per goat.

I'll get some pics and let you see what you think in terms of body score.  I'd put the worst one at a 1.5.  Her breeder did say that she is a hard keeper, she was free.  She is about 4 years old, I can check her papers for the exact age.  She kidded with triplets in March.  The rest are probably more like a 2 - 2.5. 

I just have no idea how people have trouble with fat goats, I feed these as much as I can get them to eat just short of cramming it down their throats!  I tried giving them a treat of cattle cake but they are not interested.  I tried soaking it with molasses water but still nothing.  On average they milk 13-16lbs/day (they're currently dry).

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