Originally Posted by aubreynoramarie
Originally Posted by arabianequine
I would go easy on the alfalfa and goat chow any new feed actually everytime you give a new feed. Goats are get the runs really easy and can dehydrate fast. I wonder if the owners you are getting them from would let you have some feed they are use to, to go with them maybe give them a few bucks for it if you have too. Then add what ever feed your gonna feed into it like alfalfa hay or grass hay 25 new hay/75 old hay and then work up to all your hay that your gonna be giving daily....every few days up the new feed amount and lessen the old feed amount....to get them use to the new feed. The goat chow I would do 1/2 cup once a day for a few days. After that maybe a cup a day.....maybe split it into to 2 feedings to make them friendlier. They probably don't need it continuously though unless lactating, skinny, or late pregnancy etc.
I know what you mean about nothing growing we live in a desert. I was feeding all alfalfa hay and they were spoiled rotten after that it took a while to get them to eat just grass hay. Now I get 50/50 mix so they get some of the alfalfa and some grass. I just went through 2 bags of goat chow and now they are a bit upset I am not giving it anymore but no point if they don't need it. It is expensive stuff.
Yep thats why I got purina thats what they are on.
Thanks everyone for the advice! I really had no clue how little goats eat. In my head I was preparing for these massive eating machines to eat me out of house and home!
Why would the feed store lady tell me to buy alfalfa if hay is better for them???
Edited by zzGypsy - 8/24/11 at 8:44am
1) because they are making a fair profit on it
2) because they don't know better.
if they told you to use alfalfa as bedding, my guess is 1)
I keep full sized lamanchas (dairy goats) for milk production and we feed a mix of hays... and it's different for pregnant and milk producing does than for the bucks, growing kids and weathers. alfalfa because they love it, but in limited quantities (more for lactating and late preg does). we feed some oat hay or forage hay also, and generally at least half of their feed is bermuda (because it's our local grass hay). if you're not breeding them, any grass hay would do, just depends on what is inexpensive but fair quality locally. the problem with feeding straight alfalfa is urinary calculi for the boys and bloat for all of them. it's pretty rich feed and can encourage overgrowth of the normal gut flora, just like too much grain. it is high-protien and high-calcium which is why it's often fed during late pregnancy and to heavy milk-producing does.
you have to be careful in changing their diet, it can cause bloat and other digestive issues. we always feed bermuda with some alfalfa, and then add some of the oat or forage as it's available. we don't feed a pelleted ration, but will grain suplement the does in late pregnancy and lactation. (we use a 3-way dry rolled barley, corn, oats). We feed out of cut plastic 55 gallon drums and once the hay goes on the ground, and they walk on it they generally won't eat it. they are picky about clean water too and will dehydrate if the water tank is full but not clean enough.
we always have on offer free choice baking soda and loose goat minerals, as well as a white salt block and sweet lix goat block (protien/mineral block). this lets them pick what they need to suplement their diet, more minerals, more salt, more protien, or baking soda for an upset stomach. the qualtiy and mineral/protien content of your hay will vary and having these options lets them adjust their diet as needed.
we also feed some vege scraps, lettus, carrots and carrot tops, apples (although some don't like these). I've got one that likes bananas. Goats are browsers so they get tree trimmings, especially eucalyptus, and cut bamboo, and they'll eat the bark and small twigs as well as the leaves if you leave the branches in the pen for a couple of days. you'll want to check on each type you feed them, some trees/hedges are poisonous.
in general, all of these (hay, grain or suplement, veges and leaves) should be feed with no radical day-to-day changes (ie, don't feed them 10 pounds of carrots one day if they're not used to carrots, although occassional carrot-or-two treats are fine).
best treat on our goat list? peppermint horse cookies. they'd KILL for those. but again, use in small quantities. I've heard other folks say their best treat is popcorn (the unsalted, unbuttered kind.)
How goats train you:
remember, goats can be picky and they'll try to convince you that what you're feeding them 1) isn't enough volume and 2) isn't tasty enough. they'll pick through the alfafa and just eat the leaves. they'll dig in the forage hay and look for just the tastiest bits. I judge how much they need by the quality of their health... if they're lean but not skinny, their coat looks in good condition... and by how much feed they're leaving in the bins... if the bins are still full of clean good quality bermuda, but they're yelling at dinner time, they're trying to convince me they *need* more alfalfa. it's not necessarily so.
How you train goats:
Goats are smart, can be trained, but if they've never been handled it may take a while. we have a wild one, she's never really settled, but she's gotten much bettter. basically we just sat inside the pen for some time most days and let her figure it out (insisting on contact just alarmed her more). we started sitting in the far corner from the food and watched to make sure she'd eat with us in there. once she was eating with us at that distance, we'd move a little bit closer. eventually we could sit within a a foot or so of the feeder with her still eating and she will take treats from our hands. nonetheless, if we move fast or do something startling, she's gone to the far side of the pen in a flash. good survival insincts on that girl.
you'll also want to keep an eye on their hooves, unless they've got some really great rocks to climb on they'll need trimming at some point. look for them to fold over, crack, flare out, get too long or take on an un-hoof like shape. they're not difficult to trim but you might want to find someone who's done it before to help you.
goats are fun, welcome to the goat adventure!
edited because I'm more than usually grammar challenged this morning