HELP! How do I safely fatten up a skinny doe?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by freemotion, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    I picked up a pregnant goat yesterday, I was supposed to be checking her out to purchase, turned out to be more of a rescue (owners both fighting for their lives in hospital recently). Anyways, she is TOO thin, no one knows when she is due, and I think I was fed a line as to how old she really is. I took her anyways, just had to get ONE animal out of that situation and reduce the burden....

    She is very docile and sweet. I need to know how I can safely get some weight on her before she delivers, she is obviously giving everything to the babies. I have her on good grass hay free choice (will try to find alfalfa, may not be successful in my area) and today I gave her a cup of alfalfa pellets and half cup of grain three times. Also a grapefruit-size pumpkin and later, a couple cups of chopped rutabaga and mangel (fresh.) I have more pumpkins and lots of rutabagas and a few mangels left.

    I don't want to give her too much at once. I also have some dry beet pulp available. I can get to the feed store on Friday, hopefully, and will put up some free choice loose minerals, baking soda, and salt (she has access to a block right now.) What else can I do, and is there anything I am doing that I shouldn't?

    I will go out later tonight and give her another small snack. Tomorrow I will make a couple pies, so will have apple scraps for everyone, the three goats and all the chickens.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Chatychick

    Chatychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I would pass on the apples well the seeds as they can get cynide posion from the, When was she last wormed that will help her to gain weight. I would use a horse paste wormer and worm for her weight. Get the tummy worms forst and then follow up in 10 days with a stronger wormer. I would feed her all the alfalfa pellets she wants and beet pulp also as its a Great supply of calcium and she sounds like she needs it being pregnant. If your giving grass hay then keep alfalfa pellets out 24/7. Mine love them and its good for them too. I would start slowly with grain and snacks also as it can upset the tummy if not used to them and only give 1 snack for a week and little bits at a time as they can get piggy for food. Hay at this time is great for keeping them warm and they can even gain weight on it with good worm control.
    Yep first thing is to worm and go from there. Good luck and hopefully she has some friends as goats dont do well by themselves.
     
  3. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    She has two pet pygmies as friends, she is our first dairy goat, hopefully! I am concerned about worming a pregnant animal. I was told all kinds of things about her care that I simply don't believe. She is a semi-rescue....I paid for her, but she needed to be out of that situation. Not cruelty, the people suddenly fell onto very hard times. It looked like she was getting nice grass hay and white bread and she had green frosting on her lips from eating some cake....they get leftovers from the local (people) shelter for their animals. Not much nutrition, and she had a lot of competition for it. I saw no evidence of feeders or feed sacks, just those big round bales, and white bread all over the ground.

    You said snacks once a week....are the small grain meals ok? I was thinking of trying to scrounge some leafy greens like kale and collards from the local grocery produce manager if I can, higher in nutrients than hay. Anything to introduce variety and mimic her natural summer browsing. Along with her hay, of course.
     
  4. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    I understand that pumpkin seeds and DE are natural wormers. A vet would be able to advise you on one that would be safe for a pregnant doe.

    I give my dairy goats peanut hay and orchard/alfalfa hay in addition to their daily amount of grain. The small meals is good, particularly since its "new" for her (IMHO). My does seem to love leafy, stemmy vegetation. (which peanut hay is) As Chatychick said, the beet pulp is excellent - I think its easily digested too. You might up the grain/beet pulp to 1 pound - 4 half cups or even 5-6 as she advances in her pregnancy. I was told by the people I bought mine from 1 pound of food to maintain their body, then so much for how much milk.

    Congrats on your new doe! Sounds like it was a win-win situation, that it helped those people out too. Sounds like they were doing the best they could.
     
  5. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    I found a goat condition chart online and on a scale of 1-9 I would put her at a 2-3....she needs weight fast. IYHO, how many small meals with grain and beet pulp can she have, and how much should I work her up to? She came into my barn Tuesday at 9PM, and I just gave her hay and a couple cups of alfalfa pellets. Today she was fed as described above, four small grain/alfalfa pellet meals with some chopped rutabaga/mangels/pumpkin (maybe a quart total, four feedings.)

    What is safe? I am used to horses, and their delicate digestive systems. I barely feed my pygmies and they are a 7+ on the body condition scale!

    She could also be as much as four months into her gestation, so needs food as fast as possible. Please give me some specifics that you think might be a safe speed. I will go to the feed store when it opens on Friday, I have enough of the above foods until then.

    If one pound is to maintain condition, how much over that can I go to get some good weight gain quickly?

    I live in a very suburban area, no good goat vets, just dogs, cats, horses. On Friday, I will try to find some local goat people to ask, but BYC gives me a much larger pool of wisdom!

    Thanks!
     
  6. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    My does get about 4 lbs of grain. 2 lbs in the am and 2 in the pm on the milk stand when they're giving me about 6 quarts of milk. I also give them a good bit of hay. Milking takes a lot out of them. I have one doe with a great metabolism. It takes them about 5 minutes to eat 4 cups of food.

    As you know, goats are like horses in that they are grazers and made to eat (literally) all day long. So, were I in your shoes, I would give her 6-8 "meals" and even a handful of food here and there in between "meals" (think of holiday parties, how we so easily gain weight with lots of food in between meals) If you space it out on the grain she should be ok. Grain would be the hardest to digest. Its eating a large amount of grain at one time that would cause a problem.

    I forgot to mention barley. I've been told that barley is an excellent grain for goaties. (not so easy for me to get - why I forgot) and they love it.

    If she's that far along, she's definitely going to need those calories.

    Hay - give her as much as she'll clean up by the next "normal" feeding (am to pm). Good quaility hay will help get her body in condition as well. If you have any edible trees with leaves (mine love oak tree branches) probably hard to come by at this time of year though since you're up north.

    Hope that helps. [​IMG]
     
  7. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    VERY helpful, thanks!!!! I have 350 lbs of barley in the garage from my last trip to farm country, Northern Maine. I will work her up to 4 lbs over the next couple weeks.

    I have lots of corn, too, any opinions on goats and corn? I will give her a bit of corn, too, until/unless I hear from any goat people out there.

    I decided to soak her food in water with a little whey to make it more digestible (that helped my elderly horse tremendously when she started having trouble with hanging onto her calories.)

    [​IMG] Thanks for the guidelines, everyone, more opinions and ideas welcome. Wish I had access to Florida plants this time of year!
     
  8. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    Although now that I look at my last post, I am thinking two weeks is too long....how quickly can I get her up to four pounds of grain? Even on work days, I should be able to divide her grain into at least four meals, more on some days.
     
  9. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master

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    Feb 8, 2007
    Colorado
    I started giving my goats show goat feed by Purina. A lot of feed stores carry a show goat feed, though different brands. It is supposed to help put weight on. At one time, when I had a sick doe, the vet came out and told me to give her Equine Senior feed. I never saved that goat however.

    Anyway, I have one goat now that is thin, and I think its just because the others bully her away from the food, so I have been trying to offer her some from my hand whenever I am out there, which is hard as I have to fight the others away.
     
  10. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    Thanks, my new goat is top goat over my two fat pygmies. I had trouble with my old mare gaining weight and when I switched her from Senior to whole grains soaked with a splash of whey or cider vinegar, she gained weight. I always gave a handful of senior, mostly for flavor. So I hope the same regimen works for the doe. I will try the show goat formula, too, since it probably has stuff to make them fatter.

    I have completely lost all faith in the food giants. I think most pet-type animals are generally overfed and fat, so the poor quality stuff they can hide in a ground and pelleted (McNuggets) feed is ok for most.

    I wish it was not winter so she could graze/browse in my pasture! Aarrrgh! She is so desparate that she cleaned up the grain I was throwing on the dirt for my chickens. My other goats won't eat it off the dirt. So I will feed my hens only in their coop now.

    I have a bucket of mash (beet pulp, barley, corn) in my kitchen by the door so she can get a pint every time I go outside for anything. What about vegetable oil? I have used it in horses that came to me in less-than-ideal condition until they were healthy, up to half-cup a day. Is this used in the goat world?
     

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