new mom to two nubian/kiko cross goats and I don't think I know what I'm doing.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Spanishchick, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. Spanishchick

    Spanishchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm concerned because at 5 weeks they don't eat any feed, hay, grass....may nibble on some leaves. If I'm supposed to wean in 3 weeks shouldn't they already be eating something yet?
    I read they wean them at 8 weeks.
    Any advise is helpful. Also does anyone add buttermilk, condenced milk and an egg to make their milk. I read this recipe and am curious because whole milk is skimmed of its fat which goat milk has if they were bieng fed by their mother who abandonded them.
    Thanks,

    Oh for bieng part kiko they sure are tame......
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    What sort of hay are you offering them? If it's the almost totally nutritionless cheap stalky hay they sell for coops, that might be the reason. Those bales are often old and musty and filled with mold spores. At least, around here that seems to be the rule. Maybe try them on some grassy lucerne or mixed meadow hay?

    I can't comment from first hand experience on that recipe you mentioned. I have heard it's used for a colostrum substitute for very young animals but to suddenly introduce that recipe to their diet could be fatal at this point. They might be ok though. If they're doing well on what they're on though probably best to stick to it.

    Is there any reason they're not eating the grass that you can think of? All baby goats we ever raised were nibbling from a very young age onwards, tasting everything, and so were most of the sheep, but that said, if the grounds are overburdened by fecal matter they may abstain from the grass entirely unless starved into eating it. They can be pretty fussy. Best wishes with them.
     
  3. Spanishchick

    Spanishchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for answering. They love milk and it seems like that's all they want. I bought them young goat pellets. They are not even nibbling it

    The hay is clean and so is the barn but it's not green hay although when I went to look at green hay it didn't look green to me. I have a field of fresh grass and clover.
    They assured me that the hay was good and that's how it comes. I passed on it since I have fresh. Maybe not a good idea? I have no idea. I can't imagine that's very nutritious and they were out of alfalfa hay.
    I know they're not in danger with milk but the people who had them feed them every twelve hours twice a day. However they said they weren't earthing yet and that seems like a really long time to go without food. I feed three times a day.
    They nibble leaves. But that's all they like apart from my hair lol.
    Since I am new to goats I am unsure about anything. I doubt leaves are going to help build strong healthy milk goats.
    Again, I don't know.
    About the milk, you're probably right they are fine as it is without changing the recipe now.
     
  4. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    8 weeks is the earliest they can wean. If they're not eating solids in a way that makes you confident, then you can keep feeding them bottles longer. A lot of people bottlefeed to 12 weeks.

    As they get older, you can gently cut back on their feedings. That will help them explore the other foods if they are hungry. Also, they probably don't know that the pellets are food. When kids are on their dams, the dams teach them to eat hay/grain, and to drink water. Bottle kids with no adult goat mentors just don't learn that as easily.

    You can help teach them that the solid stuff is good to eat. Keep hay in their enclosure all the time. Just a handful, so they don't waste it. Goats often explore with their mouths, so they will start with mouthing it, probably dropping most of it on the ground. Eventually, they will decide it is tasty enough to eat. As for pellets, try popping a few in their mouths a few times a day. They will spit the pellets out and make yucky faces, but will realize they too are tasty. Also, leave a small amount (handful) in a pan for them. Just nibbling around they may eat a few. And if one of the two starts eating pellets, the other will follow quickly.

    DO NOT put water in their bottles to teach them to drink water. Because it really doesn't teach them to drink water. It teaches them to depend on that bottle. With the hay, always make sure they have water, they will eventually start drinking as you cut back on the bottles.
     
  5. Spanishchick

    Spanishchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ya it's incredibly hard for them to know what to do without a teacher (a goat one).
    I heard about watering down the milk which is crazy since that's the only thing keeping them alive............it can kill them I read.
    I do leave feed and water and a bit of pellets and grass while I am working and let them graze otherwise but they're really not grazing.
    I'll be home more soon, going from full-time to part-time work since I have too much to do and we have a landscaping business I need to help with.

    Anyhow one more question (I think) is there a difference between fresh grass I pick them with clover and some wild small flowers and hay? Do you recommend I get a bail of hay and if so what type of hay???
    Fescue, alfalfa or and Bermuda are my 3 choices at the feed store and alfalfa seems to run out fast. But I'm sure I can grab some.

    Thanks for helping me out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  6. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    The difference is the moisture factor. Plenty of varieties of hay are grass hay, literally long grasses cut, dried, and baled. Because roughage is so critically important in a goat's diet, hay should be a daily part of their diet. This blurb from Tennessee Meat Goats sums it up quite well:

    "Roughage is essential to the goat's diet to maintain good health. Dry matter roughage (long fiber, also known as grass hay or dry forage/browse) is critical for proper rumen function. Goats digest their food using live bacteria. The interaction of live bacteria and long fiber keeps the rumen functioning and the goat's body temperature in normal range (101.5*F and 103.5*F). Long fiber rubbing the walls of the rumen causes contractions and aids in food digestion."

    I'd be very careful about feeding what you pick from the yard and put in their pen because it could mold if they don't eat it in time. Also, you absolutely need to read up on a condition called bloat. Specifically, frothy bloat. If a goat eats fresh, wet greens, they can get what is known as frothy bloat. It can be fatal, I have personally lost a goat to frothy bloat despite immediate veterinary intervention. So if you pick them a lot of dewy, damp clover (legumes like clover are a huge cause of bloat if they eat too much/are not used to it), they can get bloat. One of the ways to prevent bloat is to feed hay before turning goats out on rich pasture. Your goats should definitely have at least some hay, before being allowed to eat the fresh stuff.

    As to what hay to feed, all are good choices, if you understand the benefits of each type of hay. The most important factor to remember is the calcium:phosphorus ratio of the hay/food item. Goats need to have a diet in which that ratio is 2:1. So meaning for every part phosphorus they ingest, they need to be ingesting twice the amount of calcium, in order to be healthy.

    This website is geared towards guinea pigs, but shows the average cal:phos ratio for different types of hay.
     
  7. Spanishchick

    Spanishchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much you've been very helpful!!!
    I appreciate it!
     
  8. Spanishchick

    Spanishchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Boy, goats are not the garbage disposal people say they are. They are actually very delicate!
     
  9. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    The only people who think goats are garbage disposals have either never owned or cared for goats or starved the ones they had. A starving animal will eat anything just to stay alive.
     
  10. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    Most people wean their kids at about eight weeks of age. At five weeks your kids should be eating hay and grain fairly well. I offered mine a good alfalfa hay and a calf starter grain at about a week of age. I am curious as to why you think whole milk has its fat removed. Whole cow milk from the store has about 3.5% butterfat. Most dairy goats produce milk with about the same butterfat. Boer goats and mini goats often produce a richer milk than that. The formula with milk, condensed milk, and buttermilk works well for kids, particularly Boer goat kids and mini goat kids. You take a gallon jug of whole milk from the store, pour off some of the milk from the jug and then and add a can of evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk) and a cup of buttermilk to the jug. You then add enough of the milk you poured off back into the jug to fill it. I have never heard of adding an egg. You can also feed just plain whole milk as is if you like.
     

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