Diet - Feeding Goats

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Diet - Feeding Goats

Post  darylandgoats on Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:12 pm

Hi Everyone,

Yet another post of questions from me! I wondered what everyone feeds their goats? I hae been giving mine Dodson and Horrell Goat Mix, Wet and Dry Sugar Beet Shreds, Alpha A and also Hay, Branches, Willowherd and fresh veg since 2006 when I first started keeping goats and they have been doing very well on it. Only had one problem which is Zinc Deficincy. Its a long story how it first occured but since then it seems to occur mainly during the winter and only in two animals which probably have some kind of genetic inability to retain zinc. Mine have had access to Zinc rich rockie licks since it first occured and also they have recently been dosed with a Zincosel Bolus so its being managed but I wondered if anyone else gave their goats a radiacally different diet, perhaps a change might help my goats.

Anyone grow their own goat food?

Daryl

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Re: Diet - Feeding Goats

Post  talanatoggs on Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:35 am

Hi, everyone,
I feed my goats much the same, their concentate ration is usually dodson & horrell as they prefer it to the other goat mixes and it contains copper (we live in an area that is notoriously short of copper)They get it especially during summer months as in winter I have access to ewe cobs and cattle feed although this winter my husband had switched feed companies and got high protein stuff to balance home grown barley and now the barleys pretty much run out he' s got cheaper blend which has everything in it but it is quite dusty so not suitable for the goats ,he's not so keen on it either for the cattle but it is cheaper and does the job. The blend we got before from davidsons either blossom or five star blend was pelleted completely and the goats loved it and did well on it. They also get alpha a and soakd sugar beet pellets plus readigrass somtimes for variety, hay and carrots cabbage etc.They normally get out in the winter to graze and eat bark of the stick pile but with the deep snow all winter they have just seen their field in this past few weeks.
In the summer they are alot easier to feed with plenty grazing, willowherb, various branches mostly beech, silver birch and willow around here and various other browsings we can find. I love to see what the goats pick is the flavour of the week although willowherb is a favourite no matter what stage of growth.
They have access to red & yellow rockies but I now dose them with a copper/cobalt drench after noticing their coats getting lighter and taking some advice from an expeienced togg keeper I met at the forfar show.So obviously goat mix alone is not enough vit&min.in it for my area. I have been thinking of making up my own mix which would be cheaper and hopefully be tailored for my goats better and possibly use parts that are grown in this country( although soya is a great source of protein it seems to be in everything even bread, and it has to be shipped here) I would appreciate everyones thoughts ,Fiona

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Re: Diet - Feeding Goats

Post  darylandgoats on Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:15 am

Hi Talanatogs,

Sounds like our goats have very similar diets indeed. I have never given my goats a pelleted feed though but its something I might consider. I hear a pellet feed ensure they get all they need nutrition wise although my goats are not fussy and never leave any part of the course mix.

I agree about Soya being in everything and I too think its a shame, given that its carbon footprint must be enourmous.

Your stick pile sounds a bit like my stick pile, all my left of branches which I have cut all summer I leave in a pile for goats to nibble at. I also dry as much branches as I can in the summer to feed during January and February. This year I thought maybe if I spread the branches throughout the whole winter the zinc problem might not surface but no such luck, the flaky, sore skin and minor hair loss appeared again this winter in the same two animals. My vet advised me not to supplement them with more zinc given they have the Boluses but its really not making any difference. Medical texts say I can give upto 1g of Zinc daily for 2-4 weeks which should solve the problem, so I am really considering doing this, the toxic level for zinc is very high so I am happy that it won't endager the goats. The problem is mineral and vitamin mixes such as Caprivite although great are very expensive!

Mixing your own goat feed sounds like a good idea for large herds as even buying in single 20kg bags of each ingredient means you would end up with a very large batch of feed, which I think only large herds could store properly or use in a reasonable amount of time.

Daryl

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Re: Diet - Feeding Goats

Post  talanatoggs on Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:42 am

Hi Daryl, have you tried zinc oxide 'nappy cream' cheap and messy but applied to worst areas might help combating the problem externally aswell as internally. Quistel shampoo is quite expensive but quite effective in removing scurf and helping hair grow back as it encourages more blood flow to the skin. Shampoo with colldial oatmeal in it is also good for soothing the skin. I don't know for sure but I think I heard somewhere that too much copper or a high calcium intake ( like possibly in alfalfa) in the diet may contribute the goat to not been able to take up enough zinc. I know in dogs some are prone to zinc deficiency like huskys which shows it can be hereditary and sometimes dogs getting too much maize, soya and basically loose ceral based diets with not enough meat in it can limit zinc absorption. I also know sheep can get eczema on their face which is caused by ingesting some mycotoxin and it is treated with a zinc supplement.
Hope this might help and good luck ,one thing for sure with keeping livestock, you never stop problem solving.
Fiona

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