The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Goats => Topic started by: New Riverside Farm on October 03, 2017, 10:45:25 am

Title: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 03, 2017, 10:45:25 am
Hello again,

Sorry if these are so basic and common sense. Not to me yet but want to learn and keep my beauties happy and healthy! Here is a few questions:

1. Difference between haylage and hay? Is haylage ok for goats?

2. With their concentrates - how do you determine amount? Young goats - told one scoop in the morn, and one in the evening. Does this change with weight and age? If so, what's the formula?

3. Copper - goat feed should have it? Have a salt lick but if they don't use it when should I worry and do more? And what's that more - a bolus? Sounds a little scary and if I don't know if they have enough - could it be too much?

4. Should I get my land tested? To be honest they don't tend to eat much from the ground...they rather prefer their concentrates, trees - they get goat willow, ash, elm (is sycamore ok? - haven't tried it on them), small amount of apples (can they have too many apples?) - are the trees/leaves ok?, hay and they often eat their straw bedding when it's put down.

I'll start here with these - then I might ask more with the responses I get : )

Many thanks!!
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: macgro7 on October 03, 2017, 12:43:33 pm
I 've noticed they only like certain types of grasses.
My ones only started eating more grass recently, not sure Why?
When you let them loose they eat sycamore, ash, brambles, roses and bindweed (their favourite!), docks, spinach, dandelions and plenty other weeds and nearly all trees (be careful around fruit trees as they will decimate them if not protected!).
On different days they prefer to eat different things, perhaps they know which plant has which nutrients that they require? I rarely give them any hay  (untill winter).
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 03, 2017, 02:45:38 pm
The fruit trees would only be limbs I've cut off - so it would be apple tree leaves, if that is ok for them.

Do I need to be careful about how many apples they get in case of bloat?

I cut them up very small - no pips - so they don't choke on them. But generally only share 1 apple across 3 goats but I have loads to use (which I will for many recipes too!) but it would be great to feed them but don't want to overdo it either! They love them - so I'd be at real risk that they could overeat them if given the chance.

They like brambles but not overly much, no nettles - unfortunately.

Do you know if haylage is ok?
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: Anke on October 03, 2017, 03:16:13 pm

Careful with haylage - hay much better as almost zero risk wrt listeriosis. Large commercial herds feed haylage as hay often difficult to get hold of, but then of course a small number of goats contracting (and most likely not surviving ..) is not too bad, whereas for the small scale keeper even the loss of one goat is difficult to accept. Listeriosis can of course be caught from the soil too, as  that's where the bacteria live, but much less likely than from (badly) made haylage. Not worth the risk. Having said that I do sometimes (during the show season) feed Horsehage Alfalfa haylage to up the milk a bit - expensive though....


Re Copper - there is a lot of discussion/hype in the goat community atm, easiest way is to a) feed a dairy cow ration with added copper (18% protein dairy nuts) and have a red rockie available - that's all mine have and it has worked well for the last  (nearly) 10 years. Unless you are in an area with serious deficiencies (speak to your vet, not your local agri merchant - they love to sell all sorts of supplements to you!), I personally would stay well clear of bolussing.


If you buy in the vast part of their feed - hay, concentrates and collect greenery from outside your holding, then testing your land may not be of much value....


My goats do love all sort of vegetables - they get carrots every day in autumn/winter (a large bag of pony carrots lasts about a week for 12 adults and 7 kids), plus cabbage, bananas and apples. I tend to restrict apples to about half per goat every other day, just it is quite acidic. All cut into thin sticks/slices.
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 03, 2017, 06:19:57 pm
Is the acidic piece to the apples affect the milk or is it digestive related? They aren't milking yet so there is no worry there for the moment.

I feed them goat concentrates which in theory has copper. Is that enough? I don't do sheep feed which I understand could be used but being a newbie, I just don't know enough to really be able to use experience to balance diets - so I keep it simple. Someday when I am as good as everyone on here, I may dabble with knowledge and experience in my pocket but for now, I want simple and gives them what they need. It would seem the concentrates would do that - but I am not really sure.

I'll try them on some other items...we'll see how it goes, we're discovering what things they like and don't like!

Thanks for the info on the haylage. I saw someone nearby selling it for a good price - so wondered if it's a good and maybe healthier option - but since losing my girls isn't an option, I won't do that!
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: mart6 on October 03, 2017, 07:32:02 pm
As Anke said be careful with Haylage friend lost her best show buck within a month of using it for the first time
If you have a plentiful supply of apples google making cider viniger  great for preventing bloat

Copper goats do not get sufficient copper from licks alone, and i have a few that wont use them
Main concentrate with copper added is beef nuts and it varies considerably between brands
Bolus it is a easy as drenching there is a rubber tube you attach to drench gun fill with water and away
Kids from 3 months i just open mouth and push to back of throat, goats need substantially more copper than sheep Been bolusing mine for 6 months now and you can see the benefit

Majority of goat keepers would not spot copper deficiency until it is substantial.
I asked my vet and he said just use common sense and trial and error on cautious side 
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 04, 2017, 06:09:11 pm
What about sufficient copper from feed? If it is a proper goat feed - which should have copper, is that sufficient? They do not touch their lick at all...so want to be sure they are getting the sufficient copper and I've no idea how to tell. There doesn't appear to be any signs but then as many say, you won't know till it is far in. So does goat feed which has cooper ok?

Also, how much goat feed do they need? I was told one scoop in the morn and one in the evening.

I am not sure I'd like to do the bolus route as I am not that skilled and want to get a few more months under my feet before trying things like that - these girls, the one especially, is very touchy about getting things placed in their mouth, hooves trimmed...I'd need to get them a little more handled before trying to get anything down their throat. They are super friendly but not yet 'med friendly' so would the next alternative be a beef nut?
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: Anke on October 04, 2017, 08:57:43 pm
What breed f goats are they and how old?
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: mart6 on October 05, 2017, 07:26:30 am
Would check the label on your goat mix
when i read mine i was surprised it did not contain added copper.
Calf/beef nuts do
You could always get Caprivite, its a powder to sprinkle on food
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Caprivite-4kg-Bkt-Vitamin-mineral-feed-supplement-Goats-/350220102427?epid=1163181171&hash=item518abeab1b:g:59UAAOSwQItUGVDb (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Caprivite-4kg-Bkt-Vitamin-mineral-feed-supplement-Goats-/350220102427?epid=1163181171&hash=item518abeab1b:g:59UAAOSwQItUGVDb)
Try find it at local supplier to save postage

Copper deficiency is easier to spot on a black goat ,color starts getting a rust tinge hair on top of neck gets courser  , hair on tail looks like a fish tail and if you look at the tip it is bald
On or brown goat boer it would be less noticeable
See link below that is a extreme case

http://thriftyhomesteader.com/goats-and-copper-deficiency/ (http://thriftyhomesteader.com/goats-and-copper-deficiency/)
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 05, 2017, 12:46:36 pm
Thank you mart6 for that information! I looked on my goat feed and it isn't clear to me if it has it or doesn't.

I don't see copper as part of it, but I do see Cuprio Sulphate Penahydrate (sorry if this is misspelled the writing is so unclear and it tears along the seal so hard to keep the label in tact).

It also says not to feed to sheep - which if I understand from what I've read - sheep shouldn't have copper, so leads me to believe this may do? Or that could be a red herring that I am reading that, assuming one thing, when it means another!

Not sure if anyone is familiar with this brand - Stephensons Animal Feed in Todmorden?
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 05, 2017, 12:48:06 pm
Hi Anke,

They are golden guernsey and guernsey cross with toggs. They are about 6 months old now.

Many thanks!
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: mart6 on October 05, 2017, 06:44:29 pm
Thank you mart6 for that information! I looked on my goat feed and it isn't clear to me if it has it or doesn't.

I don't see copper as part of it, but I do see Cuprio Sulphate Penahydrate (sorry if this is misspelled the writing is so unclear and it tears along the seal so hard to keep the label in tact).

It also says not to feed to sheep - which if I understand from what I've read - sheep shouldn't have copper, so leads me to believe this may do? Or that could be a red herring that I am reading that, assuming one thing, when it means another!

Not sure if anyone is familiar with this brand - Stephensons Animal Feed in Todmorden?

Its copper
http://www.nordfeed.com/copper-sulphate.html (http://www.nordfeed.com/copper-sulphate.html)

This may be better for the novice tell tale signs
Get hold of tail move hair if you can see a pink tip at the end then it probably is copper shortage will try and find some photos would not let me link photos see link below

https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/mineral-deficiency-picture-heavy.5839/ (https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/mineral-deficiency-picture-heavy.5839/)

1Rust colored tinge to coat

2Rust colored tinge to coat

3Fish tail
Get hold of tail move hair if you can see a pink tip at the end then it probably is copper shortage

5Rough coat
Hair coarser than normal, normally shows at top of neck first
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: Anke on October 05, 2017, 09:00:48 pm

Hi Anke,

They are golden guernsey and guernsey cross with toggs. They are about 6 months old now.

Many thanks!


My two 6 month old GG kids will get about a scoop-ful of dairy nuts (18% protein), rolled oats and some soaked shreds (one scoop in total for all three feedstuffs) between them three times a day. Plus a couple of handfuls of either readigrass or Alpha A.  Not sure that makes sense but I don't usually weigh any food. They also have hay ad-lib, and at the moment still get a bottle last thing at night.
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 06, 2017, 11:21:27 am
Wow - they still get a bottle a night? I wouldn't have that ability to give them a bottle as I don't have the (or a ) mum for that.

They have hay ad lib, I do a scoop of goat feed - which I imagine has some of those, like oats, it has grass nuts?, maize, molasses, items - per goat, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The goat feed place - when I called them - suggested a kilo a day per goat. Does this sound right? Obviously I am cautious and go on the assumption less is better as that way they don't get bloat.

I'll have to look at what readigrass and Alpha A are! : )

I want to be sure they are getting proper nutrition without overdosing and haven't a clue if I am keeping a good balance or too, too low? As I said, I like to err on the side of less - but not too much and it sounds like I might be??
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: Scarlet.Dragon on October 06, 2017, 08:28:49 pm
Hello again,

Sorry if these are so basic and common sense. Not to me yet but want to learn and keep my beauties happy and healthy! Here is a few questions:

1. Difference between haylage and hay? Is haylage ok for goats?

2. With their concentrates - how do you determine amount? Young goats - told one scoop in the morn, and one in the evening. Does this change with weight and age? If so, what's the formula?

3. Copper - goat feed should have it? Have a salt lick but if they don't use it when should I worry and do more? And what's that more - a bolus? Sounds a little scary and if I don't know if they have enough - could it be too much?

4. Should I get my land tested? To be honest they don't tend to eat much from the ground...they rather prefer their concentrates, trees - they get goat willow, ash, elm (is sycamore ok? - haven't tried it on them), small amount of apples (can they have too many apples?) - are the trees/leaves ok?, hay and they often eat their straw bedding when it's put down.

I'll start here with these - then I might ask more with the responses I get : )

Many thanks!!

What I'm posting is my opinion; others will differ.

There is no 'one solution' or 'right way' - you have to find what works for you and your goats.  If you stick to the principle that the predominant food source should be fibre based (good quality hay, tree hay/browse, 'woody' weeds or dried grass) you'll be on the right track if your goats are not 'working' - milk/meat etc.

1) I am not a fan of haylage for any animal!  Haylage used to be known as grade II silage in the good old days.  It should be brown in colour, smell sweet and be very dry.  When made well it is safe to feed to horses and goats.  The problem is that, in my opinion, it is rarely made well particularly in the UK where climate doesn't help.  It is also very easy for people who planned to make hay and got caught out by the weather to switch and make haylage instead which generally results in a below par product.  It needs to be fed within 3 days of opening the bale as it goes off very quickly.  Unless you have very small bales or lots of stock that is difficult to achieve.  The results of feeding poor quality haylage (including that which has spoiled since opening) can, and frequently is, fatal.  It's a lot easier for a novice to tell good from bad hay than it is for them to tell good from bad grade II silage.

2) How big's your scoop???  I have one scoop which is a pint glass, another which does 15mls and a third which is a reasonable sized saucepan!  The formula is keeping a check on how they look (coat condition, eyes and membranes) and feel weight wise (condition body scoring), ensuring the majority of their feed is fibre not grain, and only changing diet gradually.  My kids are about 3 months old at the moment, still running with their mums and get a handful of goat mix twice a day... much of which gets wasted when the buckets get knocked over.  At the 6 month mark, last year's kids had learned not to pee in the buckets and to eat their dinner without someone else helping them so were probably getting 2 handfuls a day.  My adults also get about that amount although the ones that are feeding kids will have more depending on how many kids they're feeding.

3) Hang a Himalayan salt lick or a 'Rockies' (red) somewhere out of the weather that they can access freely.  They may not use it for months and then suddenly start to... keep an eye on how and when they use it.  They will 'self medicate' as required.  If you notice their coats are dull and staring, their eyes aren't bright or any other symptoms that make you think the goat isn't happy then it's worth checking with your vet or an experienced keeper what they think.  I would only bolus based on vet advice, and if you're a novice keeper, I'd get the vet to do it for you.  Several factors impact copper uptake, not only the soil content of copper but also inhibitors in the soil such as molybdenum.  Talk to your vet about the conditions in your area and they can advise your best course of action.  If there is a feed mix company local to you, their mineral mixes may well already factor in local conditions and therefore the mineral balances may be different to those in the country wide supplier tubs.  Remember sheep minerals don't contain copper, cattle minerals and horse minerals do.  Goats and horses have similar digestive requirements so sometimes a horse lick is a good, easy option and comes in small quantities.


4) It's not expensive and can give you useful insights so 'yes', but only if you know what you're going to do with the results.  You could talk to an agronomist for a plan if you need help with this.

I hope this helps.

For clarity, my 3 month old kids are starting to wean... or should I say, their mothers are starting to beat them up when they try to take milk so fairly soon they will wean naturally.  If yours haven't been used to having milk, I wouldn't try introducing a bottle at this stage.  Last year, I weaned my male kids at 4 months, the females ran with their mums and naturally weaned from about 4 to 6 months.  In addition to a handful of mix, mine get a handful of pellets, 'Graze On' (which is like ready grass and is a dried grass chaff), Alfa A Original (which is an alfalfa/lucerne chaff) and Oat Straw Chaff or Healthy Herbal Chaff.  They also get a wide variety of fruit and vegetables depending on what is on sale and bread.  They don't get a lot of anything but variety is a great way of ensuring they can pick and choose the nutrients they want from their feeds.

 
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 10, 2017, 12:04:02 pm
Sorry - one other question - related to feed, but not in response to the others just now! : )

Can goats eat cucumber leaves? I've got a lot of cuc plants, with excess vines, leaves and eventually need to clear down for the winter.
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: Anke on October 10, 2017, 02:15:36 pm
I don't think cucumber leaves are ok, at least I wouldn't give mine any.
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: macgro7 on October 10, 2017, 03:04:51 pm
Sorry - one other question - related to feed, but not in response to the others just now! : )

Can goats eat cucumber leaves? I've got a lot of cuc plants, with excess vines, leaves and eventually need to clear down for the winter.
My ones don't touch pumpkin or cucumber leaves, but the good thing is you can eat them yourself! Cook them just like spinach!
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: Penninehillbilly on October 10, 2017, 04:48:44 pm

Not sure if anyone is familiar with this brand - Stephensons Animal Feed in Todmorden?


not going to comment on feed as plenty of others more knowledgeable than me, but I use Stephenson's feed a lot, but I also use dairy nuts and beef nuts from them, some local suppliers can also get Caprivite in for you, ie Calvag in Mytholmroyd if you live in the area.
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 12, 2017, 04:53:56 pm
Sorry - one other question - related to feed, but not in response to the others just now! : )

Can goats eat cucumber leaves? I've got a lot of cuc plants, with excess vines, leaves and eventually need to clear down for the winter.
My ones don't touch pumpkin or cucumber leaves, but the good thing is you can eat them yourself! Cook them just like spinach!

Thanks for that - never knew I could eat cuc leaves! I'll look forward to trying that! : )
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: New Riverside Farm on October 12, 2017, 04:56:56 pm

Not sure if anyone is familiar with this brand - Stephensons Animal Feed in Todmorden?


not going to comment on feed as plenty of others more knowledgeable than me, but I use Stephenson's feed a lot, but I also use dairy nuts and beef nuts from them, some local suppliers can also get Caprivite in for you, ie Calvag in Mytholmroyd if you live in the area.

I tried calvag and they didn't have the caprivite, so I tried a different local supplier and just got beef nuts - the only thing they have. How do you determine how much you give of those when incorporated with the regular stephensons feed? Don't want to overdo it, so uncertain how to find that balance.

Many thanks!
Title: Re: Goat feed questions?
Post by: Penninehillbilly on October 13, 2017, 12:22:50 am
I see you live in Skipton?
There is a merchant at Skipton who uses 'Battles' as a supplier, they should be able to order it for you, Calvag order it in for me when I want it. Better than having to wait round or miss a delivery.
TBH I play feeding it by eye, if they look as if they are losing condition I just give more, as the grass is dying back I'm having to up more to keep weight on, but my Toggs are getting on a bit, and harder to keep up with.
I use a tin mug as a scoop, they have a mug of a cattle mix from Leahs, half goat mix, half  either dairy or ewe nuts,  sugar beet soaked, half mug of mixed flake, oats,
But really the main thing is fodder, the younger goats are looking well on much less than this,  but if they eat up and look for more they can have some.
I will be going for beef nuts tomorrow, forgot today, these will replace the dairy/ewe nuts.