Birthweight affected by gestation feeding?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by MG_loves_Toggs, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. MG_loves_Toggs

    MG_loves_Toggs New Member

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    What is anyone's experience with gestational feeding as it affects kid birthweight? Most of my does are 70-90 days bred, and I'm beginning to wonder if feeding them too much would cause the birthweights of their kids to be higher, and potentially cause trouble at kidding.

    I'm feeding a gestation feed that is supposed to be fed at 1.5 lb/day to get the right amount of Rumensin for each doe. They also get free choice grass hay and mineral. Is that too much? Normally I don't like to feed so much grain at this point in gestation, but I would like to clean up any coccidia.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. swgoats

    swgoats Active Member

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    I just feed by body condition. Birthweight seems to be more a factor of how many kids for me.
     

  3. MG_loves_Toggs

    MG_loves_Toggs New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply! I guess regardless of birthweight, you want your does in good condition at kidding. If you don't mind me asking, what do you feed your average mid to late gestation doe?
     
  4. Necie@Lunamojo

    [email protected] Active Member

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    I find that it does. Feeding a 16-18% lactator pellet pre-kidding and I had kids in the 7-9# range. Feeding a minimal amount of 10-12% grain mix, I had kids in the 5-7# range.

    I always feed free choice alfalfa hay to pregnant and lactating does. Milk fever is a real issue. I noticed you feed grass hay... do you also feed alfalfa pellets?
     
  5. MG_loves_Toggs

    MG_loves_Toggs New Member

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    Thanks--that's interesting!! I supplement with both alfalfa hay and pellets during early pregnancy and of course after kidding. I try not to feed too much late gestation though because of milk fever. From what I have read, it's better to leave out the high potassium forages in late gestation so they have adequate calcium mobilization mechanisms in place at kidding. That, of course, is a whole other discussion! :)
     
  6. Ashley

    Ashley Active Member

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    For me, genetics has been the main determination of kid size, then the size of the dam and how many kids she is carrying. But I guess I do tend to feed the same every year. My toggenburg always wants to have huge kids, whether a single or triplets they always seem to be the same size! And then I have one nubian buck that throws tiny kids, 5-6 lbs. I am going to breed him to my Togg and see if that will give her smaller kids... Otherwise, my kids are usually 6 or 7 lbs, maybe 8 from time to time. I start lead feeding about 30-40 days out, starting with a handful of oats and working up to how much I want them to be eating when they freshen by the time they do. Mine get alfalfa year round. I don't like to feed it straight though, I feed grass hay/browse too.
     
  7. ElLomah

    ElLomah New Member

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    I feed free choice alfalfa the entire gestation - doing so will *prevent* milk fever, providing your doe with all the calcium she needs. Pulling the alfalfa in late gestation will force her to pull out her reserve calcium from her bones for the kids - not good - and make her more susceptible to milk fever.

    Yes, I have found that the amounts of grain fed can over grow your kids if fed too much. If you feed too much - you also run the risk of putting too much weight on your does, heavy does have harder kiddings in general. Over all I go by what the girls look like condition wise and base the amount I feed on whatever more or less conditioning they need.


    More on preventing milk fever from the 101 section.

    https://www.dairygoatinfo.com/f28/hypocalcemia-hypocalcemia-link-between-calcium-phosphorus-sue-reith-16493/
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  8. MG_loves_Toggs

    MG_loves_Toggs New Member

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    Thanks so much for your input! I had a good look at all the bred does tonight, and I think I'm going to follow your advice and feed based on body condition. I've been working out my rations with the Langston calculator which is based on the NRC requirements, and it's surprising how little calcium they need in late gestation. I'm hoping to forage test soon so I can be more precise--it seems the dietary cation-anion balance has more impact on the incidence of milk fever than calcium level...
     
  9. fmg

    fmg New Member

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    The balance of minerals is super complex, and I think a lot of the problems come from that. Sometimes, I think feeding too much calcium in relation to phosphorus can also cause hypocalcemia/milk fever. I learned at the ADGA convention from some of the vets from the Caine teaching center that this area has soils that are phosphorus deficient, so I am trying to look at that a little more in trying to feed my does properly. I haven't had any full blown milk fever issues, but I have had some slight early symptoms treated with CMPK and got better quickly.
     
  10. cvalley

    cvalley New Member

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    The calcium/phosphorus does need to be in balance as well as minerals in diet. We keep MFO on hand for milk fever/hypocalcemia. Also, as does are later in pregnancy , they eat smaller amounts throughout the day. Does should be on an accending plane of nutrition during pregnancy . There are many different ways to manage nutrition in your does successfully.
     
  11. Necie@Lunamojo

    [email protected] Active Member

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    MG, could you put your name and location in your siggy line, pleeeease? :)

    Could you explain this imbalance you mentioned? Is it mineral? Have had problems with MF here and I really wish I understood this stuff better. o_O The only thing that has helped is high quality alfalfa hay in late gestation and post kidding.

    Where, oh where, is Lee when I need her to explain things to me like a child?? *~* LOL
     
  12. MG_loves_Toggs

    MG_loves_Toggs New Member

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    Okay tah dah...signature fixed! Hopefully it shows up, knowing my technology skills (or lack thereof) :)

    I'm not sure what others are referring to, but from what I have read, there are lots of minerals and vitamins that could impact metabolic health at freshening. Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium seem to be the biggies, but also important are things like choline and niacin, which play an integral role in fat and metabolism.

    I attached this chart about the various minerals and how they relate. Hopefully some of the experts on here will chime in with some more input!
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Necie@Lunamojo

    [email protected] Active Member

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    I was thinking that you were here in Indiana. :) Ok... I don't *understand the chart. *~* Relate? How? I have copper/iron problems. I understand that too much iron inhibits the goats ability to utilize copper. Is this something similar with ca: ph:mg:k?
     
  14. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

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    Please Please Please find articles by Sue Reith regarding Milk Fever/Ketosis (which are just another name for Hypocalcemia). You are destined to have one or both with your current feeding program. The only way that you are going to avoid it (at least this year ) is if you have poor milkers. Period.

    Your does need closer to 5:1 Calcium/Phosphorus ratio. I don't care what the charts say...those are not for goats!!! Goats produce more milk than cows/body weight, they produce more kids (body weight %) than cows in a much shorter gestation and they have a completely different metabolic system rate than cows. They are NOT small cows.

    You can read on here, or on HomesteadingToday.com all of the folks that fed grass hay and grain - perfect recipe for disaster.

    Feed alfalfa and a small amount of grain, slowly increasing the grain as gestation comes close to kidding.
     
  15. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

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    What are you milking? Breeds? Milk production? Are they still in milk with the grain or dried up?
    Boers or dairy goats. Big difference there too, although we feed our Boers alfalfa the last 50 days of their gestation, but then again, our Boers kid with big healthy triplets and quads (4 sets of triplets thus far, 2 sets of quads) and can feed them...milky and productive goats.

    Please take my advice to heart - the crash and burn is painful and hard to take if you don't pull up now.
     
  16. MF-Alpines

    MF-Alpines New Member

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    Thank you, Camille!

    :handclap
     
  17. MG_loves_Toggs

    MG_loves_Toggs New Member

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    Thanks everyone--this is great! I have Toggs, and they are currently dry. When milking, they do 12-20 lbs per day and of course get lots of leafy alfalfa that puts their Ca:p ratio at about 5:1. I've read the Sue Reith articles and I get that they're very different from cows, but from what I've read a lot of the systems are the same. I work in a dairy nutrition lab, so I guess I'm conflicted. All the latest cow research that used to point to inadequate calcium in late gestation as the problem is now looking at dietary cation anion balance, and though goat research has not yet been done, the people at Cornell expect it will hold true for goats as well. But it's hard to disagree with people who have so much real dairy GOAT experience and not just speculation!!! So I guess that's where I'm coming from--I just want to do whatever's best to keep my ladies healthy and happy. I think with a forage test, I can feed lower potassium alfalfa which would satisfy both conditions.Thank you so much Camille for your advice!!
     
  18. Necie@Lunamojo

    [email protected] Active Member

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    I still wanna hear more. I feed alfalfa--and still have problems with MF. If there's something to this canion anion? balance that I can *fix*. That's why I askef for Mary to add her name and location. I thought it was her. She's not to far from me and her goats MILK. I can feed exactly like SherrieC, who is even closer, and still have problems. I keep thinking it has something to do with the *imbalance* of minerals that I've been dealing with for years.
     
  19. dragonlair

    dragonlair Active Member

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    As someone mentioned, my herds kid size has more to do with number of kids in the litter and genetics.

    My does get 2 pounds of 16% pelleted dairy concentrate (Ca:p is 3:1), mixed grass/weed hay, loose minerals, di-calcium phosphate mixed with the soaked beet pulp and rice bran meal (balanced to a 2:1 Ca:p ratio) daily from the time they are dried off until they kid. Coming FF's get the same diet. If a doe is on the skinny side I add more beet pulp and concentrate. The feed has never seemed to make any difference in kid size. Never had a problem with metabolic problems in my herd with this diet.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  20. doublebowgoats

    doublebowgoats Active Member

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    I have always fed free choice alfalfa pellets toward the end of pregnancy. The kids tend to be on the big side, but no metabolic issues.