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Chewing Wood and a Picky Eater

4657 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MF-Alpines
A couple of my does have been chewing on the wood on their barn lately. I am assuming this could be some kind of mineral deficiency, but not sure what kind. One doe that really likes the wood is my picky eater. When I bought her last year she came from a dry lot herd to my place which has pasture. She would barely eat her oats and would only eat alfalfa pellets, no temp, nothing else wrong with her. Her previous home did feed a sweet feed, so I assumed she didn't like the oats because they don't have molasses on them. I gave her a shot of Bo-Se and she started eating her oats soon after. She was eating fine earlier this year when I had the goats out in eastern Arkansas, they were all on grass there but it was different grass than mine. Brought them back and she went on strike again. I gave her a shot of Bo-Se and all she will eat is alfalfa pellets, grass and the barn. Sometimes she will eat a small handful of calf manna, but most of the time she won't. She will eat about 4 lbs of alfalfa pellets per day while being milked. She also gets some alfalfa pellets when I feed them to the rest of the herd.

So is the wood chewing related to a mineral deficiency? They do have free choice loose minerals (Manna Pro Goat Minerals) and they also have a salt block. Could the wood chewing/possible mineral deficiency be why my one doe will not eat her oats? Could the grass be causing her to not want her oats?

I am in north eastern Oklahoma and our pastures are mostly fescue and bermuda grass, there is some white clover (the short kind) out there also but not a lot.

I also just copper bolused all of my goats, I do them every 6 months. The picky doe does not have a temp, milk production is normal, chews cud and acts like a normal goat. She is 5 years old.

It has been about a month since I gave her the shot of Bo-Se and a week since I copper bolused her.
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Well... I've had lots of goats that chewed wood before but it seemed mostly a natural behavior that comes out through boredom. Some of them just seemed to have a habit of it. When it's a horse doing it, they can really chomp on wood because they have better teeth for it, so I'll wrap whatever they are chewing on in chicken wire which pretty much stops it.

I've had to do that with a couple of my trees too for the goats, because they were so persistently chewing on the bark the tree was in danger of being barked and killed. I don't think it was a mineral deficiency, I think it's because goats are browse animals and bark and sticks are part of a normal diet for goats. If you ever feed them branches with leaves on them, you'll find that they will pick on the wood for weeks after all the leaves are gone. They will carefully peel all the bark away and then eat some of the wood underneath, as well as the ends of the twigs. They are set up to digest cellulose, and that's what wood is.

I've had them go off the oats at times too... I'm not really sure why, but it seems sometimes they get too acidic and will quit the oats due to it, then when they feel more balanced they will eat the oats again.

I'm sorry that's not much help...
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I had a breeder tell me several years ago that a lot of wood chewing means calcium deficiency in a goat. ?? A little can be just boredom, but if they're REALLY going at it, I'd check calcium.
I'd get rid of the salt block.
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