Feed Help Please

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by trnubian, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    I have searched the foum but haven't really found the answer I was looking for.

    I really need to cut some feed costs. Right now I am feeding a 15% lamb pellet to everyone including the old girl who I am trying to put and keep weight on. (They love this stuff and look good but it costs about $12.50 a bag.)

    This is who I have to feed:
    1-7 year old doe, hard keeper JUST been bred.
    3- kids ranging from 4-7 months old (Will be bred in January.)

    I can get 50lb. of oats for about $9 and corn cheaper than that. I am feeding very nice alfalfa hay to all of them free choice and will continue to do so all year. They get free choice Sweetlix Magna milk mineral and of cousre fresh water.

    Ok now what do I do? I know I have this in the back of my brain (it's ingrained in me) that those girl NEED protein. Are they getting enough from their hay? Should I supplement with a protein booster?

    I am moving the horses' feed to plain whole oats because I know sooo many people whose horses do so well with them. I do need a fat supplement for the goats and horse though. Would corn oil work for both? I am feeding BOSS now but it's rediculously expensive and hard for my old geezer (the horse) to chew.

    What I REALLY want to know is what works really well for you guys. I know some things look really really good on paper but don't pan out in real life. I want my animals to look and feel good. I don't want them to look as cheap as their feed is... you know what I mean?

    Thanks so much in advance!
     
  2. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

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    Amanda,
    Find out if you can get 30-34% all natural dairy protein and what would it cost. I have mixed a simple 3 parts corn, 1 part oats, 1 part protein feed that works well in most situations. It would make about a 13.5% ration. I use parts because I usually mixed it with scoops which was faster than weighing. Feeding this with your alfalfa would fit the animals you describe. I would feed the kids 1/2#/head/day of this feed and the older doe 3/4#/day. If the older doe is not keeping weight you could bump up to a pound per day or add beet pulp to her diet.
    Kids need the energy and protein for growth and the older doe will need the energy for maintenance and reproduction.
    Tim
     

  3. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    Thanks for the quick relpy. I can get and have used a dairy Cattle pellet that is 38 % protein. It's not all natural though. lol
     
  4. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

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    Amanda,
    What I meant by all natural was that none of the protein was derived from non-protein nitrogen sources (urea). I am guessing by the 38% that it has NPN, do you know what percent of the protein is derived from this? I am guessing at the low grain amounts I suggested it would still be alright, but would like to be sure.
    Tim
     
  5. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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  6. Daniel Babcock

    Daniel Babcock Member

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    Others on this board have had great success feeding alf-alfa pellets, I am realativly new but have had lots of success. The plain alf-alfa pellets I get are 18% protien. Sondra might add here but I beleive she feeds exclusively alf-alfa pellets and her own grain mix (fat oats and barley).
     
  7. I have heard that the problem with 39% cattle pellets is that they get that protein level up there with urea, but worse, they use cotton seed. I have heard that coton seed is not so very good for goats. anybody else hear the same?
     
  8. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

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    Amanda,
    This is an all natural product and contains no urea (NPN). If you mixed it like I said above you would have a 15% ration which would be plenty high for gestating goats. I would mix it 3 parts corn, 2 parts oats, 1 part pellets to feed the same as I said before, this would be a 14.25% ration roughly. I would definitly look at adding beet pulp to the older doe to increase energy so she stays in condition.
    Tim
     
  9. Theresa

    Theresa New Member

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    If your alfalfa pellets have enough protein then you don't have to add more. Mine are 17% protein. I use plain oats for the girls and yes you can add corn oil to add some fat. It will take the place of the BOSS and is less expensive. (I am not sure if this is the same for the horses though. Only know about goats.) Then if you have a few that need extra you could get something with more protein just for those who need it. Hope this helps.
    Theresa
     
  10. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    I feed a 14 % alfalfa pellet and use whole oats /barley/tad of corn and beet pulp
    Also last year I only used alfalfa pellets on the youngins but this year having Nubians am also feeding the grain to the babies Then they have grass hay
     
  11. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

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    Corn oil is awesome for keeping weight on old horses; 1/2-2 cups/day increases calories without making them too frisky. It did wonders for my 25 yr old Arab and I won't hesitate to use it for my 30 yr old QH should she ever need it...up to now she has been a super easy keeper and gets fat from breathing, lol. I haven't tried it on goats. I know a couple people who've used the Kent dairy pellet and liked it. Around here, bagged feeds are way more expensive to use than custom mixes or whole grains.

    Just a thought...have you done any testing to find out why your older doe is difficult to keep weight on? You could check Johne's, CAE, definately a fecal.
     
  12. Feral Nature

    Feral Nature Active Member

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    I feed like Sondra and a others on here.

    Alfalfa pellets and whole oats. Also Beet pulp for weight, roughage and to stretch feed. Well, it used to be to stretch feed. Beet Pulp has gone up in price from $9.00 for 40 pounds to $17.00. :sniffle

    I add a squirt of corn oil over their milkstand grain for fat as BOSS is too expensive. I like feeding corn but it is too high now too.

    We are poor dirt farmers, or poor goat farmers rather :laughcry
     
  13. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    The old doe is still coming back from a rough spring. She had milk fever and she for some reason became EXTREMELY picky about feed. She still is now, so getting her to eat something was very good. That is why she ended up eating the lamb pellets, because she WOULD. LOL

    I have an older bag (about a month old) of the dairy pellet but I tried some and they refuse to touch it. I don't know why that is. It smells really good and it looks really good and they have always eaten it before. I guess they just like the feed they have now but I can't keep them on it anyway as it is medicated and we will use the milk when they freshen.

    I don't know what protein my hay is but it's good stuff, green and leafy. If I can get them to eat the straight oats that would be great :D Beet pulp is expensive here too along with BOSS. The alfalf pellets I get are only 15% protein and the goats won't touch them at all. They smell wonderful and are nice and green but they won't eat them.

    My horse is about 20 now and he does need weight. He's actually gained a lot since we got him home but still needs some more. So I will use the corn oil for his fat. Definately cheaper than BOSS. ;)

    So I guess now I am fighting a battle of what they will eat. It dosen't seem to be the dairy pellet. I was thinking about calf manna but that is SOOO expensive. (About $25 for 40 lb.) If I mixed up a feed ration for that at 14.5% it would cost me about $13.30... So I don't know what to do ...:(
     
  14. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

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    Amanda,
    I am guessing that the reason the does won't eat the 6 month old dairy pellets is they know it is old and can smell what you can't. If mixing costs you more than complete feed then I am not sure that is the route for you. I do feel that the younger does will benefit from a higher protein than you can get from 15% alfalfa pellets and an oat diet.
    Tim
     
  15. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    Oh it's not 6 months old it's only about a month... sorry I needed to clarify that one. lol

    I bought a bag of sweet feed home just to see if I could entice her to try something different and she even turned her nose up at that. I am kind of at a loss. So far I have only been able to get her to pick at the lamb pellets and she will eat beat pulp, but that is it. Nothing else. Our kids are picky too it seems... maybe it runs in the family?? :/

    I found a 16% goat complete feed I haven't tried before so I may go with that. It's a dollar cheaper than the lamb pellets so it would save a little money.

    I have to buy a bag of oats for the horse anyway so I think I might try to see if Maria (the old doe) will eat any. If not she just may be out of luck. She loves her hay but I sure do wish I could get some grain in her.
     
  16. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    Does your horse really need grain? Most do not and do much better without it. You could cut a cost right there. I am a horse person first, goat person second...(I LOVE both my horses AND goats.) I do natural hoof care and consistently, and without exception, those horses not getting a grain or lush pasture overload have feet that are light years ahead of those horses fed sweet feed, lush pasture, too much alfalfa, etc. Your horse however, DOES need a supplement to his hay or pasture as our land is becoming increasingly demineralized. The best thing to do is have your hay or pasture tested (dairy one forage lab is a good one), and then supplement what your forage is lacking. If he needs more weight, try more hay first, and only when that fails, add grain.
    As for the goats, I am still learning, and others on this forum can help you more than I can. I can tell you that my girls LOVE soaked beet pulp mixed with their grains such as oats or barley. I only feed it rinsed and soaked due to what I learned with horses. Beet pulp is very dirty, and full of pesticide residues, and sometimes sand which can colic a horse over time. It seemed to put weight on my girls this winter, especially fed soaked and warm. I add ground organic flax to everyone's diet in the winter because it contains high amounts of good fats...the omega 3's, which are present in green grass, and therefore lacking in winter. I buy flax in a 50 pound bag for about $30 and it lasts all year. I feed up to one cup to the horses, and about 1/4 cup to the goats, ground and refridgerated.
    Some people use corn oil, but that contains too many of the omega 6 fatty acids to be healthful for horses, not sure about goats. Sunflower seeds and rice bran also contain a higher portion of the omega 6's. It is especially important to avoid the high 6 oils if you have a horse that is insulin resistant or shows some signs of it. Personally, I feel that the sunflower seeds are much more appropriate for the goats. They can be sprouted and will increase in volume hugely and the goats and chickens if you have them will adore them, and you'll increase your yield from each bag.
    Hope this helps.
    Anita
     
  17. LMonty

    LMonty New Member

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    Anita, how do you sprout the sunflower seeds? Ive been very seriously considering doing some sprouting for all the critters over the winter. Corn is easy, and oats are supposed to be too- havent tried it yet :) but the sunflower seeds in the shell- just soak them and drain like the others? How long do you wait to feed them? Thanks!
     
  18. trnubian

    trnubian New Member

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    I don't know if he really needs grain. He is getting all the hay he wants to eat in a day and is also on a somewhat small grass lot. (There is grass for him to eat.) The farrier said that his feet look really good. Partially because he was a working horse and that has kept his feet really healthy. He is an old guy and I haven't had him long enough to determine whether or not he will be an easy or a hard keeper. I'm just trying to get him back up to weight. He came here at about 1000 lb and he should be about 1200 when he's a healthy weight. (He's a big boned 16hh) He was REALLY skinny. He came from an Amish farm where they worked him into the ground and didn't feed much at all.
    He has acess to a vitamin / mineral lick from KENT feeds called Equine's Choice. Supposed to be good stuff.

    I think I have the pickiest goat in the world, I guess I am just going to have to keep working with her. She IS 7 and hasn't had the easiest times kidding and has been shown quite a bit. But she is beautiful and so are her kids so I feel it's worth it to pamper her if I can. No matter how frustrating it is.. :p
     
  19. I have switched to just oats. Mainly because I'm out of the provider 38 and haven't been able to get any more. I don't know if the girls dropped milk production because of the switch or because of coccidia...I would say the coccidia. *shrugs* time will tell.

    Anywho, about the horse, you can use corn oil. I have used Corn oil for putting weight on a old horse for a friend. Work up gradually to 1cup a day and see how he does on that, increase if you need to. His coat will get really shiny to! :D

    I have used Corn oil in the goats feed but never really did see much of a change in either the dairy goats and the pygmys. So I decided not to mess with it since it can be messy.
     
  20. homeacremom

    homeacremom New Member

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    ...Have you done fecals recently? What's eyelid color? Take the older doe's temp and the temps of the other goats at the same time each day for 3-4 days --especially with a history of milk fever. Do you have baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) out free choice?
    I'm surprised no one has asked these questions yet, because something sounds off to me about your situation. Maybe bloodsucking worms, poor functioning rumens, cocci.... I'm hoping you've already done these things and are sure her calcium and iron levels were ok before she was bred!

    To cut costs on your feed you need to know how good that alfalfa hay really is and analyze how much it's costing you. I'd say it takes a pretty darn good -and inexpensive at that- hay to warrant NO alfalfa pellets to supplement. Why are you looking at such high protein numbers? Yes they need a balanced amount of protein. Take away the corn and molasses that is basically little nutrition and all carbs. Use whole oats and or barley, a LITTLE bit of corn if you like and Black Oil Sunflower Seed instead of the pelleted feed mix. The Boss is good for more than just fats which is why I stick with it instead of a liquid oil. I believe BOSS to be cost effective and have decided to keep it in my feed program.

    The past 3 years I've been feeding free choice 17% alfalfa pellet with mixed alfalfa or grass hay depending on the year. Other than that it's whole oats with a little corn and black oil sunflower seed. I am not spending any more than I would on hay and sweet feed. If you would try this I believe the difference in condition,healthy multiple kiddings, and production levels would convince you never to go back. ;) It took about 6 months for my girls to turn around after the sw. feed and hay diet.

    All natural can mean chicken feathers and inferior grains and grain byproduct. I don't trust any cheap product that claims to be all natural or high protein. A good all natural pellet will have a specific ingredient list of stuff you recognize- alfalfa, soymeal,barley,oats, etc. These pellets are never cheaper than the bulk whole grains that go into them. Unless you are looking for convenience in a pellet that already has AC for the bucks or a coccidistat in it ----save money and buy the plain whole grains and a good mineral.
    I have 2 milking does, two doelings to be bred late this year, a buckling growing for slaughter and a buck plus a few chickens that get fed out of my feed budget... If you would find it helpful I'll PM stats on the feed costs for last month and my average annual costs....