Grain ration question

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by hyamiranda, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. hyamiranda

    hyamiranda New Member

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    I'm getting my information from various sources, but it has raised a question in my mind. In a book I read that goats should receive 1lb of grain concentrate for maintenance and about 1 lb for each 2lbs of milk they produce. I'm assuming that refers to the total amount and would be divided in 2 for morning and evening milking. I figured out that I have been providing about 2lbs of grain ration a day for each goat. However, taking Redeemed for instance, she is milking 8+lbs a day, which, in an of itself would mean 4lbs of grain + 1lb for maintenance. Is that a good starting place for her needs or is that more of a recommended maximum?

    I know that each individual animal has individual needs and that there is really no hard and fast rule that is applicable in all situations. I'm looking for a better starting place or wondering if I'm okay where I am.
     
  2. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    It depends :)

    On 5 pounds of grain (and there is a huge difference in what each person thinks is grain) is way to much per day for most of my goats, even those milking more than 8 pounds. For to of my goats milking more than 8 pounds one gets 2 pounds of grain morning and night, and the other gets as much as she wants to eat. I do feed free choice alfalfa pellets in the barn though and they eat at least 3 pounds a day in thier barns each.

    Grain here is about replacing calories from milking and improving the alfalfa pellets, which means energy, fat and carbs. So much less significants is put on grain here, they get enough only to keep their weight up, it has little to do with how much they milk. Vicki
     

  3. MF-Alpines

    MF-Alpines New Member

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    Great question.

    When I first got Nettie last October, her owner said she had started to dry her off (even though that is not what I wanted). When she brought her here, she said to just "up her grain" if I wanted more milk. I did. I upped her from about 1/2 lb to about 1 lb per feeding, and then slowly increased it to 2 lbs per feeding based on that "1 lb for the goat and another lb for every two lbs she produces". Grain for me is Purina Goat Chow. She produced about 5 lbs/milking (after increases), and she did eat about 2+ lbs of grain/milking (ok, not quite the formula in the books, but it was all she could eat.

    She also went from 1st cutting alfalfa + "some" pellets to 3rd cutting alfalfa hay - all she could eat.

    Her milk increased to about double from when I got her within about 3 weeks (give or take a week?).

    Today, after drying her off at Christmas, kidding in March (although the kid was DOA), she is again milking about 5 lbs/milking, but eating only about 1/2 lb - 3/4 lb grain per feeding (she gets 1 lb, but doesn't eat it). Gets browse when I walk with them. Her condition is good.

    So was it the grain increase (like I was told to do and in the books) or was it the better alfalfa hay?

    I'm guessing the hay is key.
     
  4. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    Yes- calling a manufactured pelleted ration 'grain' is totally confusing the issue.
    Grain is the seed made by the flowering part of a grass and nothing else.
    It is completely impossible to discuss feed regimes unless we agree on terminology.
    Calling Purina crap nuggets "grain" and expecting advice pertaining to the seeds of flowering grasses to equate to that is going to be really bad if not totally irrelevant information.
    Our 12 pound a day older does would have cow plops on 5 pounds of grain of any description.

    Lee
     
  5. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Lee, we are only allowed to call them crap in Off Topic :) On this side of the forum it is just yOUR opinion that mystery pellets aren't grain. Having said this there is an extruded grain pellet made locally that is a recipe from a dairy person who wanted their grain mixture pelleted to keep their goats from sorting through it on the milkstand. It's been around awhile, I actually got a call on it yesterday, and they are bringing me the literature and a sack for free. Yes :) it is a byproducts label but only for convienence, whatever that really means, they said on the phone it is a menued feed, mixed exactly the same each time...then why is it not on the label? Because they don't want anyone to copy it, so can't I have a list of the ingredients or can you tell me whose mixture it is (because there is decidedly those who if it came from them and thier goats look like that on it...no thanks, they are supposed to get with me on that tommorrow. I do know someone who tried it before and am going to have her refresh my memory as to why they don't feed it now, and I know a competetive herd that is on it also...we shall see. Vicki
     
  6. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    OOOOOppppps -sorry!
    And no it is not my opinion that pellets are not grain.
    Grain is a term used to refer to seeds used as food. Pellets are called just that or are ration or are feed.
    Grain is from the Latin for SEED>!!! Grain means seed heads from grasses. It does not mean a ration manufactured by agri engineers.

    The opinion part is whether or not it is proper nutrition.
    Lee
     
  7. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    Here we feed by goat. One needs more than another and such. But they all receive 1/4 lb calf manna and a 1/4 lb meat goat pellet a day as well as their grain and BOSS, pure alfalfa free choice and loose minerals. I consider minerals as essential as the feed, grain, and hay. This is "our" recipe for our goats. Must be working! Tam
     
  8. hyamiranda

    hyamiranda New Member

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  9. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    When you feed alot of grain the girls simply don't have the rumen bugs to eat it so it causes acidosis, leaving undigested grain in the intestine and acid in the rumen, giving you from dog poop to cow plops to diarrhea to death of the rumen lineing. So much of this comes with time. Start by improving the roughage you feed, if you feed grass hay move to alfalfa if you can, if you can't than add alfalfa pellets to the barn next to the grass hay. Your grain really is about keeping the girls in good condition while being milked, so does who start losing weight feed them more grain, does who don't milk more on more grain, feed them less grain. Your feed mix is fine, most on here feed very similarly, we just call our concentrate Calf Manna, it's a high protein soy supplement.

    When we say make changes slowly we are talking so slowly that you increase grain on the milkstand but a cup at the most, it's why we don't like to change feeding programs around because it takes months for a doe to make the big change. It's also why I don't feed byproduct feed tags that are not formulated the same everytime they are milled, it means each to milling of those is different. Make sure you don't run out of old bags, you want to mix old bags into the first bag of new feed, so they have a chance to get used to it. Vicki
     
  10. hyamiranda

    hyamiranda New Member

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    Thank you for the explanation. I feed alfalfa and grass hay free choice with the grain at the milk stand. So changing a system too quickly would be like killing them with kindness. It gives food for thought on changes I was making. I will slow down the process and keep a careful eye on my girls. Thanks again.
     
  11. prairie nights

    prairie nights New Member

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    Miranda,

    it takes experience, I think. I do best with feeding regime on girls I have had the longest, for one I kind of know them better and then also they are all adjusted to what we do here and why. At the same time, I still keep learning new things about feeding and the reasoning behind it and I always find another piece of puzzle, like what Vicki said about damaging the rumen. I heard all the time how too much grain can damage the rumen, but just someone pointing how the undigested grain sitting there, causing acidosis, messing up the ph and bacterial make up of the flora, etc. etc, things I knew worked like this, just didn't put them together.

    Lee, I always appreciate the botanical lessons and refreshment courses ;) Used to be my favorite subject at high school and for years I had my heart set on bio major.

    Jana
     
  12. hyamiranda

    hyamiranda New Member

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    Well, I think I messed up a bit. You see, I was giving my girls 1lb of grain per feeding. Then I read about increasing their grain if they were heavier producers or had been heavily bred, etc. Well, in my enthusiasm to help my girls out I increased their grain, without first getting the necessary information, as is evidenced in my questions recently. I increased by 1/2 lb per feeding, which I realize now was too much, too fast. I'm pretty sure that's what has caused a decrease in condition in Redeemed. My question now is, what can I do to reverse my own ill caused effects? My poor girls are so patient with me, and if they can survive my learning how to properly care for them, then we'll all be in good shape.
     
  13. merry Sunshine

    merry Sunshine New Member

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    Approximately how many cups of grain is one pound? Grain like oats and barley I mean.

    Melinda
     
  14. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    you need to weigh it out
    my mix of grain which is whole oats, barely, cracked corn, beet pulp, and Black oil sunflower seeds is a 1 lb coffee can = 1lb of grain. but if I just weighed out whole oats it would be alot more than that coffee can. So weigh it out. and when I gradually increase feed I don't increase more than a 1/2 cup at a feeding for at least a week before increasing again.
     
  15. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    When I have to make feed changes I use Diamond V Yeast to buffer the rumen and add colonies of bacteria to it. It help does who are moving to grain before freshening also. Especially important when moving new stock to your management. Vicki
     
  16. hyamiranda

    hyamiranda New Member

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    The weight on my grain mix is similar. One coffee can is 1lb. I'm not sure how many cups. Should I cut back to what I was doing previously and let them readjust and then gradually increase and help them along with the yeast?
     
  17. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Keep doing exactly what you are doing and add the yeast, mine love it. Increase slowly up or down.

    I challenge feed. Everything starts with the basics, all the alfalfa pellets you want at day 100 of pregnancy, no more grain because you are not being milked. I then start them back on grain at about 1 cup or so (yes just the day before some does were eating alot more than this while being milked...I build them back up to eating 1 pound in the morning and 1 pound at night, not to fast my girls will get too fat being dry and getting grain, even though they are very pregnant with 3 or 4 kids. I do want my milkers to have some flesh going into lactation and it can only be done with grain. I increase slowly as they freshen, the girls milk much larger volumes for the first couple of weeks, it then slows down, they use up alot of their conditon during this time, so make sure they have some extra to use! I slowly increase grain by about 1/4 cup, if they milk more (wieghts on milk are done on Mondays) than I will increase their grain by 1/4 cup again, more milk than I will increase again...no increase in milk and I go back by 1/4 cup...its called challenge feeding. But the biggy is your roughae and your form of alfalfa, without it you will never have good milkers, one day without their alfalfa and my girls will milk at least a pound or two less the next day. Vicki
     
  18. LLB101

    LLB101 New Member

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    Ok, you two just about killed me, I choked when burst out laughing while reading this and eating :rofl

    Yeah, right, give up eating, eh?
     
  19. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Something tickles me on the forum every single day! Vicki