Why won't they eat their grain?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Ashley, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    I don't understand why these silly goats decide they won't eat their grain.

    A while back, it was Penny who wouldn't eat her grain. I was feeding her about 3/4 lb twice per day on the stand. For a while she just wouldn't hardly eat her grain, especially at the night feeding. I started mixing some black strap molasses (very little) into her grain and then should would usually eat it OK, but not great. After a while she just seemed to start eating well again, I don't really remember a day thinking, "wow, she's eating now" but she has no problem at this time.

    About three weeks ago, we got another goat that is in milk, Jodi. She's been milking 1 or 2 cups shy of a gallon per day. I feed her about 1 lb per milking, twice a day. Up until a few days ago, she ate all I could give her. But suddenly she doesn't want to eat her grain, she maybe eats half of it and her production has dropped along with it. Her appetite seems fine otherwise. If I were to fill her bucket with alfalfa she would probably eat every bit of it. But the grain she doesn't really care about. I gave her some probios in case her stomach was a little off, but she really doesn't act like it is.

    They get good grass/clover mix hay and alfalfa pellets in two buckets in their pen. I also normally give the milkers an extra couple of cups of alfalfa on the stand at each milking as well. Their grain is just whole oats, with a handful of BOSS added.

    Are they getting spoiled and just wanting the alfalfa and not grain or what?
     
  2. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    are they in heat? some does will slack off if in heat other than that if they don't eat I get very worried and give CMPK
     

  3. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    When did they freshen? What is their temp? I agree with Sondra CMPK may be in order.

    Christy
     
  4. Doc

    Doc New Member

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    This may just be too simple... but in the absence of any other symptoms - your goats might just not be hungry. They're probably filling up on hay. Pull the free choice hay and ration it out in small quantities along with whatever supplemental feed you're giving.
     
  5. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    sorry Doc I disagree as most of us all have out free choice hay and only in my goats are sick will they ever refuse grain. Now some may slack off their grain when in heat but never refuse it.
     
  6. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Penny is a first freshener, she has been milking for 12 months now. She only milks about 1 1/2 quarts per day.

    The other doe is 3 or 4 (?)weeks fresh, I bought her after she freshened, kids went elsewhere.

    When Penny decided not to eat her grain so well, this lasted a couple weeks or so. Jodi doesn't appear to be in heat at all. They don't act ill whatsoever, and eat lots of alfalfa (sometimes there are still a few pellets left from the last feeding when I feed again), plus red clover in their hay. Penny eats her grain really well now, but for about 4 or 5 days Jodi just doesn't care much for her grain. She gets excited every time she thinks I'm going for the alfalfa. I'm really thinking they are just getting kind of spoiled on alfalfa pellets on the stand? We let the goats out the other day and they were all jumping and running everywhere. Jodi is very alert (read obnoxious).
     
  7. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Given as much alfalfa pellets as mine want to eat before milking, mine also eat very little grain. And that is a good thing, not a bad thing. Adding molasses to your oats is defeating the whole idea behind not adding iron to your grain, also causing acidosis from the sugar and making her ability to eat more oats decline. They don't need alot of grain when you feed real grain like oats. Slurry it up with by products and molasses and yes they will not only eat alot more but need alot more. Give them more alfalfa pellets if that is what they want.

    A doe just moving to your place is likely not used to eating whole grain, she is used to eating slurried up grain by products. She doesn't have the rumen bugs to assimilate the grain yet, keep up the probiotics, and stop change. Goats don't do well with change. This is your diet and this is what you are going to eat. A doe who goes down when milking when new is expected...when folks buy milkers from me I tell them straight up "Be ecstatic if when she gets home she milks a pint a day"! Now honestly she will likely milk 1 or 2 quarts twice a day, but if all they expect is a pint they are happy :) Worm her, re vaccinate her, trim her feet, and introduce her slowly into your program. And don't expect miracles from her until she freshens at your place next year.

    Do that have minerals? Is their water fresh and clean? They won't eat very much if they don't have access to alot of water, and full sized dairy goats do poorly on small water buckets. When a doe drinks watch her. She puts her head across the water trough and cocks the valve in her throat. This makes the water go into another stomach and not in the rumen. They drink alot of water. Tall, wide barrels are much better than small buckets or 5 gallon buckets. The minerals with salt make them drink more water, which makes more milk and makes them eat more alfalfa and grain. And 3/4 of a pound of grain is alot of grain if it's new for them. Vicki
     
  8. My girls *like* their oats and boss top dressing.. but LOVE the alfalfa pellets. I buy only 1 bag of whole oats for every 10!! bags of alfalfa pellets.. if they are still eating when we begin to fill the hay feeders (we leave grass hay out 24/7) they will leave the oats/boss to go eat hay... but by far the chosen food are the alfalfa pellets... I have one doe who will eat while on the stand, but the second you finish and release her, she'll jump down and RUN to see if there are still pellets left... this was not the case back a couple years ago when we were feeding a 16% goat ration that had a bunch of sweet *junk* in it.... everyone looks better, have MUCH easier labors & deliveries... I'll never go back to the ration. It takes so little in the way of oats, it's cheaper to feed them this way...and better for them!
    susie, mo ozarks
     
  9. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    I expected her to cut back in milking from the switch, but she didn't. She was milking nearly a gallon for the first 2 1/2 weeks after I got her, it wasn't until she backed off the grain that she slowed in milking. I did my best to switch her over rom her grain to my oats, it was probably over a weeks time, she didn't want to eat any of her old ration after a few days of eating the oats I was feeding. She milked just fine until she started snubbing her oats.

    They have sweetlix Meat maker, and yes lots of fresh water (didn't know that about water going into a different stomach, neat). Their water is in a (I guess 50 gallon) plastic barrel cut lengthwise, always fresh and clean. I've seen her put the water back a few times while I was in there.

    When I talk about adding molasses, I mean like 1 tablespoon or less. If you mix real good you can lightly coat each grain that way. Is that still too much? I know blackstrap has some good stuff in it for people.
     
  10. Doc

    Doc New Member

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    You can disagree all you want, but my does routinely refuse grain, and aren't sick. They're on alfalfa pellets and no free choice hay. I'm probably spending about half as much on feed as those who have their barn floor coated with the "free choice hay" their goats wasted. A goat that's filled up on hay won't eat grain, period, and you don't have to "treat" goats that aren't sick.
     
  11. GallopingGoats

    GallopingGoats New Member

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    If you have a good hay feeder you don't really have a problem with it all over the floor but that aside. I wouldn't worry about them not eating grain as long as they are eating their alfalfa pellets and I feel hay is important for ruffage. I wouldn't bother with the molasses either. She will eventually learn to like the whole oats if that is her only choice. She knows if she turns her nose up at them you will make them sweet to coax her. Again as long as she is eating her alfalfa and not running a temp.I wouldn't worry. JMO Shannon
     
  12. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    It's really not that I'm worried so much about her health (well, I don't want her to lose any condition) but that I'm getting half the milk since she snubbed the grain, we need the milk.

    And she doesn't KNOW I'm going to make it sweet for her, I never have before.

    But the last two milkings I have given her like a lb or more of alfalfa on the stand and added a little bit of oats to it, and she gladly eats the alfalfa. If she will milk the same on this, then I am perfectly happy. I would rather her eat alfalfa for her health sake than grain anyway. Except the pellets seem to be slower eating, and you CANNOT leave this doe on the stand and go do something else while she is eating. :rolleyes She apparently has visions of chainsaw massacres or something when you leave the building. ... And she sounds like an elephant.
     
  13. GallopingGoats

    GallopingGoats New Member

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    I have had does like that. Such babies! You are right alfalfa is much more improtant and she will milk well on it. I wouldn't worry about the grain to much. Shannon
     
  14. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

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    Well....I beg to differ.

    My does get very nice 2nd cutting alfalfa hay and then oats/barley/Boss on the stand.
    Titania (4200 # milker last year) started leaving grain behind. Eating her alfalfa just fine.
    Milk production dropped and her condition dropped even more quickly. Bought her her very own bag of Nutrena Dairy goat feed and mixed it in with her regular grain and she started eating her grain again, increased her milk to regular levels (14 Lbs/day at 4 1/2 months fresh), and stopped looking gaunt.

    I tried to get her to read this forum :biggrin, but finally decided that I would treat my goats on a case by case basis. Couldn't afford to find out if "making" her eat the regular mix was going to work.

    BTW... She had been eating the Oats/Barley/BOSS since she had freshened and just started not eating it out of the blue. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do! :D
     
  15. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    If a goat responds like that to a new sack of feed, than I would question if something is wrong with her old sack, with something being milled in it, something in the hopper, with something in the contianer it's stored in etc. Vicki
     
  16. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    I was thinking the same thing......I can only guess that most of the feed's that we are feeding now, have been stored up in silos and such for several months. I'm sure that the older it gets in storage, the less appealing it gets, and like everything else, the less nutritious it gets too.
    Back when I messed around with show bantams, feed quality would always seemed the poorest this time of year, 'til about mid summer. I sometimes had to come off milled grains, and go to whole grains along about this time of the year......That natural protective cover that is on seed, will keep it fresher, longer.

    Just like in the alfalfa thread....you gotto wonder if the alfalfa hay that is being pelleted at this time of year, is getting just a little bit aged by now, and is kinda loosing it's flavor just a bit.

    Whim
     
  17. Qvrfullmidwife

    Qvrfullmidwife New Member

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    This is a total aside, but you said "plus red clover in their hay.

    I dont know if anyone else thinks about stuff like this, but I have read artciles regarding estrogenic properties of red clover relating to fertility and a few re milk production. I in no way am saying that your issues are related to this, I agree it likely had to do wth the grain, but it did remind me...

    "Although performance varied somewhat among trials, overall statistical analysis showed that replacing alfalfa with red clover reduced yields of milk," from...
    http://jds.fass.org/cgi/content/abstract/80/12/3308

    "Clover disease,” related to the consumption of red clover by sheep, has lead to infertility, abnormal lactation, dystonia, and prolapsed uterus." from...
    http://www.drugs.com/npc/red-clover.html
     
  18. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Ok, I've been giving her 1 lb or more of alfalfa pellets and maybe 1/4 lb of Oats (which seems to be all she cares to eat of it) and her milk is coming back up. It was about 3/4 of her usual production this morning. We will see how it goes.
     
  19. Ashley

    Ashley New Member

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    Apparently it was just that bag of oats. I opened a different bag (same brand bought on the same day) and she is devouring her grain again. The other doe will eat from either bag.
     
  20. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    Yep they are strange creatures, yesterday I had 3 milkers won't touch their grain, brought in 3 more, same grain and they all devoured it. brought the other 3 back in and same grain out of same barrel and they gobbled it up. so go figure.