Nutritional Value of Various Goat Feeds

03 July, 2016rodster385Comments (0)


FeedstuffTotal CP, % DM
Crude Protein- %Dry Matter
UIP, % of total CP
Undegradable Intake Protein-% of Crude Protein
Total Digestible Nutrients- % Dry Matter
Alfalfa cubes 18 30 57
Alfalfa, dehydrated,17% CP 19 60 61
Alfalfa, fresh 18 18 61
Alfalfa hay, early bloom 19 16 59
Alfalfa hay, midbloom 17 18 58
Alfalfa hay, full bloom 16 20 54
Alfalfa hay, mature 13 30 50
Alfalfa silage 18 16 55
Alfalfa silage, wilted 22 22 58
Alfalfa leaf meal 28 15 69
Alfalfa stems 11 44 47
Ammonium chloride 163 0 57
Ammonium sulfate 132 0 0
Bahiagrass hay 8 37 51
Bakery product, dried 12 30 90
Barley silage 12 20 59
Barley silage, mature 12 25 58
Barley straw 4 70 43
Barley grain 12 28 84
Barley grain, steam rolled 12 40 84
Beet pulp, wet 9 35 76
Beet pulp, dried 7 44 75
Beet pulp, wet, with molasses 10 25 77
Beet pulp, dried, with molasses 10 34 76
Bermudagrass, Coastal, dehydrated 16 40 62
Bermudagrass hay, Coastal 10 20 56
Bermudagrass hay 10 18 53
Bermudagrass silage 10 15 50
Birdsfoot trefoil, fresh 21 20 66
Birdsfoot trefoil hay 16 22 57
Blood meal 92 80 66
Bluegrass, Kentucky, fresh, early bloom 15 20 69
Brewers grains, wet 28 52 85
Brewers grains, dried 28 58 84
Bromegrass, fresh, immature 15 22 64
Bromegrass hay 10 30 55
Bromegrass haylage 11 26 57
Canarygrass hay 9 26 53
Canola meal, solvent 40 30 71
Citrus pulp, dried 7 38 79
Clover, ladino, fresh 25 20 69
Clover hay, ladino 21 25 61
Clover, red, fresh 18 21 64
Clover hay, red 15 26 55
Clover hay, sweet 16 30 53
Corn, whole plant, pelleted 9 45 63
Corn fodder 9 45 67
Corn stover, mature (stalks) 5 30 59
Corn silage, milk stage 8 18 65
Corn silage, mature, well eared 8 26 72
Corn grain, whole 9 58 87
Corn grain, rolled 9 52 87
Corn grain, flaked 9 57 93
Corn grain, high moisture 10 38 93
Corn and cob meal 9 52 82
Corn cobs 3 50 48
Corn screenings 10 52 91
Corn gluten feed 23 25 81
Corn gluten meal, 41% CP 46 60 85
Corn gluten meal, 60% CP 67 62 89
Cottonoseed, whole 22 38 95
Cottonseed, whole, delinted 23 39 95
Cottonseed hulls 4 45 45
Cottonseed meal, mechanical, 41% CP 45 51 80
Cottonseed meal, solvent, 41% CP 48 40 77
Diammonium phosphate 115 0 0
Distillers grain, wet 28 55 90
Distillers grain, barley 30 56 77
Distillers grain, corn, dry 28 62 90
Distillers grain, corn, wet 29 55 90
Distillers grain, corn with solubles 29 53 90
Distillers corn stillage 22 55 92
Distillers grain, sorghum, dry 32 62 85
Distillers grain, sorghum, wet 32 55 85
Distillers grain, sorghum with solubles 31 53 85
Distillers dried solubles 29 0 88
Fat, animal, poultry, vegetable 0 0 205
Feather meal, hydrolyzed 86 75 69
Fescue, Kentucky 31, fresh 15 20 64
Fescue hay, Kentucky 31, early bloom 18 22 65
Fescue hay, Kentucky 31, mature 11 30 52
Fish meal 66 60 74
Grass hay 10 30 58
Grass silage 11 24 61
Hominy feed 11 48 89
Lespedeza, fresh, early bloom 16 50 60
Lespedeza hay 14 60 54
Linseed meal, solvent 39 38 76
Meadow hay 7 23 50
Meat and bone meal, porcine/poultry 56 24 72
Molasses, beet 9 0 75
Molasses, cane 5 0 75
Molasses, cane, dried 10 0 74
Molasses, citrus 10 0 77
Molasses, wood, hemicellulose 1 0 76
Monoammonium phosphate 70 0 0
Oat hay 10 25 54
Oat silage 12 21 60
Oat straw 4 40 48
Oat grain 13 19 76
Oat groats 18 15 91
Oat middlings 17 20 90
Oat hulls 4 25 40
Orchardgrass, fresh, early bloom 14 23 65
Orchardgrass hay 10 27 59
Peas, cull 25 22 86
Peanut meal, solvent 50 28 77
Potatoes, cull 10 0 80
Potato waste, wet 7 0 82
Potato waste, dry 8 0 85
Potato waste, wet with lime 5 0 80
Potato waste, filter cake 5 0 77
Poultry byproduct meal 62 49 79
Poultry litter, dried 25 0 64
Poultry manure, dried 28 22 38
Prairie hay 7 37 50
Rice grain 8 30 79
Rice bran 14 30 68
Rice hulls 3 45 13
Rye grass hay 10 40 58
Rye grass silage 14 25 59
Rye grain 12 21 82
Sanfoin hay 14 60 61
Sorghum silage 9 30 59
Sorghum grain (milo), ground 11 57 82
Sorghum grain (milo), flaked 11 62 91
Soybeans, whole 40 28 93
Soybeans, whole, extruded 40 35 93
Soybeans, whole, roasted 40 48 93
Soybean hulls 12 28 77
Soybean meal, solvent, 44% CP 49 32 84
Soybean meal, solvent, 49% CP 54 32 87
Spelt grain 13 27 75
Sudangrass hay 9 30 57
Sudangrass silage 10 28 58
Sunflower seed, meal, solvent 38 27 65
Sunflower seed, meal with hulls 31 35 57
Sunflower seed hulls 4 65 40
Timothy, fresh, pre-bloom 11 20 64
Timothy hay, early bloom 11 22 59
Timothy hay, full bloom 8 30 57
Timothy silage 10 25 59
Triticale grain 14 25 85
Turnip roots 12 0 86
Urea, 46% N 288 0 0
Vetch hay 18 14 58
Wheat, fresh, pasture 20 16 71
Wheat hay 9 25 57
Wheat silage 12 21 59
Wheat straw 3 60 42
Wheat straw, ammoniated 9 25 50
Wheat grain 14 23 88
Wheat grain, hard 14 28 88
Wheat grain, soft 12 23 88
Wheat grain, flaked 14 29 89
Wheat grain, sprouted 12 18 88
Wheat bran 17 27 70
Wheat middlings 19 22 82
Wheat mill run 17 28 75
Wheat shorts 20 25 80
Wheatgrass, crested, fresh, early bloom 11 25 60
Wheatgrass, crested, fresh, full bloom 10 33 55
Wheat grass, crested, hay 10 33 54
Whey, dried 14 15 82


Legend of Abbreviations:

ADF = Acid Detergent Fibre
ADF-CP (ADF-N, ADICP, ADIN)= Acid Detergent Insoluble Nitrogen
AP = Available Protein
Ca = Calcium
Cl = Chloride
CP = Crude Protein
Cu = Copper
DM = Dry Matter
DP (DIP) = Digestible Protein
Fe = Iron
HDP = Heat Damaged Protein
K = Potassium
Mg = Magnesium
Mn = Manganese
Na = Sodium
NDF = Neutral Detergent Fibre
NEG = Net Energy (growth)
NEM = Net Energy (maintenance)
NEL = Net Energy (lactation)
NIR = Near Infrared Reflectance Analysis
NSC = Non-structural Carbohydrates
P = Phosphorus
RFV = Relative Feed Value
S = Sulphur
Se = Selenium
SP (SIP) = Soluble Protein
TDN =Total Digestible Nutrients
UIP = Undegradable Intake Protein
Zn = Zinc

Planting a Pasture

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Out here in West Texas we don't always have the luxury of lush grazing land to turn our goats out on. If our herds are to graze throughout the year, we often have to plant something for them to graze on.
My preferred choice for summer grazing is Hay Grazer. It supplies a decent protein count and is fairly drought resistant. Hay Grazer typically can be planted in mid May or whenever the soil temp reaches 75 degrees. Have your seed ready and try to plant just before the weatherman forecasts a decent chance of rain. Fertilizing your plantng once it reaches through the soil will encourage rapid growth and actually require less moisture for your crop to thrive on. Again, wait for a promised spring shower before application of fertilizer. It has been my observation that many goat producers allow their Hay Grazer to reach two to three feet in height (and allow the stem of the plant to generate) before turning their herd out in it. I personally have found the crop to be more beneficial and productive if I turn the goats into it when it reaches six inches or so in height. The grazer will continue to grow throughout the season if grazed in this manner and with sufficient moisture should last until fall.
I have planted both oats and wheat for a fall and winter pasture and have found that the goats prefer the oats over the wheat by far. Oats provied more protein than wheat and seem to grow better in this area of Texas. Oats and wheat can be planted in mid October (or when the soil temperature and daylight decreases.) These crops will often flourish on a light dose of fertilizer and whatever winter moisture happens to fall on them. There are also winter mixtures available, such as Triticale, that provide a variety of grazing for your herd. While some hay and feed will ultimately need to be supplied during the winter months, overall, providing pasture for your goats is a must if your operation is to see a profit.

Nutrition and Feeding

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Feeding your goats can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. Basically your goal is to promote good health and maximum production while staying within a reasonable budget. Goats are pretty accommodating and will thrive on any number of different diets as long as their nutritional needs are met through two primary sources. Roughage (fiber) is provided through the hay, browse and pasture. Concentrates in the form of grain ration comprise the other half of the nutritional picture. Our experience on the subject of goat nutrition is very fundamental.

How much hay and grain is appropriate? Although the amount varies from animal to animal depending on breed, gender, size, life stage (lactation or dry), age, etc., as well as the quality of the feed itself, there are some general guidelines. Both hay and grain offerings should be finished up in about 20 minutes. Remove any excess after the allotted time. Around five pounds of high quality hay daily should be sufficient per animal. Usually the grain ration is regulated by production, when feeding milking does. The general rule for the grain ration for a milking doe is to feed one pound per day "for the doe" and an additional pound per day for each quart of milk she produces.

What kind of roughage? Alfalfa is probably the most popular but if other types of roughage are more readily available and comparable in quality by all means use what works best for you. Mixed grasses, clover and cereal grain plants are excellent alternatives. Of course any vegetation harvested while plants are young makes the best feed and all hay should be closely monitored for freshness. Watch for mold or contamination by rodents, cats or bird droppings. During the growing season your garden can be an excellent source of roughage. Plants that are no longer producing, carrot tops, any veggies such as squash, pumpkins, greens and carrots that are in over-abundance make great roughage. Just be sure they are fresh and clean.

What kind of grain ration? The variety of grains is just about unending. Commercial goat ration may be the easiest and best for you or you can mix your own combination using the grains most available and economical in your locale. These may include sunflower seed, cotton seed, soybeans (heat treated for digestion in goats) and beet pulp. Once again, no mold or contamination, please. Be sure to smell any new grain ration to be sure it is wholesome and fresh. Commercial grain mixes for dairy cows won't work if they contain urea. Check out the label. Urea is a synthetic protein that is toxic to goats. Don't overdo the corn. Too much corn results in hoof overgrowth and thickening of the uterine wall that can cause breeding difficulties.

Are supplements necessary? Free-choice loose minerals that are formulated just for goats are perfect for providing all necessary trace minerals, salt and vitamins for strong bones and teeth and promoting general good health. A ratio of two parts calcium to one part phosphorus is best. Kelp is high in iodine as well as other minerals and fiber. It can be offered free choice or a small amount can be added to the grain every day. Rumen Buffered Bicarbonate of Soda is of great benefit in maintaining pH balance in the rumen for good digestion. It can be offered free-choice. Mineral mixes for sheep should not be given to goats because it does not contain enough copper. Salt and mineral blocks don't work very well for goats simply because they can't get a sufficient amount to meet their nutritional needs.

Water Water Water! An abundant supply of fresh, clean, pure water is absolutely essential. If the water in your area does not taste good you might try adding a flavoring (our goats enjoy a little bit of Kool Aid) to encourage water consumption. Warm water is appreciated in cold weather.

Is there any particular order or timing for feeding? Start the morning out with a light portion of their daily hay ration. Their rumen is fairly empty and this will get things started. Next comes half the grain allotment. By feeding the hay first you avoid acidosis. Goats enjoy smaller, more frequent feedings so some hay at midday is nice, too. Grain ration should not be fed alone.

It's okay to try new things. Good goat ration should be derived from at least three or more different sources. Oats, barley, wheat, milo and corn are all great in combination. Not too much corn, please, a little goes a long way. Feed what's plentiful for your locale and most of all, enjoy your goats!

A friend of mine is fighting a reaccuring battle with Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA) in his prize buck. This disease seems to reappear every six months or so, showing up as a noticable knot below the ear in the neck area. Our local vet shared his prefered method of treatment for this highly contagous infection.
Once the knot has reached it's 'prime' to the point of bursting, lance the leison with a razor blade and squeeze out the cheesy pus. Then with a large syringe, shoot a mixture of iodine and hydrogen peroxide into the wound. The peroxide will loosen up remaining infection and literally cause it to stream from the incision. Follow up this treatment with a dose of penicillin. It is of the utmost importance that the animal be treated in an area not accessable to other goats and any pus that falls to the ground is doused with bleach. All utinsils used in the procedure should be disposed of immediately and the treated animal confined away from the herd until the incision has sealed itself up. CLA is not a curable illness and crops up in herds from time to time. An animal with this disease should always be monitored and treated in a timely manner to prevent exposure to the remaining herd.

Goat Grazing Habits

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

1 While much of the scientific agricultural community attempts to
provide more and better forages for specific animal use, goats do well
on what they have, provided they are given the chance to choose.
Although their nutrient requirements exceed those of most other
livestock species, goats succeed while others fail. The reason for
this success is that goats are particular. They consume the best parts

2 Vegetation
Vegetation is often divided into three groups: grasses, forbs, and
browse plants. Grasses are monocotyledons and belong to the family,
Gramineae. Leaves of these herbaceous plants appear as blades, with
parallel veins. Forbs, often called weeds, are dicotyledons and include
individual plants from many families. Veins in the leaves are not
parallel but are netted or branched. The general term, forb, refers to
any herbaceous, broadleaf plant without regard to family
classification. Browse plants include plants other than grasses and
forbs but are usually taller plants, such as trees, shrubs, and vines
having woody stems.

3 Nutritional Values of Grasses, Forbs, and Browse Plants
Even though grasses are usually considered the most desirable type
vegetation for livestock production, forbs and browse plants often
contain higher levels of nutrients. Leguminous forbs and browse, for
example, commonly contain more than 25 percent crude protein, whereas
perennial grasses seldom exceed 15 percent in crude protein content.
The energy contents of flowers, fruits, seeds and nuts of forbs and
browse can exceed 1.6 megacalories digestible energy per pound of dry
matter. In grass foliage, 1.2 megacalories per pound of dry matter is
considered high quality.

4 Each plant, whether a grass, forb, or browse plant, is composed of
many plant parts that differ from one another in nutritional value.
Generally, leaves are more nutritious than stems and new leaves more
valuable than old leaves. There are some exceptions to this
generalization, especially when certain plant chemicals, such as
tannins prevent proper digestion of the plant tissue. The total effect
of these binding chemicals on the nutritional values of plants are not
fully determined, especially in many of the browse plants.

5 The Goat and Diet Selection
Goats are agile and have exaggerated control of their mouth parts,
allowing them to be very selective for diet. They are able to stand on
their hind legs and climb rock cliffs and low growing trees to gain
access to relished plants and plant parts that are unavailable to other
livestock species. Goats have a mobile upper lip, effective in nipping
off plant parts very selectively. As a result, the goat's diet is very
diversified, consisting of small components of a large number of plant
species. Very simplified vegetation, an all-grass meadow, for example,
does not provide good nutrition for goats over a long period of time.
Goats need access to a wide variety of plants in order to exercise diet
selection, as different plants increase and decrease in nutritional
value with seasonal changes.

6 The Goat as a Brush Control Tool
Many of the browse species have invaded or become overabundant in
old, abandoned fields or on range and pasturelands following prolonged
grazing by other livestock species. These invading species,
collectively called ''brush'', often can be suppressed or eradicated
using goats. Goats are effective as brush control tools, when the
following requirements are met:

1. The brush is either low-growing or is reduced to low growth by
mechanical means,

2. The brush species is preferred by goats,

3. Goats can be concentrated in large numbers for a relatively
short period, then removed for an extended period.

7 Each time the goats are concentrated, they consume the leaves and
twigs of the brush species, as well as a substantial portion of the
grasses. When the goats are removed, the grasses recover more quickly
than the brush. After several sequential grazing and rest periods, the
brush is reduced to a density easily controllable, with a few goats
included in the grazing herd. This method of brush control has proven
successful in several regions of the United States, as well as at many
locations around the world.

Goat Feeding Program

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Forage Utilization: As previously indicated, meat goats must depend almost solely on forage to meet their nutritional needs. Forages commonly utilized are grasses, browse, weeds, forbes, and, seasonally, small grains, hays, and, occasionally, silages. With rare exception, all these plants contain usable protein, energy, minerals and vitamins in some measure. It should be emphasized that goats actually prefer to browse on brush rather than on grass commonly taking about 60% browse and 40% grass in mixed plant populations. Since goats are particularly adept at selecting the most nutritious plants (and within plants, the most nutritious portions), they may do reasonably well on grazing areas considered poor to fair by man and cow alike if, of course, the amount of herbage is adequate. Like other animals, however, goats respond quite favorably to increased quality/quantity of feedstuffs. Public perceptions to the contrary, goats can not in fact economically turn only very low quality vegetative matter into meat and milk. Successful managers know this; novices may not last long enough to learn it.

The composition of feedstuffs commonly eaten by goats varies widely. For information on composition of specific feedstuffs, see Pinkerton (1991a). In practical grazing situations, goats consume an everchanging combination of these feedstuffs with selection reflecting seasonal availabilities and relative palatabilities. The daily dry matter intakes of maturing goats range between 3 - 5% of body weight, occasionally higher. The actual quantity of feedstuffs eaten per day will be influenced by palatability, dry matter content, digestibility, and rate of passage from the rumen.

As one compares the protein, TDN and mineral values of feedstuffs, several points become apparent. First, legume roughages such as alfalfa, cowpea, lespedeza and vetch are higher in protein and calcium than are non- legumes such as Bermudagrass, Bluestems, Johnsongrass, Sudangrass and Lovegrass, either as grazing or as hay crops; their TDN values, however, are fairly comparable. Secondly, forage crops ordinarily are higher in protein and TDN in the form of pasture than in hay. Thirdly, protein and TDN levels of individual roughages are dependent on several variables, among them: variety, age of the plant, soil fertility, rainfall, harvesting procedures, and storage conditions. Fourthly, roughages are much higher in calcium than in phosphorus, while feed grains generally have more phosphorus than calcium. The mineral needs of meat goats are such that a need for phosphorus supplementation is much more likely than a need for extra calcium except perhaps during heavy lactation.

Note that the protein and TDN contents of most browse plants are quite comparable with those of more traditional Oklahoma forages. As noted before, goats are particularly adept at selecting the most palatable parts of browse plants; fortunately, palatability generally is generally associated with lower fiber, higher protein and increased digestibility. Spring growth is the most palatable and therefore has the highest nutrient value. Browse plants, particularly those grown in the more arid areas, may produce significantly less quantity of forage per acre than native or improved pastures, but initial quality of browse may be a compensating consideration. In eastern Oklahoma, pine and oak forest understory brush is a variable mixture of plants, many of which are good sources of protein and TDN for meat goats. For more information on grazing habits, see Lu (1985).

To evaluate the usefulness of pasture and browse plants for meat goat enterprises, it would be helpful to know their average annual yields per acre in addition to their protein and TDN. Unfortunately, such data are scarce and, in any case, yields can vary very widely across time and place. Thus, it is very difficult to answer basic management questions concerning grazing density (head/acre), optimum grazing pattern (frequency and duration), and needs for supplemental feeding (protein, energy and minerals). For novice goat owners, the experiences of goat-owning neighbors are likely to be the best guidelines available.

Several rules of thumb for grazing can be typically applied, e.g., 6 mature goats equal 1 cow on native or improved pastures or 10 goats equal 1 cow on browse or understory brushy areas. As a practical matter, Oklahoma Angora goat owners have routinely grazed 10-12 goats per acre of good wheat pasture and 12-15 (occasionally more) goats per acre on alfalfa pastures. Angora producers have also reported grazing densities of 2-3 head per acre on good native pastures in the south central area and 1-2 head per acre of brushy fields (go-back land) in the southeastern area; Texas rangelands typically require 4 acres per goat.

Concerning the composition of high energy feeds, experienced livestock owners know that there are only small differences between corn, milo, barley, and wheat. Choosing one over the other is mostly a question of relative costs per cwt. However, some goat producers feel that milo should be used only sparingly, if at all, as it can promote urinary calculi in males (Ca:P ratio lower than about 1.5:1 predisposes the formation of calculi). In the absence of definitive research, wheat should probably not constitute over 50% of a grain mixture. Price frequently may preclude the use of oats, even though it is an excellent goat feed. Costly grinding of the grains for goats is seldom necessary.

High protein feedstuffs, used only occasionally by meat goat owners, are cottonseed meal and soybean meal. Whole cottonseed, cull pea seed and cracked mungbeans have also been used when conveniently available and priced competitively. Other protein feeds, such as gluten feeds, mill feeds and urea (in range blocks), are used as sources of protein. Choosing between alternative high protein feedstuffs is largely an economic decision. Dividing the price of a cwt of feed by its protein content will yield the cost of 1 lb. of protein and thus facilitate comparisons.

Forage Supplementation: In those situations in which the available forage is insufficient in protein or energy or minerals to support desirable levels of goat performance, proper supplements should be offered in adequate quantities but, as always, with due respect to the likely cost-benefit exchange involved. In actual practice, most owners provide extra minerals to their goats year round. Typically these may be in the form of trace mineralized (loose or block) salt, individual sources of calcium and/or phosphorus (offered separately or in combination with salt), or commercial mineral mixtures. Phosphorus content of forages is usually much lower than calcium content. Adequate phosphorus being necessary for reproduction and milk production, supplementation is usually economical. Goats apparently have a much higher tolerance to copper than sheep so typical cattle mineral mixes are usually safe for goats.

In those grazing situations in which the plants are too low in protein (or in which forage quantity is much reduced), additional protein must be offered to maintain acceptable goat performance. Protein supplementation may take many forms and cost per unit of protein may vary widely. Experienced goat feeders compare protein costs, presence of other dietary components, palatability, feeding facilities required, labor cost/convenience, and likelihood of achieving fairly uniform intake per animal. Feeding a hay of sufficient protein level is frequently the optimum solution. In other cases, a lb. or so of 20% crude protein (CP) cubes or .5 lb. of 40% CP supplement or 0.5-1.0 lb. of whole cottonseed may be economically sound and nutritionally adequate. Protein blocks of about 37% CP are widely used during southwestern winters. Some owners have observed that grazing small grain pastures for only 1-2 hours per day will provide adequate supplemental protein (and energy) to their dry pastures or non-legume, lower quality hays. The continuous availability of roughage, even poor quality hay, is important during such protein supplementation; it allows the animals to economically use the protein.

When existing pastures and/or browse are unacceptably low in energy, experienced goat owners offer good quality hays to maintain performance; .5 to 1.0 lb. of shelled corn is also used, as is whole cottonseed. Cost per unit of energy is always a consideration but, without adequate energy, conception rates, milk flow, and kid growth rates will be compromised and gross income reduced. Some producers compensate in advance for expected declines in forage quality and availability by keeping protein blocks and hay available free choice, noting rises in consumption as pasture conditions worsen.

"Flushing" is the practice of feeding breeding age goats extra protein and/or energy for 30 days prior to and 30 days following the introduction of bucks to achieve a weight gain during this period. This weight gain is usually accompanied by improved fertility, increased conception and twinning. Flushing may or may not be necessary for meat goat production, depending on quantity and quality of available forage. If flushing were necessary, .5 lb. of corn and/or .5 lb. of protein supplement day/head would usually suffice.

When planning grazing and supplementation practices, it is prudent to always remember that a meat goat enterprise generates cash income from the sale of surplus kids and cull adults as well as non-cash, but real, benefits from brush control and pasture improvement -- perhaps $40-$70 per breeding female per year. Obviously, adequate year round grazing with only mineral supplementation is the optimum option; all other options increase costs but likely would be economically wise.

Feeding and Managing Your Show Goat

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

In feeding goats you have a choice of feeding a specifically prepared ration (Champion Goat Pellet), mixing your own, or feeding a ration that has been mixed by the local feed store. Since goats are picky eaters a pelleted ration may be preferred over a textured or loose ration. The most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a "magic" ration. Find a balanced ration, learn how to feed it, and learn how your goats respond to it.

When goats are purchased it is essential that they be treated for internal parasites and overeating disease. Many goats will not know how to eat the feed you have purchased. These goats should be started on good, leafy alfalfa hay that is top dressed with the purchased feed. After 3 or 4 days you can slowly change these goats to the ration that you have chosen to feed in your program by decreasing the hay. Hay can be fed during the first part of the feeding program, but should be eliminated at the later stages to prevent goats from getting a large stomach.

Most club goats can be self fed for the entire feeding period. However, some goats will become fat and need to be hand fed. Fat deposition must be closely monitored throughout the feeding program. The feeding schedule can be adjusted to modify gain and body composition, but the feeder must continually watch the goats and check their progress so changes can be made. Rations which are not producing enough finish, or goats that are not putting on enough finish, can be bolstered by the addition of high energy feed, such as corn, during the late stages of the feeding program. Remember, never make abrupt changes in your feeding program. Gradual changes are more desirable so that your goat will stay on feed and continue to develop.

The feeding program for your club goats will dictate how they develop and mature. A feeding program cannot make up for a lack of superior genetics, but will allow your goats to reach their genetic potential. Feeding is a daily responsibility and one which can be continually changed to maximize your results. To best monitor your results, goats should be weighed on a regular basis. Know whether your goats are gaining or losing and how much.

Exercising your goats can be very beneficial to your success in the show ring. Goats are very active animals; and, if given enough room, will exercise themselves. Having objects in your pen for your goats to jump and play on (i.e. big rocks, wooden spools, etc.) will provide your goat with an excellent opportunity to exercise themselves. Goats that have been exercised will handle harder and firmer, which will give you an advantage in the show ring since most judges do not want the exhibitors to brace their goats.

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