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Goats/Feeding Goats of Different Ages and Itching

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QUESTION: Hello Donna, Thank you for answering questions and sharing information.  It is very helpful and I am grateful.  I am new to raising goats and have recently purchased 2 young doelings (age 4 weeks and currently being bottle fed) and a 3 year old doe (bred November 14th and pregnant for the 3rd time).  All are Nigerian Dwarfs and all seem to be doing well.  They are a joy!  

Questions:
I have loose goat minerals and baking soda set out
as well as hay at all times.  I also have a bucket of goat pellets so that all 3 can eat as they want.  Is this okay?  I have read where you offer pellets based on weight but all 3 eat out of the same bucket.

Also, my pellet food is from Southern States - Southern States 17% Goat Feed (Deccox) Medicated.  Is this a good choice?

Lastly, I use Diatomaceous Earth in the pen (mixed into the pine chips and hay bedding) as I noticed that my "girls" were scratching.  Is this okay?  I read somewhere that I could also buy kitten flea powder to be put directly on the babies and mother without harm,.  Is ths correct?

Many thanks for your time and expertise.

Christine

ANSWER: Hi there - let's start with kid goats - under 6 weeks of age the only grain they should have is a calf starter/calf manna - this is easy to digest as their rumens are just developing.  The pelleted feed you mention is a very high protein and I do not like medicated feed.  For the 3 year old doe who is pregnant, too high of protein will have her fetuses growing too fast and too big - a good 12 to 14% protein works well, and she does not need any medication in her feed.  At 4 weeks prior to kidding this doe should be brought down on the amount of grain she eats as the last 4 weeks the fetuses can grow double in size from high protein and thus cause kidding issues.  It is good to pre medicate the kid goats with a coccidiostat but in a constant feed I find it does not always work well as you can never tell how much they are eating/enough of it going into them.  I use Sulmet, a liquid coccidiostat - 1.5 ml/15 pounds of body weight in one bottle a day for one week, off for two weeks, back on for one week, off for two weeks, until they are about 3 months of age and then their own immune system should be able to handle coccidia (which is in all pastures).  I use a general livestock feed that is 14% and has vitamins and minerals in it for all of my goats - pregnant, packgoats, bucks, dry does, kid goats, etc.  If I need to add extra protein and/or fat I use the calf manna to add to the regular grain and that takes care it - this is a low cost but very good nutrition regimen/grain for all goats.  Most all feed stores carry a general livestock feed - ours here at Del's Farm Supply is called All Stock.  

What type of hay are you using?  Grass hay or timothy or orchard are best - alfalfa is really too high in calcium and protein and with pregnant does can be the cause of hypocalcemia towards the end of pregnancy.  

Re the diatomaceous earth for mites and lice/external parasites, I have found that use of a livestock or poultry dust works much better - you can use this on kid goats over 2 weeks of age - dusting with a small amount and fluffing up their hair coat - dusting under and over their body - keeping away from their face.  Use of this dust on the pregnant doe is fine too.  I then dust their bedding areas.  Usually one dusting will take care of the parasites, but you can re dust in two weeks with no worries.  

Re the goat minerals - those are fine - I use horse or general livestock loose minerals as my goats like the loose minerals more than the bricks - these have all the necessary minerals for goats including copper, selenium, cobalt, and more and are inexpensive - again I use the "non goat" items as I find them to be much more expensive and not do any better if at all for the goats than the general livestock items - I have 30 plus goats so I need to spend wisely yet I give my goats their needed nutrition and care.  Re the baking soda - generally this is not needed free choice except for the beginning of spring time when fresh grasses are out and that means there is a high nitrogen level in them and that can cause bloat - so having the baking soda out then allows the goats to eat the soda when they feel their tummy filling up too much.  

The kid goats should have a CDT vaccination of 1 cc at 2 weeks when they are castrated and/or disbudded, then again at 4 weeks 8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 9 months and then starting at a year of age and every year after that a 2 cc vaccination.  The doe should have a CDT vaccination of 2 cc four weeks prior to her kidding date so that there is passive immunity for this to the newborn kids.  

If you are happy with what you are using for your grain and minerals, certainly I don't expect you to change but I just wanted to give you information on those products.  Hope this helps - Donna

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Donna, I am grateful for the information that you shared and will make the recommendations as you have suggested. I have started my babies on CDT and we are giving them grass hay so I have that right.  I will pick up the new feed and lice powder today.  Many thanks again.

Further questions:

When can I start offering treats (like raisins and carrots) to my babies?

My expectant goat seems to like milk replacement. Is this bad for her (in small quantities) and could this be indictive of her lacking in something?  

Many thanks for your time.  I am grateful.

Answer
Hi there - re the treats - I generally do not give these until the kids are at least 3-6 months of age - and then with the carrots they should be chopped up in small pieces.  

Re your expectant doe, it sounds like she is low on protein - at this point in time she should be getting about 5 to 6% of her body weight in total feed with 1/4 to 1/3 of that in grain (the other part of 3/4 or 2/3 would be in the hay) per day.  So for a 100 pound goat that would be 1.25 pounds of grain (14 to 16% protein) to 3.75 pounds of hay (one flake of a grass hay usually weighs 1.5 pounds), and this is for the 1/4 grain to 3/4 hay.  If she is not receiving this everyday she may be low on protein.  So with respect to the milk replacer - that is okay for her - most does do know when they need something.  Hope that helps - Donna  

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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres

Expertise

All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.

Experience

27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

Organizations
NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Publications
Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

Education/Credentials
4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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