Goats/Show goats


QUESTION: My son shows goats but we can't seem to get enough muscle on him. We feed him purina show goat impulse and champion drive supplement. Not sure besides exercise, what else to do for muscle.?

ANSWER: This is a Boer? How old is the goat?

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QUESTION: Yes a boer. Wether. He is almost 7 mths old

ANSWER: Your son will be taking this one to auction soon/how long do you have until auction time? I understand that the Purina Show Goat Impulse is a full feed, that is, no hay is needed.  Are you feeding it this way? If you are giving hay, what type of hay? What is his current weight? Has he been gaining weight well since you had him or is he what we consider to be a "hard keeper"?  He is up to date on worming?

I have found that for a meat goat to gain muscle and the fat needed to smooth the animal appearance out, they need high protein, good fat in their diet, good roughage to keep their rumen functioning at full capacity, some probiotics also to keep their rumen functioning well, a good worming program so they are not wasting what they are eating, lots of water to help keep their skin supple and other systems hydrated well to function well.  

A general feeding regimen that works for muscle and general body growth (along with some fat) is a 5 to 6% total amount of feed (this is a baseline and they may need less or more, usually by 1% amount) - this would be 2/3 roughage and 1/3 grain.  I generally do not use "brand" grain - that is, to get a high protein I use a general pelleted livestock feed with 14 or 16% protein and to that add calf manna supplement to raise the protein and fat level to what they need to produce what we want - meat, milk, growth, fleece, etc. So for a 100 pound animal using 6% this would be 6 lbs of feed a day that they need - this then means 4 lbs of hay/roughage and 2 lbs grain.  I no longer raise meat goats, but do raise dairy and packgoats - my packgoats must have good muscling to work so they are literally raised the way I raised meat goats - the feed regimen above, lots of exercise, lots of fresh clean water.  

The main difference between market goats and packgoats is that I must be careful as to the choice of grain as if the calcium to phosphorus ratio is not 3:1 then they are at high risk for urinary calculi and with my packgoats working for 12 to 14 years of age and living to 18 to 20 years of age I need to be careful re their feed.   With that said, looking at the Purina products you use, the calcium to phosphorus ratio would most certainly have them coming down with urinary calculi by the time they were 1 year of age, but since market goats generally go to auction earlier than that feed companies do not really care about the calcium to phosphorus ratio risks.   

I also see that the fat content in the Purina feeds is extremely low.  We don't want to feed a high fat feed but meat goats and growing goats and working goats must have some fat and carbs to help the goat keep up its energy level and also add the fat needed to smooth out the outer covering of the muscle and also to add just a little marbling to the meat (although not as much as you would want in beef).   For the extra fat you can add cooking oil (any type) to their grain - about 1/2 cup per 2 to 3 cups of grain - you'll have to see if they really like this first - some goats do and some do not.  We also feed a little bread (wheat if you can get it and stay away from sourdough) each day to give them a bit of extra carbs and fat - this way they have the energy to run/exercise and build muscle.  A standing goat does not build muscle.  We even did this with our pigs and sheep that were very prized to win at auction.

Going back to the worming regimen - if he is on one have you checked the poop for eggs? Is he pooping good pellets or clumped pellets or dog poop like poop?

I realize that some meat goat herds use different feed regimens that work for their herd to get the most production out of them, and many times that is not what I advise in my seminars, but always tell folks if something is working for you, is economical for you, and gets the results you want then don't change on my account.  

Did forget to ask if he was a single and being fed as such or do you have a larger group of goats that you are feeding the same way and it is working for them.

Hope this helps - please don't hesitate to e-mail me with more questions - Donna

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

QUESTION: He is 75lbs was just wormed last wk. poops reg pellets. We only have one other goat w him and we feed her sweet feed not the show goat feed. We give him a little sweet feed a day and we have also made a drench that is very high in protein. It contains 30 eggs honey corn oil condensed milk ovaltine. He has gained 15lbs since July 26. Gotten more muscle than what he had but still needs more.

Thanks for the update.  Would not over protein him as this can cause founder/laminitis.  Ovaltine is fine if it is not the chocolate, goats should not have chocolate.  Condensed milk is fine - you can also use goat milk replacer powder over their grain to add for fat and protein.  It is also possible that his genetics are just not going to allow him to grow the extra muscle.  If a feed regimen is too strong in sugars as well as proteins for a goat some of them do not use any of what is put in them and so it all goes to waste.  I like a baseline of pelleted livestock feed, calf manna, powdered milk replacer, cooking oil, and bread.  This along with exercise has always allowed all of our meat animals (including goats) to do very well.  Is he on any hay at all?  The reason roughage or hay is so important for goats is that there is a scratch factor to the hay/roughage and that makes for more surface area in the rumen which then allows the rumen to take in more nutrition from the food it is sent.



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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


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


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.

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

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

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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