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Goats/Pasture Extender

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Question
I have a question about the feed product referred to as "pasture extender." It is marketed for use with beef cattle, but so little is marketed for goats that my goat medicine cabinet is full of products and medicines that I use off-label. I'm wondering if this feed supplement, which is mostly just fiber and filler, is usable in a dire emergency.

What prompts the question is that I was recently in an emergency situation--for almost three weeks. I live 3/8 of a mile off the main road, and my drive was covered with 12 to 18 inches of snow and ice. I couldn't get out, and I ran out of hay. My goats, who usually free-range during the day, were stuck in the barn the entire time, and I used at least three times as much hay as usual. The feed stores were all out, and most farmers were scared to sell from their own stash. No one could get to me anyway, given the state of the road. Finally a kindly employee from the feed store dropped, at the main road, six bales of hay from his family's farm, and over several days I walked the bales up through unbroken snow to my barn, which is even farther from the road than my house.

The kindly fellow who dropped the hay told me in passing about the pasture extender product. I realize that it has no nutritional value to speak of, it's just filler. But if filler can keep rumens working during an emergency, that's better than nothing. The label lists as the first ingredient (30 percent) "roughage products" without specifying, but the bearer of hay gifts mentioned cottonseed meal, beet pulp, and a few others I've forgotten. Subsequent ingredients are processed grain byproducts, calcium carbonate, molasses products, salt, and plant protein products. It is nonfortified and nonmedicated. I don't see anything that raises red flags. Do you?

Thanks very much.

Answer
These pasture extenders work well for goats, would advise not giving as much as on the label for cattle as they could cause bloat and/or constipation in the goats - but to help fill their rumen when hay is scarce they do work.  They are meant to be fillers only though, as goats and cattle definitely need the roughage of hay to keep their rumen functioning correctly.  Hope this 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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