Question Hello, I am new to goats and have a feeding question. I can't seem to find it anywhere on the internet. I have three weathers, almost three months old. My daughters will be showing them for 4h, but above all else they are our pets and I want them to be healthy. I have read so much about the stones they can get from grain but can not seem to find what else to feed them in place of that. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for your time.
Answer When were the wethers banded? My advice is early banding at 2 weeks of age. Banding early is not an issue for calculi/stones. What is the issue, as your question points to, is the grain they are fed. We use a general livestock pelleted feed/grain - it has 14% protein so helps with continued growth, as well as vitamins and minerals, also good for them, and it usually has a 2:1 or 3:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio (3:1 is best but 2:1 works well too) - if this balance is off then urinary calculi/stones can be created. Staying away from any dairy goat or meat goat grains is important for wethers. Also staying away from straight alfalfa hay is important for wethers as alfalfa is very high in calcium and so would create calcium carbonate stones. What current diet do you have them on? You can also use ammonium chloride salt - purchased online - at one/half tablespoon per their age goat mixed in a water bucket with about one gallon of water and some flavoring such as lemonade or koolaid (you don't have to make it as you would for humans, just enough to add flavoring to cover the ammonium chloride salt taste) - mix well and give as their only water for a day, then repeat at generally 2 week intervals (unless you are feeding an alfalfa type hay or pellets and then it would be more often) - what this salt does is keeps calcium from binding to other calcium molecules as well as keeps phosphorus from binding with other phosphorus molecules to become big stones - the smaller stones are pushed through the urinary tract with the urine. Also making sure the wethers are drinking water very well - I use buckets for my water containers so I can see how much everyone is drinking. Hope this helps - let me know - Donna
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.
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