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For the Goat People: New to Goats...one skinny doeling, four picky goats

 
Lisa Maureen
Posts: 7
Location: Gulf Islands, BC
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Hi all,

I wondered if anyone could give me some advice:

I have been kid-sitting some of my friend's goats (two doelings and a wether, nubian crosses) for a while now. They seem to be getting on just fine and the vet said they are the image of health. We recently acquired a new doeling, a Nubian. She is SKINNY! The reason she's been "sold" is because all they have is three strand electric fencing and she was a jail breaker for sure. So, I think they may have kept her in "jail" in the paddock. Jail was a little x-pen. I think, now that we have her, she's got a little muscle wasting, and she is really ribby.

Anyway, how do I best fatten her up? She won't eat goat text (that pellet, grain, corn mix), and today we tried alfalfa cubes. Nothing. She'll eat apples. And hay. And sword ferns. When we let her out for a browse the other day I don't think she knew what to do. She'll actually eat hay off the ground, something the other goats won't do. She grazes grass too.

Then, we bought some new hay, and none of the goats are keen on it.

So now I have four goats, three eat text, one who doesn't, they are shouting for different hay, don't eat alfalfa cubes and I don't know what to do to fatten the skinny one up!

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks Permies!
Lisa
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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You must be doing all the right things since the vet says that your original gang are in such good health. Maybe when your new addition settles down and sees how lucky she is she'll start eating more browse and finding the minerals she needs.

Have you tried rolled barley or wheat grains? Ours get 250mls each twice a day of rolled barley. If I run out then they get wheat which they LOVE though it's not so nutritionally rich as barley I believe. Ours were thin when we got them 18 months ago but they have filled out nicely now. I think it took about 3 months to visibly see a difference in their shape.

How old is she? Is there a chance that she has worms or internal parasites?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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As you have discovered, goats are VERY picky eaters! They need to be, as sudden changes of feed will throw off the little creatures that live in their gut and digest their food for them. Do you have any of your former hay left? The best thing to do is to slowly introduce any new foods, mixing it with the old feed and gradually (over a week or two) increasing the amount of the new food until it's all the new stuff. I know a lot of people feed their goats alfalfa pellets, but I've never had a single goat that liked them (and I've had a lot of goats). Can't advise on how to get the goats to eat them, as I've never been successful at that.

Your little doeling should put on weight on just hay and whatever else you are able to get her to eat. Again, rapid changes of feed are NOT good for them. So go slow, and be patient!

When you are able to put the doeling in with the other goats, she'll learn to eat grain by watching them. But if she hasn't been getting grain, she needs to start slowly on it!

Kathleen
 
Lisa Maureen
Posts: 7
Location: Gulf Islands, BC
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Thanks to you both for your suggestions and support! We are worming all animals on saturday, so if there are any internal parasites we'll take care of them then. I will mix some old hay with the new stuff and see about getting our tiny one to eat some of that rolled barley you mention. Good thing I have a friend on the island with a horse for the *new* bag of alfalfa cubes

Secretly, I love that goats are picky eaters, mostly because I love to watch them taste things and then dismiss them haughtily. Sometimes I cut some slash from around the property and the neighbour's ditches (scotch broom, salal, sword fern, blackberry) and weave it into the fence for a little fun while they are in the paddock...

Again, thanks for taking the time to lend a hand and reminding me to be patient,
Lisa
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Kathleen is quite right about introducing new foodstuffs. I read this blog ages ago and it taught me a lesson - http://stonybrookfarm.wordpress.com/category/goats/

And I laughed too when I read Kathleen's bit about alfafa (it's called lucerne here) - mine hate it too, in fact won't eat their beloved grains if they're 'poisoned' with alfafa pellets! The sheep on the other hand just love them, though you have to be careful not to give them too much either.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Mine love alfalfa hay, it's just the pellets they won't eat! I know a lot of people do feed them to their goats, I just haven't figured out how to make my goats eat them!

Kathleen
 
Lisa Maureen
Posts: 7
Location: Gulf Islands, BC
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Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote: mine hate it too, in fact won't eat their beloved grains if they're 'poisoned' with alfafa pellets! The sheep on the other hand just love them, though you have to be careful not to give them too much either.


thanks for this! And I will check into that blog as well.
Lisa
 
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