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Will goat milk production drop without concentrate?

 
Bob Scott
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Can anyone with experience with goats or Anglo Nubian Goats to be more specific know if I have to feed them concentrate to keep milk production up? I am in Northern Thailand and everyone here feeds them pasture grass along with a concentrate. I am thinking of getting two milk does. I want to feed them pasture grass along with other items I can find on the land and around the land. We have pineapple farmers who sell the pineapple tops and peels for about $0.10 per bag, (this is a 3 feet tall bag) Plus we have a legume tree here which is high in protein and grows wild. I would use the smaller branches and chop them in with the grass from the pasture.

Would I get milk from the does? I actually don't care if it is half the amount of milk then if they were on concentrate. If I get 2 liters per day total on concentrate and got only 1 liter total per day without concentrate I would be very happy with that. I can do with just 1 liter of milk per day. I would prefer that and not have to spend $250 or so per month for concentrate for one extra liter per day. Which I don't need anyway.

Any thoughts or info would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Bob
 
L. Zell
Posts: 33
Location: Missouri
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My Nubians produced 1/2-3/4 gallon/day eating mostly fescue pasture (not very nutritious) and some alfalfa hay last spring. No grain.
 
Bob Scott
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Thanks. That is encouraging to hear. The guy I was talking to said that I would get 1/4 a gallon per doe with concentrate. I plan to plant some good pasture grass for them. I'm glad I will get a good amount of milk.
 
Bob Scott
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How was the taste of your milk?
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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Goats really don't do well just on grass. Naturally they are browsers and eat trees and shrubs so you will definitely need something extra for them. They are unlikely to be able to meet their mineral requirements just from grass.

You mention a legume tree - when feeding legumes you need to be careful not to cause phosphorous deficiency because of the imbalance in the calcium - phosphorous ratio which can come about when feeding them. The excess calcium in the legumes alters the effect of thyroxine and puts a strain on the goat's iodine resources. This causes a drop in milk production and problems with fertility.

If you plan to plant grass for them ensure that you include lots of broad leaved fodder plants. I'm not sure what will be local to you but chicory is an excellent goat food as it can meet all of a goat's mineral requirements and is quite bulky so will provide a decent amount of fodder.

There is an excellent book that covers the issue of feed requirements for goats in great depth - David Mackenzie "Goat Husbandry"

 
L. Zell
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Location: Missouri
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The milk was quite good, it was definitely not cow milk, but I had others tell me it was a lot less goaty than some. Until they really started eating a lot of giant ragweed and acorns. My goats also have some access to multiflora roses, gooseberries, poison ivy, chicory, dock, etc. All of which are pretty nutritious and are like goat candy. The majority of their diet is fescue grass, which is so not ideal on many levels, but that is what is there.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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When your goats are milking just try tweaking their diet with various things. The effect on milk yield will be pretty quick....within a few days, and will go back to it's previous level just as fast when you change back.
One purpose of concentrates and other supplements....the pineapple scrap you refer to might be good for this, is to give the goats something to do while on the stand getting milked......this hinders their getting restless, and also the knowledge that coming in to mild and behaving well while that's happening gets them a treat. I've found that just about anything small and edible will do.....some of my easiest favorites have been small and otherwise reject sweet potatoes, and winter squash or pumpkins, both cut or broken up into goat-chewable sizes....
That said, if you do have access to grain, you will certainly see an increase in milk yield by feeding them some. But in most of the world, grain is too precious as a human food to be feeding off to a ruminant animal.......one of the benefits of which is to convert fibrous stuff otherwise inedible to humans into meat and milk which are. You may find access to grain by-products or rejected grain from whatever.....bran, hulls, brewers' grain, etc. at a good price and these are worth experimenting with. Beware of anything moldy (though ordinarily goats are very picky and will reject anything like that). And if you do use grain, be sure to keep it stored safe away from the goats. It's only to be used as a small supplement....their digestion can easily be overwhelmed by it, and it's addictive. A goat that gets access to stuff its belly full of unlimited grain is more than likely going to be a dead goat, fast.
 
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