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Skinny Goat

 
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I have a great dairy doe. But she is skinny and doesn’t like to eat. She is not a bone-bag, just skinnier than she should be (yes, I know dairy goats run bony, but she’s a bit too bony). She produces wonderfully, giving 3/4 gallon a day on just about any food. She has free access at all times to a nice alfalfa hay, although my goats prefer the blackberries, trees, and weeds. She gets as much grain at each milking as she will eat, but she generally eats while I milk her and follows me if I walk away. If I leave her in the stand while I take care of the other goats, she just bleats and won’t eat. I recently started sprouted fodder, and she seems even less into that than pre-packaged goat food. Even BOSS isn’t enough to really motivate her to eat. I’m having her tested for Johnnes and just wormed her. But given the amount of food she eats vs her production, I think the problem is a lack of appetite rather than disease. She eats so little I don’t know how she could be producing with a high parasite load or health problems. She had lice, which I treated, but since getting rid of them she seems less hungry, instead of gaining weight. She is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with lots of energy. I just don’t know what to do. Last year she produced great on blackberries and alfalfa pellets, and this year her production is great for what she eats, I just want her to have some fat reserves in case of stress, etc. Does anyone have ideas on coaxing a picky goat to eat more?
 
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Lack of appetite can be caused by nutritional deficiencies. What brand of mineral do you have available? Block, bucket, or loose? What exactly do you feed? I've only heard of one goat herd that has dairy goats that produce well without grain, and they've worked on breeding for that trait.
 
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Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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I have one I struggle with... She does love plain, whole oats. Now I've got her liking them soaked for 8-10 hours and she'll eat fairly well. She 7-8 years old an always been picky. I provide a smorgasbord to them and things fall in an out of favor according to what's growing and what time of year it is. Another big like is usually alfalfa cubes. Not pellets, but the cubes, an sometimes (like now) i'll cut them into smaller pieces...
 
Anna Morong
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My goats get the loose Purina Goat Mineral, and occasionally sample the ducks oyster shell. They have over an acre of rough pasture with tons of weeds and berries. They just got a copper Bolus about a month ago. My other goats I’ve been trying to slim down a bit (they were morbidly obese when I bought them), but this goat won’t gain. What sort of nutritional deficiencies should I look for, and is it worth getting a blood test when I send her blood for the Johnnes test? I am in the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve heard the soil here can be mineral low. I’m starting to wonder if maybe she was doing great when her diet was mostly blackberries, but now that they’ve  eaten them down and are getting alfalfa until new spring growth that maybe the hay doesn’t have enough of something. Because they all hate it. It’s top-notch third cutting alfalfa and they’d rather eat grass (which my goats never do).
 
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