Pregnancy food ration change for dairy goats
Changing feed ration from jr. doe or dry doe to milker, in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy:
in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy:
Dry does will change from 1lb per day to 4lbs per day in the last 6 weeks
Week 6: feed 1.5 lbs per day – about 2 and ¼ cups per feeding
Week 5: feed 2 lbs per day- about 3 cups per feeding
Week 4: feed 2.5 lbs per day – about 3 and ¾ cup per feeding
Week 3: feed 3 lbs per day – about 4.5 cups per feeding
Week 2: feed 3.5 lbs per day – about 5 and ¼ cups per feeding
Week 1: feed 4 lbs per day – about 6 cups per feeding
The last 3 days of your does pregnancy you may want
To cut the ration back to 3 cups per feeding for 3 days to prevent flag.
Flag is when a does udder fills in to quickly and becomes tight and really
Firm and it swells preventing the milk supply from being fully expressed.
After the doe kids you can up her food back to the 6 cup per feeding ( 4lb ) ration again.
- Thorvin Kelplink
- Sea 90 or Himalayan salt on a rope sea 90 link , salt on a rope is at Tractor supply
- Wick’s High Copper Mineral or a good similar goat mineral ( I buy mine from a distributor in the south)like this link
- Hoof trimmers trimmers link
- Andis Clippers andis link
- Golden Barrel Unsulphured Black Strap molasses molasses link
- Stainless Steel Milk Bucket, I like a 9 quart bucket and a 5 quart for small amounts, I got mine off ebay and a farm store, but they do have cheap ones at Jefferspet pail link
- Stainless Steel Milk Strainer
- Milk Filters ( I use homemade reusable ones out of Birds Eye Cloth from an Air Force Base)
- The Accessible Pet, Equine and Livestock Herbal book link
- Braggs apple Cider vinegar , can be bought at the grocery store, make sure it has the “mother”
- Rhinehart X-30 dehorner disbudder link
- Large scale for weighing babies and adult goats to make sure they are growing well, make sure they weigh enough to breed, and for deworming weights. scale
- Milk weighing scale scale link
- Navel Clips clips link
- Natural Goat Care book link
- GI Soother for cocci preventative in baby goats in the spring GI Soother link
- Nav-All tincture naval dip link
- Cayenne Organic Tincture cayenne link
- 30cc nylon syringe with drench tip drencher link
- Ewe-ter-N labor help herb link
- The Small Scale Dairy book link
- I feed a pregnancy herb mix of red raspberry, stinging nettle, and rose hip and get these herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and feed this the last month of pregnancy. I use chopped herbs not powdered. The goats like it.
Alpine Dairy Goat Feeding Chart Feed all animals these amounts 2x a day
Get a feed bucket, about 2.5 gallon, put in
(Use a 3 to 4 cup scoop)
1 scoop alfalfa pellets
1 scoop whole oats
½ scoop BOSS-Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
1 scoop alfalfa pellets
Mix well, repeat, mix well again
Feed milkers – 6 cups of mix per feeding
does and bucks from 2-3 months the mix in a trough together about ½ cup each of the mix
Feed does and bucks from 4-6 months- 1 cup each of the mix
Feed dry does and young does 6 months and up – 1 ½ cups of the mix
Feed bucks not in rut- 1 ½ cup of mix
Feed bucks in rut- 3 cups of mix- they are in rut Sept. to Feb.
Also feed a high quality goat mineral and Organic Thorvin Kelp regularly or free choice, Sea 90 or Himalayan salt and forage or hay free choice.
Keep in mind everyone feeds something different and different lbs per day as well. I am just showing what I do as a guide for someone new without any idea of where to start. If I had a really heavy milker that could not hold weight well, I would up the food.
Since I came up with this ration and the measurements myself, be aware it was not made up by a scientist. I did however study the calcium to phosphorus ratios of foodstuffs and decided which foods to feed based on what is available here as well. I have the calcium ratio at 1.2 to 1 phosphorus. Also this rations is about 14 percent protein. I have read in my books and goat health articles that 12 percent is the desired amount to be fed to dairy goats if they have free choice alfalfa hay and up to 14 percent if they do not have free choice alfalfa. Mine do not have free choice alfalfa hay, but also half of my ration is alfalfa. This does not go along with the modern idea the more protein the better, but it is healthier for the goats and causes less stress on their system, and mine do well on it. The alfalfa is grown northwest as well, but the whole oats are grown here. When I am upping the food amount during pregnancy in the last 6 weeks, instead of feeding the whole ration the last week I will slack off (feed half a milkers ration) about 4 days before kidding so that the udder does not become real so full so quickly. Flag, meaning hard congested udder that has little milk moving through it, is no fun. In about a three day period I will then up the food daily to be at a full milkers ration by day four. I was using barley and think it was an awesome addition to a goat feeding program however the price and difficulty to get it has made me not use it anymore.
First of all I am very opinionated on things I feel strongly about, and goats is one of them, so this blog may seem very bias, because it is. I have had all dairy breeds except Saanen and can give you my view on each except the Saanen. Nigerian Dwarf have what I call little goat syndrome with a few exceptions and not near enough milk. They can be loud and the ones I had did not get along well with the other goat breeds as easily since they are small and are not boss, but they do so want to be the boss! Lamanchas are out of the question for me because I love ears on a goat and love the alertness of the erect ears on swiss breeds, they can have nice udders and there milk taste good and they can be good milkers. The craziest goat I have ever seen was a Lamancha and she would literally run sideways on the walls of the barn to get away from you! Nubians that I have had or been around were very loud and I like quiet, I am sure you have your exceptions but I have not seen many. Nubians require more food for the same amount of milk as a swiss breed. The only goat I ever had jump a stall was a nubian, and when I try to drench a nubian they love to spit it back at me instead of swallowing. Also they do not make the regular maaaa noise, they scream, seriously. I had one toggenburg and she had the worst milk I ever tasted, they say this breed needs more vitamin B for better milk taste and there milk is naturally stronger flavored for cheese making but maybe there are some with good milk to drink, just make sure to sample before you buy. She ruined me on Toggs. Next is Oberhasli, the breed I wanted to start out with but I could not find does, as they are not as popular of a breed, and it is hard to find different bloodlines often, and I have been told by a long time breeder that they have to be great a Obershasli to equal a good Alpine udder wise, but the Oberhasli milk taste very sweet and good, and they are very sweet and quiet girls, I do love them. Saved the best for last in my opinion, the alpine, friendly, sociable, quiet, and good tasting milk and a lot of it, with lots of color variety. I was however informed when I had just started into goats that alpines were crazy, break out of fences, ect. I have never seen this to be true of the many alpines I have owned, or any the alpines, of alpine breeders I know, do this either. They are a wonderful dairy goat through and through, very classy. They are herd aggressive, meaning they will fight within the herd from time to time to see whom is boss. They do not take much food to make a good amount of milk and udders are usually consistent if you make sure to start of with a good udder in the first place and make sure your buck’s dam’s udder is good too. Make sure that teat placement and size is where you want it and teats are big enough and long enough for good hand milking if that is your plan, ask for tons of pictures. Also I would want to taste the milk of any goat purchased as I am sure that all good milk tasting breeds have there exceptions. And remember if your does are with a smelly buck then none of your milk will taste good.
I am simply linking a article written on this topic that I thoroughly agree with. Great information on making a first freshener udder and teats grow out. udder and teat growth article
So it is very apparent that everyone wants to breed does each year to acquire that wonderful fresh goats milk each spring. This is the way that most people want to breed because this is what everyone does. I am going to experiment this next few years with a different kind of breeding program idea, breeding every other year and milking through. My plan is to milk a couple through the winter without breeding them and to dry them us as we are weaning there babies at 5 months old. So they would milk until about July of the next year. This will give them about 7 to 8 months off every other year from milking, with 2 to 3 months of that being free of milking AND pregnancy. This is all going to be very dependent of how the doe is milking when breeding season arrives and if I think she will stay in milk through winter. If she is drying up by October then I will breed ber. I have noticed this season to be the determining factor, if they can milk through breeding season fine they will probably milk through all winter fine as well. This kind of breeding schedule is supposed to increase their length of life and quality of health. I will keep this post updated over the next few years to let you know if it works here or not and how the does perform for better or for worse.
Update: I have done this a few years now and love it. Not all my does will do it, but some will. They do not make as much during the winter but we have at least a little fresh milk daily and I am very pleased to have it.
Apache was an awesome Oberhasli buck. He was tall, long, and wide and deep. I sold him when I switched to Alpines. He is the sire of Clover and Marigold. He had a son with Ginger named Hickory. Hickory was used to breed Hazel and is the sire of Willow and Cherry.
Apache with son Hickory. Hickory was Ginger’s son and he is half french alpine half Oberhasli.
Apache and Hickory
This is Daisy, she is Jasmine’s dam. We no longer have Daisy but really did like her a lot. Daisy had good attachments and shined like a diamond. Very easy to milk with a very elastic soft…
Source: Reference Goats
Quality Alpine Bloodlines: Be aware these are certainly not the only nice herds to choise from, these are the ones with easy to find wwbsites. Keep in mind I have only researched most of these farms and not been there personally, so I do not know if all of their stock is of equal value, but they at least have some stock that looks very ideal, having traits that I would like to see in my herd. Some of these herds are no longer active.
Hill N Holler
Land O’ I AM
Moore’s Pond Farm
P J Bailey’s
Van Vyk Acres