Goat Winter Feeding of Does

Goats June 28, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Winter feeding of does

Early to mid-winter is a time when does should be in early pregnancy. The goal of a wintering program is to economically provide the necessary nutrients to help them maintain a reasonable body condition, lose no weight and keep warm. In general, most wintering programs consist of both forage and supplement components. The forage component can consist of hay, stockpiled forage or a cheap byproduct roughage feed. The supplement usually contains energy, protein, and often vitamins and minerals, although these may be provided separately as a mineral mix. Commonly utilized supplements include whole shelled corn -- an inexpensive source of energy -- range cubes -- an inexpensive source of energy and protein -- sweet feed, protein blocks, molasses blocks or tubs and liquid feed.

Stockpiled forage is forage that is grown during the summer or fall upon which animals are not allowed to graze, reserving it for the winter months. In drier areas, the forage is well preserved, but in a more humid climate quality declines rapidly, making the practice less satisfactory. Stockpiled forage is a very inexpensive forage source since it does not have to be mechanically harvested. Baling forage doubles the cost of forage. However, animals harvest stockpiled forage by grazing. They make much more efficient use of stockpiled forage when it is strip grazed, using a temporary electric fence to limit animal access to an area containing a one- to three-day supply of forage to minimize trampling. Fescue is used in many temperate regions for stockpiling and retains its quality well into late winter, even in humid areas. Most recommendations for stockpiling fescue include late summer fertilization, clipping and deferred grazing. Warm season grasses such as native range and bermudagrass can be stockpiled. The amount of deterioration is dependent on grass species and rain. If local cattlemen are using stockpiled forage it will probably work for certain classes of meat goats. Consult your state forage extension specialist for further information. Calculate the requirements for wintering a 95-pound mature Kiko doe (use Spanish biotype) in early pregnancy, gaining no weight and with intensive pasture grazing, using the Langston Interactive Nutrient Calculator (LINC). The requirements are 1.19 pounds total digestible nutrients (TDN), 0.14 pounds crude protein (CP), 3.13 grams of calcium, and 2.19 grams of phosphorus, with 1.86 pounds of dry matter intake estimated, based on default dietary TDN and CP levels. Feedstuffs that can be used include stockpiled winter bermudagrass and a 16 percent molasses lick. The estimated intake from the molasses lick label is 4 ounces or 0.25 pounds. Assume the remainder of dry matter intake is from the stockpiled bermuda pasture.

The molasses lick is not in the feed library so must be entered manually as a new feedstuff. Click “Add/Delete Ingredient to Feed Library,” to bring up a table to be filled out. First, the feedstuff class is selected. This molasses lick is in the “concentrate” class. Then the name “16 percent molasses lick” is entered, and remaining values are entered. These values can be obtained from the feedstuff tag or label or by calling the manufacturer. If a value is unknown, leave it blank. For this example, enter dry matter of 85 percent, 16 percent crude protein, 75 percent TDN, 2.8 percent calcium and 0.45 percent phosphorus. Click “Add Feed Ingredient to Library” and the Select Feed Ingredient page appears. If needed, click on refresh feed library and 16 percent molasses lick appears under “Your Feed Ingredient Library.” If you have a dry hay or feed, 85 percent dry matter is a good assumption.

To continue formulating the ration, select the 16 percent molasses lick and winter bermudagrass, then click “Input these Feed Ingredients to the Ration.” Enter 0.25 pounds for the 16 percent molasses lick under the “Amount, as-fed” column and guess at 1.5 pounds of winter bermudagrass. Through trial and error a total of 2.0 pounds bermudagrass is selected to fulfill intake requirement. The table shows that this diet provides 0.91 lbs of TDN (76% of requirement), 0.12 lbs CP (86% of requirement), 4.74 grams of calcium, and 1.52 grams of phosphorus (deficient). The diet is quite deficient in energy. To provide additional energy, add whole shelled corn. The diet is then reformulated to contain 0.6 pounds whole shelled corn, 1.4 pounds winter bermudagrass, and 0.25 pounds of lick molasses. This provides 1.15 pounds TDN, which is 97 percent of the energy requirement, and meets the CP needs. Phosphorus is slightly deficient (13 percent), but if the bermudagrass is better than average the requirement can be satisfied. Mineral supplements vary in their phosphorus levels as phosphorus is an expensive ingredient. If a mineral supplement with a high phosphorus level is selected for feeding, the requirement would be met but likely at a high monetary cost.

Reference: Hart, S. 2008. Meat Goat Nutrition. Pages 58-83 in Proc. 23rd Ann. Goat Field Day, Langston University, Langston, OK.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.