I have been doing a lot of research online, but figured it couldn't hurt to ask here to. Not sure if any of you are goat experts but here goes!
As some of you may know one of my mares had to be put down, leaving with us her five day old colt (who is now ten days old). We were able to purchase a Alpine doe in milk that day as well as get some milk extras from the neighbors, to feed the colt. We will be picking up two more Alpine does this evening. The little stinker will not take just milk replacer so we have been hurled into goat ownership.
I am a first time goat owner SO...
I have been reading online and there is a lot of controversy regarding feeding goats grain. The neighbors who have goats feed all you can eat rye and oats while on the milk stand. For lack of knowing what else to do we went with what this goat was on at her previous home and picked up a bag of Purinas dairy goat feed. She was fed 1 cup AM along with 1 cup sunflower seeds. I now feed her 1 cup of each but twice daily as she is on the milk stand twice daily. (I also think that she is on the thin side and could use the extra? More on that later.)
Question 1) I notice that there were various pelleted type goat feeds available as well. I NEVER feed the horses sweet feed, the Purina feed we purchased IS a sweet feed, someone else suggested Omolene 300 was good for goats, which is actually preferred for goats? Pellets or sweet feed?
Question 2) How much! That seems to be the biggest question. Some say not to feed grain at all, others say free choice while on the stand, some say a few cups, some say a pound a day, the bag suggest that she could eat two pounds per day.
(OF course, change, increase or decrease feeds slowly)
Question 3) The hay we feed to the horses has some alfalfa in it. Would it be best just to locate the goats their own solid alfalfa hay or can I get away with offering crushed alfalfa cubes or pellets with our current hay? Part B) How much alfalfa cubes/pellets?
Question 4) Once the colt is no longer in need of the milk we will be using the goats milk ourselves. So what do you do for de-worming? I haven't really looked into it yet but I would assume the normal "Safeguard" or "Ivermectin" de-wormers that I've seen advertised are not to be given while we plan to drink the milk? Is there an herbal de-wormer I could get or is goat de-worming not as big a production as say de-worming a horse?
Question 5) Our goat came with a very un-even udder. She had one four week old kid just weaned when we picked her up, the owners said that was why. From what I read online mastitis is a big concern. What are the early warning signs to watch for? We get maybe a cup from the one side and 4-5 cups from the full side at each milking. It is harder to get the milk to start coming out of the smaller side. Thoughts?
Question 6) Last question. I'm sure I'll come up with more though! She looks thin to me. I haven't spent a great deal of time assessing a goats weight before but she is very boney. She is thiner than the neighbors goats and I've always thought they looked a touch thin. What would I do to get weight on her without making her sick somehow?
Edit to add another question: Collar or halter? Or neither? Again with the horses but I never make them wear "a handle" and in reference to smaller things, foals and miniature horses halters would be a no-no lest someone get caught and hung. Wouldn't that be a concern with a goat also?