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Goat Feeding and Nutrition

Hunter Nutrition is a unique feed company. We don’t just sell feed! We manufacture highly fortified feeds for superior performance and provide support for our clients. Our customers not only get the best nutrition possible; but also receive free consultation on nutrition and health. Our products and information have helped many herds to make problems such as white muscle disease and coccidios history.

We have several specialized feeds available just for Goats. Dairy Goats have special nutritional needs and need their own feeds.
Never feed your Dairy Goats other specie feeds except for sheep feeds. Due to a lack of availability of Goat feeds, many producers are having to get by with dairy cattle supplements or just use soybean meal pellets. Both of these alternatives fail miserably in really providing needs! Dairy cattle supplements are formulated to be fed at about 2 lbs. per head per day -- plus cattle have lower nutritional requirements than goats in many areas. So since you typically feed a .50 to 1.0 #, you are not really getting any vitamins, minerals or trace elements at all – only some protein.

The Hunter Nutrition Feeding Program for Goats not only addresses the broad nutritional concerns of protein, fiber and energy but also pays special attention to trace mineral balance and nutrition. Our very precise formulas provide extra phosphorous for lactating animals and young stock. Our extra higher levels of Iron and Zinc greatly improve skin and hair condition, improve disease resistance and reduce anemia. No other company has our Vitamin E and Selenium levels (and dairy cattle feeds provide less than 1/10th levels). Proper levels of E and Selenium reduce losses due to deficiency–white muscle disease, reduces retained placentas and breeding problems and improve disease resistance. There is naturally occurring copper, but no added copper, (plus molybdenum is added) to our sheep & goat feeds since copper can be toxic even in small amounts to these species.

I have been in the feed business since 1981 and have owned ruminant livestock for 34 years. I invite you to at least try our special Goat Feeding program for a few weeks. I think you’ll see the difference.
Our products are available direct and thru our dealers. Most goat feed clients are buying a few months supply on a direct sale basis. Many buy the pelleted supplements and mix at home or take to a local source for mixing.

Feeding Management for Goats


Changing Feed:
Slow adaptation to new ration, use the 10/10 rule to get animals over to new feed. (10/10 Rule = 10% increasing increments of new ration each day for 10 days - Day one is 10% new feed, Day 10 is 100% etc.) Fast feed changes almost always lead to problems.


Never Feed Salt or Mineral In Block Form:
Use free choice loose sheep or goat mineral mix (containing salt) that is high in selenium. Consumption is inadequate when using blocks for salt and mineral.


Never Feed Protein In Block Form:
Consumption is erratic and often up to 50% in excess of needs. Feed pelleted goat protein supplement with grain to provide supplemental protein.


Never Feed Goats Dairy Cattle Supplement:
Dairy cattle requirements are lower than Goats for many important nutrients such as Vitamin E, iron, iodine, etc. Also the cattle supplement was formulated to be consumed at 2# or more and goats are feed 0.5 to 1.0 lbs of supplement. - Therefore when using a cattle supplement in grain mixes as a source of protein you are not really getting any vitamins, mineral or trace elements at all.


Feed Goats On Specific Goat Feeds: (and some sheep feeds)


Don’t Overlook Importance Of Trace Mineral Nutrition:
Goats have special needs for zinc, iron, iodine, vitamin E, selenium, etc.


Don’t Waste Money On Overpriced Feed:
Like; "Add a Pak’s" and "Gimmick" Nutritional Products.


There Is No Substitute For Good Sound Nutrition! Properly balanced diets fortified with goat supplements and mineral products are all you need.


Year-Around Herd Health and Nutrition Program:
Provide adequate nutrition year-around for best results; waiting till show time or kidding to get serious about nutrition is too late. Often good parasite free pasture and free choice mineral thru the grazing season is all it takes.


Pre-Kidding Feeding Program:
Feeding of extra energy, vitamins, minerals, selenium and a coccidiastat (rumensin) is vital to success!


Flushing for Breeding:
Increase energy 2 weeks pre-breeding and for 4 weeks post mating to insure optimum embryo survival!


Key to success is good flesh on doe prior to lactating - you cannot put weight on a high producing doe during lactation! Your early gestation and dry feeding program should be one of slow steady weight gain to re-build after lactation. Then she will already be healthy and in good flesh going into the following lactation.


Make Nutrition Management A Priority!
Don’t Just Buy Feed Based On Its Convenience,
Feed Is Too Important To Treat This Lightly!

Vitamin E & Selenium In Goats

Deficiency symptoms reported by producers include weak, slow starting newborns. Vitamin E & selenium are needed in feed and in free choice mineral year around in our area since our soils are deficient.

Vitamin E and Selenium are associated with white muscle disease in kids. Function in reproductive efficiency, reduction of retained placentas, antioxidant for milk, and for immune response.

Most feeds only contain .3 ppm selenium and very little vitamin E since it is very expensive. In general typical minerals and salt are low in selenium relative to consumption.

Feed Sheep Mineral free choice as the only source of salt and mineral continually. Only put out a week or 10 day supply at a time to prevent caking. This is the only high selenium mineral that is consumed at such a level to provide .70 mg per ounce of product. This year around supply of selenium is far superior to periodic feeding or injections. The results are a reduction in weak kids, 99% reduction in white muscle disease, improved immune response and better health.

Coccidia Control In Goats

Coccidia is an internal parasite which lives in the gut. Cocci cause scours and bloody scours in severe situations. Performance is greatly reduced in times of cocci out-breaks. They are different than 'worms'; Cocci are protozoa. Since cocci are neither bacterial/viral nor parasitic worms they must be controlled by different methods. In general antibiotics (except sulfa) do not have an effect. Adults do not generally show symptoms of cocci. Adults have developed natural resistance, but still must be treated in order to reduce the infection of lambs.

Control programs are a must - eradication is impossible. Most control is thru 'coccidiastats' which alter protozoa life cycle. Herds will vary in degree of problems with the organism. Factors affecting the incident and degree of symptoms are genetics (resistance), moisture, stress, lack of pasture rest, crowding, and lack of pre-kidding treatment of does.
It Is a Must To Treat The Doe Pre-Kidding In Order To Reduce Problems With Cocci In Kids.

1) Control Program.

Treat does 3-4 weeks ahead of kidding with rumensin at the daily intake level of 30 mg. This is best achieved thru a pelleted goat supplement like our Goat 34R-240 Supplement which would provide 50 IU Vitamin E along with 30 mg of Rumensin in each 0.25 pounds. Remember the doe, although showing no symptoms of coccidios is the source of infection for the new born kids. The rumensin clean up reduces the amount of cocci shed from the doe thru newborns. Cocci control programs are more effective, cost less, and are lower labor when using feed grade coccidiastats as compared to drenching and drinking water treatment.
(Note Corid and Sulfa are cocci treatment agents for severe infections and are not intended for long term control programs).

Kids also need to be fed a coccidiastat as soon as you can get them on feed. This will be a continuation of the control program started with the gestating doe’s.

Summary: (a) Late Gestation - Last 3-4 weeks prior to kidding feed 0.25 lbs.
of 34R-240 pelleted supplement along with grain and hay.
(b) Lactation - No Coccidiastats Approved - feed DG 500 Lactation Supplement to the doe.
(c) Kids - Feed 18% Kid Starter with Deccox or our Texturized Lamb Starter which contains 90g per ton of Bovatec. (Others have only 30g which is too low when consumption levels are considered.)

Hunter Nutrition • 200 N. South Street, PO Box 412, Brookston, IN 47923 • Phone: (765) 563-1003 • Fax: (765) 563-1005