January 31, 2013

Feeding Pregnant Goats

Text is taken from Raising goats for Dummies. Read the full page here.

A pregnant doe doesn't have increased nutritional needs until the last two months of gestation, which is when the kids do 70 percent of their growing. But the doe does need additional water throughout pregnancy. A feeding program for pregnant goats is as follows:
  • Early pregnancy (first 3 months): Feed does to maintain their body condition or to improve their body condition if they are thin. You can meet their nutritional requirements with good hay or pasture, or some added grain for thin does. Unless they're lactating, does don't need grain in early pregnancy. Do not overfeed. Overfeeding can lead to complications such as hypocalcaemia and ketosis.
  • Throughout pregnancy: Monitor and compensate for pregnant does' increased water consumption. Pregnant goats can drink up to four gallons a day. Monitor body condition and adjust feed and water accordingly.
  • Late pregnancy (last two months): Does' nutritional requirements increase greatly during this time because the unborn kids are growing rapidly. Start grain gradually (just a handful a day) until your does are eating up to a half-pound of grain a day (depending on the goat size and breed) or half to two-thirds of their normal milking ration by the time they kid, in addition to hay. Gradually replace their hay with alfalfa so they get the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus. Continue to monitor their body condition and adjust feed accordingly; does carrying multiple kids need even more calories and nutrients.

Make sure not to overfeed grain during pregnancy to avoid the risk of having the kids grow so large that the doe has birthing difficulties. And very important is that your doe has access to a free-choice mineral mix or block. I like to also provide baking soda at all times as it helps balance a goats acidity level in their rumen. Anouther thing I like to give to my pregnant does is apple cider vinegar.

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