Monday, May 28, 2012

Q & A Monday!

Alrighty then! I got two good questions for this week's round of Q&A, so let's get down and do some answering!

 Question #1 came from Domesteading, and the question was:
I am having a Dickens of a time getting my three 4 month old Nigerian Dwarfs to eat anything other than hay. The doe will be for milking down the line, but we got to wethers 1) as company for her and 2) to help with brush abatement. They won't TOUCH anything other than their alfalfa (and the occasional goat grains we give them). What to do???

A. Oooh, good question, Domesteading! That's a toughy to deal with, especially if the goats were bought specifically for brush eating... But I do have good news for you: It will come. Your goats are still young; only 16 weeks (well, I suppose they're about 17 weeks by now). Without an adult goat around to teach/show them how to browse, it's going to take them a bit longer to figure the whole brush eating thing themselves. I know it's probably frustrating to watch them eat up all the expensive alfalfa hay, while the poison oak, blackberries and thistles grow rampantly during this weather; but your goaties probably need a few more months before their rumens grow enough that they start foraging on their own. From what I gather on your blog, you've started putting some of the brush in the manger with their hay. They may be eating around it right now, but if you have the patience to keep on putting it in and pulling the old stuff out, I would keep on doing that. It will take time, but hopefully by high summer their little brains will have put two and two together about what all the plants in the pasture are for. ;) One thing you could always try is only giving them the alfalfa early in the morning, and the again late at night. During the day, offer them some good quality grass hay. That way, they have an option of hay (which their developing rumens need) but it's not so yummy as alfalfa. I don't know very many goats who would choose browse when there's top notch alfalfa sitting at nose level in their comfy quarters. Offering the grass hay might make them reconsider lazing about, versus getting acquainted with the local blackberries... :)

Question #2:
Any recommendations for fencing nigerians? I presently have 5 wire high tensile - 2 of them hot wires 
(2nd and 4th from ground) for my horses. 
Thank you!
Heather in PA

Oh those Nigerians...Such a popular breed, and yet what headaches those tiny things can give us! Heather, fencing is probably the most challenging part of Nigerians. I've had my little ND, Poppet, for a year now, and I'm still plugging up new holes each week. [smacks forehead]. If your wire is hot enough, and your pasture is good enough, then what you have might work. Otherwise, you might consider adding some more strands that are knee level and nose level to a Nigerian. If you are able to use/purchase permanent, woven wire fencing, the no-climb horse fence is *awesome*. It's about 6' tall, and the holes are something like a 2"x4"? Something around there... This was basically the only thing that kept my Nigerian out of the pen where this year's Nubian buck was kept. Does this help you any?

Well folks, round #2 of Q&A Monday will start this Wednesday, so if you have a question, get ready to shout it out!


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I have a question about the Q&A...
I emailed you some questions and I'm wondering if you would prefer me to ask them here? Also, should I write them now or on Wed?
Thank you for taking the time to help us!
Tasha

domesteading said...

Thanks Goat Song!

I will follow your advice about continuing to put pasture grass in the feeder (putting any more actual poison oak in there was vetoed on account of my Goat Partner's severe allergy to the stuff). And I'll see about getting some grass hay too. Around here we can usually get oat hay and sometimes timothy.

One update to my situation is that the other day when I actually brought them into the grassy/brushy part of their pen, they had no trouble browsing. So I think in part they might be scared to go out there by themselves! But probably (hopefully!) as they get older they'll get braver.

Anyway, thanks again!

Sara (Domesteading)

domesteading said...

Thanks Goat Song!

I will follow your advice about continuing to put pasture grass in the feeder (putting any more actual poison oak in there was vetoed on account of my Goat Partner's severe allergy to the stuff). And I'll see about getting some grass hay too. Around here we can usually get oat hay and sometimes timothy.

One update to my situation is that the other day when I actually brought them into the grassy/brushy part of their pen, they had no trouble browsing. So I think in part they might be scared to go out there by themselves! But probably (hopefully!) as they get older they'll get braver.

Anyway, thanks again!

Sara (Domesteading)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind information and expertise! I am still on the fence about what breed I will choose. I also like Nubians. I think that finding a reputable breeder near to me with a quality buck will be the deciding factor. I really don't want the challenge of caring for a buck.
Heather in PA