"And alongside the torrent (river) there will come up,
along its bank on this side and on that side, all sorts of trees for
food...And their fruitage must prove to be for food and their leafage
for healing." Ezekiel 47:12
We feed our pregnant does, milkers, and mother goats chaffhaye and our bucks a chaffhaye and grass mix or just grass hay, depending on the time of year and
breeding season demands. When we do buy hay bales, we like to get the first cuttings of alfalfa
with lots of weeds in it which is the best for goats! Alfalfa is often
called the "King of Herbs" and because of its many healthful benefits,
my family even drinks alfalfa tea. In his book Herbs and Old Time Remedies, Joseph VanSeters says if he could give one herb to everyone to improve overall health, it would be alfalfa.
We like to use hay/pellet/grain combo feeders as they eliminate a lot of unnecessary
waste with hay or pellets getting spilled or soiled. I appreciate the functionality of these feeders.
We feed our bred does (starting 50 days from due date) does in milk,
and growing kids up to 8-12 months old grain. I mix our own organic, non-GMO grain mix and I am hoping to begin sprouting our grain recipe - aiming for 12-16% protein content - this
helps keep a nice butterfat content in the milk. Sprouted grain is SO
much healthier. I am using organic, non-GMO grains from Azure Standard. Bucks can get 2-4 Tbsp. of grain as a treat; it makes them feel loved.
During rut, they may get more depending on body weight and condition.
MINERALS: I have fed Sweetlix Meatmaker Loose Minerals and Purina Goat Minerals and I have also used Redmond's Real Salt & Redmonds Mineral Conditioner for animals from Azure Standard. I feed my goats Kop-Sel from Fir Meadow which is an herbal copper and selenium supplement as needed.
SODIUM BICARBONATE: We feed free-choice aluminum-free Sodium Bicarbonate (good old Baking Soda!) which helps aid in digestion and healthy rumen activity, helping to prevent bloat. Baking Soda is great for controlling the acidity in their gut (for humans too!) I buy 50 lb. bags of aluminum-free baking soda from Azure Standard. Goats will only eat as much as they need. I do not add it to their feed and force them to eat it, I only offer it free choice so they can eat it as needed.
ORGANIC THORVIN KELP: Our goats have free-choice organic Thorvin Kelp which has tremendous health benefits and they love it! It is a great natural source of selenium and many other trace minerals. I buy 50 lb. bags from Azure Standard.
BLACK OIL SUNFLOWER SEEDS: (B.O.S.S.) This is in our grain mix. A daily handful of this great source of Vitamin E will promote healthy, glossy coats and to help aide the body's absorption of selenium. It works well when fed along with the Thorvin Kelp mentioned above. PLEASE be careful in that your B.O.S.S. is NOT moldy!!! Crack open the seeds and make sure the insides of the seeds are not molded. Moldy seeds are toxic to animals!
NUTRITIONAL YEAST: The goats really like this and it has many healthful benefits as well. I usually sprinkle this over their grain.
WATER...and APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:
We provide clean, fresh water at all times. We add unpasteurized
(raw) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with the 'mother' in it to the goats' and rabbits' water. The goats love it and, one time when I wasn't looking, they
started drinking it straight out of the jug! It is very palatable and
has the following benefits: provides potassium for easy kiddings,
urinary calculi prevention in bucks and wethers, helps rebuild tissue
and aids in various skin ailments. I buy it from Azure Standard. Now re-homed in the East, I've noticed that whatever water troughs do not have ACV in them will spawn mosquito larvae...ick! So ACV is also a natural bug preventative for their water troughs too! It's also just a wonderful overall tonic for people and animals alike.
HERBS: I use a wide variety of medicinal and food grade herbs for my family and my goats. I have had tremendous success raising my goats naturally and they have never been happier or healthier. One of my best resources for herbs is: Fir Meadow
I have used the Pre-Pare for pregnant does, MilkMaid, Herbiotic, UdderBlast!, KopSel, DWorm, and many more of her herbal mixes. I use their herbal products for all my animals exclusively now. I have tried her LayMore for my flock of laying hens. Her herbs are organic and wild-crafted and they really WORK and I see amazing results very quickly.
TREATS: For treats, our goats get vegetable and fruit scraps from our kitchen and garden. Be careful not to give goats nightshades. There are great lists for what is safe and unsafe for both rabbits and goats online.
DEWORMING: We use Fir Meadow's DWorm herbal blend with tremendous success with all our
animals. We prefer this natural and healthful maintenance method over
the use of administering chemicals only when the goats show signs of a
parasite overload. Once our goats learned that the herbal dosage balls are yummy, they gobble them down and de-worming is now a snack time! The herbal blends can be drenched with water or given in tasty dosage
balls treats (mixed with enough organic blackstrap molasses to roll into appropriate-sized dosage balls). They are given one or two days a week. If given twice weekly, the dosages are spaced out, e.g., Mondays and Thursdays. What I really like about
using the herbs is that there is no milk withdrawal time. For dairy
herds, this is a perfect year-round herbal de-worming program! We have also
used it with great success for our dogs, cats, and chickens.
We prefer to raise our animals as naturally as possible, but if it is an extreme case or situation, we do not hesitate to use conventional medicines/dewormers if it will save the life of our animal.
PREGNANCY CARE: We
use Fir Meadows Pre-Pare and Vit. E
for our pregnant does to aid them in the most natural, easy birth
possible. We also use the herbal brews and follow the herbal care
provided to us in Juliette de Bairacli Levy's book The Complete Farm and Stable. I've found this to be a great resource.
DISBUDDING: We disbud all of our goat kids that aren't naturally polled. This is safer for the owners and for their herdmates as well. Horns can cause an injury accidentally even without any aggression. It is unfair to keep a horned goat with a disbudded goat for obvious reasons. Disbudding is an unpleasant job, and should be done quickly and efficiently. We have heard of people disbudding babies at 3-4 days old, but we prefer to wait until the horn bud starts appearing as a tiny nub on their heads which is usually at 2-3 weeks old.