I have been reading Joel Salatin, and I have a sheep/cow farmer friend who swears by not feeding ruminants grain. On the other hand, everything I have read about goats says that a little grain is good for them, especially if you are milking. I must say I am a bit confused. I wonder if, ideally they would be grass fed, but raised in a small space they need grain? Perhaps? I know they need lots of hay and can eat some garden veggies and sunflower seeds.
Thread: How badly do goats need grain?
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22-04-2012, 11:03 AM
22-04-2012, 06:12 PM
- Join Date
- Sep 2009
Introducing grain to ruminants must be done slowly so the microbes in the gut flora can get used to the new feed. I reckon they probably do eat a bit of grain naturally, but more of the green stuff hanging from trees rather than dried corn or such. Tagasaste would fit the bill.
23-04-2012, 04:01 PM
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
Where abouts in the world are you?
Do you have really cold winters?really hot dry summers?
A family friend had a goat dairy farm a few hours north of Auckland(I miss that place. learnt to milk goats by hand there...)
The farm was rough with alot of gorse and 'weeds' which the goats loved,which is why they chose goats.
Their goats did get hay in winter, which wasnt very cold to be honest-it wasnt cold enough for them to need a shed and there were plenty of trees and scrubby land to get shelter from the winds-they dont like cold wet wind.
Goats are top feeders(will eat trees) and browsers rather than grazers,(cows and sheep are grazers), although, they will love your neighbours turnip crop just cos its on the other side of their fence.
Our friends had this farm for years.
They will eat out all your thistles and gorse and will tell you they need to be moved -they will move themselves over your fences when things arent to their liking.
They werent ever fed grain or seeds, but then none of our livestock in NZ are grain fed.
Why would you when grass and trees/scrub grow so readily.
'The complete herbal for farm and stable', by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, is a good book to have in your personal library and has quite alot on things for goats.
I think this is a great book for everyone to have unless they have pigs exclusively.
She is of Turkish descent and decided not to include pigs on religious grounds.
I got my copy from The Book Depository(UK).
23-04-2012, 05:28 PM
I agree that The complete herbal for farm and stable', by Juliette de Bairacli Levy is an excellent buy for anyone with a few animals http://forums.permaculture.org.au/sh...+Bairacli+Levy
23-04-2012, 06:59 PM
Grass-fed is the way to go. Mischief put it pretty well really. But some more food for thought: an over-reliance on grain is the reason why conventional grain-fed dairies (such as are commonly found in most of the US) use so much antibiotics and burn through their cows in only a couple years. Their stomachs just aren't built for grain. Grass-fed dairies can keep their milking cows around for many many more years.
Now, goats are a bit different it's true, but they aren't really built to handle a lot of grain either. Give em lots of brush, weeds, and overgrown areas and they'll be in heaven.
23-04-2012, 11:52 PM
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
- Central Texas USA Zone 8 Latitude 30N
Grazing grass may not be the best for goats because they're vulnerable to parasites. Browsing may be better for them and what they're adapted to more than grass. Same with primitive sheep breeds like Jacob. My Jacob sheep prefer to browse. Existing trees could be coppiced to provide browse, or browse trees and shrubs could be planted for either the goats to harvest themselves or cut and brought to the animals in a paddock. A large variety of tree species would provide better nutrition than just one or two kinds.
25-04-2012, 09:05 AM
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
I incompletely quoted Juliette de B....she hasnt included pigs also for the reasons that they do not respond to herbal remedies very well when they are forced to live in unnatural conditions.
As Ludi says having a wide variety of trees and shrubs provides better nutrition and this book as well as others can give you a good idea of what things to add to your pastures or farm races (access tracks).
25-04-2012, 02:58 PMIf you still have a job, get everything in order, and quit. Do it as soon as you can, because we’ve never had a more important work to do. -Kyle Chamberlin
Permaculture is a concise design of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have diversity, stability, & resilience of natural ecosystems. -Bill Mollison
It's just my 2 cents,
Paka no hida
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