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Feeding your Livestock

Afbeelding: All Stock buying

Cattle

Our All Stock range has two offerings; a Coarse Mix for increased intakes and also suitable to lactating ruminant animals; a Pencil form for flexibility for when feeding out, suitable for both Cattle and Lambs.  They are all palatable and highly nutritious diets, designed to be fed to cattle and sheep of all ages, including dairy cows, ensuring excellent health and performance.

Feed requirements

Calves: Feed up to 2 - 3 kg of Farmgate All Stock Mix in two feeds according to available roughage and growth rate required.  Farmgate All Stock Pencils can be used from 8 weeks.

Rearing Cattle: Feed up to 3 - 4 kg in the first winter and up to 4 kg in the second winter.

Finishing Cattle: Feed up to 5 kg according to available roughage and growth rate required.  As a guide, feed 0.5 kg / 100 kg liveweight with spring or early summer grass and 1 kg / 100 kg liveweight with autumn grass or forage.

Actual levels depend upon size and condition of the animals being fed, but as a rule of thumb, feed 1 kg / 100 kg liveweight along with forage.

Afbeelding: Sheep housing

Sheep

Our All Stock range has two offerings; a Coarse Mix for increased intakes and also suitable to lactating ruminant animals; a Pencil form for flexibility for when feeding out, suitable for both Cattle and Lambs.  They are all palatable and highly nutritious diets, designed to be fed to cattle and sheep of all ages, including dairy cows, ensuring excellent health and performance.

Feed requirements

Ewes: Commence feeding 0.25 kg / head / day to ewes, 6 weeks prior to lambing.  Slowly increase until 1 kg / head / day is fed, some 2 weeks before lambing.  Continue feeding after lambing until grass is plentiful.  Actual feeding levels will depend on ewe condition, weather and the number of lambs expected / born.  Feeding little and often is suggested with high feeding levels in late pregancy and early lactation.

Lambs: Supplement grazing / forage with 0.25 - 1 kg / head / day.

Afbeelding: goat housing

Goats

The general dietary requirements for a goat depends on the age, sex, time of year and the amount of grazing available.  Goats are ruminants, which means they have a digestive system that can deal with large quantities of bulk feed from browsing.

As a basic start, goats will need:

  • a regular feeding regime
  • all year round supply of good quality hay
  • fresh, clean water
  • non poisonous, seasonal green stuff as a daily supplement
  • where necessary, a daily ration of the required concentrates
  • daily mineral supplement

Feeding requirements

Domestic goats require a balance between concentrates and roughage in their day to day diet:

Roughage:        hay, grass and herbage
Concentrates:   soya beans, cereals, wheat, peas, beans or feed with a high nutritional value, such as Farmgate Coarse Goat

General Feed Guide:  Recommended for feeding to lactating goats, dry female goats, billy goats and kids.  As a guide, a dairy goat will eat up to 4kg of total dry matter / day, depending on its size and stage of lactation.

Dry Goat Feeding: Dry goats should be fed at a level of 0.5kg / day, with suitable roughage made freely available.

Lactating Goats: Can be fed up to a maximum of 2.5kg / day at peak lactation, and again supplemented with good quality roughage.  For very high yielding animals BOCM PAULS Goat 21 Pellets with added magnesium is recommended.

Kid Feeding: Feed should be offered to kids on an 'ad-lib' basis with access to good quality roughage.

Additional Information

The ratio between Farmgate Coarse Goat Mix and roughage should be 60:40, respectively, when goats are in early lactation.  In mid lactation the respective ration should be 45:55, and in late lactation 25:75.

Feeding little and often is suggested with high feeding levels in early lactation.  This will ensure that your goats have healthy appetites.

Goats in late pregnancy should be "fit" and not "fat" to ensure ease at kidding.

If you think of a goat's feeding regime in terms of production and maintenance, you won't go far wrong:

  • Production caters for the requirements needed for the production of milk, meat or fibre 300g hay & 200g of concentrates for every 1 litre of milk
  • Maintenance provides the basic requirements for the body and its workings 2kg of hay & 500g of concentrates

You will find that a goat's nutritional requirement will vary, depending of the time of year or the goat's season.  A goat kept for its coat will need different requirements than that of a goat kept for milk or during pregnancy.  A goat that is drying off during pregnancy will need less protein for a time, but once the kids have arrived an increase will be needed.  Also, there are different types of pasture available during certain times of the year.

Feed goats well when they are ill, good feeding will provide strength and aid recovery, although if they are off their food, don't force them: seek advice from your Vet.

As goats are browsers they prefer not to eat anything that has been on the floor, being boisterous animals they are a dab hand at tossing hay and turning over feed buckets, which in turn can lead to waste.

Hayracks can be purchased from most agricultural stores.  They should be positioned at a height that cannot be fouled, but within browsing reach.

If you are feeding goats in groups, you should allow enough space for them to all feed at the same time, so as they are not competing for space.

Do not use hay nets as a cheaper substitute to hay racks as goats can get entangled in them, due to their curious nature!!

Water & Minerals

Access to fresh water is a must for goats.  They rarely drink water that is dirty or contaminated, so water troughs / buckets should be cleaned on a regular basis and positioned so they cannot be knocked over or urinated in.  They prefer water to be luke warm and will drink up to 4 - 6 gallons a day.

A fresh supply of clean water should always be available.  Enough drinking trough space should be allowed so that at least 10% of the herd is available to drink at once.

When replacing minerals that are lost during daily milk production, these can be provided in the form of a lick or in a concentrate mix.  Some you can even find in wild plants, cereals, grasses and legumes.

There are many important minerals that are required by goats, the main ones being:

  • Calcium - maintains cell membranes, blood clotting and helps lower blood pressure
  • Phosphorous - required for soft tissues, bone growth and milk production
  • Magnesium - required for enzyme systems in the bones
  • Iodine - essential production in the thyroid hormone
  • Cobalt - rumen function
  • Copper - growth & fertility
  • Sodium - a particular requirement for lactating females