Elfriede B wrote:
thanks for posting. I have some chicoree growing here. we are talking about the blue flowers that grow along the highway, right? I use the leaves right now for salad. the blue flowers are bitter and good for constipation. so maybe they would be good for worming too. What I am wondering, how do you plant it and where? From what I know it is a plant that indicates compacted soil, like the plantains, too. where do you get seed and how do you go about planting it?
I have some wormwood plants, I want to plant some tobacco, too. Do you have trouble with them taking garlic?
Could you post your recipe for feed? I take it you are not mixing that every day? I really want to get into growing natural wormers. /
Our goats always follow us everywhere (annoying sometimes), because we are always giving them treats and spoiling them. Thus they are looking for that. They get locked into the barn every night at the same time, to protect from predators, so they are used to that for security and just head for the barn at the right time. They are definitely creatures of habit.
Some of them eat garlic out of hand, but they know the difference between our organic garlicl and the store bought kind and they only want the organic. The rest of them, I just chop it into their grain ration, which is sweetened with dried molasses and they gobble it up. Have to cut it fine or they will pick it out. Sometimes I give them a small handful of wormwood weekly, really helps keep down worms. My husband mixes the feed each feeding, but keeps a big bowl of the grain pre-mixed and just adds the supplements. We have bags of open barley and oats, and other ingredients out, in our feed room which is at the house for now. Each goat gets a can (their name on it so we can figure it out at the barn), so the heavy milkers get a little extra grain. They all get the same amount of coral calcium, molasses, copper sulfate, flax seed and cloves. The exact formula is in my original post.
The chicory we grow was from a company that sells pasture seed and we planted it in spring and threw some old hay over it for mulch. It was not raked in or anything. I planted just before we were expected to get rain for a couple of days. Also threw in some vetch seed, buckwheat, ryegrass, and sunflower. Most of it came up. We have pure red clay soil, and it is on a slope, after all this is in the mountains. We are on the east coast, US, so get a good bit of rain here, but not consistent in the summer, and sometimes drought in summer. It is a variety that has more forage leaf growth on it but still makes a good root. Very deep rooted and if you don't let them overgraze it (take them off when it gets below 4 inches), it should last about 7 years in a planting.
Pasture rotation is the best parasite control, and they like black walnut, which helps worm them, and several other plants are also good for that. Maybe not a total worm control but it definitely helps. Sericea lespedeza is another plant that seems to knock down worm load, according to some studies that were done in Africa.
Elfriede B wrote:
That is what I thought, too. I can not go to the mailbox without a procession of goats following me, but if I want to take them to the pasture I wan them to be in, they seem to read my mind and think, hey, lets give her a rough time and walk in the opposite direction. They all come to the barn in the evening, sheep and goats, and we keep them locked up, to many coyotes howling. But darn them, it is a procedure to get them to the lower pasture. They rather eat everything down to the nub where I do not want them than to go to a goat paradise.
do you order your ingredients? I have never seen dry molasses anywhere, and the cloves and flaxseed, that must get expensive.
I am not surprised they like the organic garlic better.
Elfriede B wrote:
what is a tiny amount of flax supposed to accomplish?
We get good alfalfa hay from a local farmer. The feedmill down the road has a hay grinder and we take a load of bales down there and have it ground. They add anything that you want to the mix. There has not been a bit of waste since we have been doing that. I had to put bedding down. I feed them a bit of loose hay to make sure their digestion is not upset. So far they have been doing just fine. It costs a dollar to grind one bale, and I save about half of the hay, so i come out ahead.
The original post cites the problem. In the 1950's when we developed or goat dairy there was already a push toward refined goats. Large rumens and barrel ribs were penalized at goat shows.
Emil Spoerri wrote:many schools of thought go into making different goats make milk on different diets. Some goats are heavily fed concentrates and industrial bi products. Many are fed very little concentrates and lives off of otherwise "unusable" stony brush land or established forests or swamps and such and such. Then there are those that are bred for a productive farm's pastures and crop field waste.
Though, alfalfa isn't the only green source of protein. Some goats do need very nutrient rich food to produce well, though some goats make by on less but make more... why is this. Because some goats have bigger rumens than others. These large big stomached goats are more durable in cold weather and will make more milk, on less. Than a bad shallow barrel goat.
Being a large stomach, it can digest more nutrients out of courser feed, which in turn keeps them even warmer in the winter and thus they need less fur and can put more effort into milk production.
I think actually the best herbal hay crop for goats is chicory. Huge yielder, has the high minerals they need, but don't forget that all sorts of weeds are good for them and will keep them from being mineral deficient. Don't forget plantain, various kinds of perennial sunflowers, good green 2 or 3 cutting meadow hay...
It may be possible to get weedy hay from a farm, hopefully the land you get your hay from has either been grazed or is fertilized with manure. Still, good weedy hay is the BEST winter feed for goats IMO.
But it seems man has been and especially recently our dairy goats have been going the confinement type feeding operation. Actually and fortunately in america the breeds of dairy goats we have are not those goats suited to a life of confinement on high concentrate diet, they are mostly suited to a cultivated land diet or goats suited to "non-arable" scrub land.
Seems like Toggenburg, Oberhaslis and Nubians are all brush type, Saanens are more agricultural type, most of the others are either brush type or intermediate though alpines can be either or in between I think.
The important thing is to make sure you have a goat with a huge stomach and barrel. Unfortunately the goats in this country often have been confinement raised on formula diets and there are a lot of not so great goats out there. Look for strong, tall, large, huge barrel goats if you want goats to thrive on a less nutritious diet and a more herbal and shrub diet.