Pulse - August 2021 - 17

MYVETZONE@GMAIL.COM
MEDICAL LEEWAY
No, You Can't Feed Goats Everything!
Christopher A. Lee, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
I
remember being a small child and my father taking
me to the Los Angeles Zoo. Having been raised in
the suburbs, I viewed all livestock as cute accessories
to adorn my constructed, miniature Lincoln-Log cabins.
Small green fences framed this bucolic diorama. To complete
the setting, I always placed a couple of triceratopses
amongst the livestock. As a result, I was excited but not
prepared for my first goat experience. I remember the
smell of the animals and hay. Like deviled eggs, it imparts
a largely inviting odor that contains a hint of something
objectionable.
Filled with anticipation and a small fistful of hay, I cautiously
inched and crept towards my first goat at the petting zoo. Now
was the moment, perhaps a prelude to doing this with a triceratops
later that day despite my father's refusal to admit the possibility.
The goat turned its head in a broad arc, making its neck appear
much larger and brontosaurus-like. Large, rectangular-irised, sleepy
eyes slowly blinked at me. My hands slowly raised my offering of
friendship. To my chagrin, the goat was not impressed by the hay
but, to my surprise, my clothes. She began chewing my pant leg.
Another goat walked up and untied my shoelaces faster than my
child fingers could tie them. Once I realized that they weren't eating
me, I found the encounter pretty fun.
Goats have a reputation for eating anything. However, while
they may nibble on everything, goats find many things inedible
and some plants toxic. Macro and micronutrient goat requirements
include pasture, dry forages, and concentrates as feed choices. If
you have enough of the right pasture, this often affords the least
expensive option. Occasionally, an unruly, over-shrubbed pasture
may have incentivized the original purchase of the goats.
The pros to utilizing your existing pasture include pre-existing
resources, not needing to pay for expensive hay or grain, and an
absence of daily work to bring them feed. Cons include potential
inadequate amounts or flora type, yearly fluctuations in the food
supply, and the goat-to-pasture ratio requirements. For long-term
maintenance, you'll need enough pasture to be able to rotate the
goats into other areas to allow for pasture rejuvenation.
When pasture cannot fully meet your goats' needs, you may add
dry forage, such as a mixture of legume and grass hay, to their diet.
To cut legumes' protein and cost levels, you add grass hays like
" brome " (bromegrass), orchard, timothy, or coastal. When working
with dairy goats, the ratio of legumes should be higher.
Calcium and protein food content influence feed choices, ratios,
and supplements. Producers will often add a trace mineral mix to
a goat's feed to meet their needs. Commercial mixes commonly
have equal parts salt and dicalcium phosphate along with additional
minerals. As with all things in life, balance is key. Excess
PULSE
AUGUST 2021
calcium may generate urinary stones, while inadequate protein
promotes ruminal tympany (bloat).
One challenge with pasture and dry forage, whether used individually
or in combination, is knowing the amounts of calcium
and protein. For this reason, commercial goat producers will pay
for forage and hay analysis to ensure the proper nutritional support
to maximize production. However, this may not be feasible
for backyard producers, so reaching out to knowledgeable local
resources, such as your local county extension agent, can be helpful.
These agents act as an extension of the state university and
provide up-to-date, reliable, local data.
At times, even dry forage will not meet the high-energy needs
of particular goat situations, such as a doe with three kids. Here,
the most expensive option comes into play, concentrates. Cereal
grains, such as corn, oats, wheat, and barely, deliver high energy
in small volumes, but you need to know how to release it. Botany
101: seeds concentrate energy and protect themselves against
digestion. After all, a seed's greatest hope is to be eaten, swallowed
whole, and then pooped out intact in a nice location in a steamy,
nutrient-rich pile of stool to help it grow into an adult plant. Ergo,
ask for rolled or crimped oats or chop corn. These forms break
the outer shell of the seed and allow digestive access to the goat.
Depending on your goat herd, you may be utilizing any combination
of these three feed options. There is no " best " for all, but depending
upon your goats' needs, a " best " for you exists. Finally, always
provide continual free access to freshwater to increase their production
ability and to maintain health. P
References, supplemental reading, and
podcasts available at www.MyVetZone.com
or search " vetzone " on Spotify.
17
http://www.MyVetZone.com

Pulse - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - August 2021

August 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
Pulsepoints
SCVMA Profile
Everybody’s Hiring... or Trying To
Practical Pathology
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
AVMA Diplomates
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Resources
Disease Table
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - August 2021 - August 2021
Pulse - August 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - August 2021 - 1
Pulse - August 2021 - 2
Pulse - August 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - August 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - August 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - August 2021 - 6
Pulse - August 2021 - 7
Pulse - August 2021 - 8
Pulse - August 2021 - 9
Pulse - August 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - August 2021 - 11
Pulse - August 2021 - Everybody’s Hiring... or Trying To
Pulse - August 2021 - 13
Pulse - August 2021 - 14
Pulse - August 2021 - 15
Pulse - August 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - August 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - August 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - August 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - August 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - August 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - August 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - August 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - August 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - August 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - August 2021 - 26
Pulse - August 2021 - 27
Pulse - August 2021 - 28
Pulse - August 2021 - Resources
Pulse - August 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - August 2021 - 31
Pulse - August 2021 - 32
Pulse - August 2021 - 33
Pulse - August 2021 - 34
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Pulse - August 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - August 2021 - Cover3
Pulse - August 2021 - Cover4
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