Archive of ‘Goat Food’ category

BARBADOS BLACKBELLY SHEEP IN SNOW

It is really amazing to discover the versatility of this ‘tropical’ breed of sheep, the Barbados Blackbelly. Jack Gowler has his farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta Canada and I am amazed to see them thriving in Snow!

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Thanks Jack for giving us permission to use your photo’s.

THE TORCH GINGER

Having always preferred taking a holistic approach towards treating the Goats i was more than eager game to try out using the Torch Ginger (or Bunga Kantan in Bahasa Malaysia) as a remedy for those runny noses sniffles that occurred amongst some of the Goats. I was told this by an old elderly Indonesian Goat farmer some time back that this was what he used.

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Flower In Bloom

I added only ONE stalk (600gm – 720 gm) which was shredded and mixed with the other greens for 6 Goats. This experiment proved to be rather successful as only 10 days down there was practically no more sniffles. The Goats seemed to like it and I later included and also added ONE stalk of the flower when and if there was one in bloom.

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Patch Of Bunga Kantan

Now we have started to plant more and have had to stagger the ration as this plant takes ages is very slow growing. Hopefully we will have enough to maintain feeding the whole herd in a few months time. Meanwhile i must confess that i have been asking around and raiding anyone’s garden who has any. Strange thing is everyone seems to not even use the buds for their cookinganymore. Sign of the times i suppose when most are too lazy not bothered to cook at home or come up with excuses neither adventurous in trying out recipe’s and prefer to eat out.

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Young Buds

FEEDING GOATS SWEET POTATO

The sweet potato is one of the oldest vegetables known to man, is native to Central America and has been grown for thousands of years, starting with the Incas of Peru and the Mayan Tribes. Columbus documented the sweet potato in 1493 on his fourth voyage to South America and the West Indies. The Portuguese traders took the sweet potato to Africa around 1540, and later to India, Malaya and China. The Spanish introduced sweet potato to the East Indies and Philippines. It remains a staple in the diets for some of these nations’ peoples today.

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This root vegetable qualified as an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C and manganese . It is also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Recent research studies on the sweet potato has also focused on two areas of unique health benefit. First are some unique root storage proteins in this food that have been observed to have significant antioxidant capacities. In one study, these proteins had about one-third the antioxidant activity of glutathione – one of the body’s most impressive internally produced antioxidants. Count on these root proteins to help explain sweet potatoes ‘healing properties’.

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Planting the sweet potato in beds produces vigorous growth and usually can be harvested fairly easy with a sickle and fed too as a supplement to other forages you might offer your Goats. We have experimented with planting them in the paddocks but the resulting leave growth cannot keep up with the Goats eating them and the sweet potato itself is often dug up and eaten!

You can also harvest the potato and slice it thinly, the thinner the better. Then dry in the sun for at least a whole day. The thinner the slice the faster it will dry out. Feed to your Goats as a snack or treat.

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FEEDING YOUR GOATS CASSAVA

Cassava seems to help a lot as a natural alternative as a dewormer for the Goats. The strongle egg counts and coccodial oocyt were much lower when fed with foliage from the cassava plant. I must note here that they are also fed with leaves from the Jackfruit tree.

I think that it is evident that gastrointestinal parasite control based on commercially available dewormers are failing because of a natural buildup, evolution and eventual resistance against dewormers. Hence we have to look at natural control as an alternative, if cheaper and hassle free even better.

The leaves are collected by hand and let out to dry (if the sun is out and hot) for at least a day before being given to feed. The quantity is small at one time, perhaps around 4-7 leaves at one time for each animal, once a week. The leave of the Jackfruit is also collected by hand and let to dry too. The Goats seem to prefer these leaves to be really dry, brown bone dry in fact. Our Goats eat these leaves almost daily.

I strongly suggest that if you have access to these plants and want to introduce them to your Goats, please try them out in small quantities first and observe. It will be even better that you collect some ‘goat pellets’ and send them to the lab to do an egg count. After trying out these plants over a period of time retest again.

FEEDING YOUR GOATS

There are many things you can ‘recycle’ from your kitchen ‘waste’. Some of those things are vegetable and fruit cuttings. These range from the orange peels, banana skin, garlic and onion ends, broccoli and cauliflower ends, sweet potato peels, any vegetable stems etc. I normally feed them as treats as and when i have enough to be sure everyone has a small share. You could also feed them old bread which i dry out in the sun, but serve only a very tiny bit for each because there is only a few slices to share amongst so many.

LEAF MEALS

Leaf meals are leaves and twigs dried, ground, and used as livestock feed. Leucaena leucocephala is so far the best-known source of leaf meal because of its high nutritive value. However, it is highly susceptible to psyllid infestation. Leaf meals are not traditionally used in the ration of ruminants as these animals can be fed with fresh fodder. However, there are instances when leaf meal production is necessary and becomes the most practical way of conserving excess foliage. This is what we have been doing at the farm after getting a few cuttings from a friend.

Leguminous fodder species are generally unsuitable for silage making because of their high buffering capacity. Some have leaves that shatter very easily upon drying, rendering them also unsuitable for hay making. But a considerable amount of leaves can be conveniently prepared into leaf meals and serve as a high-protein feed source.

In preparing leaf meals, leaves and browseable twigs of these fodder trees/shrubs should be sun-dried for up to seven hours or air-dried under a roof for five days, and then ground and stored in sacks. For proper storage and to avoid spoilage, the leaves and twigs should be dried to 10-13% moisture content. The amount of herbage needed to prepare one kilogram of leaf meal and the crude protein (CP) content depend on the fodder species used. The CP contents of the leaf meals are obviously higher than the recommended level of 11% dietary CP required for favorable microbial synthesis and activity in the rumen.

Both the gliricidia leaf meal and the acacia leaf meal can be fed to dairy goats at 50% of the dry matter ration. Milk yield of goats supplemented with either of the meals is comparable with that of goats supplemented with concentrate. Likewise, milk composition was similar among goats supplemented with either leaf meals or concentrate.

Gliricidia sepium (gliricidia)

Income over feed cost with leaf meal supplementation was higher than that with concentrate supplementation. Since feed cost can represent 60% of the total cost to produce a liter of milk, leaf meal supplementation is indeed economically viable, particularly in small farms where concentrate feeding is not usually practiced owing to a lack of cash.