Posts Tagged ‘Feeding Goats With Forage’

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 PROBLEMS IN THE TROPICS

There is a wide range of problems with farmer feeding Goats here in Sarawak where it is in the tropical zone.

  • Low levels of protein for growth (and milk production)
  • Mineral deficiencies
  • Poor access to fresh water
  • Much too fibrous feed
  • Seasonal feed fluctuations in quantity and quality
  • Poor nutrition for lactating dams
  • Poor quality feed for kids

Basically too few farmers take the effort to ensure that their Goats require more than the forage (at most times limited to some roadside growing grass) their Goats have access to when tethered or the cut and carry system many apply for stall fed Goats. For those who tether their Goats they very seldom take into consideration that these animals require a good selected site that perhaps was developed with forage foods and providing them with supplies of energy giving supplementary feed, protein and minerals. Stall fed animals should have access to selected quality and mixed feeds, forage crops and supplemented by giving energy, protein and mineral supplements.

There are also some considerations when managing stall fed Goats as in inadequate feeder space, cramped conditions and the lack of understanding that shy and bully Goats have to be separated not to forget those smaller Goats that tend to end up not getting their share when shoved and butted away by the bigger and stronger animals.

You don’t need a PHD to be a Goat farmer. Just good old basic common sense and most important an appreciation for nature.

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.