Purina® Goat Nutrition E—Newsletter


FEATURED STORY | Just Add Goats

"Dad we have a barn, pasture, and a pond. Why don't we have any animals?"

Two and a half years ago, Paul Golden's youngest son Grant who is now 13 years old, asked him this question. Paul couldn't think of any excuse of why they didn't, so he and Grant started looking into goats. After researching different breeds on the internet, the Goldens decided that Boers were the goats for them. While the Goldens were out looking for goats they were offered two goats for free, so they brought them home and their passion for these docile animals began.

They were especially interested in the story of how Boer goats were started in the United States. Boer goats, originally from South Africa, are fairly new to the U.S. The breed was developed in the 1900's by Dutch farmers living in South Africa, most likely by crossing European breeds with native African goats. Their name is derived from the Dutch word for farmer, "boer." The goats were first imported to the United States in 1993. Boer goats are known for their ability to produce superior meat, high growth and fertility rates, and for their ability to adapt to multiple environments.

GOLDEN ACRES BOER GOATS
Grant With Goat The Goldens became members of the American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) after getting their first goats and now, two and a half years later, have mostly registered stock. Paul and Grant run a small goat operation, Golden Acres Boer Goats, with around 17 goats. Although they are still building their foundation, they try to make their goat business self sufficient, supporting itself through sales.

In addition to breeding, the Goldens also show their Boers. Last year Grant showed three does in their county fair and was awarded one first and two second places. They plan to show in the county fair again this year, as well as at an ABGA show.

"We have very high expectations for this year's fair and the upcoming ABGA show," said Paul.

The shows also provide Paul and Grant with an excellent opportunity to meet others that share their interest in Boer goats.

Grant With Dog HIRED HELP
Paul and Grant also have a helper that watches over their goats, and they pay him in dog food. Sam works as the Golden's guard dog, protecting the goats from predators like coyotes. Sam is happiest when he's around goats, and that's how he ended up with the Goldens.

"We bought him from a farm that had sold all their goats and Sam stopped eating," said Paul. "We brought him home, and he is a happy dude now."

NUTRITION
Paul and Grant feed their entire goat herd exclusively Purina Noble Goat™ Grower 16 with the medicated option, and Paul is especially impressed with the condition their lactating does maintain while on it.

"Most does look like a skeleton while nursing kids, but the Noble Goat™ Grower 16 keeps them 'flat' on top," said Paul. "Our kids grow out well, and our buck stays nice and fleshy."

Golden Acres Boer Goats, located in Malvern, Ark., has full bloods, percentage, and unregistered Boer does, and uses only full blood registered bucks for breeding. For more information on Golden Acres Boer Goats, to see what goats are for sale, or to contact Paul and Grant visit their website, www.gamaboergoats.com.

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GOAT TIPS | Breeding Goats: Live Coverage vs. Artificial Insemination

There are two methods to choose from when breeding your goats, live coverage or artificial insemination. Live coverage occurs when a live buck and doe mate, and artificial insemination is when a doe is inseminated with goat semen by a human. To find out which method of breeding works best based on your breeding wants and needs, read about the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Cost
Bucks can be purchased from around $150 up to $1,000, and it can be much higher depending on a buck's pedigree. If you plan on doing a lot of breeding, you'll want at least two bucks so you're not breeding a buck with its offspring. Keep in mind that bucks are traditionally more expensive to own than does because they eat more and need separate, stronger fencing. If you don't own your own buck or don't want to purchase one, many owners will let you breed your doe with their buck for a fee. On average it's about $25 to $100 plus the cost of boarding the doe, but for extremely high quality bucks expect to pay up to $500 or more.

The startup costs of artificial insemination are fairly high, but after you purchase the initial supplies buying semen is much less expensive than paying a breeding and boarding fee. The largest initial cost is buying a storage tank for your semen. A new tank will cost anywhere from $500 to more than $1,000. However, because tanks can hold large amounts of straws of semen, it's possible to share a tank between multiple goat owners. The tanks hold liquid nitrogen to keep the semen frozen, and as it evaporates, it must be refilled. Generally this will need to be done about every two to four months and costs between $30 and $50. The additional equipment including a speculum, lights, tweezers, lubricant, insemination gun, breeding stand, thaw box, straw cutter, thermometer, gloves and paper towels are relatively inexpensive. The straws that contain the semen range from about $15 to $100 each.

Ease
With live coverage, the breeder decides which buck to use, and then the buck basically does the rest. A buck's owner will issue a certificate of service that will allow the kid to be registered. The process of artificial insemination can be somewhat complex and specific. If you only have a few goats, paying an experienced inseminator might not be a bad idea. To artificially inseminate goats, basic knowledge of the reproductive system, how to store and handle AI equipment and goat semen (differs from cattle), how to detect when does are in early stages of heat, and how to keep accurate records of heat cycles, breeding, kidding, problems or past treatment of does is needed. Heat detection can be more difficult when a buck isn't present.

Variety
By owning your own bucks, you don't need to transport does or pay for boarding fees, but you're limited to one or a few bucks. If you're using someone else's buck for breeding, you have more variety than using your own, but are often still limited on choices by how far you want to transport your does. With artificial insemination, you can breed does at the convenience of your own farm, but you aren't limited to one or a few bucks. You can get semen from goats across the United States, and genetically improve your stock by breeding to higher quality bucks that have specific traits that will compliment your does.

Timing
There is more flexibility in timing when using live coverage. Unlike artificial insemination, semen from natural breeding can live for nearly 24 hours, so it isn't as essential to breed at an exact moment. Does are in heat for 12 to 36 hours, so it's easy to repeat breeding. Timing in artificial insemination is critical. Defrosted semen works for only a few hours after it's thawed, so it's very important to know when a doe went into heat and how long she will stay in heat. However, if estrus synchronization is practiced, artificial insemination allows you to breed many does in one day.

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GET TO KNOW | Noble Goat™ Grower 16

Noble Goat™ Grower 16 is a high-fiber, pelleted complete feed created for the optimum growth, development and maintenance of both dairy and meat goats. Its special formula delivers the exact nutrition your goat needs and provides the difference in overall growth and health you expect from Purina. Like other complete pellet feeds, Noble Goat™ Grower 16 is especially ideal for goats in a dry-lot environment, when feeding a medication and during winter months when pasture or forage is not available. The ingredients found in all Noble Goat™ products are carefully selected based on Purina expert research, so you know that you're getting quality, productivity and value in each bag.

• Nutritionally complete—provides the proper balance of high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
• Built in roughage source—minimizes clean-up from wasted or uneaten forage
• Proper calcium to phosphorus ratio—helps to maintain the exact needs of goat
• Appetizing, high quality ingredients—consistent quality supports top performance and goat acceptability
• Pelleted—minimal separation of ingredients makes it easy to handle
• Urinary acificiers including ammonium chloride—helps minimize the incidence of urinary calculi
• Medicated options—rumensin or decoquinate for the prevention of coccidiosis

Remember that feed consumption will vary with life stage, environment and activity. Also, be sure adequate amounts of fresh, clean water are always available. This product is available regionally, so please check with your local Purina dealer for ordering details.

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