Sunday, February 26, 2012

Creep Feeding Primer

Creep Feeding Primer
By Susan Schoenian
University of Maryland Extension

Creep Feeding

Creep feeding is a means of providing supplemental nutrition to nursing lambs and kids. It is accomplished by giving lambs and kids access to extra feed or better pasture, while excluding their dams.

Lambs and kids that are born in the winter months are often creep fed, since pasture is usually not readily available. Show animals are typically creep fed, in order to get them bigger for show.

Creep feeding is recommended for accelerated lambing and kidding programs, in flocks and herds where there are a lot of multiple births, and anytime milk production is a limiting factor. Artificially-reared lambs and kids should probably be creep fed. Creep feeding is also advisable when pasture quality or quantity is lacking.

Lambs and kids that are creep-fed will almost always grow faster than those that are not, especially if grain is the source of supplemental nutrition. Faster growth means lambs and kids can be marketed younger and sooner, often in time for high demand periods (e.g. Orthodox Easter).

Creep feeding teaches young animals to eat. It reduces the stress of early weaning. The rumens of creep-fed lambs and kids will develop faster. I've seen three week old lambs chewing their cuds. It is always more economical to feed lambs and kids than does and ewes. A young lamb or kid converts feed to gain very efficiently. The extra nutrition (especially protein) may help to improve tolerance to internal parasites.

Creep Feeding

Waiting their turn Creep feeding does not need to be complicated. A "creep area" may be set up in the barn or out on pasture. The creep barrier needs to be big enough for lambs to fit through, but small enough to keep even the smallest ewe out. A tire can be used as a creep barrier. Some gates have big enough openings that kid goats can slip through. The creep area should be clean and well-bedded, an area where the lambs and kids will like to go.

Creep feed may be fed in troughs or self-feeders. Good creep feeders don't allow lambs or kids to play on (or in) or put their feet in the feeders. Creep rations don't need to be complicated -- just fresh, palatable, always available, and highly digestible. Typical feed ingredients are ground or cracked corn, alfalfa hay or meal, soybean meal, oats, and molasses. The percent protein in the creep ration should be at least 14 to 18. The protein should be all-natural (no urea).

It is recommended that lambs and kids be introduced to creep feed early in life, ideally by the time they are 10 days old. You can make your own creep ration or purchase a commercial product. On my farm, I start with a mixture of soybean meal, cracked corn, and minerals. Some producers use straight soybean meal for their creep starter or top-dress their creep ration with it. Soybean meal is very palatable to young lambs and kids. As my lambs get older and begin chewing their cuds, I gradually switch their creep ration to whole barley and a pelleted protein supplement.

When lambs are young, feeds with a small particle size are more palatable to them. As they get older, they prefer coarser feeds and are able to digest whole grains very efficiently. The protein content of the ration can be reduced as the lambs get older.

Eating Creep Feed

For disease prevention, it is a good idea to include a coccidiostat (Bovatec®, Rumensin®, or Deccox®) and urine acidifier (e.g. ammonium chloride) in the creep ration. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be at least 2:1 to prevent urinary calculi in male lambs and kids.

Creep-fed lambs and kids are more susceptible to enterotoxemia, "classical" overeating disease (clostridium perfringins type D). Their dams should be vaccinated approximately one month before parturition. Lambs and kids should be vaccinated after their colostrial immunity wanes, at approximately 6-8 and 10-12 weeks of age.

Creep Feeding

Lambs and kids from unvaccinated dams should receive their first vaccination for overeating disease when they approximately four weeks old, followed by a booster four weeks later. Earlier vaccines are not likely to be effective due to the immature immune system of young lambs and kids and interference of the maternal antibodies. Overeating disease most commonly affects the fastest growing lambs and kids, usually past a month of age.

Creep feeding is a common practice in the sheep and goat industry. All producers need to evaluate the appropriateness of the practice for their production and marketing systems. For creep feeding to be economical, the higher value (extra weight and higher prices) of creep-fed lambs and kids needs to exceed the cost of the creep feed. Creep feeding may not always be economical, especially on farms with high quality forage. Creep feeding is more likely to be cost-effective with lambs than goats.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Goat's Special Nutrition Needs

Goats are related to other ruminant cud-chewing animals such as cattle and sheep. For this reason, it was once believed that goats could be fed the same as their ruminant cousins. But goats are primarily browsers, selectively eating a wide variety of shrubs, woody plants, weeds, and briars. In fact, goats are far more similar to deer than to either cattle or sheep. Unfortunately many goats, especially does, are unable to get enough nutrients from browse alone to meet their needs. It is also important to realize that certain types of browse pose a danger, including: wild cherry, hemlock, azaleas and species of the laurel family are all poisonous to goats.

To provide the nutrition goats need to reach their full potential, supplemental feeding is needed.

Hay and pasture may vary considerably in quality and nutrient value. Of particular concern is the extreme variation that occurs in key nutrients such as protein, fiber and energy needed to promote growth and good milk production. Protein quality can also vary. Inconsistencies in quality can be influenced by climate, land use and time of year. Controlling these inconsistencies is an important part of providing the nutrition your goats need to lead healthy, productive lives. For this reason, Purina has developed a full line of goat feeds designed to take the guesswork out of feeding goats for all life and development stages.

The productivity and well-being of your goats depends largely on the quality and quantity of the feeding program you provide. Balancing your goat's feeding program and providing the correct diet ensures your goats are receiving the total sum of the daily nutrients they need for optimal health. Nutrient needs will vary depending on the goat's life stage and activity level. A feeding program balanced for maintenance, for example, will not be sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of growth, pregnancy, lactation, wool production or for developing body conditioning and coat quality for showing. As nutritional demands rise with increased production demands, it will be important to readjust your goat's diet and feeding program accordingly.

The nutrient quality of forage can vary from season to season or even field to field as discussed earlier. So, when you want your goats to thrive, you should consider adding a supplemental feed to their forage diet. Supplemental feeds, like Purina® Goat Chow® feed, provide the consistent nutrients not found in forage to ensure optimum nutrition. Supplemental feeds come in coarse grain mixtures or pelleted forms. Purina® Goat Chow® feed is a coarse grain mixture.

Roughage is an essential part of good goat nutrition. But many times good quality forage is not available to provide roughage. Complete feeds not only contain the built-in roughage goats need, but other important nutrients as well. So with a complete feed, like Purina® Meat Goat 16 or Purina® Honor® Show Chow® Goat, you know your goats are consistently receiving total nutrition in every bite. Complete feeds are convenient, too, minimizing clean-up from wasted or uneaten forage.

In addition to choosing a supplemental or complete feed, you also have a choice of feed form. One choice is a sweet feed, a highly palatable, coarse grain mix that contains molasses. Almost all goats will eat sweet feeds, making it an excellent choice for even the most finicky eater. You may choose a pelleted feed. While many goat owners feel their goats may not prefer pelleted rations, they readily eat it when it is the only source of feed available and it offers several advantages. Pelleted feeds contain all the nutritious grains, vitamins and minerals your goat needs. Pellets eliminate sorting and help prevent waste that commonly occurs with coarse grain rations, making them very efficient in commercial operations. Convenient for you and good for your goat, Purina®Goat Chow® diets are available as either a complete or supplemental feed form.

If you are unsure which feed is right for your goats, your Purina Certified Expert Dealer has all the right training and tools to help you design a feeding program especially suited to your goats' environment and lifestyle.

A library of past issues of Better Animal E—zines and an introductory video is maintained and can be accessed by clicking here. 

Better Animals®
10715 Kahlmeyer Dr.
St. Louis, MO  63132

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our Newest Fence Banner

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Does ultra-sounded pregnant by our vet 2-21-12

  • Amber Waves Marley and Me Bred to Proverbial Pygmies So Under Cover
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  • Amber Waves for Your consideration – Bred to Proverbial Pygmies So Under Cover
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Congratulations to our newest customer ...

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces on the purchase of two doe kids  from Amber Waves

Picture source.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Study: Goats can develop 'accents'

Study: Goats can develop 'accents'
17 (UPI) -- Goats, like people, can develop accents based on their surroundings, a British university study indicates. Until now, experts assumed most species' "voices" were dictated exclusively by genetics and not their surroundings.
See all stories on this topic »

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jamba's Pygmies Felicity Kids 2/1/12

2 Males - 1 Doe
Sire: Jamba's Pygmies Little Saint Nick

Jamba's Pygmies Badlands
Black - Wether - Sold Pre-Deposit

Jamba's  Pygmies Bullitt
Black Wether - Sold Pre-Deposit

Jamba's Pygmies Ashes and Diamonds
Black Doe - Sold Pre-Deposit

Twilight Ranch Jewels by Tiffany Kids 1/26/2012

Two beautiful boys - Sold

Amber Waves Chicago - Agouti
Sire: B/C Pygmies Barney

Amber Waves Rolling Thunder - Brown Agouti
Sire: B/C Pygmies Barney

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Goat's Milk: Better For You, Better For The Environment

Goat's Milk: Better For You, Better For The Environment
But one type of milk we haven't explored yet is goat's milk. I always thought goat'smilk was pretty much identical to cow's milk except, you know, it came from a goat. But there are actually quite a few differences between the two—and goat's milk ...
See all stories on this topic »

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hoeggers Februrary Newsletter

February Newsletter  

2012 has arrived and here is the first of Hoegger’s New Year Resolutions: A Newsletter! The Hoegger Farmyard Newsletter will be available monthly and will include articles on goat health, cheesemaking, soap making and more based on what’s relevant to our customers and what’s going on in our community.  

Raising Healthy Kids 
Kidding season is our favorite time of the year! We want to help you be prepared and confident as the big event comes closer. Here are 8 simple things to remember to keep your stress down and your kids healthy! These 8 steps are inexpensive and proven to give you the best shot at trouble-free goat rearing: Read More »
Goat Pregnancy Issues
The overall nutrition and health of your does is the single most important factor in having trouble free pregnancy and healthy kids. Make sure that you are providing high quality feed and maintaining a stress-free environment. Poor nutrition, cold weather, or overcrowding can all lead to abortion. For any of the following pregnancy issues, or any other issues, remember, an immune system boost can make the difference.  Read More »
Keep Bovi Sera on hand always!
Home Dairy Schedule
Every goat owner needs to develop a monthly plan and schedule for raising dairy goats based on what works best for them. I wanted to share what we have developed over the past 25 years at my Forget Me Not Farm. This monthly schedule is meant to be a guide to new goat owners and should be considered flexible to meet your own specific needs. Read More »
A Cheesemaker's Journey 
Hoegger Supply is super excited about Mary Jane Toth’s new recipe book, A Cheesemaker’s Journey: A practical guide to beginning and improving cheesemaking at home. We had the opportunity to sit down with Mary Jane and asked her to tell us why this isn’t just another recipe book. We know there’s still snow outside but that’s just another reason to cuddle-up in front of the fire and dream of the cheese we’ll be making later in the year. Read More »
30% OFF Nutri-Drench. Now thru Feb. 15th.

30% OFF Nutri-Drench
until 2/15  |  Coupon Code: NUTRI

Nutri-Drench is a must have for the kidding season! From giving pregnant does an energy boost to bringing strength to weak, undernourished and stressed kids, Nutri-Drench provides essential vitamins, nutrients, amino acids, and glucose that are absorbed into the bloodstream within 10 minutes. We’ve relied on this for years and we want it to be in your medicine cabinet as well. Shop Now »
Write for The Farmyard

You're the Experts:
Write an article and submit it.

If we use it in the newsletter or post it on the farmyard, we’ll send you a Hoegger Farmyard Contributor T-shirt. Read More »
Facebook is a great place to find the network and community The Farmyard is making. We'd love to stay connected with you. Like Us »
More to Come
Have a Goat Health question? Let other goat owners help you at the Hoegger Forum »
We're glad to be a part of your lives,

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