Getting Started in the 4-H Meat Goat Project
Before you leave for home with the goat you've purchased
- Is it cold and/or wet outside? If your goat has been clipped keep it warm on the ride home. (A lamb sock or blanket helps.)
When you get your goat home
- Keep your goat in a warm, dry, and well-bedded area (especially if it has been clipped).
- Watch your goat for a runny nose or watery eyes, and treat accordingly by consulting your vet.
- Feed a 16% or 18% protein, well-balanced GOAT feed. Make sure that ammonium chloride is present in the feed to prevent urinary calculi.
- Provide fresh water daily (be sure to clean out water bucket periodically)
- De-worm your goat every 3-4 weeks and rotate the de-wormer
1 – 2 months before a show
- Feed a 16% to 18% GOAT feed (goats need less copper than cattle, and more copper than sheep).
- Feed 2 pounds of feed per day along with a small handful of hay to each goat.
- Provide free-choice GOAT mineral at all stages
- It is important to keep the feet trimmed
- Feeding individually is best
- Allows you to monitor amount being eaten and watch for loss of appetite
- Allows you to individualize amount of feed and amount/type of top dress for each goat.
- For best results you need a regular EXERCISE program for your goat. This allows for muscle growth and development.
In the weeks right before the show
- Adjust feed according to amount of fat cover/condition you goat is showing.
- This can be determined by handling the goat over his ribs, right behind the front legs, and in the rear flanks.
- Hay may be limited to get rid of unwanted belly.
- Exercise program should be showing results by now (muscle development and expression).
Two days before the show
- Adjust feed according to weight and condition.
- Hay can be withheld to minimize belly.
- Can limit water while adding electrolytes to the water that is provided. This will help achieve the look that is needed but still keep your goat hydrated.
If your goat is too heavy or over-conditioned
- Back down feed consumption accordingly.
- Add a top dress such as “Star-Glo” to the feed.
- Increase exercise
If your goat is gaining slowly
- Increase quantity of feed and be sure you are feeding a QUALITY feed.
- Top dress with steam flaked corn.
- Have you de-wormed your goat lately?
Here are a few sites where you are able to find feeding programs that have produced many champions and are used by many top breeders in the country.
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