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Feeding Management

goat-feed

Fodder crops suitable for sheep and goats

Legume fodder crops

  • Hedge lucerne
  • Desmanthus
  • Cowpea
  • Stylo

Grass fodders

  • Co F.S-29, Co.27, Co-4, Co.7, Co.10.
  • Fodder Maize

Tree fodders

  • Subabul
  • Neem
  • Agathi
  • Glyricidia
  • Kodukapuli
  • Arasu
  • Vagai
  • Karuvel
  • Velvel
  • Seemaikaruvel

Concentrate feed ingredients

  • Sorghum
  • Maize
  • Broken rice
  • wheat
  • Groundnut cake

Feeding schedule for different age of sheep and goats

Feeding of lambs/kids (birth to three months)

  • Immediately after birth feed the young ones with colostrum.
  • Up to 3 days of birth keep dam and young ones together for 2-3 days for frequent access of milk.
  • After 3 days & up to weaning feed the lambs/kids with milk at 2 to 3 times a day.
  • At about 2 weeks of age the young ones should be trained to eat green roughages.
  • At one month of age the young ones should be provided with the concentrate mixture (Creep feed).
Colostrum feeding of lambs/kids
  • The kid should be allowed to suck its dam for the first three or four days so that they can get good amount of colostrum.
  • Colostrum feeding is a main factor in limiting kid losses.
  • Cow colostrum is also efficient for lambs and kids.
  • Colostrum is given at the rate of 100 ml per kg live weight.
  • Colostrum can be preserved with 1-1.5% (vol/wt) propionic acid or 0.1% formaldehyde. Propionic acid is preferred for preservation as it keeps the pH value low.
  • The chemically treated colostrum is kept at cool place to ensure better quality.

Creep feeding for lambs/kids

  • This creep feed may be started from one month of age and up to 2-3 months of age.
  • The main purpose of creep feeding is to give more nutrients for their rapid growth.
  • The general quantity to be given to the lambs/kids is 50 – 100 gm/animal/day.
  • This should contain 22 per cent protein.
  • Antibiotics like oxytetracycline or chlortetracycline may be mixed at the rate of 15 to 25 mg/kg of feed.
Composition of ideal creep feed
  • Maize  - 40%
  • Ground nut cake -30 %
  • Wheat bran – 10 %
  • Deoiled rice bran- 13 %
  • Molasses – 5%
  • Mineral mixture- 2%
  • Salt – 1% fortified with vitamins A, B2 and D3 and antibiotic feed supplements.

Feeding schedule for a kid/lamb from birth to 90 days:

Age of kids/lambs

Dam’s/ewe’s milk or cow milk (ml)

Creep feed (grams)

Forage, green/day (gm)

1-3 days

Colostrum-300 ml, 3 feedings

-

-

4-14days

350 ml, 3 feedings

-

-

15-30 days

350 ml, 3 feedings

A little

A little

31-60 days

400 ml, 2 feedings

100-150

Free choice

61-90 days

200 ml, 2 feedings

200-250

Free choice

Three months to twelve months of age

  • Grazing in the pasture for about 8 hours per day.
  • Supplementation of concentrate mixture @ 100 – 200 g/animal/day with protein of 16-18 per cent.
  • Dry fodder during night in summer months and during rainy days.

Adult animals

  • If the availability of pasture is good there is no need to supplement concentrate mixture.
  • In poor grazing condition animals may be supplemented with concentrate mixture @150 – 350 g of concentrate / animal/day depending up on the age, pregnancy and lactation.
  • The digestible crude protein level of concentrate mixture used in the adult feed is 12 per cent.

Non pregnant animals

  • If the availability of pasture is good no needs to supplement with concentrate mixture.
  • In poor grazing condition animals may be supplemented with 150 – 200 g of concentrate / animal/day.

Feeding of ewes from lamb-weaning till flushing

  • This is the least critical period with respect to nutrient requirements.
  • Ewes may be maintained entirely on pasture.
  • Poor quality pastures and other roughages of low quality can be advantageously utilized during this period.

Pregnant animals

During the first four months of pregnancy:
  • Pregnant animals should be allowed in good quality pasture 4-5 hours per day.
  • Their ration must be supplemented with available green fodder at the rate of 5 kg per head per day.
During the last one month of pregnancy:
  • In this period fetal growth increases 60 – 80 per cent until parturition and lack of enough energy in the feed can cause pregnancy toxaemia in ewes.  So during this period animals should be allowed in very good quality pasture 4-5 hours per day.
  • In addition to grazing, animals should be fed with concentrate mixture @ 250 –350 g/animal/day.
  • Their ration should be supplemented with available green fodder at the rate of 7 kg per head per day.

Feeding at lambing time

  • As lambing time approaches or immediately after lambing the grain allowance should be reduced but good quality dry roughage is fed free choice.
  • It is usually preferable to feed lightly on the day of parturition, but allow plenty of clean, cool water.
  • Soon after lambing the ewe must be given just enough of slightly warm water.
  • After parturition the ration of the ewe may be gradually increased so that she receives the full ration in divided doses six to seven times in a day.
  • Bulky and laxative feedstuffs may be included in the ration during the first few days.
  • A mixture of wheat bran and barely or oats or maize at 1: 1 proportion is excellent.

Lactating animals / for 75 days after lambing

The following rations may be recommended,
  • 6-8 hours grazing + 10 kg cultivated green fodder/day
  • 6-8 hours grazing + 400 g of concentrate mixture/day
  • 6-8 hours grazing + 800 g of good quality legume hay/day

Feeding rams for breeding

  • The common practice is allowing the rams to graze with ewes.
  • Under such conditions the rams will get the same ration as the ewes.
  • Usually, it will meet the nutritional requirements of the ram.
  • Where there are facilities for separate feeding of the ram, it may be given half a kilogram of a concentrate mixture consisting of three parts oats or barley, one part maize and one part wheat per day.

Source: Expert System for Sheep & Goat, ICAR-TANUVAS-TNAU

 


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