Non-GMO Goat Feed

titleMost of the alfalfa, corn and soy grown in our country is genetically modified. Growers plant GMO crops so that they can spray the whole field for weeds and insects, which means that most goat feed is not only genetically modified but also sprayed with a cocktail of toxins.

In reading the Small Ruminant Research journal, I came across a 2015 article that proves that GMO feed may not be so good for goats. In the study, 60 does were fed either GMO soy or GMO-free soy for sixty days before kidding. The does’ milk was tested; data from the babies was collected.

The does fed GMO soy had significantly lower antibodies, fat and protein in their colostrum than does fed non-GMO soy. This is important because the babies need those nutrients and the immune protection from their mother. The babies from the GMO soy group had 40% lower antibody levels, weighed less, and were significantly smaller when measured at the chest and withers, at one month old and at slaughter.

So we can see that feeding non-GMO concentrate to the pregnant does gives the babies a better start in life. We still don’t really know what feeding large quantities of GMO alfalfa, corn and soy to goats over a period of ten years might do to their bodies, but we do know that whatever they eat goes into their milk. Transgenetic DNA fragments were found in the babies of the does fed GMO soy, so if they’re drinking it, so are we.

Many of us buy organic for our families but not for our goats. Organic feed costs more and isn’t readily available. Before we got our first dairy goats, we were drinking raw organic cow’s milk, so I’m not going to all the work of raising my own goats just to drink tainted milk! I choose to feed my goats organic alfalfa pellets to ensure that it’s not GMO, to avoid the toxins from the herbicides, because pellets take less space to store, and because there’s zero waste. I also choose to buy Modesto Milling’s organic soy-free dairy pellets. Of course I want the best milk possible for my family, but I also like the health benefits that my goats receive.

http://www.smallruminantresearch.com/article/S0921-4488%2815%2900052-8/abstract

Advertisements

Feed Your Backyard Goats For Less

fullsizerender7

Even if you don’t have acres for pastures, you can get creative and grow vertically. Our goats prefer trees and bushes because their deeper roots provide for the higher mineral needs of dairy goats.  The most common question we get is “Are they good lawnmowers?” Our usual answer is “Nope, but they’ll destroy your roses!”

If you’re going to let them out, be careful to remove all of the poisonous plants and fence off young plants you don’t want destroyed such as young fruit trees.

The many different plants offer a smorgasboard of nutrients for them, and  they get their exercise roaming from tree to bush, nibbling here and there. The following is what is on the menu in early October.

redwood

olive leaves

coastal live oak

grape leaves

roses

grasses/weeds

fallen apples

photinia (red-tipped bush)

pear tree leaves

orange and lemon tree leaves

We are planning on planting several more trees and vines to continue to provide year-round browse that we can cut and carry. More on that to come.

Backyard Forage for Goats

If you have goats, you know they beg like dogs, but now it’s official, according to researchers in London. Our goats stand at the gate to their pen and stare longingly at our back yard, begging to come out and eat the landscaping. Really, we haven’t had time to landscape yet and besides the trees, there’s mostly weeds, a little ivy, and a very ugly jade plant I haven’t had time to dig up. Well, the goats took care of that for me. All winter they ignored the ugly jade plant and I actually shooed them away from it worrying it might be poisonous. I looked it up online and it’s fine, but I figured they wouldn’t eat it (since it’s so ugly, right?) Little by little they’d sneak tastes and then one day they finished off the whole thing. Then they started on the ivy, which had been ignored in favor of tastier weeds. Pat Coleby advises in Natural Goat Care that does should be given a couple of ivy leaves after kidding. She doesn’t say why, but I followed her advice, but had no takers back in March. Apparently ivy doesn’t taste good here in California until July.

Roses for Goats?

To celebrate Acorn’s 4th Birthday, she got a bouquet of organic roses from our front yard. She loves the flowers and doesn’t seem to have a preference for color or scent. After she eats the petals, she munches the leaves and then even the finer stems- thorns and all. Roses are healthy for goats, providing lots of good vitamin C. Although goats make their own vitamin C, according to Natural Goat Care, more is always better!

Acorn and Maple share a birthday. They were born the same day at the same farm, to mothers who were actually both Inspirations Chocolatte daughters. They’re technically cousins, but since they were both in the same pen at Nancy’s and we brought them home together at 8 weeks, they were raised as sisters. Maple had kidding complications and is now retired as a therapy goat at a Middle School, but we miss her, and are thinking about her today. And hoping she’s being treated to roses too.