Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drought conditions and feeding animals

A big bowl of broken cubes, misted with syrup flavored water to soften and make more appetizing.  Goats can be picky eaters.  These actually smell good when moistened just a tad.

We have been having the driest weather here I can remember.   Hay is getting increasingly difficult to get.   My hay man sold all his hay early on thinking he would just make more later for his own animals and is now looking to buy some for himself.  Hay that I was able to buy from a different source was so bad my goats won't even touch it.  I am having to buy a poor quality that I would not  have considered feeding my animals before.   The end result of this is that for the first time since getting goats I am having to feed them exclusively alfalfa pellets and cubes for their roughage.   They still get a small amount of sweet feed each day but they have no hay available to them at all.

The cubes have to be broken for them which can be a tedious task at best.  I do it while watching a movie at night.  After they are broken up I mist them a bit with water flavored lightly with  Kings syrup or molasses.  They seem to love them.  Previous years they've turned their little noses up at them, flavored or not.  I guess they are realizing this is as good as it gets this year.  Of course this isn't a very practical solution f you have more goats than a few.  I only have the two does so it works for me.

I am on a mailing list from the University of Md. Extension Service Called the Shepherd's Notebook.  They have goat and sheep related workshops on occasion and some things that are just online so if your not local you could still benefit from them. 

Today I got the email below from them and thought I would share it.  It's about a handbook for feeding your livestock in drought conditions.  I've only looked at the table of contents so far but it looks as if it has some good info in it. It's a free pdf file, 79 pages long I believe and the link to it is below.  

Shepherd's Notebook

Some parts of Maryland and surrounding states have experienced their worst drought conditions in years. University of Maryland Extension has compiled a publication to help producers deal with the 2010 drought.

The handbook is for animal and forage producers. The original handbook was developed in 2007 by Craig Yohn from West Virginia University. The handbook was adapted to Maryland conditions.

A drought handbook for grain producers has also been developed.


  1. It's been a really dry season. Too dry!

  2. Bless your heart. Not a goat mom this summer, but our hearts and prayers are with you.

  3. What a difference a year makes... last year we had so much rain and this year we like you are having little or none. I never thought about how hard it could be to feed and care for animals under these conditions.


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