October 15, 2019

GOATS & SHEEP – LATE GESTATION & CREEP FEEDING

As we enter kidding and lambing season for those 2019 show animals, we want to make sure that both the mother and their babies are fed right. The first step in raising healthy, fast growing kids and lambs is proper care of the female during late gestation. During this time, the fetus does most of its growing, so it is important that the female consume enough nutrients. During the last 6 weeks of gestation, the female should be fed Ag Partners Lamb & Goat Grower/Finisher at the rate of 1 pound per head per day and should also be provided with free choice medium to good quality hay and a free choice mineral. While loose mineral is preferred, a mineral block will still get the job done. The goal is to have the female in good condition, but not excessively fat.

    

At the time of kidding/lambing, the female should be switched to a good to top quality hay and you’re best to skip feeding the grain for a day and then slowly work up to 1 to 1.5 pounds of grain per kid on the doe/ewe. As always, best practice is to divide the daily recommended feeding amounts into 2 or more feedings per day. This will help prevent acidosis as well as other issues that can come from feeding just once per day. Better herdsmanship also results from feeding multiple times per day because you’re looking over the animals that many more times for issues.

Within the first week after birth, a creep feeding station should be set up in a central or easy access location. To encourage the babies to use the creep feeding station, it should have a heat lamp hung above it and be kept bedded with dry bedding. The heat from the heat lamp will be appealing and the light source will encourage them to eat any time of the day or night. It is recommended that you use a heat lamp that has a safety cage over the bulb because the babies will get curious and playful with the heat lamp. Broken bulbs easily become a hazard to both your babies and your building. Premier 1 makes a Prima heat lamp that is rugged, reliable and has safety features to prevent from typical heat lamp hazards.

 

With your creep feeding station set up, keep fresh high-quality hay and Ag Partners Lamb & Goat Creep DX available. Our creep feed is a texturized, high protein, molasses enhanced feed that is very appealing to young kids. Our pellet in the creep feed has all the protein, vitamins and minerals needed for maximum health and growth. It also contains decoquinate, which helps control coccidiosis, a cause of scours in animals of all ages.

When it comes to managing the creep feed bunk, it is essential to clean the feeder out every 1 to 2 days and refill with fresh creep feed for multiple reasons; 1) being to encourage maximum intake and growth with fresher smelling feed and 2) being that kids tend to jump on things, so there’s likely manure and bedding in the feeder from them having their hooves in their feed. Always make sure there is a little feed left in the feeder by the next time you feed. If the feeder runs empty, the smaller or more timid kids will be left out and then you won’t have a uniform set of kids when it comes time to wean them from their mothers. You may have to adjust the amount of creep offered multiple times in the first few weeks until everyone is eating the creep well and then bump the amount up every time you find the bunk empty. If kids are hesitant to start eating the creep feed, they can be encouraged by sprinkling some soybean meal in the feeder. The smell and particle size should get them to start eating.

   
Several of our farm stores carry supplies for kidding/lambing season as well as supplies to set up your creep feeding station. If they don’t have what you need on hand, they can certainly order it.  Stay tuned for more information on feeding show kids and show lambs.

   

by Joel Friedrich and Jackie Welter

joelf@agpartners.netjacolew@agpartners.net