Nutrition

Ewes eating lick blockNutrition is one of the three legs upon which any successful livestock breeding is based (the other two being genetics and animal health).

We need to distinguish between nutritional supplementation and the feeding of full rations. Livestock requires specific supplementation at strategic times of the production cycle in order to perform efficiently. While the feeding of animals has become commonplace in more recent times, this practice does the hardiness and adaptability of the Boer Goat an injustice. It is expensive to feed animals on full rations for extended periods. Besides which, Boer Goats have not been bred for these conditions.

Selective breeding practices have specifically selected for the attributes whereby Boer Goats are able to forage great distances, utilise low quality roughage under extensive conditions, and kid in the veld with minimum inputs.

Below are some guidelines regarding feeding for various classes of animals.

Feeding pregnant ewes

Six weeks prior to kidding Voermol Maxiwol, a throughflow protein concentrate, can be fed. The following benefits have been recorded:

  • Improves kidding.
  • Improves udder development and increases milk production.
  • Lamb is stronger and heavier at birth
  • Ewe is on her feet faster after lambing, thus allowing the lamb to drink earlier. This can improve the lamb’s survival rate by between 15% and 50%.
  • Reduces the chance of retained afterbirth.
  • Improves mothering.
  • Has led to increased weights in suckling lambs.

Signs that your ewe may have a throughflow protein deficiency:Ewe lambs with difficulty

  • Ewe ignores lamb after birth
  • Lamb is lighter than 3,5kg (ideal weight is 3,5kg – 5kg)
  • Lamb is yellowish in colour
  • Lamb mortalities after birth are high
  • Ewe produces thick, sticky colostrum
  • Weak udder development with low milk production

Voermol Maxiwol Premix, Maxiwol Production pellets or Maxiblok are all ready to use concentrates which provide good throughflow protein levels for Boer Goats. Maxiwol Concentrate should be mixed with salt and crushed or broken maize and fed at a rate of 350g to 500g per ewe per day.
Creepfeed ration for kids

The following ration can be mixed and fed ad lib from 2 weeks of age. It increases average daily weight gain which allows you to wean a heavier lamb.

  • 200kg Voermol SS200
  • 150kg HPK36
  • 80kg molasses meal
  • 550kg broken or crushed maize
  • Ensure that roughage in the form of lucerne (alfalfa) or hay is freely available at all times.