Angora goat producers should obtain the best sources of nutrition information possible. The nutrient requirement data presented in table 1 are a modification of the nutrient requirements for goats suggested by the National Research Council (NRC) 1981. The NRC publication is the best compilation of data available but may not be specific for Angora goats under Midwest conditions; however, producers should use it to best determine how to feed their goats. Angora goats seemingly prefer high-quality grass hay to leafy alfalfa. Goats are not fond of clover pasture.
The data in tables 2 and 3 are based on research conducted at Minnesota with gestating and lactating Angora goats and with young Angora kids.
The nutrient intake values appearing in table 2 are for goats that weighed 10-20 pounds less than the goats for which values in table 1 were constructed. The hay diet and the 2:1 or 3:1 hay-corn diets were fed in different years, so a direct comparison between the diets is not intended. The data suggest that feed intake, of gestating goats as a percent of body weight, should approximate 3.2 percent when hay is the main nutrient source and 2.5 to 3.0 percent when 25 to 30 percent grain is included in the diet. It's also apparent that relatively high levels of grain can be fed gestating Angora does without adversely affecting either hair or kid production.
Table 3 contains data collected during five lactation periods that provide a picture of the response of lactating Angora does to various levels of grain feeding and the performance of does nursing twins or single kids. Three points are striking:
- Lactating does are able to consume appreciably more feed daily than gestating does (4.0% vs. 3.0% BW).
- Regardless of kind or amount of diet fed, lactating does usually lose weight during the first 8 weeks of lactation. The Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) and protein intakes are in close agreement with table 1. To maintain weight during the first eight weeks of lactation, 90-lb does need about 2.5 lb of TDN and 45 lb of protein daily.
- Nursing kids made satisfactory Average Daily Gain (ADG) (31.46 lb for singles, and .26 lb for twins), but their daily intake of creep feed during the 8-week period averaged less than 10 lb per kid. This indicates that kids are very dependent on milk and that increased ADG probably is better accomplished by increasing the does' milk yield by increasing their nutrient intake.
Table 4 contains a 3-year summary of methods of raising kids during the summer. Should they be weaned, creep feed, or fed in drylot or pasture? We have consistently noted ADG between 8 and 16 weeks to be about 50 percent as fast as ADG during the first 8 weeks. This is primarily due to nutrient intake from the milk declining faster than the nutrient intake from the creep feed increases.
Creep-fed kids nursing does literally full fed in drylot a 50 percent grain diet (2.1 lb TDN daily/doe) gain faster than weaned kids creep fed in drylot or unweaned, non-creep-fed kids grazing grass pastures (2 lb vs. .15 lb/day). However, the high cost of feeding the lactating doe in drylot makes it the least economical management practice of the three systems tested. Kids' feed intake and ADG normally increase after their first shearing in September.