Friday, April 16

Creep feeding for goats

Creep feeding your baby goats is important to get them growing well, for that you'll need a creep feeder of some sort.  A creep is barrier that allows young animals in but keeps older ones out.  The feeder is a way to deliver an free choice feed to the babies.  Some time ago we bought two pig feeders off craigslist (for $10 each).  They're made of galvanized metal and needed new skids put on them (in the form of treated 4x4 posts) but otherwise were in good working order.  They work great for goat kid creep feeders and if you can find these cheaply, snatch them up! 

I guess the "creep" part of the feeder is the wire panels that surround it that keep the bigger goats out of it.  The 2x6's you see are set up so they sandwich the wire panel with nuts and bolts and large washers.  The section between the boards is open (I just cut the panel with bolt cutters).  This allows me to increase or decrease the size of the opening by loosening the bolts and moving the boards one way or another then tightening it back down.  I actually had to change the configuration a bit since some of the bucklings were getting as big as some of our smaller yearling does and couldn't get in.  I don't have a photo but now there's only pair of boards running horizontally but lowered so only the babies can crawl under it.  Since then we've separated the bucklings into the weaning pen where they have access to the second feeder without the need for a creep since they are the only ones in the pen with the feeder.

In this photo (taken when the feeder was in another section of pasture where a carefully propped open gate acted as the creep) you can see why these hog feeders work so well for baby goats. The center area is where you pour the feed and it supplies a trough on each side of the feeder under the slopes.  One of the biggest things you have to manage when you have goats is parasites.  One of the fastest ways your babies can get a heavy parasite load is to let them get their feet in their feed, which they will if they can.  Goats are very curious and love to climb things.  If they can get their feet in it (whether it holds food or not) they will. With these pig feeders they can just barely get their heads to the feed and as they grow they have to get on their knees to get in there, preventing them from contaminating their feed supply with parasites from their feet.  It works pretty well!


polly's path said...

I love it.
We are small enough that feedings are a bit easier. With only one baby we feed him separately, and we do have to feed our 2 momma fainters separately because our big goats don't give them access to the main feeder.
By the way, I have tried getting on craig's list to look for farm items, but with no luck. I think I am doing something wrong-I always get this page that looks like a virus..

Millie said...

How very creative! I love how you find a solution to every problem with reusing or recycling items.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the ideas, we have tried cutting out larger holes in a cattle panel for a creep feeder but the kids seemed to have a lot of trouble figuring out which holes were the bigger ones they could fit through. They kept trying to fit through the regular small squares.