Feeding Elderly Senior Goats
Timbrel (Fir Meadow) is such a love. And she has been for nearly 16 years! We adore her. She loves to give kisses and then exhibit flehmen (top photo) just to be silly. She will back into you to get her back and rump scratched or chase you down the barn for a scratchin'. she's still quite mobile even though the tendons were torn from her patella when she was 5 years old after a doe slammed into her. That leg healed stiff due to the splint, but heal it did (I LOVE ReBuilld herb mix and Wounderful! Salve) and she trucks around pretty good. Thankfully she earned her GCH before then (best placing was a reserve champion over 52! other goats) and her highest LA is a 90. She measures in at the minimum size for LaManchas but that didn't stop her from finishing on the west coast where LM's tend to be giant.
Ok... so now on for the topic of how we care for this spoiled but sweetheart of a gem :).
She has her own stall at this point so that younger and more agile goats don't push her around or push her away from feed, but she can reach through the panel and they can reach through to her to say hi and visit so she isn't alone. She also gets turnout time when we are doing chores so she can hang out with us. She has deep straw bedding and at night she gets her fleece jammies on- a square piece of fleece folded in half that is sown 1/3 of the way from the bottom for her neck and the rear 1/4 has 1" wide elastic straps sewn on to slip through her rear legs. This keeps her warm at night and is easy to toss in the washer. No hemming required :). The elastic needs to be 1" wide and smaller elastic can wrap around legs fairly easy and cut off circulation.
Her meal plan... She gets hot water brought to her every morning and if it's cold also in the evening so she can tank up on all she wants. Her feed dish twice a day gets cut banana with peel, some cut apples in small pieces, a bit of mandarin orange with peel. Sometimes some cabbage cut up or broccoli stem cut up small or shredded carrot or all of them. At this age what they have left for teeth are pretty worthless, so I keep things in smaller pieces so it's easier to swallow and for the rumen to handle. I add black strap molasses 1-2 tbsp and 2 tbsp of olive oil to this (you have to work them up to the larger doses, if you have miniature goats or kids start 1/3 to 1/4 of the smaller amount and increase by another increment each week).
For grain she gets rolled or flaked barley and the same with her oats. We also mix her kelp with herbs (Fir Meadow products of course) and she gets 1/2 cup of BOSS (black oiled sunflower seeds) remembering to start at a much smaller dose and then work them up to where you want them by weekly increments.
For hay she gets grass hay (our local- very local as it's our own) and she gets very high quality fine stemmed leafy alfalfa hay. I also pick or cut brush from our trees, berries (wild and domestic), herbs and roses so she can have a brush bouquet every day to keep her rumen very happy.
She is the goat we have had the longest. Born with us and living through at least now. Our previous oldest have been two making it to 14 and one making it to 13. Those three all kidded their last year with us and produced milk before I dried them up early.
Wishing you all some delightful 'Timmies' in your herds :) Blessings :)