You’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort with your show goat project – feeding, grooming and exercising it. You are 30 days from the show – and when your goat steps on the scale, you realize he’s a little further ahead of your goal.
A month until the show is a long time, so it is critical to start reining him in. Holding goats’ weight is possible, but it is preferable to manage your wether’s weight over the duration of the project. .
Kelsey Pfeiffer, Orlando, Okla., is a leading industry expert at raising and showing meat goats. He says holding goats can often lead to limited results. Market wethers, Pfeiffer says, are more successful when they are fed moderately to their endpoint versus feeding hard then putting on the brakes.
“When a feeder gets into a jam there are a few ways to help regulate weight gain on your market wethers,” Pfieffer says.
Decrease the amount of feed on a daily basis. Many times, feeder goats are given 3-5% of their body weight, which is more than necessary. Maintenance levels of 1.5-2% is often plenty if you feed nutrient dense, professional goat feed like “Show Right Advancer Plus.”
Muzzle the goat. A muzzle allows for full water consumption but also eliminates extracurricular snacking. Only unmuzzle the goat when feeding, exercising or practicing showmanship.
Increase exercise. This will help control the weight gain of a goat since exercise and weight gain have an inverse correlation.
“A lot of people may think there is a set amount of exercise for every goat, but it’s more about understanding he logistics between weight and exercise,” Pfeiffer says. .”
Leave hair long. If feeders will keep from shearing their show wethers too often Pfeiffer says this can be a great way to regulate gain. Allowing hair to stay long will help eliminate surges in body weight. When a person shears a goat’s top or bellies a lot they are allowing the animal to get cool or cold, which means they’ll also grow fast.
Seasons and geographic regions can also impact weight gain. Pfeiffer says in the summer time a wether is going to grow a bit faster than on a day when the weather is cool or cold. And, he says, goats eat differently depending on if they’re in the northern or southern U.S. or in the East or West.
Holding a goat is not the right thing to do, if a person doesn’t understand the proper technique. Pfeiffer says holding is something people do to take the belly off of a goat; not to just impact the animal’s weight.
“If you have a 120-pounder do you throw the brakes on?” Pfeiffer asks. “Or if he’s at 80 pounds there’s probably no reason to hold him at any point. It’s like when you watch a movie and it says, ‘Don’t do this at home.’ It’s critical to really understand what you’re doing.”
Pfeiffer suggests feeding and exercising in moderation,. Does are shown differently than wethers and should not be held. Adding Sure Champ to the feed one month prior helps bring on muscle shape, so the animal can get this trait early rather than trying to rush into it. Sometimes, Pfeiffer says it’s just best to stick to the basics.
“It really doesn’t matter if you’re real close to show,” Pfieffer says. “We may have held goats over from OYE to Tulsa State Fair but we did it slow and steady. Coasting in with one is way better in moderate fashion than to get one there real fast then try to hold them.”