Nutrition Program for Reproductive Success in Goats

Goat Nutrition While cutting edge goat research may leave producers desiring more information there is a lot of applied ruminant research that can certainly help us answer important questions. One question that is commonly asked is “Which VitaFerm product should I be using to maximize reproductive success in my does”?  The question becomes even more important as technology investments into AI and embryo transplant greatly increase the financial risk associated with a failed pregnancy. BioZyme nutritionist, Kevin Glaubius took the time to answer these questions.

In regards to which product is best, one must understand some basic nutrition principles.  There is a hierarchy of nutrient use in every animal. Energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals, like copper and zinc, are applied according to this hierarchy to meet to the requirements for certain bodily functions first. At the top is basic maintenance functions to support daily life and immune function. Then any excess can be used for the additional functions such as fetal development, growth, lactation, reproduction and fattening.  Reproduction is really not impacted until most other needs are met. Therefore to impact reproduction you must first meet animal needs for maintenance, growth, fetal development (when bred), and lactation.

It is also important to note that a single nutrient deficiency can stop success at any stage.  Your ration may be perfectly balanced for 24 of 25 nutrients, but the one that is limiting will determine the ultimate response by the animal. The goal is to provide an adequate and balanced supply of all nutrients. Macronutrients such as energy, protein, calcium and phosphorus are required in the largest amounts and meeting the requirements for those nutrients will be the bulk of the ration. That does not mean that vitamins and trace minerals are not important. In fact they are very important, but if you feed a great mineral package but yet are short on energy or protein you will be disappointed with your overall reproductive success.

Vitamins and trace minerals are the final component for reproductive success. Vitamin E and selenium are important as antioxidants to protect membranes, including those involved in reproduction. Animals deficient in selenium may see early embryonic death, retained placentas and cystic ovaries. Animals deficient in vitamin A have increased retained placentas, abortions and an increase in kid mortality and morbidity.  Manganese, copper, zinc and cobalt are used in enzyme systems important for normal estrus, conception and embryo survival.

This is where VitaFerm can really help you as we offer free ration balancing and forage testing to our customers. Knowing what your animals will be fed will help us make the proper recommendation on VitaFerm products for your goats.

So back to the question: which mineral should I use in my intensive breeding program?  The answer lies with first knowing what your ration lacks:

  • Energy and Protein? All VitaFerm products contain the natural feed additive called Amaferm. Amaferm significantly increases ration digestibility thus providing additional energy. This energy is often responsible for providing enough nutrients through the system to positively impact reproduction. Research has shown that the additional digestibility also increases growth of the rumen microbes, providing more protein to the animal.
  • Protein? VitaFerm Sure Champ Goat contains supplemental protein as well as one of the best breeding vitamin and mineral supplements to achieve your goals.
  • Minerals?  If protein is adequate then Vita Ferm Goat Mineral is formulated to ensure that your animals consume enough vitamins and minerals each day to have a positive impact on reproduction. Use of organic copper, zinc and manganese further assist you as they are more available to the animal, even in the presence of antagonists which can severely limit nutrient absorption from other more common trace mineral sources.

Bottom line: Remember that each required nutrient can ultimately limit reproductive success. Energy and protein deficiencies should be eliminated first, and VitaFerm products help your goats get more energy and protein from their feed as well as providing an excellent mineral package to insure you reach your reproductive goals!

For more information contact Kevin Glaubius (816) 752-2234 or your local area sales manager.

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