Yay! My doe's having babies! Now what? One aspect of owning a pregnant doe, is feed. There are many, many, many different feeds, and ways to feed. I am in no ways an expert, but here's my 2 ¢'s. For the first 3 months of pregnancy, the expectant mother needs only good grass hay. By the end of the first 12 weeks, the unborn kids are about the size of newborn kittens. A newborn Nigerian Dwarf goat weighs about 10 times the weight of a newborn kitten, and the unborn kids must gain this weight and size in only 8 weeks. Needless to say, the 2 months before kidding is when the kids pull the most nutrition from the doe to fuel their growth. If the doe is underfed, she may lose weight, she may not produce enough milk to feed her offspring, or she may develop life-threatening conditions like Hypocalcemia (also known as 'Milk-fever'), Ketosis, or Pregnancy toxemia. At the start of the 13th week, gradually start giving your doe a handful of grain, and a little alfalfa. Very slowly, boost the grain and alfalfa, so by the 2nd-to last week, she is getting about 1-2 cups of grain, and 1-2 lbs. of alfalfa. If your doe is HUGE feel free to give her a little more as you feel necessary. She is your goat, and that means you can feed her however you want. But remember, if you let her free-choice her grain, her kids could (and probably will) grow so big that she will have a hard time delivering. If you choose to have your mother-to-be ultrasounded, lucky you! You now have an accurate idea of how many Mom is eating for, and can adjust accordingly. It doesn't really matter if the alfalfa is pelleted or in hay-form, because the doe is still consuming lots of grass-hay for roughage. I must say, that loose alfalfa is better for her, and is a little cheaper, ($15.95 per 100 lb bale vs $11.49 per 40 lb bag) but pellets are much less messy, and less likely to be wasted.
That's about it! Re-cap: grass-hay free-choice, grain and alfalfa the last 2 months. Easy!