Oberhasli goats are prized for their beautiful coats that are usually chamois-colored. Moreover, they also make great pets with their typical sweet personalities. However, they are more of use as dairy goats with their exceptionally sweet milk, as sweet as their personalities.
Other than that, Oberhasli milk also contains a good amount of butterfat and protein. Hence, raising an Oberhasli goat means raising a pretty, sweet, and useful animal in one’s farm.
Being able to raise an excellent Oberhasli entails a lot of care and, of course, an excellent feeding system. This feeding system requires it to be grass-based as all goats mainly get their nutrients from grass and greens. If possible, these types of foods should be accessible all year as they browse in the fields or pasture. Moreover, Oberhasli goats’ feeding requirements would include a grain mix containing oats, alfalfa, black oil sunflower seeds, and the like.
Also, it is important to not leave out the essential thing in feeding Oberhasli goats – water. Water should be available all the time for the goats to access from time to time. It will help if their water is occasionally added with apple cider vinegar as it boosts their immune system. In addition, all the lacking nutrients from their feed could be supplemented with food supplements. Their main feed could go together with loose minerals, baking soda, and/or copper boluses per season.
Oberhasli goats do not require much as a dairy goat breed. In fact, it is closely similar to the Alpine breeds, being one that originated from the Swiss itself. However, they may have a few specific requirements that one might want to take note of to raise an Oberhasli herd successfully. Here is a breakdown of Oberhasli goats feeding requirements.
REQUIRED FEEDING NUTRIENTS
Minerals are the nutrients that aid in keeping the bones and teeth strong, and in sustaining for other physiological processes. It is classified into two categories: macrominerals and micro minerals. Macrominerals – calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and chlorine, are usually what nutritionists balance for in a ration. This is because these usually are deficient in the main feed without supplementation. On the other hand, micro minerals are specifically copper, zinc, iron, iodine, cobalt, selenium, and manganese.
Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, which is essential for the eyes, nose, and lungs. Also, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble the keeps the bones strong, and Vitamin K that aids in blood clotting. These vitamins can be provided by including grains in the food of the Oberhasli goats.
Protein is specifically one that helps in the building of muscles, bones, organs, and blood. It is composed of amino acids that are vital in all the processes in the body. This nutrient can be found in soybean meal, high-quality legume hay like alfalfa, and grains like corn. If not, it is always available in the form of a commercial protein supplement.
REQUIRED FOOD OR SOURCES OF NUTRIENTS
Water is vital in typically all major body processes. For instance, water should be present in growth, digestion, absorption of nutrients, excretion of wastes, controlling temperature, and production of milk. Hence, like all goats, Oberhaslis should have access to clean and freshwater all the time. In fact, they can drink up to 10 liters of water in a day, especially during milk production.
To add, a few good amount of apple cider vinegar may be present in Oberhasli goats’ water. Its benefits include not only in helping to deter parasites but also in building the immune system.
Oberhaslis, as other goat breeds, are browsers. Hence, they would very much enjoy browsing on shrubs, weeds, tree bark, leaves, and herbs. Other than the nutrients they get out of the food they browse, they also get to exercise while feeding themselves. However, their diet should not only consist of entirely the plants they browse in the range as they may cause bloating.
Herbs and Snacks for Deworming
It is better to grow herbs that help in preventing worm infestation. These herbs, in particular, are mint, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, dandelion, and rosemary. Moreover, chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, sericea lespedeza, and garlic can be added in the Oberhasli goats’ feeding regime as well. Pumpkin seeds and pine needles make good treats, too, that help fight against worms.
Aside from pasture, hay should also be provided free choice to the goats. Hay is handy as a staple, especially during the winter, when the goats cannot go out to the fields to browse. It can either be grass as clover or a legume as alfalfa. The better quality the hay is, the healthier the Oberhaslis are, and the best the milk’s quality is.
Alfalfa hay, in particular, is high in calcium, which is a nutrient that is vital during the kidding period and milk production. However, it can be expensive for some, so they opt to supplement with alfalfa pellets. Other than calcium, alfalfa is also high in vitamins, minerals, and proteins compared to other grass gays.
Clover, as grass hay, similarly contains nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates. However, the amount or levels of these nutrients may be fairly lower than that of legume hay as alfalfa.
These may be necessary for typically small amounts, depending on the quality of the main food the Oberhaslis are fed. It is important to take note, however, to never feed the goats mineral supplements that are not designed for them.
Actually, Oberhasli goats need more minerals than many of the other dairy goat breeds. This is due to their dark coats. Apparently, the fact is that the darker the goat’s coat is, the more minerals it needs. Hence, besides providing loose minerals essentially all the time, it helps to add copper bolus and/or selenium for every season.
This comes in handy during kidding periods of the does or conveniently during bad weather. This can contain oats, alfalfa pellet, black oil sunflower seeds, and the like. However, the goat farmers should not overdo this type of feed as it can cause the goats to get fat.
To be accurate, one should consult with a nutritionist to formulate a mix that is specially designed for the Oberhaslis. Moreover, the nutritionist’s job also includes formulating the feed to meet specific conditions within the goat farm area to minimize problems. Other than that, they may also receive the main food, for instance, the hay for testing. This is done so that the nutritionist will have additional information for the formulation of the feed.
Fruit and Vegetable Scraps
Fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen can be fed to the goats. Naturally, they contain several necessary nutrients. Also, they can add to the variety of the goats’ diet. However, it is important that the fruit and vegetable scraps are considerably fresh as the goats may tend not to eat unfresh ones.
CRITICAL FEEDING POINTS
This is a time when the does should be fed extra vitamins, minerals, and selenium as they prepare for when they are to kid.
Before and After Mating or Flushing Point
Flushing is done two weeks before the mating cycle and four weeks after it. Before breeding, the bucks and the does should be prepared for an increase in energy nutrient. However, the does especially need the flushing to make certain the optimum survival of the embryo.
Gestation and Dry Point
Putting on weight will be hard during the lactation period. Hence, the does should be built to good shape before they start lactating. They should be able to rebuild their bodies following their lactation.
Weaning and Growing Points
Kids that have just been born should be fed with colostrum or the first milk from their mother. This should ideally be done every 20 minutes. This is highly essential as it is all they consume until they are at least a week old. Beyond this point, they can be offered grain and minerals, which can take some getting used to.
How can the Oberhasli goats be examined for worm infestation?
First of all, it is advisable to approach a veterinary doctor to consult about all the necessary health measures such as deworming. However, should one wish to know about when it is time to deworm, physical indications can be observed. One should learn to examine the pinks of the goats’ eyelids. The whiter those are, the more it seems that they have got a worm load. Otherwise, if they look pinker, the less the worms are in their system. Looking up the Famacha scoring system could help in determining parasites that could present in the herd.
Are there any other types of preferences in plants for the Oberhaslis?
Unlike horses and cattle, Oberhasli goats actually thrive better on broadleaf plants. These plants include chicory, plantain, lambs quarters, raspberry, mullein, burdock, red clover, nettle, yarrow, etc. Oberhasli goat farmers, as other goat breed farmers, should prioritize growing these types of plants in their pasture or grassy hayfields. However, one should take note that feeding the goats entirely of these foods is not advisable. It is due to the fact that it can lead to bloating, which can be dangerous.