If you’re thinking to raise goats in your farm, you should have some knowledge to feed them right. Often, people think that goats eat everything after all goats have reputation of being garbage guts, but this is very far from actual true.
Goats are ruminants, means they have four chambered stomach where food undergoes different fermentation process to break down variety of fibrous plants. They are picky when it comes to food. They can’t handle meat or animal byproduct in their food. Feeding them with meat might result in causing serious problems like bloat, scours and acidosis.
A properly fed goat is much healthier and capable of fighting against sickness and parasites easily. Here is everything you need to know about feeding goats.
A Quick Guide To Proper Goat Nutrition:
Goats need these 4 things to meet their nutrition and to be healthy. Let’s check out what are they.
Goats are not grazers, means they prefer to eat and browse a variety of weedy plants and trees as opposed to grazing on a pasture of straight grass.
Train your goats to lead and tie them out in areas of your yard that are not fenced, if you don’t have access to large pasture. You can feed your goats with forage in the form of cuttings from around your yard. All you need to do is trim trees, biars, and weeds and throw them over the fence for them to eat. Make sure not to trim that are toxic to your goats.
Feed your goats with grains for bucks in rut, to gain weight, produce milk, and especially for pregnant goat to get enough nutrition in their diet.
Adult goats need 1-2 cups of grain mixture per day unless they are near the end of pregnancy or milking. Feed them with high quality, high protein pelleted goat feed or make a mixture of sweet feed, black oil, sunflower seeds and alfalfa seeds.
It works great for the goats that are not gaining or keeping any weight with free choice forage or hay, especially if it is a doe nearing to the end of pregnancy.
Provide high quality and free choice loose minerals for your goat to be healthy. Make sure the minerals are available all time for them. Feeding them with minerals prevents deficiencies, so check out your local feed store for minerals that are specifically formulated for goats. Make sure it is for goats not for sheep, since sheep mineral will not have copper that goats need.
Feeding with hay provides them good deal of protein and energy, especially in winter months. However, the amount of hay is dependent on the size of your goat and a good rule is about 5 lbs of hat of goat per day.
Use less hay in summer season that you do in winter if you goats have access to pasture and lot of forage.
When feeding your goats with hay, remember the following things:
- Never feed them with poor quality of hay, as it contains poor quality nutrition. Alfalfa is the highest in protein and one of the best one to feed to your goats.
- Always feed them in smaller amount and keep it off the ground in a hay feeder for easy accessible.
- Provide them good quality of hay at all times.
- If you find troubling good quality of hay, you can provide them chaffhaye which is the fermented chopped alfalfa in bagged form. Believe me, they love it.
You can also include Kelp which is full of vitamins, minerals and benefit your goat in increasing milk production in lactating goats, supporting immune system and increase the meat quality.
Beet pulp is also a great supplement for goats that provide extra protein and energy to them.
Add little amount of apple cider vinegar to their food, it helps in supporting their rumen and immune system.
Goats also love treats like banana peels, fresh tree leaves, fruits sliced pieces and handful of sweet feed.
Food To Avoid While Feeding Goats:
Below are few things you need to avoid feeding your goats.
- Meat or any meat products
- Toxic plants such as wilted wild cherry, laurels, oleander, azalea, launtena and rhododendron.
- Moldy Hay
- Non food items, goats are curious to taste new things, but its best to keep them out of their yard so that they aren’t tempted.
Always try to feed your goat with healthy food to keep them healthier and happier.