To the uninitiated, goats may seem the easiest animals to care for. After all, goats have a reputation for eating just about anything. But not so fast, because the claims are more or less old wives’ tales. Like other animals, goats will eat what is available to survive. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have dietary preferences.
What’s more, not feeding your goats a proper diet not only harms their health but also degrades the quality of their milk or meat. So, what should you feed the goats? Read on to learn all you need to know about this subject.
What Feeds Goats
Goats need the following to thrive:
Roughage should always be available for goats, with hay being the best form of roughage for goats. Hay should make up the bulk of your goat’s daily diet, making up up to 40% of that feed. Goats raised for milking should consume more hay than others, with experts recommending feeding milking goats up to 9 pounds of hay per day. For other goats, 4 pounds of hay per day is sufficient.
When it comes to hay choices, Alfalfa is the best, as it contains more vitamins, minerals, and protein than any other type of grass.
Grains are a good source of protein and vitamins for goats. However, don’t feed your goats too much grain, as this can negatively impact their health.
One cup of oats is enough for an adult goat, while a cup of oats is ideal for children (baby goats). However, pregnant goats and goats raised for milking can eat up to 2 cups a day, as they need extra protein and fat. The best types of grains to feed goats are wheat, barley, and oats.
You should provide your goats with loose minerals to allow rich animals access to nutrients that are not in high concentrations in their feed. Consider buying magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus blocks for your goat.
Goats need lots of water to help them digest fiber-rich foods. Therefore, make sure your goats have access to plenty of fresh and clean water 24/7.
Read Related: What Do Goats Eat In The Wild And As Pets?
What Not to Feed Goats
Since goats are herbivores, you don’t want them to eat any meat or dairy products. Their stomachs are not designed to process these products. Feeding your goats anything, including supplements containing meat or dairy products, can cause all kinds of health problems.
You should also check your pasture to make sure that it doesn’t contain plants that are toxic to goats, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and yew. Here’s a complete list of plants that are toxic to goats.
Most importantly, make sure your hay doesn’t get moldy when you feed your goats. If you suspect mold is present, throw it away, as moldy hay can cause diseases such as goat polio, listeriosis, or even death.
Goat Feeding Chart
Baby Goat Feeding Chart 1-90 Days Old
|1-3 days||Colostrum 300ml 3 times feeding|
|4-14 days||350ml 3 meals|
|15-30 days||350ml 3 meals||A little||A little|
|31-60 days||400ml 2 meals||100–150 grams||Freedom to choose|
|61-90 days||feeding 200ml||200–250 grams||Freedom to choose|
Goat Feeding Chart Age Growth 3-12 Months
|3 months||150-200 grams||500 grams||By choice|
|4 months||200-250 grams||600 grams||By choice|
|5 months||225-275 grams||700 grams||By choice|
|6 months||250-300 grams||800 grams||By choice|
|7 months||250-300 grams||900 grams||By choice|
|8 months||300-350 grams||1,000 grams||By choice|
|9 months||300-350 grams||1,000 grams||By choice|
|10 months||300-350 grams||1,200 grams||By choice|
|11 months||300-350 grams||1,300 grams||By choice|
|12 months||300-350 grams||1,500 grams||By choice|
Feeding Chart for Adult Goat
|Adult Type||Herding (number of hours per day)||Straw||Green Feed||Concentrate|
|Dried female rabbit, not pregnant, adult male||5-6 hours||300-400 grams||750-1,000 grams||100-150 grams|
|breastfeeding rabbit||5-6 hours||300-400 grams||1000-1500 grams||100+ (400g/kg milk)|
|Nursery money||5-6 hours||300-400 grams||1000-1500 grams||500 grams during breeding season only|
How Often to Feed the Goat
The amount of feed required by goats varies according to the age, size and function of the livestock. However, as mentioned, the average adult goat needs about 4 pounds of hay per day to thrive. That number can increase or decrease depending on the number of goats looking for food in the meadow. This means that more foraging equals less hay, while less foraging means consuming more hay.
Consider feeding your goats twice a day, meaning about 2 pounds of hay in the morning and another 2 pounds at night.
Is It Important to Herd Goats?
Grassland is very important for goats, as it is their main source of nutrition. Grasslands are very rich in protein and energy. What’s more, it is cheap, which is why it is so popular among farmers. Therefore, make sure your goats have access to pasture.
Can Goats Eat Kitchen and Garden Leftovers?
Yes, goats can eat your compost. However, you must first make sure that it does not contain food or ingredients that are toxic to goats.
Best Foods and Dietary Supplements for Goats
Giving your goats an over-the-counter goat supplement is very important, as it ensures that they receive the right amount of nutrients each day. As mentioned, loose minerals or mineral blocks are an ideal form of supplementation for goats, as they supply these animals with nutrients such as chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, vitamins A, D, and E, as well as trace minerals such as copper, cobalt, iron, iodine, manganese, and zinc.
In terms of diet, stop overfeeding goats, as a lot of food promotes weight gain and urinary stones. Nonetheless, an occasional treat is recommended to keep your goat happy. Most goat diets come in the form of vegetables and fruits such as:
What to Do if Your Goat Isn’t Eating?
Goats live to eat, literally. Therefore, one of the most obvious signs of disease in goats is a reduced or reduced appetite. Therefore, if you notice that your goat is not eating normally, have the animal checked by a veterinarian.
Even though goats don’t need as much care as animals, you still need to know their needs, as that will allow you to keep them happy and productive. Be sure to learn as much as you can about goats to avoid common mistakes made by first-time goat keepers.
Interested in learning about goat breeds? Look at this!
- Do Miniature Goats Make Good Pets? 15 Things You Need To Know Before You Get It
- Fainting Goat (Myotonic): Facts, Age, Behavior & Care Guide (with Pictures)
- How to Care for a Pygmy Goat (Care Sheet & Guide 2021)
Featured Image: FitMum, Pixabay