There are plenty of excellent reasons to select goats – and not simply because they look cute. They are also smart, curious creatures, perfect for the showing circuit, and there is plenty of cash to be made in ribbons. Winter farming in particular can be tough, but plenty of rewards make it well worth the challenge.
No matter your motivation for keeping and raising goats, a solid understanding of goats nutritional requirements is critical.
During the lean months, ensuring that your goat has access to the nutrient requirements they need is essential. Still lost? Read on for our top tips, and discover the secrets your goats need to thrive.
New Heritage Feed Co. supplies goat owners with all the supplementation their animals need, even during the harsh winter months. Visit our website for a complete list of our products and ingredients.
WHAT ARE THE NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS OF GOATS?
To stay healthy, goats require adequate amounts of five essential nutrients. These are water, protein, energy (composed of fat and carbohydrates), vitamins, and minerals.
If your goat is deficient in any of these, they may become sick or fail to grow and thrive. Milk production could decrease, and in some cases, death may occur.
WHAT SHOULD I FEED MY GOAT DURING WINTER FARMING?
Helping your goat to remain healthy is especially important during winter farming. During this season, natural resources are more scarce, so owners need to make up the shortfall.
Several staples should complement your goat’s diet during winter farming. These additions will help compensate for any losses incurred as a result of the weather.
Ideally, goats should have access to pasture, browse, and forbs – in some cases, this is enough to meet their nutritional needs. In a vegetative state, pasture offers high levels of protein, as well as energy. It can also reduce the likelihood of intestinal parasites.
Goats are smart and will tend to venture towards the most nutritious shrubs and plants. It’s wise to rotate your grazing areas to offer the best options. Winter farming can decimate the availability of pasture, making it hard for goats to get enough grass. In these situations, you must supply alternatives.
Hay is an essential source of nutrition, particularly for goat breeds who do not forage. Goats grazing will not require the same amount, but winter farming can seriously restrict the available grazing amount.
Hay is also a good idea if you farm your goats for meat, cheese, or milk. As a general rule, your goat will need 14% crude protein, along with 65% TDN. These levels will help them maintain a healthy number of microbes within their system. These microbes, in turn, make their meat and dairy products safe for human consumption.
As always, make sure you provide your heard with plenty of fresh water. Fresh, clean water is vital to goats’ hydration.
Alongside hay, chaffhaye is one of the most important elements of a non-foraging goats diet. It plays an important role in offering extra vitamins and minerals. All of these elements are hugely beneficial for the health, growth, and wellbeing of the animal.
Chaffhaye comes from grass or alfalfa, which is premature – that is, has been cut early. The cuttings blend with molasses and get vacuum-sealed in a container. The fermentation process occurs, which encourages the growth of beneficial, healthy bacteria.
The process is crucial for making the grass easier to digest; essential for goats and sensitive digestive systems. Maintaining good digestive health is one of the most important challenges associated with raising goats. Fermentation allows good bacteria into the gut and boosts nutrients, minerals, and increases energy intake.
Goats require vitamins and nutrients to remain healthy, and real grains are a great option. There is a range of options available, and you may choose to feed a blend of all of them, depending on your herd’s needs.
Too many grains can accuse digestive issues or increase the risk of urinary calculi. Both can be fatal, so make sure you balance your winter feeding measures carefully.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TYPES OF GRAIN?
Whole grains are perhaps the most common option and consist of regular, unprocessed whole grains. It comes in a whole seed, which can be great for encouraging your goats to chew properly.
Chewing offers benefits to teeth as well as reducing the risk of wind and bloating. Whole grains can also help boost growth rate and increase feed efficiency.
Rolled grains such as oats are another popular option. These are almost similar to their whole-grain relatives in terms of nutritional benefits. The key difference is that they have been rolled, rather than coming in rounded pieces or small pellets.
For adding extra nutrients or ingredients, texturized grain can be a great option. These are similar to rolled grains but will be mixed with other dry matter to boost nutrition. Texturized grain is a great option if you need to add an extra feed ingredient or disguise medication. Pelleted grains offer similar benefits and are produced by binding grain by-products.
Soybean grains are a great choice if your goats lack protein. Soybean meal offers a range of amino acids and super high protein levels. Soybeans serve as a supplement alongside other grains and types of feed.
HOW DO I KNOW MY GOATS ARE HEALTHY?
Some of the signs that you’ve achieved the perfect balance include:
- Rapid growth of the animal
- Normal amount and quality of manure
- Alert, responsive behavior
- Good overall condition
- High levels of milk production
- High levels of success in reproduction
HOW CAN WE HELP?
At New Heritage Feed Company, we want to help you meet your animals’ nutritional needs in the most natural way. We specially formulate our product to supply goats with everything they need to stay healthy – even during lean winter months.
Head over to the site for more information about the range. Select from our very best products for a top-quality essential feed option to keep your herd in great condition.