How much do you feed a goat per day? It is a question that appears deceptively simple, but getting this wrong can have far-reaching consequences for your goats. Getting the amounts right can be tricky, and there are several factors to consider.
Learning what to feed, when to feed it, and how much to feed is essential to keep your herd happy, safe, and healthy. With just a few adjustments, everyone will be satisfied!
Visit the New Heritage Feed Co. website for the best in essential oil-infused goat feed your herd’s optimal health and wellness.
Do’s And Don’ts
There are a few crucial requirements to consider when planning your feeding schedule, and these include:
- Don’t feed your goats on the ground.
Feeding on the ground increases the chance of the minerals, hay, and grain becoming contaminated with feces. Over time, this can increase the likelihood of your animals picking up internal parasites and becoming very unwell. Feeding above the ground also allows you to monitor how much you feed a goat per day.
Goats will also refuse to eat any trampled food. Feeding on the ground can result in food waste and hungry, discontented animals.
- Do not overstock pens or pastures.
Make sure your goats have plenty of space and enough food in the pen or pasture; allocate too much rather than just enough. Overstocking with too many goats will lead to food shortages and fighting in the herd. Also, you should ensure that the pen’s surface is dry and clean to reduce the risk of infections.
- Do make sure there is plenty of water.
You need to ensure that your goats have constant access to clean, fresh water and that it is changed regularly.
- Do pay attention to changes in appetite.
Getting to know your goats offers an insight into their behavior, which can be useful in picking up illness early on. Make a note of any change in appetite; it could be a primary symptom of another condition.
What Do I Feed My Goats?
Ensuring that your animals get the nutrition they need is a fine balancing act, but there are a number of options:
Besides browse and forbs, pasture offers the primary source of nutrients for goats and is high in energy and protein. It is also a cheaper, more economical choice, and so popular with farmers.
Rotating your vegetation is crucial in allowing your animals to meet their nutritional needs. As pasture plants mature, their digestibility and palatability can decline. For this reason, you will also need to include brows (such as vines and bush) in the early part of the grazing season.
Including these elements helps to maintain protein and energy levels. Weeds are also helpful here. Goats are smart animals and tend to pick the most nutritious plants. Free access to pasture, forbs, and browse allows them the best nutritious choices.
Goats are natural grazers but may need a top-up during the winter and non-grazing seasons. Hay can offer moderate energy and protein, and you should focus on legume hays – such as clover, alfalfa, and lespedeza. These options provide higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and protein, and round out how much you feed a goat per day.
Hay’s positive benefits depend primarily on the maturity of the forage at the time it was harvested. Make sure you cure and store it correctly for optimum nutritional value. Hay is important for allowing the rumen to function adequately – the fiber is beneficial for the bacteria which live there.
If forage alone cannot provide adequate nutrition, you may have to turn to concentrates. These come in two types:
Carbonaceous – high in energy and lower in protein, these include wheat, oats, rye, milo, corn, and barley. They do not need to be processed unless the animal is under six weeks old. Carbonaceous feed can be high in phosphorus content, but low in calcium, leading to health problems if not supplemented with other nutrients.
Proteinaceous – high in protein. Examples include cottonseed meal, fish meal, or soybean meal.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Goats will gain most of their vitamins and minerals from their food but may require occasional supplements. Vitamins A, D, and E must round out each goat’s diet; Vitamin K and B are manufactured in the rumen. Goats also require salt, calcium, and phosphorus.
How Much Do I Feed?
Deciding how much to feed your goats depends on various factors, including age, size, and level of physical activity. Your decision will also depend on the function of your herd; are they for milk and cheese, or used as showing animals? All of these factors will impact your decision, as well as the food you choose to feed.
The most important thing to remember is that any changes to type or amount of food should happen slowly. Drastically and suddenly making changes to diets can cause stomach upsets and serious digestive problems, so introduce new foods over several weeks.
On average, goats will need around two to four pounds of hay each day. The exact figure depends on the amount they forage on pasture. More foraging means less hay, while less foraging, for example, in the winter, means more hay consumption.
Feed grain to your goats sparingly; adults will only need 1 ½ pound a day as an absolute maximum. Kids require significantly less – around ½ a cup will do the trick.
Most goats gain the majority of nutrition from foraging, where adequate pasture is available. Foraging forms the bulk of the diet. Farmers should stay alert for any changes in grazing conditions or amounts available for feeding.
The Natural Solution
Here at the New Heritage Feed Company, we believe that your animals should stay natural. Our variations and formulas are created with all-natural, locally sourced ingredients, designed to benefit your animals.
Packed with nutritional benefits, our goat feed varieties provide an excellent option for helping goats to stay healthy and retain a natural diet.
From aiding lactating dairy goats to topping up essential minerals, there is something for every herd dilemma at New Heritage Feed Co.
If you want to keep your goats in the best possible condition, start with the best diet available. Head over to the website to find a retailer near you, and boost the quality of your herd today.