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I have goats and I love them.
I have a sticker on the back of my truck that reads, “Goat Mom.” If it tells you anything, I’m a goat mother. Maybe it’s a little humiliating for my passengers, but I want the whole world to know that I am a proud goat owner and how much happiness they bring to my life.
Now, however, you’ll discover everything you need to know about feeding your goat. Hopefully, before you bring your 4-legged babies home, this will help you gain a little more knowledge.
Great, let’s get started.
What to Feed Your Goats
You have probably heard that goats will eat anything.
I’ll be honest; that’s not true in my case.
It doesn’t imply that everyone who owns goats can’t eat everything. That may be the case, but mine is not.
My pygmy is a healthier eater since she was raised as a forager. Hay and green are her favorite foods. My additional goats, however, were raised on grains, which is their favorite.
Feel free to adjust the formula until you discover what works best for your goat variety, and I’ll provide you with the greatest feeds I’ve discovered.
Goats need hay. Especially if they are not foragers.
You only have to offer them hay when they can’t graze if you have a pasture.
Feed your goats alfalfa hay twice a day while they graze, even if you don’t intend to raise alfalfa. You want your goats to get that extra protein.
My goats are not currently foraging. While I’m working on the fencing, they have their own lot. I’m going to fence off an section for them to help clean up the brush in some of my wooded areas because a lot of my property is wooded.
Meanwhile, I give them free-flowing hay. Since it is the cheapest, I exclusively feed them grass hay, and they do not appear to be lacking in any nutrients (as visitors frequently remark on their gorgeous coats.)
Hay is a must for goats, and it is the major component of their diet, regardless of their goatkeeping situation.
I think I’ll have to give this a try with my goats.
Alfalfa or grass that has been harvested early is called chaffhaye. They then sprayed it with molasses and cut it into smaller chunks. They then vacuum seal it into a 50-pound bag, adding a culture of Bacillus Subtillis.
The most severe danger for goats is their digestive systems, which you may already be aware of. They can die quite abruptly if they are not properly adjusted.
There are 4 different types of grains: whole, pelleted, rolled, and texturized.
The usual unprocessed grains are whole grains. I give my goats this as well as hay, and it’s what they eat. I usually feed them whole corn, although I don’t do it often because it isn’t good for them. I usually provide around a cup of feed per adult goat. Half a cup is given to my kids.
Mill grains or grain byproducts are ground into pellets with a binding agent after being milled. I don’t like the pellets, to be honest with you. Several people claim they are fantastic, and they arrive medicated.
I’m a big fan of goats as a species, not as pets. I don’t want to give them the food if I can’t pronounce it. Many individuals, however, feed them pellets since it is a personal call. If you choose to go with that, there will be no judgment.
Whole grains are rolled to produce rolled grains. My goats are frequently rolled after I feed them oats. They prefer oats, however it varies depending on which store I visit during that week.
Texturized grains are another type of grain. They’re comparable to rolled, but they include additional grains that offer extra nutrients. Our local feed mill processes my goats’ sweet feed and they adore it.
Snacks and Treats for Goats
Goats like to snack as much as they like to eat. See what your goats like by trying a range of foods.
Every goat has his or her own preferences. Anything green is devoured by one of my goats. Most treats drive my other goats crazy, but not this one.
Here are a few ideas for some acceptable snacks:
1. Sweet Feed
Sweet feed is something my goats enjoy. Feeding them too much, on the other hand, is dangerous.
It has no nutritional worth, and they become junk food addicts if you feed them too much sweet feed. As a result, if I spoil my goats a little too much, they’ll wake me up screaming because they have a sweet tooth.
It isn’t particularly enjoyable. I’ve grown to appreciate how much of this unique treat they get.
It also depends on what store you purchase your sweet feed.
There is essentially no nutritional value in it if I buy it from the chain store. Sweet feed from the local feed mill, on the other hand, adds extra grains to boost its nutritional value if I purchase it.
2. Human Foods
Goat feed may contain a variety of human foods. Fruits, dried fruits, veggies, graham crackers, cheerios, Cheetos, and even corn chips are all examples of foods.
It’s up to you how far you want to go. Just keep in mind that snacks are simply that. Too much of anything isn’t good for them.
Goats adore weeds because they don’t get to forage.
We have an abundance of plantain; we’ll give it to our goats in buckets, and they will appreciate it. They’ll be delighted to graze on your weeds all day long.
Goats like kudzu as well.
My mother-in-law’s woods are full of it. They’ll make a buffet out of it if you just chop them out.
Food Supplement for Goats
Go for it, if you’re up to it. As long as you provide your goats with hay (unless they are foraging). They don’t replace their meal with supplements.
There are, however, ways of doing that if you want to replace grains with other foods or if you want to provide them with the minerals they require without paying for store-bought versions.
These are your options:
1. Loose minerals
Goats need loose minerals for the same purpose as humans: to ensure that their bodies get all of the necessary nutrients.
You may purchase them loose or have them lick a mineral block.
They’ll be delighted to consume them either way, so you’re contributing to the survival of healthy goats.
2. Baking Soda
I didn’t know how beneficial baking soda was for my goats, so I hadn’t given it to them before.
Remember how I warned you about a goat’s delicate digestive system?
Baking soda, on the other hand, has been shown to regulate things. This will help their digestion and prevent bloating by feeding them baking soda freely, along with its loose minerals.
3. Beet Pulp
Beet pulp is available for purchase. I couldn’t find a way to make your own, so I checked it up. The benefits are great, so you may consider it to be worth the cost, even if it is an investment.
Fibre, protein, and energy are all abundant in beet pulp. Switch things up a bit if your goat gets bored with the standard goat diet. It will make them happier.
4. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
I knew that these would be beneficial to my bunnies, but I had no idea how beneficial they were to goats. I’ll add it to the list of things I’m going to try and feed them again.
Vitamin E, which aids in goat reproduction and muscular health, is abundant in Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. Zinc, iron, and selenium are also present in high concentrations. It’ll also increase the fat percentage in their milk and make their coats shine.
If you’re curious about trying black oil sunflower seeds, you can buy some here.
5. Kelp Meal
Kelp meal is a great source of iodine. Another great benefit of your goats eating Kelp Meal is that it will increase their milk production too.
For goat farmers, this would be a definite plus. If you’re interested in buying kelp meal, you may do so.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Everyone can benefit from ACV. Because of all of the health benefits, I try to take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar every day as a human.
Why not give it to the goats if we’re going for health?
Every day, simply add a bit of it to their water. It has enzymes and minerals that support a healthy immune system, as well as supporting cells.
You may buy ACV or attempt to make it yourself if you want to try it for your goats (or yourself).
What Should You Not Feed Your Goats?
You should not feed your goats a lot of things. Now, I’d like to provide a list of the most frequent offenders for individuals living in any region.
You should never feed your goats these items:
- Plants with oxalates such as kale
- Any nightshade vegetable
- Holly trees or bushes
- Lily of the valley
- Rhubarb leaves
- Wild cherries
Here’s a list of poisonous substances that may be found all around the world. If you’re not sure, just Google it.
It is better to be safe than sorry.
How to Feed Your Goats
It’s critical that you understand when to feed, how much to feed, and what feeding equipment you’ll need while the homestead is feeding time.
Let’s get started on this important task.
The right amount of hay per goat each day is 2-4 pounds. For every 100 pounds of body weight, Chaffhaye weighs 2 pounds.
They’ll eat what they need if you give them free access to hay, so it won’t hurt them in the long run. Grains, on the other hand, are a completely different story.
Goat overfeeding can be fatal. You should not give your adult goats more than 1.5 pounds of grain per day, no matter what. Even less grain is required by the children.
I give each adult goat a cup of grains every day, as I previously said. A half-cup of grains is usually enough for my children.
You may or may not need to feed your goats hay every day if they are foraging. You may provide them two separate settings for feeding their grains. It is your decision to make.
I give my goats all of their goodies once per day since they don’t forage. Just because I like to spend time with my goats, I will give them small snacks throughout the day.
The proper equipment is as follows:
1. Hay feeder
You’ll need a hay feeder, as well as a tractor. If the food has been stomped, goats will refuse to eat it. So, make sure to buy or build them a hay feeder.
It’ll ensure that less of your food is wasted.
2. Grain Feeder
If it isn’t in an immediately accessible dish, your goats will waste grains. Once those grains land on the ground, they’re done.
The Goat is refusing to touch it. I find it weird, but they won’t. Therefore, you may purchase a grain feeder for them or do as I do.
To feed my goats, I utilize a galvanized tub. I’ll make sure my goats have enough food while I’m away by using a sturdy under-the-bed box if I’m going on a vacation.
3. Mineral Feeder
You’ll need a mineral feeder if you want to give your goats minerals. It will help to prevent waste.
A mineral block is another option. You’ll also need a holder for that, if so. To make giving your goats their minerals that much simpler, you can purchase a mineral feeder or mineral block holder.
Water is very important to goats. You can get a waterer, or you can do what I do. I simply utilize a big galvanized tub once again. A rain barrel is another option for conserving water.
The water helps to weigh down the grass, so it works. My goats don’t ever turn it over. Do you have any more waterer ideas? Try this one out for size.
So, my goat buddies, I’ll leave you with that for today. For your four-legged goat babies, I hope this answers all of your questions.