Important stuff about feeding goats you need to know
Feeding Goats For Goats
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I’ve got goats and I’m in love with them.
If this tells you something, I have a sticker on the back of my truck that reads ‘Goat Mom.’ It may be a little humiliating for my passengers, but I want the world to know that I’m a proud owner of a goat and how much joy they bring to my day.
That said, you’re going to learn everything you should know about feeding your goat today. Hopefully, before you carry your 4-legged children home, this will help you learn a little more information.
What to Feed Your Goats
You probably read that goats are going to eat something.
I will be truthful; in my case, that is not true.
That’s not to suggest that some people don’t have goats that eat almost anything. Maybe they are, but mine just won’t.
As a forager, my pygmy was bred, so she’s a healthier eater. She has a preference for hay and anything green. Whereas, they were raised on grains by the person I bought my other goats from, so that is their choice.
I’m going to send you the best feeds I’ve found for goats, and once you find what works best for your range, feel free to tweak it.
- The hay
Goats are needing hay. Especially when they are not foragers.
If you have a farm, so during the periods of the year when they do not graze, you would just need to give them hay.
If you don’t grow alfalfa, but you want the extra protein for your goats, then feed them twice a day with alfalfa hay while they’re foraging, too.
My goats are also not in a foraging scenario. They actually have their own lot when I’m working on fencing. I’m also trying to fence in an area for them to help clean up the brush in some of my wooded spots, so a lot of my land is wooded.
Meanwhile, I feed them with free-flowing grass. Personally, I just feed them with grass hay because it is the most economical and they do not seem to lack vitamins of any sort (as visitors often comment on their beautiful coats.)
Regardless of your situation with goat keeping, hay is a must and is the key part of the diet of a goat.
I believe I also need to look at using this for my goats.
Chaffhaye is alfalfa, or early cut grass. They then cut it into smaller pieces and spray molasses on it. Then a Bacillus Subtillis culture is added and it is vacuum sealed into a 50-pound bag.
While in the bag, the Chaffhaye will be fermented. This provides the hay with healthy bacteria, making it easier for the goats to eat. More nutrients, minerals, and energy are also added to their food through the fermentation process.
The greatest risk of holding goats, as you probably already know, is their digestive systems. They can die really quickly if they get messed up.
Anything that brings healthy bacteria to their stomach is a big bonus.
There are 4 distinct grain types: raw, pelleted, rolled, and textured.
The usual unprocessed grains are whole grains. This is what, along with hay, I feed my goats. I usually feed them whole maize, but not a lot, since they don’t have too many grains that are good for them. Usually, for every adult goat, I offer about one cup. Half a cup is given to my children.
Pelleted grains are milled grains or by-products of grains that have then been processed into binding agent pellets. If I’m frank, I just don’t care about pellets. I know a lot of people think they’re fine, because they get medicated.
I am more of a naturalistic owner of goats. I don’t like feeding it to them if I can’t pronounce what’s in it. It’s a personal decision, though, and several people feed them pellets. If that is what you plan to go with, no judgement here.
Laminated grains are the same as whole grains that have just been rolled. I normally have them rolled up if I feed my goats oats. It just depends on which store I’m at for the week as to what they get. They like oats.
And there are grains that are texturized. They are similar to rolled except they have other grains combined with them to add extra nutrients. When I buy sweet food from our local feed mill, it is texturized and it is loved by my goats.
Goats’ Snacks and Treats
Goats even enjoy snacks. To see which your goats like, try a range of snacks.
The same snack doesn’t satisfy every goat. One goat of mine is going to eat something green. Although my other goats would switch their noses to most treats absolutely.
For some appropriate snacks, here are a few ideas:
- Sweet Eat Sweet Feed
My goats are fond of sweet feed. You need to be mindful about how much you feed them, however.
There’s no real nutritional value in it, and they become fast food junkies if you feed them too much sweet food. In other words, if I spoil my goats a little too much, they’re going to wake me up crying because they’ve got a sweet tooth.
It’s just not much fun. I have learned to restrict how much they get from this special treat.
It also relies on what store you buy your sweet food from.
There is practically no nutritional value in it whatsoever if I buy it from the chain store. However, they add extra grains that increase the nutritional value when I buy sweet feed from the local feed mill.
- For Human Foods
To feed your goats, a variety of human food is okay. Fruits, dried fruit, veggies, graham crackers, cheerios, cheetos, and even chips of corn.
It is essentially what you want to try, at your discretion. Just be mindful that snacks are just that. Too much of nothing for them is not healthy.
- The Weeds
Goats that don’t get to forage love weeds in particular.
We’re overwhelmed with plantain; we’re going to carry it to our goats with buckets, and they love it. All day long, they’ll be glad to feed on your weeds.
Goats even like kudzu.
We’ve got a lot of it in my mother-in-trees. law’s You can just chop them out and they’ll make a buffet out of it.
Supplement Food for Goats
Just go for it. As long as you make sure that you give hay to your goats (unless they forage). They don’t substitute their diet with supplements.
However, there are ways to do this if you want to move grains to other foods or if you want to give them their required minerals without paying for the store-bought versions.
These choices are yours:
- Minerals which are loose
Goats need loose minerals for the same reason, just as humans need to take multi-vitamins to ensure that our bodies get all the essential nutrients.
You can buy them loose, or you can get them a block of mineral that they lick.
They will be glad to feed them either way, because you are doing your part to raise healthy goats.
- Soda Baking
I haven’t fed my goats baking soda, but I’ll start now after reading the advantages. Remember how I’ve said repeatedly how responsive the digestive system of a goat is?
Well, baking soda will help keep stuff under hand. With their loose minerals, you feed them freely with baking soda, and this will help assist their digestion and avoid bloat.
- Pulp of Beet
It’s possible to buy beet pulp. I looked it up and didn’t find a recipe for you to make your own. While this will be an investment, the advantages are excellent, so you might consider it worth the cost.
Fiber, protein, and nutrition are high in beet pulp. So if the usual goat feed makes your goat tired, then switch it up a little bit. They’ll be happier because of it.
- Sunflower Seeds with Black Oil
They were good for my rabbits, I knew, but I didn’t know all the advantages they had for goats. Again, I’ll be adding another item to the list of items to try and feed them.
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds are rich in vitamin E, which contributes to the reproductive health and muscles of goats. They’re rich in zinc, iron, and selenium as well. It will also make their coats shinier and will enrich their milk’s fat content.
If you think you’d like to give them a try, you can buy black sunflower oil seeds.
- Meal Kelp
A great source of iodine is the kelp meal. Another great advantage of consuming Kelp Meal for your goats is that it will also improve their milk production.
For those who raise milk goats, this will be an incredibly helpful substitute. If you are interested, you can buy a kelp meal.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
The ACV is terrific for everybody. As a human being, because of all the health benefits, I try to take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar that has a mother in it every day.
If we take it for health, why don’t we take it for goats?
Every day, you just add a little to their drink. It is full of minerals and enzymes that help promote a healthy immune system.
You can buy it, or try your hand at making it yourself, if you are interested in giving ACV a try for your goats (or yourself).
What don’t you have to feed your goats?
There are quite a few things that are not expected to feed your goats. Now, no matter what region you live in, I want to list the ones that are most common to all individuals.
You should never feed the following things to your goats:
Plants with kale-like oxalates
Some Vegetable Nightshade
Trees of holly or bushes
The Valley Lily
Leaves of rhubarb
Here is a more comprehensive list of things that are potentially harmful to your goat across the globe. If in doubt, always Google it.
Being safe is better than being sorry.
How to Nourish Your Goats
It is vital that you know how much to feed, how often to feed, and that you have the necessary feeding equipment when it is feeding time around the homestead.
On this critical mission, let’s get started.
When it comes to hay, per day, the correct amount is 2-4 pounds per goat. Chaffhaye has 2 pounds of body weight per 100 pounds.
In reality, if you feed the hay freely, they’re going to eat what they need, and it’s not going to hurt them. Nevertheless, grains are a different matter.
If you feed too many grains to your goats, this will potentially kill them. It is necessary for you not to feed more than 11⁄2 pounds of grain per day to your adult goats. Even less grain than that is needed for children.