If you are considering raising goats, you should know that these animals have unique nutritional requirements. Therefore, while many people believe that the only thing goats need to do when it comes to eating is to graze, this is not the case.
Feeding goats is the number one expense when it comes to goats. However, it is worth the price since well-fed goats will be in better health and produce more milk.
Goats are considered browsers. They like trees, bushes and woody weeds. While they may graze a pasture when there is no other option, the do not like to stand in one place and eat grass down to the roots. It isn’t just boredom that keeps them from doing this, either. This type of low grazing has been known to lead to the spread of parasites.
Other than browsing, the main source of nutrition for goats is hay. Grass hay provides an adequate amount of protein and energy while legume hays provide additional protein and vitamins and minerals. Grass hay also provides a great deal more calcium. Of course, these types of hay must be mature in order to provide goats with the necessary nutritional elements.
Goats eat about three pounds of hay a day. The best option is to make hay available to goats throughout the day when pasture is unavailable. If pasture is available, hay should be offered to goats twice a day. Goats can also be fed alfalfa in the form of pellets. Pellets cuts down on storage space and also lead to less waste.
Chaffhaye is feed that is bagged and serves as a substitute for hay. It is made by cutting alfalfa or grass, spraying it with molasses and adding bacillus subtillis to it. It is then vacuum packed. Chaffhaye ferments in the bag which adds good bacteria that is also easy to digest. Further, chaffhaye provides more energy and vitamins and minerals than dried hay. In terms of portion size, goats require about two pounds of chaffhaye for every 100 pounds. A 50-pound bag of chaffhaye equals about one 90-pound hay bale.
Goats also can be fed grain or grain pellets. Remember, however, that it is always best to provide your goats grain mixes that are specifically formulated for goats.