Feed is an Important Consideration for Goat Owners
If you are planning to raise goats, you will quickly learn that feeding these animals can become expense because of the fact that they are browsers. Browsers prefer trees, bushes, and woody weeds to standing still and eating grass.
While it is true that goats can learn to graze a pasture, goats have certain nutritional needs that can’t be met by plants found on most farms. Therefore, providing the correct feed for goats is essential for their health. Not only will healthy goats save you on veterinary bills, they also will produce more milk.
Feeding your goats hay is the best way to ensure that your goats get the nutrients they need to remain healthy. Hay is especially important during non-grazing seasons or when goats are unable to browse.
Grass hay will provide a reasonable amount of energy and protein for goats but legume hays typically have more proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The quality of legume hay depends on how mature the hay is and how it is cured and stored. Examples of legume hay include clover hay and alfalfa hay. Goats need to consume about two to four pounds of hay every day.
Many goat experts will tell you that you should avoid feeding silage to goats because it doesn’t contain the roughage goats need to survive. However, some goat owners believe that ensiling grass is a good alternative to baling when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Silage is formed when a forage crop such as grass, alfalfa, or corn is fermented so as to preserve it in a state of high moisture while at the same time preventing it from decay.
It is important to remember that goats have adapted to living in dry climates and on sparse land. Goats can digest only a small amount of protein, so feeding them too much processed food can be fatal. Adult goats need less than 1.5 pounds of sack feed daily, and kids need less than that.
In periods of extremely low temperatures it is important that you don’t feed your goats extra sack feed but rather feed them extra hay. Too much grain can cause trouble for goats that are cold and inactive. Hay in their stomach, however, will help to keep them warm. Another advantage of feeding goats extra hay in cold temperatures is that unlike sack feed, goats are unlikely to overfeed on hay.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to goat feed is that when you feed your goats the best quality hay, such as alfalfa hay, you can cut down dramatically on the amount of sacked grains. This means your goats will be healthier and you will spend less money on feed.
The Hay Manager, LLC
24064 478th Avenue
Trent, SD 57065