When you start buying feed for your goats, you’ll undoubtedly want to consider what they like to eat, as some owners find their animals will eat relatively anything. In contrast, others note that their goats are particularly picky eaters.
THINGS TO KEEP OUT OF GOAT’S FOOD
The following should never be given to your goats because they are dangerous to their health:
- Dairy and Meat Products
Interestingly enough, goats are herbivores with a digestive system that is specifically designed to take advantage of cellulose within plants. In most cases, goats will stay away from meat and dairy products as it is in their nature not to be carnivorous. However, if given the opportunity, they might nibble on meat, which can be harmful to their health. With a digestive system that is designed quite differently from carnivores and omnivores, goats are prone to severe health issues if they are ever fed meat or dairy, frequently leading to death.
- Kale (rape) and cabbage
If eaten or given to ruminants, they cause gas intestinal problem (Bloat). Of course, goats can like eating them but as you know the animal can’t control itself, it’s you to control its diet.
Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. You can eat avocados because your stomach can easily dissolve this toxin. But Goats are ruminants and do not have strong guts to dissolve persin as a result it can kill them. Do not give the fruits, leaves, or seeds of avocados to your goats.
- Peach and palm leaves
- Nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables are a group of vegetables that belong to the family called “Solanaceae.” This includes Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers.
- Dog feed (they contain meat)
- Cat feed (they contain meat)
- Contaminated water (water that contains algae and chemicals). Algae is very dangerous to goats, ensure that your goats have access to clean water on daily basis.
WHAT TO FEED YOUR GOATS
Goats can be fed different forages including shrubs as long as they are not poisonous to the goats. In addition, grain feed can be fed but a farmer should be careful because too much of them cause health problems in goats.
One of the most important things to have on your farm for any animal is hay. It is an essential resource that can also be a substantial source of nutrition for your goats, especially if they don’t tend to forage. The distribution of hay will depend on the size of your property and whether you can set up a pasture for your animals. Goats are fabulous grazers and might not require hay if they can forage throughout the year.
Hay is the foundation of your goat’s diet if they aren’t able to forage. However, it’s also not filled with the essential vitamins and minerals they require to thrive. This is where Chaffhaye comes into play. Made from premature grass, this feed is combined with molasses. It is then vacuum-sealed in a container, bag, or pouch to enable the production of healthy bacteria. As chaffhaye begins to ferment, bacteria will grow in more substantial quantities. This helps to make your goat’s hay substantially easier on their stomach. What’s more, it provides goats with an assortment of minerals and nutrients that their bodies will convert into energy. Considering one of the most vital parts of owning goats is to ensure their digestive health, Chaffhaye is a fantastic option for maintaining their gut health with healthy bacteria.
While maize is grown for farmer’s food, there is a lot of fodder which can be used for feeding the goat which will not stop the farmer getting a good maize yield
- Thinning – all the extra maize seedlings that grow from the same seed hole should be thinned and dried a little before feeding to the goats.
- Remove extra leaves – this should start with the leaves below the cobs as soon as the cob can be seen.
- Cutting the tops – this should start after the grains have hardened.
- Stovers – these should have sweeteners (molasses) added or sprinkle common salt after chopping.
- Broken grains – these are very nutritious especially after a heavy harvest but should be fed carefully to avoid grain overload
4. Grain or Pelleted Feed
Grain feed or pelleted grain mix can add protein, vitamins, and minerals to your goats’ diet. Most farmers supplement with grain feed when necessary such as to Does who are raising multiple kids or in bad weather, but foraging and browsing is the foundation of good goat nutrition. Grain should not be overfed because it can make goats fat and cause some illness.
- Kitchen and Garden Scraps
Goats will do fine eating your compost, for the most part. Egg shells can be problematic, but most other basic kitchen and garden compost is fine for goats as long as they’re used to it.
Alfalfa is a grown pasture. Their seeds can be bought from our shop.
7. Fresh grass or range (Grazing)
Grass is also good for your goats but they should not entirely depend on fresh grass only if you are in business.
Maize or grass or legumes silage is also a good source of nutrients for the goats. It is commonly fed to goats under Zero grazing system and also during dry season for those on free range.
- Sweet potato vines
This is a very good feed that goats like very much. It is a good crop to plant because it gives tubers for the family to eat and the leaves can be fed to the goats. It can be planted beside river beds, steep parts of the shamba and roadside edges. It is useful in feeding kids whose mothers die early in their life.
10. Napier grass (Elephant grass)
Plant napier along river beds, along soil terraces, road reserves etc. Where a farmer has a big shamba then plant as one crop near the home to save time and work when taking to the goats. Good napier needs manure and top dressing with a fertilizer and needs weeding. Where new fields are being planted mixed cropping with desmodium improves the quality of the fodder. If you plant Napier around your maize it stops Maize stalk borer. Cut Napier often so it is easy for the goats to eat and digest.
NB Before starting a goat farming business, it is very essential to first prepare what the goats will feed on. Farmers need to first consult skilled people for pasture guidance including quality seeds. Don’t bother yourself to look for pastures here and there and end up getting poor quality pasture for your goats. Kimd construction and farm consultants ltd has everything you need
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HOW MUCH OF FOOD TO GIVE TO YOUR GOATS PER DAY UNDER INTENSIVE FARMING.
- Dry matter 1-2kg per goat per day depending on the age size
- Fresh food 0.5 – 1kg per animal per day
- Grain or pelleted feed 1-2 cups (0.5 – 1kg per day) per animal per day. Do not give goats too much grains, remember they are ruminant and too much grains cause grain overload.
Goats need water, protein, energy, and a range of vitamins and minerals.
Access to water is essential for healthy, productive goats. One goat will drink 3 to 20 litres per day, depending on stage of lactation and environmental temperatures. Does that are feeding kids have very high water requirements. During hot weather all goats will have high water requirements. It is also important that the water is clean – this is especially important for kids.
Sugars, starches (found in grains) and fibre (cellulose) are the carbohydrates that convert into volatile fatty acids (energy) by rumen flora (beneficial bacteria). Normal goat diet (browse, forbs, and grasses) is high in cellulose and requires digestion by rumen flora to be converted into energy. Fresh pastures and young plants may have highly digestible fibre and provide high energy compared to older plants. Higher energy levels come from lower fibre feeds. Energy is represented as total digestible energy in feed analysis reports. It is important to supply half of the goat ration in the form of hay or pasture to avoid high energy related problems. Maintain at least 12% crude fibre in the diet
Protein is required for maintenance, growth, reproduction, lactation, and hair production. Protein forms a major component of blood, anti-bodies, muscle and milk and is therefore required to produce these. Protein deficiencies in the diet can lead to goats becoming sick and even dying. Examples of protein feeds are: acacia pods, beans, cowpeas, lucerne, soybean meal, green pastures and high protein concentrates (HPC).
Goats also need sufficient energy in their diet to allow them to grow, reproduce and make milk.. Examples of energy rich feeds are: maize grain, oats, sorghum and molasses.
Minerals (calcium, phosphorus, salt)
Goats also need to be given access to minerals if they are deficient in their diet. The addition of specific minerals and salt (sodium chloride), preferably in granular form and offered free choice, helps prevent most mineral deficiencies and improves performance. Major minerals likely to be deficient in the diet are salt (sodium chloride), calcium, phosphorous and magnesium, The minerals can be given in a block or a loose lick.
Figure 9.3 Example of sources of minerals: (a) Block; (b) Loose lick
The requirements of goats vary according to the age of the goat and whether it is pregnant or feeding a kid. Thus you need to buy the correct type of feed depending on which goats you are feeding.
Table 9.1 Nutrient requirements for meat and fibre-producing goats (Note DM= dry matter)
|Does (40 kg)
|Daily Feed (kg)
|Energy (MJ/kg DM)
|Protein, % DM
|Calcium, % DM
|Phosphorus, % DM
Feeding Management for smaller kids
Offspring needs to be fed with milk for 2-3 times in a day so that kids can be protected from diseases. After two weeks, progeny can have soft grass and feeds. Kids must be weaned from its mother after 10-12 weeks, and feed more forage and feeds with
Feeding Management for adult goats
After 4 months of parturition, Doeling and Buckling should be kept in separate from preventing unnecessary mating behaviors from bucks to doeling. It is necessary that growth of Boer cross kids should be 50-150 grams per day; if it is not measured, it should be learnt that there is a problem in feeding management. As possible as for the whole 24 hours, green forage and fodders should be kept in the place of stall. Salt and other multi-nutrients minerals cake and clean water adequately needs to be fed to goats.
Critical feeding times
Critical periods when you need to ensure your goats are properly fed are:
- Before mating (does and bucks)
- Late pregnancy (last 6-8 weeks) to avoid small, weak kids – but do not overfeed or there will be kidding difficulties from large kids
- Early lactation (to make sure the doe has enough milk for her kids).
Certain feed stuffs can cause problems:
- Allow goats to adapt slowly to concentrates (start with 50g/day/goat and increase gradually over a week).
- Take care with legume pastures as they can cause bloat.
- Sometimes goats eat poisonous plants if they are new to an area. Do not offer unlimited amounts of grains or concentrate feeds (including sorghum beer residues and rice) to goats of any age. This can result in enterotoxemia (overeating disease), ruminal acidosis, urinary calculi, bloat, laminitis-founder, and a host of other very serious rumen-based and therefore life-threatening illnesses.At kimd construction and farm consultants ltd, quality is guaranteed. Thank you!