Goats are natural browsers but they do also graze. They are however selective in their feeding behaviour and they do well where they feed on a variety of feeds. Their main feed is shrubs, bushes (and wild fruit/pods) and grass.
To understand the feeding of goats one has to know their digestive system. The goat like any other ruminant (cattle, sheep) has four stomachs which are; rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasums.
The quantity of feed consumed by a goat depends on: age; breed; sex, size and physiological status (pregnant /lactating.)
- Goats will consume about 3-5% of their own body weight in dry matter daily
- Young goats will consume relatively more than mature goats
- Pregnant and lactating animals will need more feed to produce milk and to enable the foetus to grow.
Goats need a balanced diet comprising of water, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. The table below shows the nutrients and some of the feeds from which the nutrients can be obtained.
|Protein||Leguminous plants, Poultry litter, Cotton seed cakes,|
|Carbohydrates||Cereals(maize, sorghum, millet, corn),molasses|
|Vitamins||Vegetables, green forage|
|Minerals||Agro-industrial residue, limestone flour|
|Water||Water bodies, succulents(water melons, cacti, etc)|
|Fibre||Crop residues, hay|
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