nutrient requirements essential for growth in goats
are energy, protein,
major source of energy
is hay, grain and pasture browsing. Hay is an essential
food in the goat's diet and vital for dietary fibre.
The addition of good quality hay with food concentrates
will help to avoid problems with bloat and digestive
Goats often avoid very coarse hay that consists mainly
of stalks. Lucerne hay is also mostly wasted because
the goats will often eat only the young soft shoots,
the flowers and leaves.
NOTE Lucerne hay is high in calcium and it is not
advisable to feed Lucerne hay and Lucerne chaff as
the soul roughage to bucks and wethers as it can cause
should never be fed mouldy hay and if hay is fed on the
ground and becomes soiled, the goats will not usually eat
it and there is also the possibility it will be contaminated
with parasites from the goat's droppings. Good husbandry
is to feed the hay off the ground ideally in a hay feeder
See 'Equiptment for sale' page for design, availability
is mainly obtained from pasture but if the pasture
content is lacking in protein, the diet should be
supplemented with feeds such as barley which is an
excellent feed, rolled wheat and bran and lupins.
Lupins should be feed with care, as they are very
high in protein and risky to feed in quantity to goats.
Goats require several different minerals,
notably calcium, phosphorus, dolomite, iron, iodine,
selenium and copper. Goats in their natural state
are a browsing animal that finds nutrients in the
trees and shrubs, and in good pasture. The roots of
the trees and shrubs go much deeper in the soil than
pasture, and their leaves etc contain many minerals.
If the soil is mineral deficient minerals in a commercial
mineral mix may be added to the goats diet.
amounts of vitamins and minerals are required for seasonal
cycling, breeding, birthing and even hair colour and texture.
vitamins required to maintain
a goat's health are vitamin A, B12, C, D and E
A A goat's body
converts carotene found in green feed.
(cobalt) is required for the synthesis of B12.
Remineralising the soil with the required minerals can rectify
cobalt deficiencies in the soil. Feeding seaweed meal ad
lib will help as seaweed meal contains al the minerals in
Unlike humans who must obtain their vitamin C
from food sources, the liver of an adult goat makes approximately
10,000 mg of vitamin C per day.
Is synthesized when animals are in the sunlight.
Vitamin E Is
an antioxidant and low vitamin E is often associated with
a selenium deficiency. But should not arise in goats as
it is found in well grown grains especially wheat.
fibre is found in good-quality hay. Hay should
be available at all times and held in hayracks and not be
fed on the ground. Wastage can be recycled to the garden
or the chook house.
need clean fresh water,
which should be available at all times. In the hot summer
a lactating doe can drink up to ten litres of water in a
need a balanced diet to remain active and to stay healthy.
Feeding your animals with care and commitment you will be
rewarded with happy animals who will be relatively free
of illness and will display good health and give you years
of companionship and love.
Feed is the largest cost associated with raising and breeding
Goats are ruminants; this means they have a stomach composed
of four compartments - rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasums.
The rumen serves as a large fermentation vat in which microorganisms
act upon the food that has been eaten. Goats digest their
food with live bacteria. When a goat eats roughage such
as hay or pasture, they add saliva to this material and
swallow it, later they regurgitate this material and chew
it more thoroughly. This process
is called rumination.
in a domestic situation are usually on grass pasture, their
diet can be supplemented with the same as their bush cousins
by introducing the more nutritious weeds, leaves and safe
and eatable shrubs and trees. Goats do consume trace minerals
from good quality hay and feed. A loose supply of minerals
or a mineral feed block are available from local feed stores
and it is good part of your feeding practice that they should
be offered to your goat. Animals are very in tune with their
bodies and if needing the supplement they will certainly
seek it out. Many feed companies offer complete goat feeds-
pellet or muesli type goat mixes, which are convenient and
ideal for the small goat owner.
Fodder trees can be a supplementary food source and have
excellent nutrient values.
The goats willingly eat trees such as tagasaste (tree Lucerne),
pine trees, all wattles, paulownias and bottlebrush. Extreme
care must be taken as many plants and trees in the garden
are toxic to goats. Trees and plants such as avocados, oleanders,
peach, tomatoes, rhubarb, potatoes, apricot are toxic to
When feeding goats tree cuttings and garden rubbish, always
check it is safe for the goats to consume before giving
them to your animals.
Just because a goat likes to eat a certain plant or grain,
does not mean it is good for them.
I have a personal rule if I don't know for certain; it is
not put in the paddocks. The Agriculture Department in your
State will be able to help you with this information.
goat's digestive system is sensitive and fine-tuned
and sudden changes in the goat's diet should be treated
Good advice from a very knowledgeable and experienced
breeder when I first started my Stud said to me '
if it works, do not change it' those words often remind
me to consider any changes carefully so as to not
upset a good feeding regime
Introduce new food gradually as it can cause severe
digestive upsets such as bloat, scouring and over
eating disease Enterotoxaemia also known as Pulpy
Kidney which can be very sudden and difficult to treat.
You can help prevent over eating disease by vaccinating
once a year.
care feeding cereal grains and Lucerne to wethers
and bucks as they are high in phosphorous but low
in calcium and can lead to Urinary Calculi or kidney
should be stored in clean secure containers and not contaminated
by rodents in the feed shed.
Goat kids will begin nibbling on hay and grain as young
as two weeks of age and start to explore different tastes,
their diet should be supplemented with grain, minerals and
hay. At around three months old the mothers will begin to
gradually wean kids from their milk. Nutrition will determine
a kid's growth rate and goats receiving inadequate diets
are more prone to disease and ill health.
Many people have the belief that a goat will eat anything
and instinctively know if something is not good for them.
Both statements are a fallacy.
Goats are fussy and there are some foods that they will
not eat, new foods should always be introduced slowly.
daily feeding program for my goats involves hay ad-lib meaning
hay is available at all times. The hay is stored and fed
from a specially designed metal hay- rack. Unique in design,
it is very strong and well made and has a curved opening
lid to enable adding hay as required. The hay is assessable
at all times to the goats and more importantly protected
from all weather conditions. See 'Equiptment for sale' page
for design, availability and details.
the goats are feed out a muesli type mix that I make
up each day in a concrete mixer. The mix is similar
to the commercial goat mix you can buy in the feed stores
It consists of a measured quantity of whole barley soaked
in apple cider vinegar and the addition of the mineral
copper, which is then added to the dry ingredients of
oaten and Lucerne chaff, pollard, seaweed meal, dolomite
and a small amount of measured sulphur.
Additions vary throughout the week to include maize,
sunflower seeds, lupins, goat pellets, chopped carrots,
pumpkin and apple.
When food is scare in the paddocks in the summer months
I supplement the diet with branches of wattle, bottlebrush
and tree-lucerne trees, which we have planted on the
food mix and the way I do operate my Stud, is based
on the excellent advice and information in the book
- Natural Goat & Alpaca Care by Pat Coleby - second
I do recommend the reading of this book to new and experienced
Breeders of Goats, as it is absolutely my bible in goat
care and a wealth of excellent easy to understand information.
note I am not a vet. Articles written on this site are for
reference only and are my experience and knowledge of keeping
goats and how I care for my goats at Plumbago Stud.