From all the ruminants, goats are considered as animals which can feed on any type of food. However, due to the high demand in the industry and to obtain quality goat products (milk, meat, fiber, manner etc.) it is necessary for the goat farm owners to establish a proper goat feeding and management system. Proper feeding systems must include sufficient supply of vitamins, minerals, energy, and protein for the animals.
Method of Eating
When considering sheep and cow, they prefer to graze on land when it comes to feeding. However, goats like feeding at knee height up to head height. Therefore, goats prefer to feed above ground while standing on hind legs and resting their forelegs.
Different Types of Goat Feeds
Below listed are some types of goat food considering their liking and nutritional supply.
Pasture and Browsing
This food can provide sufficient nutrition for goats. Also, it is delicious for the animal while enhancing the food digestion process. Among different types of pasture, Sudan grass, Bahia grass, sorghum and clover are great sources of nutrition for goats.
Hay is also an important food element in farms. They must be at a higher quality and free of mold. If a farm consists of a good pasture system, then the process of hay can occur only in absence of grazing.
Hay can also be recommended for goats during rainy and cold days. Weeding and grass hay are considered as an excellent food source for goats as they are cheaper and rich in proteins.
This refers to grass or hay that begins by cutting into chunks and spread with molasses and put into bags for the beneficial bacteria to grow on. These bacteria will help goats with the food digestion issues.
Vitamins and Minerals
Calcium, phosphorus, and salt contains minerals that are essential for good health. Vitamin A, D&E are necessary for goat kids and mature goats. Baking soda is also used as a solution for goat bloating issues.
Feeding Different Types of Goats
Mature bucks can get their nutritional requirement from pasture. However, one year and two-year-old bucks have a greater nutrient requirement as they are still growing. Prior to the breeding season, bucks should maintain a good body condition (BCS greater than 3) because the food intake is low during that time. Therefore, the body condition must be evaluated before 3 months. Decisions on whether to provide additional supplements must be based on this evaluation. The weight of the buck must also be an important consideration when it comes to feeding, because the overweight bucks are inactive and will catch diseases much easily.
Careful feeding of the does during their four production periods (dry non pregnant, pregnant, late gestion and lactating) is crucial in any farm. A balanced diet inclusive of measured quantities of TDN, crude protein, calcium, phosphorus, and dry matter must be provided to the doe. During the lactating periods, careful feeding must be done to maintain the weight of the doe to be fertile for flushing, to provide milk for kids and to provide extra milk for farmers.
Feeding the Lactating Doe
Lactating does generally have a very high nutritional requirement. During this period, high quality pasture can be supplied to the doe to receive the necessary nutrients. If not, supplemental feed is necessary, or the production of milk can be reduced drastically.
This method is used to feed the goat kids. The feeder is fenced in all sides and a small creep gate is installed to provide access for the goat kids to enter the feeder. Due to the small size of the creep gate, adult goats will not be able to access the feeder. During the first week of the kids, they must be provided with small quantities of sweet potato, tree legumes and natural tree leaves alongside plenty of milk. For the first three weeks and thereafter, milk with fresh mixed fodder can be provided.
Feeding Sick goats Sick goats must be properly fed to gain the lost strength. While feeding it is also necessary to isolate the sick goats and feed them separately so that more focus can be given.